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Gortyn, Messara And Matala . . .


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#1 Ray

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 09:30 PM

I notice in another thread you speak of meeting in Matala. That would be very nice. In fact I have just come back from a three day trip to Matala which is where we stayed overnight for two nights.

The purpose of the trip was to see Gortyn again. I love Gortyn, it features so little in the guide books and relatively little of this huge city has been excavated, even by the Italian School, but there is so much there. The Plain of Messara is in itself full of history- neolithic - minoan - dorian - roman - and byzantine that it would take so much time to explore fully. But I go to Gortyn again and again. Sure there is the wall of law, the longest Greek text ever found, not only Dorian but like the ox ploughing it reads from left to right then right to left and back again - speaks too not of criminal law but of the fines for for infringing civil law, divorce and so much more dating back to Dorian times or even before as I read recently.

But the wealth of Gortyn lies a walk away across the road in the olive groves where trees grow around Roman columns, there is so much. A city that goes back to minoan times and on through roman times to when the Arab pirates took control in around 800 AD. Three thousand years of history. But in the Messara there is so much - Festos, Aghia Triada - even the place of Askelops at Lentas. Dirt roads along the coast to villages that few visitors hardly ever see.

We stayed in Matala in our camper van - just about everything is closed. We were the only people on the beach and even now in early December the days were sunny and warm T shirt weather. We could camp on the beach practically, at the front of the empty car park.

But Matala is special to me, I was there in 1968 when we had to overnight in the Roman Cave tombs that line the cliffs. The only building I remember being there was the beach cafe - a temporary building where you could buy a bottle of wine and listen to the records played on the battery Philips record player - there was no electricity. We had fires on the beach of driftwood and every evening watched the sun, a huge red disc, sink slowly into the sea. Incredible memories.

Today of course Matala looks like a jumbled up tumble of buildings on buildings with the huge saying -"Today is life, tomorrow never comes." written across one of the beach side walls. But there is still the old church cut into the cliff where you can light a candle for whatever you want, even the old days.

Ray

#2 Ton

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 10:20 PM

Your memories bring back my memories. You scored some points here Ray. You know you should have put some music of Joni Mitchell or Cat Stevens or even better Bob Dylan to turn on as soon as someone opens the post/message. Very nostalgic times!! those were the days!!
Iam wandering if Yannis can tell us how can we attach mp3 music to our posts.
Cheers

#3 Ray

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 11:15 PM

You know, Ton, I have heard that Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell were there then - although not Bob Dylan. But in those days we neither knew nor cared who was there.

I have heard Joni Mitchells song about Matala many times since:

"The wind is in from Africa,
Last night I couldn't sleep,
Oh you know it sure is hard to leave you Carey,
But it's really not my home,
My fingernails are filthy,
I've got beach tar on my feet,
And I miss my clean white linen
And my fancy French cologne.
Oh Carey get out your case,
I'll put on some silk,
Oh your a mean old daddy but I like you . . .
Come on down to the mermaid cafe and I'll buy you a bottle of wine,
And we'll laugh and toast to nothing
And smash our empty glasses down.
Lets have a round for these freaks and these soldiers,
And a round for these friends of mine.
Lets have another round for the bright red devil
Keeps me in this tourist town.
C'mon Carey get out your case . . .
Maybe I'll go to Amsterdam or maybe I'll go to Rome
And rent me a grand piano and put some flowers around my room.
But lets not talk about fare-thee-wells now,
The night is a starry storm
And they're playing that scratchy rock and roll
Beneath the Matala moon.
C'mon Carey get out your case . . .
The wind is in from Africa, last night I couldn't sleep . . .
Go to the mermaid cafe have fun tonight,
Oh you're a mean old daddy have fun tonight.

And that was Joni Mitchell on her Album Blue - the song was called Carey and that was Matala then. The Mermaid Cafe was the name of the temporary beach cafe in Matala and we all know the bright red devil, the sun that reminds us of who we were and who we are.

So many memories. . .

I'll have another round to those that we keep close to us so many years ago.

Ray

#4 harribobs

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 12:45 PM

B) good lord

that brought back some memories :blush:

have a picture of the harbour wall at matala

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#5 yannis_s

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 02:15 PM

Matala in 1967, a photo by W. Kistler:



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#6 Hana

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 03:15 PM

Although in 68 I was - 2 years old.... this post moves me greatly and I found myself in tears (embarrasment) over the Mitchell song - thanks Ray for sharing it. I guess Im missing Matala.


Yanni, this is a great picture of old Matala! ...it makes me even more angry thou when I think of the container harbour/golf course development.... is this all we can do...destroy and plunder the Earth for greed... :blush:

Haribobs - how old is this picture? Is it very old - or very new? This is not how I remember the sign from September 05. Great photo:)

#7 harribobs

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 05:00 PM

Haribobs - how old is this picture? Is it very old - or very new? This is not how I remember the sign from September 05. Great photo:)


you're right Hana

they repainted the wall this year i think, but all they did was go over the old ones

this is what it used to look like

Posted Image

great picture of Matala from the sixties from wolfgang!

i was looking to see if i could find a modern picture to compare against Wo's but this is the closest i can do

(one of my favourites though)

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#8 santo

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 06:08 PM

Wow Yannis, how much Matala has evolved !!! the church looks to be the only building left from that picture still there today (religion has a lot of power).
:blush: B)
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#9 Dinny

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 09:49 PM

One day I'll have to squeeze the arm of my son-in-law to make him tell the old stories. His father was supposed to be the first one starting to build something in Matala ages ago, his mother's name, Zafiria, seems to pop up everywhere where the family has a business there, but I would so much like to see some of the old pictures from that time. Well, Kosta - my son-in-law - is only about something like 35 years of age so he will not recall much from that time I guess, but still... it would be nice to squeeze his memories also! :blush:

I don't recall seeing the picture of Haribobs' harbour wall... it looks just like it has always been... I don't understand how it could have changed so much. I'd better go there tomorrow and check!! Maybe take a picture... :-)

#10 Wim

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 03:31 PM

Oh my God,

A sad feeling of joyfull memories came rolling down my spine.
I put on Joni's " Carey" and went looking for a pic.
To soothen all our memoriesI I found this one of Gortine


Sweet dreams and memories
Blown away by the winds from Africa.
True is that adage: "He who yields to rule by wooden heads, becomes himself a fool."

#11 Hana

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 02:16 PM

...where is this pic of yours, Wim? Did you forget to post it as you got overwhelmed with feelings?:blush:

#12 Wim

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 04:52 PM

:blush: Hana



This is the Odeon.


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True is that adage: "He who yields to rule by wooden heads, becomes himself a fool."

#13 Wim

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 12:29 AM

And the City Laws from 500 BC.



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And the ruin of the basilica.





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How does that grab you honey Hana B)



Wim :blush:
True is that adage: "He who yields to rule by wooden heads, becomes himself a fool."

#14 yannis_s

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 11:48 AM

panoramic image of Matala today:
http://www.explorecr...atala-caves.htm plus a video from the Matala caves
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#15 Hana

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 02:56 AM

Wim - it does grab me a lot, thank you! You know, I have been to Matala a few times and never made it to Gortyn. I was more of a Minoan type, myself :wacko: But now I will , I see its worth it. I especially like their choice of wallpaper - its very decorative!

Yanni - thanks for those reminders of Matala. Those links to panoramatic pictures of Matala - are they new? I don't think I have seen them there before. The pictures are wonderfull - they really bring back some lovely memories:)

#16 Wim

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 06:14 PM

I wouldn't mind living in the shown cave.
It certainly suits my style :wacko:



Wim, the caveman.



Did you like Agia Triada, Hana?
True is that adage: "He who yields to rule by wooden heads, becomes himself a fool."

#17 yannis_s

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 06:28 PM

Wim,
I happen to know a couple (Dutch + German) who live in a cave in southern Crete. There are more free caves in the same area, so if you ever need one, I will bring you in contact with the couple. :wacko:
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#18 santo

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 06:38 PM

Linda and I would be interested Yannis, are the Utilities connected or nearby ???? and need at least 3 bedrooms for visitors and a Raki store. :wacko: :wacko:

we could call it Ne-Ander-Thal heaven.

:D :)
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It's not the number of breaths you take, it's the moments that take your breath away.

#19 Wim

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 06:38 PM

Would be great fun Yannis :wacko:

Whereabout is it?



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#20 santo

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 06:45 PM

Wim me ol clubber, nice pic can tell it's you but you left your lamps off.

:wacko: :wacko:
Santo

It's not the number of breaths you take, it's the moments that take your breath away.