I first visited Crete in December 2002 for the wedding of my friends Keith and Maria, who are responsible for the Philhellenes website. I have loved the island ever since. This is a record of that first visit.
My plane lands at 5am: dark palm trees and red sky. The wedding is later today and I must rest.
about my height
The day after, my arms ache from circle dancing. I walk to the centre of Heraklion.
hard to dodge
the butcher’s hare
On the way, there is a display of religious icons inside a small church.
on the church wall
This Venetian Fortress (Koules) once protected the harbour.
In the evening, I find a place to eat in the streets opposite Lion Square.
on white linen
Minoan civilisation flourished here 5000 years ago: what traces remain in the Cretan psyche?
between the stones
Back in the present, I wait for a bus back to Heraklion.
dry on the line
Phaestos is the other major archaeological site on the island. The palace ruins sit high above the Messara Plain.
in my ear
a fertile plain
The meaning of the mysterious disk found at the site remains unknown.
in the ruins
I found your wings
before we married
One day, my hosts, the newlyweds, drive with me to the Lasithi Plateau.
two planes cross
high above us
Another day, I head west to Chania.
a round window
full of sea
Throughout my stay, I spend time at the harbour. You can walk a mile out to sea here.
On the last day I stay at the harbour for hours…
the white boat
in its wake
Weeks later, back in England, I get ready to go out:
to tie my laces
τοῖς ἐγρηγορόσιν ἕνα καὶ κοινὸν κόσμον εἶναι, τῶν δὲ κοιμωμένων ἕκαστον εἰς ἴδιον ἀποστρέφεσθαι
The waking have one world in common; sleepers have each a private world of his own.Heraclitus, Fragment 89, c. 500 BC
Nigel Gibbions was born in 1965 in Chesterfield, England. He recently completed a degree in Theoretical Physics, after working as an IT consultant for many years. He is now studying for a PhD in Polymer Physics at the University of Sheffield. In his spare time he enjoys listening to music, and writing haiku.