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I walked through the palace of the Minoan kings in Knossos on Crete

Updated: May 16, 2023

The folks who create fireworks shows save the grand finale for the final moments. And this trip has been a little like that.

Yes there were amazing experiences over the whole 17 weeks, like the one offered by the villagers in Papua New Guinea who welcomed us so warmly, or the taiko drummers and cherry blossoms in Japan, or that remote ancient village in the hills of Guatemala.

But, in the final days, to have Petra followed by Knossos on Crete .. holy moley.

Knossos, like Petra, was an archeological childhood dream of mine that I have now seen brought to life.

The magic is in the knowledge that you are walking over floors laid by a well advanced civilization- one with running water and septic systems - 4,000 years ago (though people were living there as early as 7,000 BC).

Terry, my dinner companion from Texas, and I started our tour at the ruins of the Minoan palace on a sky-blue spring day, with the mountains of Crete serving as the backdrop. To get into the main area of Knossos, we crossed the oldest paved road in Europe.

The stone buildings are just foundations now, though there has been some effort to recreate parts of them to what they must have been when Minos ruled. They include these pillars.

And these frescoes, many of which are being preserved at the museum in Heraklion, the city where the cruise ship docked.

There are giant clay jars that once held wine and olive oil. They were found in pieces in the ruins and put back together.

And there is an amphitheater that was used for entertaining the wealthy of the ancient palace.

Our excellent guide Maria was a fountain of knowledge.

It impossible to visit Knossos without imagining a bustling place with workers in short skirts, ladies with long dresses and ringletted hair, and courtiers and emissaries from other kingdoms come to trade or pay respects. Or thinking about the young men and women jumping bulls, and the mythical labyrinth and its Minotaur.

After Knossos itself, we went to the museum, which was almost as cool.

There were more than 8,000 artifacts housed, dating back to the Neolithic period, in six large rooms on the first floor. Including this teapot.

And this ancient board game.

There was a bee crafted in gold more than 3,000 years ago.

And, of course, the frescoes, which were on the second floor.

After touring the museum, we are set free in Heraklion for an hour. It was Sunday so most shops were closed. But I bought an extra duffel bag and an ice cream.

Tomorrow, some of the folks we have been travelling with for four months get off in Rome.

More leave the next day in Genoa.

And then it's my turn to disembark in Marseilles where I will meet my daughter and spend another month in France and Portugal before returning to the real world.

I am feeling a bit wistful.

I have made so many good friends among both passengers and crew. And, although I know I can keep in touch electronically, it feel a little like I am being uprooted.

Also ... by way of clarification... I do not have an 'actual' boyfriend. Ivan, the gentleman with whom I dance most often, was cajoling me about keeping our 'relationship' a secret when he had told his daughters all about 'us.' So I posted about it as a bit of a joke, making clear that he is my 'boyfriend' only between the hours of 8 and 9 pm (between dinner and the theatre).

But then I got a bunch of congratulatory messages which made me realize that i had not been clear. Apologies for muddying the waters. It might have been the wine.




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