Sunday, August 26, 2007
Apparently, Sir Arthur Evans, a wealthy Brit bought the entire area and began excavations. He was no archaelogist - no educational background, no history degree, no scientific base. Just some rich dude who figured he could dig this shit up and make his own interpretations. Now, if I really jog my memory, I am sure I knew this but I didn't remember and felt totally fucking cheated. The palace is REAL and the things you see are as they were (for the most part) but Evans did take some artistic license when reconstructing portions of the palace. As a historian, I don't know what the fuck he was thinking. That's as blatantly technical as I can be. By doing this, he totally calls everything at the site into question. He doesn't know if this was a house, a sotrehouse, a temple, etc. He made uneducated guesses at what all this stuff was. In addition, since he had no clue what he was doing, who knows how much shit was lost when he and these other fools were digging through all the rock. What a dick!
Anyway, it's supposedly a Minoan palace. Some of which can be dated back to 7000 BC. The mythology surrounding the place is that this is where King Minos had Daedalus create the maze where he kept the Minotaur. As the story goes, no one knew its secrets except the Kings daughter and she used it to get Thesues out. Then the King got pissed and imprisoned Daedalus and Icarus but Daedalus made wings out of wax, Icarus flew too close to the sun and then his wings melted and he hit the ground. Blah blah blah...I'm still pissed that this guy made shit up about what was what and the whole day was f'ed because I was questioning everything. Friggin' spoiled Brit.
That being said, being in a place where there are structures from 7000 BC is pretty cool. I just have to wonder how much stuff was lost or destroyed and how much did we loose in understanding ancient civilizations because this guy wanted to play explorer.
We spent the night in Iraklion. The hotel was a little old in decor but there was nothing to complain about. It was quiet and clean and most importantly, we paid the extra 5 euro and had AC. The bathroom had one of those old toilets, with the box and the pull string. I was just praying that Clemenza was able to get the gun taped to the back of it so I could come out and wack Sollozo and McClusky. The town itself, of what we saw of it down by the water was cool. It had a lot of old stuff that belonged to the Venetians who contolled the city for a long time. You can see St. Marks Lion, the sign of Venice on parts of the old fort. Other than that, we did our usual, walked around and checked out the scene - had some dinner and hung out. We pretty nuch relaxed because we had to get up and get on the ferry to Mykonos in the am. After coming back to the hotel we went out for another quick walk because there was a church that was lit up and looked really cool and I wanted to go back and snap a few shots of it. Afterwards, we just went back and hit the sack.
PS - Just a quick story - so sometimes when we get back to the room in the afternoon, I will sit on the bed and chill while we decide what we're gonna do. Inevitably, if Jess doesn't get a call or make one, she will ask me if I am gonna nap and then start doing some Sudoku. My answer is usually, I dunno, I'm just laying down and relaxing. Of course, I know I am going to nap and I usually fight it. After like the first couple of times I stop myself from naping, she will make a, "Uh not sleeping, huh?" comment. I growl - and go to sleep. She thought she would be funny and take a picture of me not sleeping. Little did she know, that I had one of her with her mouth open on the bus to Iraklion.
Friday, August 24, 2007
What else can I say? We got in to the cab AND the price was exactly what we expected! I guess there are limited opportunities for money in Crete and so they don't mess with you.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
We decided to be bums and get a drink and hang out at the church. Sounds sacriligious but I assure you that it wasn't. On the way there we hear this friggin mayhem - and OF COURSE, I do not have the camera with me. Walking through the streets in a parade like style are all these hippy looking fools juggling. I shit you not, juggling. Balls, pins, that goddamn diablo thing - anything they can get their hands on. Some are on stilts, others balancing balls on their heads none are wearing deodorant. It was pretty cool and the media was there. Apparently it is some kind of get together and as it turns out on the news on the ferry a few days later, there were about 4,000 of them - juggling, stitlting and no deodoranting. We ended up having a few more drinks, getting Sabbas and hanging out.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
We decided to walk around anc chek out the sights. There wasn't too much. We saw Tuomiokirkko which is a Lutheran Cathedral. It is VERY white and on top of a hill that overlooks this main square. We walked around and found some caches - checked out the sights. Of course, while looking for one cache this guy stands right next to where we need to look and then just stands there. He looks like a friggin pedaphile. So Jess pulls her, I'm going to make people feel uncomfortable move and stands right next to him. Right in his ass. There's nothing else around him. He realizes it and turns around all startled and looks at her. Then walks like 20 feet away and starts feeding the pigeons, like a dick, and they all come swarming around. Again, he's startled apparently he didn't know that when you feed one, every pigeon in Europe knows and descends on the spot.
Jerkoff finally walks away and we look for the cache but it's not there. We walk down the street to our next destination and stop to look for soap. The don't have anything Jess wants so we head out and who's there - pigeon boy. Like he's following us or something. I take his picture just so we have it. He then walks in another direction.
We Finnish (get it?) looking around and decide to go and get food. We walk. And walk. And finally get to where the place is supposed to be and it's not there. Then we go to another place and it's way more expensive than the book says so we say forget it and head to this Tex-Mex place we saw, Iguanas.
I know Jess is fiendin' Pancho's and so am I so we head in. We get margeritas - served in a wine glass???? and order some food. It comes out and it sucks. It's really just crappy. Mine is bad, hers is bad, the chips and crappy guacamole is bad. It's bad. We decide that there will be no more attempts at Mexican or something similar for the rest of the trip. Pancho's will have to wait until we get home.
We headed back to the hostel both feeling a little ill. She showers, then I go to the other one on the floor. I lean on the sink to look in the mirror and the f'n thing almost comes out of the wall. I jumped back to get my weight off it and it snaps back into place. That was pretty damn close. I should have realized that the place was old and that I shouldn't be leaning on anything. Luckily the shower is ok and I get out with few of the problems faced during encounters with others of his kind on the continent.
We got up the next morning and headed to Suomenlinna - these five interconnected islands that used to be a Sweedish fortifications. They were pretty cool. It was agreat day and an awesome opportunity for pictures. The coast was very pretty. We stopped to eat some fruit out on some rocks and this momma duck and her babies came over and hung out and we tossed them some apple pieces. The Jess, who's fascinated by "hoppy" birds, is all happy that a hoppy is coming up next to her, so I tell her to put some food in her hand, I bet the bird will hop on and get it. She does and of course, I'm not ready to take a picture of it and the bird hops on and grabs the apple.
Of course we have to do it again - and this time I get the shot. Of course, it's only a hand and there's no proof that it's Jess' so, I guess you'll have to take our word for it. I was hoping hoppy would poopy in her hand but he/she did not. Then some seagull looking m'fers and some pigeons come over and ruin the fun so we got up and headed back towards the ferry. We just missed it and got a drink and then the next ferry.
We got to the dock and did some shopping at the open airmarket. Also got lunch. Jess got a bunch of fruit and I got some fresh salmon and potato plate that we really good. We're sitting there eating and its these long tables and this Spanish family sits next to us. One of them drops a bottle of soda and it shoots everywhere - some gets on Jess and they say sorry, so it's ok. But then the son - who's like 18, is wiping up the soda off himself and the table and the prick throws the napkins on the ground. Not even like one little napkin - but a whole bunch - everytime he wips up a drop of liquid. What a dick! He made a huge friggin' mess. I can't stand them - how I didn't notice them last year is beyond me.
We headed back and took a nap. We then walked to see Temppeliaukio Church - which is built in a rock. It was very cool and very different looking. We then headed back with some hobo dinner and did some laundry. Some of our clothes shrunk a little - even after the world's slowest talking Finn assured us that they wouldn't. Nothing too noticeable - just tight in some spots you'd prefer them not to be tight on. We slept and got up at 4 so that we could head to the airport by bus. People were still out at 5 when we got to the station - one guy almost stumbled on to Jess - thought he might barf on her too. Of course, I get yelled at for not saying he was coming near her. The airport wasn't too bad because everyone had assigned seats so poeple weren't killing each other to get on.
Finally, around a corner and about a quarter mile down the road, we find the stop. The 22 is there - and though it says 22a is the bus, the 22 has a plane next to it and we decide to get on.
We hop on and as we're walking to our seats, I say to Jess, "Shit - it's the lady from the way here!" It's the same bus matron. She's still not smiling. At all. We sit down and enjoy the ride as much as we can with 20 lbs backs on our laps and a bus load full of non-smiling Latvians.
We're a little late getting to the airport but not bad. The line is HUGE. We find out that our check in is on a different line and hop over there but it's still moving slow, like something is wrong. After a few minutes and watching our line slowly merging into another we realize there is something wrong. The guy shuts off the monitor above the check in and we're both like shit!
Jess walks up to the front to find out what's going on. I see the frazzled airline guy open the front of his desk and start to mess with the machine inside.
Jess has on her puppydog face. I'm sweating and wondering what he's doing and shy she's got that face on. It doesn't work on me, so how the hell is it going to work on someone else.
Son-of-a-bitch! We have a winner. The guy closes the front of th desk, Jess calls me up to the front and we're through! Turns out the machine wasn't printing boarding passes so they moved people over a line and then people (like Jess) we're going up there asking him questions as he was trying to help one lady and her baby. Jess gave him the puppydog eyes and said "Can you please help me, our plane leaves in like 45 minutes?" I get up there and he's printing our passes and telling some other lady to back away from the desk. Sweeet!
We get through security and hop on the small prop plane. It was a short flight. So short in fact, that I fell asleep holding my book. I didn't even read a word of it. The owner of the place we're staying at (the lady with the broken pipes) picks us up. Apparently we're staying at one of her freind's apartments. We're driving through Tallinn and she's talking to Jess, Jess is asking her a question and she's stopping at a green light and people are beeping. We make it safely to the apartment and the woman is pointing to a really cool looking building and says, "That's where you'll be staying." We get out and it's really the crummy regular building across the street - Jess was bummed. The apartment was very cool looking inside - I could kick myself for not taking pictures. It was painted all white but made to look like stone - almost like a cave. There were huge beams in the ceiling and framing the windows and the floor was all wood. It was cool. Not sure if it was authentic or just made to look old but new.
Tallinn is a VERY cool city. There is a walled section that houses all the medieval buildings. It has a very different feel than most cities but it is VERY touristy. There were tons of people everywhere. We decided that we would just walk around and check it out and find some caches. The first spot we stop in with a cache, we both step in shit. Literally not figuratively. Jess spent the next half an hour stomping the ground, using twigs and dancing to get the shit out of her shoes. This didn't work so well. I was able to get the fast majority out of mine. Of course, we didn't find the cache. We continued to walk around with little luck in caching but a lot in sightseeing. It took a while for us to find some place that would have food for Jess and in the end, they really didn't because they brought out her food with cheese on it even though she asked for it without. We ended up heading to the grocery store after I finished eating and then headed back to the apartment to watch TV and hangout.
The next morning, Jess continued to clean the shit out of her shoes while we waited for the woman to come and get the key. We headed over to the St. Olaf's Church so that we could check out the view of the city from the tower. Jess decided that she had enough of climbing towers and so she sat outside with our packs while I headed up. Thank God because there is no way we would have made it with our packs. It was tight and steep and it took a while to get up there as it was. It was worth it though. The views were amazing. The city inside the walls looks very different than most cities do from above. I was even able to see Jess and zoom in on her doing SoDuKu - the pictures are pretty crazy. We decided to grab some food and head over to the port so that we could get our ferry to Helsinki. It was a nice ride, I think, because we both slept.
Friday, August 3, 2007
We get through passport control pretty easily and head over to the bus. We get on and Jess goes up to the woman and pays. She doesn't smile. At all.
Everyone smiles at Jess because she's cute and small and she smiles at people and that usually eases the initial tension. She didn't smile. At all.
We get to the hostel after walking past it and realize that it is on top of a booby bar. Nice! Well, aparently not really in Latvia. Not the women. We both agreed that Latvia had the best looking women so far but the booby bars are run by REAL shady elements - former KGB types and Russian mob. Tons of British people come here for batchelor parties (why, I have no idea) and they run tons of scams on them. First there are hot girls that call you into a bar fro "free" drinks, then you get a bill for like 1000 pounds (2000 bucks) and if you don't pay, they cut you off from your buddies and get you into a room and beat the shit out of you and still extract the money. One guy got pummeled, had cigaretts put out on him and left for dead.
Apparently, the police are worse than they are in Belgium. I'm sure they get paid off and look the other way.
There were tons of weird people in our hostel. These are the people I imagined we would run into on these trips - real dorks, who because they are on the road, try to reinvent themselves as someone else. It doesn't matter what country I'm in, I'm an asshole.We walked around and looked for some caches but had no luck. We saw most of the main sights, including the 3 brothers - these medieval buildings which are supposed to be the epitome of medieval architecture in Riga. They were cool. We got food and decided to cook that night. We also went and got some drinks at this liquor store place and when we paid the woman didn't smile. At all.
They're fairly fucking miserable here.
I guess I would be too if it rained as much as it did when we were there. Because it was so shitty we took it easy the next day and headed to the Museum of Latvian Occupation. It documented the occupations by both the Nazi's and the Communists. It was very interesting and had tons of information. It was cool to hear other perspectives - even how they felt the US and GB allowed the Baltics to be kept by the Communists after the war, despite Churchill saying, this is not what we fought for. We again tried to find some of the local caches but to no avail. We were stumped and decided to email some people for help. I had an idea where at least one was but because the building was like possibly falling down and it was a church, I said nah, but I was right.
The next day we went to Cesis - it is a medieval castlel, town and the castles' ruins. If, on the odd chance you find yourself in Riga, Latvia, you can skip Cesis. It was a two hour bus ride there - which wasn't bad because we both crashed and got some sleep. The castle was cool - when you get there, some girl in costume gives you a lantern to use as you walk around the towers. It definitely helped a lot in certain parts. They're doing a lot of work to restore the castle and do excavations - so in 20 years, when it's cool to go to Riga and people say, "I saw this amazingly restored castle in this town called Cesis", we can say, Yeah, we saw it when it was a dump.We got on the bus back and it was packed. And it was hot. And the bus was from like '79. The only thing to make it worse would be if someone had a chicken or something like you see when people are on buses in Mexico or Guatemala or something. We made it home, alive, hot and probably smelly but we couldn't tell since the rest of the bus smelled like shit. Checked our email and ran out armed with some hints and found two caches. Thank God, because I really don't know if I plan on going back here again. Definitely not for three days. Oh yeah, did I mention no AC?