Waves and Caves

June 1


DSC00723Phew. Today. Was. Awesome. We started off by heading south and seeing Gortyn, another palace (albeit a very small one) and what Vangelis called the most important one. It had the first set of inscribed laws put up for the public to see, protected by an archway. I bought the book saying what the laws said in English to read later. We also found kittens there and I got to hold one. They were sweethearts.

After Gortyn was Phaistos, another major Minoan palace. It was less reconstructed than Knossos, but I liked it better. The rooms made a maze, and it was easier to understand the palace because I didn’t have to look at something and know it probably wasn’t correct. I started recognizing what rooms where used for what based on their ruins, which made me feel pretty damn smart. LOOK AT ALL THIS LEARNIN’ I’M DOIN. LOTS ‘O’ LEARNIN’.

IMG_4018After Phaistos came another seafood lunch and then ohmigod beach. The most beautiful beach I have ever laid eyes on. The water was so blue (but so cold) and the surrounding cliffs made it all the more dramatic. I tried to get in and swim around, but a wave hit me and I slipped on the rocks I was standing on and fell, so I decided I was done there.

THEN WE FELT AN EARTHQUAKE LIKE A 5.0 EARTHQUAKE IT WAS KINDA AWESOME. I thought it was cool, anyway. Couldn’t tell what it was at first. It felt like turbulence on a plane. Except it was tectonic plates and the earth. Trippy.

IMG_4041Another girl, Jane, and I decided to check out the “caves” Vangelis and Barnes recommended. Turns out, they weren’t caves at all, but tombs built into the side of a cliff. It looked kind of like a giant anthill. They didn’t go inside the rock more than a few feet. We climbed up pretty high (lucky I had Tevas on) and took some pictures, and then got gelato and headed back.

So that’s where I am right now! In the lobby, just FaceTimed Tristan (PS for Barnes, when you read this, that’s my boyfriend) for like 10 minutes, getting some stares from others here…I miss home a lot. And sleeping. But I definitely am not ready to leave here IMG_4059yet. I love the country and the history, and I am still getting very excited about recognizing artifacts from my textbooks. Dinner is soon, though, and I didn’t mean to get into All the Feels yet! Anyway, I’ll do some fun facts and then update the rest after I eat.


1. Women’s rights had come a bit further in Gortyn than Athens. In Athens, if your husband dies you have to marry his brother (so the dowry stays in that family). In Gortyn, you are free to take your dowry and do what you please.

2. Laws that were inscribed in Gortyn were written back and forth, left to right and then the next row right to left (with letters facing the opposite way as well), which was called “boustrophedon”, or “as the ox plows”.

3. Polytheron were like multiple shuttered doors (I imagine a Wild West saloon in my head when I think about them) and were used in the Minoan palaces for high-status people only. 

4. I learned this the other day BUT starting in the Minoan period, beams of wood were inserted into stone walls to create a more elastic building to withstand earthquakes (LIKE THE ONE TODAY WHICH ONCE AGAIN WAS PRETTY DAMN COOL).

UPDATE: So dinner was at an Italian restaurant in Heraklion. I had a salad with avocado, sweet corn, grilled shrimp, and lemon vinaigrette that was absolutely delicious, and I tried a bunch of the other kids’ dishes too.


I am homesick. It gets difficult at times to be away from the fam and friends. I’m glad we’re kept busy though. Sometimes I could just use a day to sit back and appreciate where I am instead of focusing on being tired…ya know?

I really enjoy the sites, though. I sometimes feel like Barnes doesn’t think we enjoy them because we’re hot and tired and don’t ask that many questions. When you read this Barnes, THANK YOU. We really appreciate everything you do. I’m extremely interested in this history and I’ve learned so much from the readings as well as these sites and this trip. Not only about culture, but history, myth, and myself–I’ve learned how to experience a new place with a bunch of strangers and have an amazing time. Thank you so much for this opportunity. We don’t tell you that enough. You’re a life-changer.


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