Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Musings - more on Greece

Me on Patmos
The Greek Islands are far more beautiful than pictures can show and far more beautiful than I had imagined. The mainland is very green and mountainous. We began our journey with a four day cruise, as I mentioned Friday. After Mykanos and Patmos, we visited Crete, Rhodes, and Santorini.

coming up to Santorini 
The photo on the right was taken from a small ferry, which was the only way one can get to Santorini from the cruise ship. We didn't know there were two ports on the island, one that goes to Ia, which has all the white buildings with blue domes, and the other side of the island, which is beautiful as well, but not what you usually see on the postcards. This was our first few of Santorini from the ferry.

Some say Santorini is the remains of the lost city of Atlantis. I tend to believe it. It is mystical and magical. The photo here shows the caldera formed from the volcanic eruption that is believed to have caused the demise of Atlantis.
Quite the sunset, don't you think?

One of the things Santorini is known for are its beautiful sunsets. What do you think?

Athena's Temple in Lindos on Rhodes
We had an entire day to visit the island of Rhodes, unlike the other island stops, where we only had a few hours. We did an excursion off the ship, which included a bus ride to the city of Lindos. Here you can see the remains of Athena's temple. I have always been fascinated by the Greek Pantheon, which engendered a deep interest in Gods and Goddesses of many other cultures as well. This trip enabled me to see
where much of that began.

Palace of Knossos
The island of Crete is located in the center of the eastern Mediterranean at the crossroads of Africa, Asia, and Europe. It is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean sea. Crete's biggest modern town is Heraklion.The inhabitants of ancient Crete were the Minoans and we had the opportunity to visit a ruin called the Knossos Palace. In order to get there, we had to debark the cruise ship, find the local bus, make sure it went to Knossos, and make sure we knew where to catch it coming back so we could get back to the ship on time. It was an adventure, to say the least.

Frescoes in Knossos Palace
According to Wikapedia,the Minoans had developed significant naval power and for many centuries lived in contact with all the major civilizations of the time without being threatened by external forces. Their commercial contact with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia undeniably influenced their own culture, and the Minoan civilization in turn appeared as the forerunner of the Greek civilization. The Minoans are credited as the first European civilization. Archaeological evidence reveals habitation since the 7th millennium BC. After the 5th millennium BC we find the first evidence of hand-made ceramic pottery which marks the beginning of the civilization Evans, the famed archaeologist who excavated Knossos, named "Minoan" after the legendary king Minos.

In Greek mythology, the Minotaur was a creature who was part man and part bull who lived at the center of a labyrinth. King Minos of Crete had received advice from the oracle at Delphi (which we also visited and you will see more of in later posts) and thus ordered Daedalus and his son, Icarus, to built the maze-like structure. The Minotaur was eventually killed by Theseus, an Athenian hero. Minos had required that seven Athenian young men and seven virgins be sent every ninth year to be devoured by the Minotaur. Here is a bit from Wikapedia about that.

When the third sacrifice approached, Theseus volunteered to slay the monster. He promised to his father, Aegeus, that he would put up a white sail on his journey back home if he was successful and would have the crew put up black sails if he was killed. In Crete, both Minos' daughters, Ariadne and Phaedra fell madly in love with Theseus. Ariadne, the elder, helped him navigate the labyrinth. In most accounts she gave him a ball of thread, allowing him to retrace his path. Theseus killed the Minotaur with the sword of Aegeus and led the other Athenians back out of the labyrinth. On the way home, Theseus abandoned Ariadne on the island of Naxos, and continued with Phaedra, his future wife. He neglected, however, to put up the white sail. King Aegeus, from his lookout on Cape Sounion, saw the black-sailed ship approach and, presuming his son dead, threw himself into the sea that is since named after him, thus committing suicide.[13] This act secured the throne for Theseus.

When the cruise finished, we headed back to Athens. One of the most fascinating sites there was this ancient Roman Agora. Here you can see what's left of Hadrian's library.
More tomorrow...


welcome to my world of poetry said...

Looks a lovely place Karen, glad you had a good time.


Joanne said...

Wow, what history ... Both in architecture and story. What a fabulous place to spend time. And those sunsets ... I'd rate them 4-Cups!

Manzanita said...

Pictures are beautiful. How exciting for you to be in the middle of the Minoan history. I can almost transport myself into the time frame when I'm surrounded by history. I doubt if their lives and emotions were any different than ours, with perhaps our addition of electronics and plumbing. And both of which I've sometimes done without in my lifetime. Ha

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Gorgeous photos, Karen! I would've used up three or four memory cards.

L.G.Smith said...

Wow, what an adventure. It gives me chills to see places like that in person and read the history. Great pics!

Talli Roland said...

Fantastic photos, Karen. It looks like you had such a good time. I'd love to head to Greece.

Nancy LaTurner said...

Karen, I've been reading and enjoying your every post. My comments don't get accepted every time, though. I wonder why?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Great pictures AND a history lesson - awesome.

KarenG said...

What a lovely country. Too bad it's suffering such economic woes right now.

Karen Walker said...

Yvonne, welcome home. Yes, Greece is lovely and it is in turmoil. So sad.
Joanne, 4 cups for sure.
Manzanita, it's one of the things I love most about travel - I do try to imagine what life was like back then.
Diane, I got 4 g card, so I was okay - Gary went thru 3 memory cards
L.G, gave me thrills as well.
Talli, and you're so much closer than I am.
Nancy, wonder what's going on?
Alex, hope I didn't get too carried away with the history lesson.
KarenG, it seems like this isn't the first time Greece is experiencing this kind of turmoil. Hope it gets resolved soon.

Pk Hrezo said...

Wow, Karen! Those are just awesome pics! I've always wanted to visit Greece. Did you have a chance to meet up with Jessica Bell??
Anyway, wouldn't you just love to read a really great fiction piece on Atlantis. SOmething really different? It always fascinates me!

Claudia Moser said...

Lovely trip, Greece is indeed a great place!

Karen Walker said...

Pk, I did meet Jessica. I'll post about it soon. And yes, it would be cool to read a good fiction piece on Atlantis. There were some really bad sci fi flicks.
Claudia, sigh!

Sharon Lippincott said...

Fantastic looking trip. I'm ready to call my travel agent! Thanks for posting the pictures.

Karen Walker said...

You wouldn't be sorry, Sharon

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. lovely to see the photos along with your historical notes - today or yesteryear .. I too would love to go to Santorini and Crete - I've never been to either.

I had a holiday on Rhodes years ago - and Lindos is spectacular isn't it .. totally amazing and the views around the island - just lovely.

The Minoan civilisation was pretty amazing and I like your description of the crossroads of Africa, Asia and Europe .. they've recently been excavating further finds on the Greek coast - giving us a little more information on those times.

So interesting and you obviously got stuck in as much as you could and saw a great deal, including sampling the local buses ..

Cheers and I'm looking forward to reading some more - Hilary