Susan's sketchbook log: Only a  Cretin couldn't love Crete


FortezzaRethymno Rhythm

Getting here was an adventure in a taxi with young Adonis at the wheel. I'd read that Crete has the highest accident rate in Europe. I'm now a believer. I thought maybe I could slow him down with a little conversation, so I asked what he thought of Greek women drivers. He said they think they are good because they keep in their lane and don't speed. So, he said, that really makes them bad, because that forces us to go outside the lines and speed around them. A few miles down the road, we veered into oncoming traffic to go around a car. I looked over and saw a woman driving. Adonis turned and looked at me and smirked.

In Rethymno, a large part of the Venetian fortress (1573-1580) that guarded the town is still intact. They say this is the biggest fort the Venetians ever built. After the Ottoman Turks captured the area in 1465, they turned the church in the middle into a mosque. So, in the sketch at right, that's the top of the mosque, not a rising full moon (though I got one of those too, and, viewed over the harbor, it was heartstoppingly beautiful). Luckily, I got there right after it opened and it was quiet, already baking in the sun, and fragrant with pine. Worth the price of admission.

Rimondi Fountain

The other "must see" sight in town is Rimondi Fountain (left). It has lion heads (well, of course -- it's Venetian) and four columns with Corinthian capitals. The fountain was a dependable water source in the sixteenth century... and still is! I loved that one of the local guys used it as a parking place for his motorcycle, not doing much for all the tourists trying to take a photo. That, of course, is one of the joys of painting: better than Photoshop for deleting detritus.

the 'new' radioI had a 4:30am date with a taxi to drive back to the Chania airport for an early flight on Aegean Air (leather seats! cookies!) and found that the clock radio in my room didn't work. So, in broken Greek I asked the housekeeper if she could switch mine with one in another room. When I saw her walking toward my room with a replacement clock (right), I cracked up! She assured me the reception was even better! But no alarm. So, I asked at the front desk and found out their 21st century phone system could handle an automated wake up call. Who knew?


Athens airport restaurantGold medal winner
Flying into Athens at dawn, looking down on all the early ferries crossing, was almost worth getting up for. Another final surprise awaited: Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos airport got a mind-boggling upgrade for the Olympics and is now a lot nicer place than many (JFK comes to mind) to hang out between flights.

On the second floor is a relaxing little restaurant (left) and an excellent two-room museum (free), that has archeological artifacts dug up when they broke ground for this new facility. | sklog home | previous | next | contact