Crete, and the comfortable marina at Agios Nikolaos have really enchanted us, we did not want to go away! (And in fact some Rally boats have decided to stay for some time…).
After the festivities for the conclusion of the Rally, the huge parties, the farewells to all friends of a two-year adventure, we felt a bit empty and aimless; talking to the other crews, the most frequent question was “wht will you do next?” and the answer was almost invariably “don’t know, we will have to see how it goes”.
With the exception of maybe one boat or two, nobody is planning to live-aboard, although many will stay in the Med for one or two cruising seasons. Several, including ourselves, are planning to sell the boat used for the Rally and go back to something less complex and expensive to maintain.
And what about Crete? Beautyful, with dramatic landscapes that remind us of Corsica, taverns everywhere offering good food for reasonable prices, ruins and Museums full of remainders of the Minoan civilization which make an intriguing comparison with Egypt’s “new kingdom” which belongs to the same timeframe: here we see palaces and settlements, there we saw temples, here figurative arts are not very developed, there they were blossoming.
And then there are the continuous links to legendary tales, like the references to the bull as a deity but also as the protagonist of dangerous acrobatic games, and the confusing complexity of minoan palaces, that make you think of the Minotaur legend, or the mistery of the sudden decadence of the Minoan civilization around 1450 BC, presumably due to a catastrophic eruption in Santorini which may be the origin of the myth of Atlantis.
And then the venetian Crete, surviving in some buildings, mostly fortresses which were protecting the many harbours, but strangely not in the houses, unlike what we saw in the ionian islands.
Oddly, almost no sign of the two centuries of Ottoman domination, except for the odd mosque.
Certainly our visit has been made more pleasant by the fact of being off-season, with a relatively limited number of tourists around; in the peak of the season, it must be packed-full!!
Unfortunately, it’s bitter-cold, we have to sleep in the sleeping bags, and bathing in the sea is out of the question!
Time to go, next stop Santorini.