Adina's experiences studying the Jews of Greece on Crete and Rhodes in summer 2007
Monday, July 9, 2007
More adventures in Crete! I went hiking today in a mountain which has 3 monasteries. It’s called Governeto – thank you to Leah Golberstein for insisting that I go here. When you get onto the Monastery property itself you drive through a vineyard on one side and an olive tree orchard on the other. Here there are hundreds and hundreds of goats everywhere! They also have a huge area with beehives where they make honey and thyme plants everywhere. They even have “mountain tea” which you can buy in just about any café. Then you get to 2 of the Greek Orthodox monasteries, which are beautiful. At this point you can hike down into the mountain which leads all the way to the ocean. About a quarter of the way there are the remains of a Minoan temple and a very creepy cave. This area was locked, which is apparently unusual, so my friend Anja and I snuck in through a large hole in the stone wall – we’re very sneaky. Then about halfway down the mountain are the ruins of a Venetian monastery. It’s abandoned now but one of the buildings seemed to have been turned into a tiny one-room Greek Orthodox church, with several large and beautiful icons. There are candles and people still come there to pray. Can you imagine hiking halfway down a mountain to pray? It must be quite a sight. One of the buildings has completely lost its roof and there’s an olive tree growing straight out of it – I love it! At this point Anja and I had to slide down a hill on our hands and butts to get to the part of the path that leads to the ocean. I was fairly certain I was going to fall and break my leg but thankfully I didn’t and it was well worth it. This part of the hike was a treck over big rocks and when we got to the shore it was fantastic. The hike back was actually the hardest part because we were now walking back up. The heat of the day and the sharp change in elevation really got to me and getting back proved to be quite difficult. I think I had a bit too much sun because I was pretty sick the rest of the day. BUT I’m feeling better now and the entire trip was fantastic, I’m so happy I got to see this. I’ve never been much of a hiker but I’m glad I made the exception.
I wrote an article about the Sephardic concert that Etz-Hayyim put on, which is on their website now. I’ve also been taking tons of pictures, which I hope everyone can see.
The heat hasn’t been quite as bad as when I first arrived, but I’m still getting used to it. Summers here are so different than back home, where frequent thunderstorms break the heat and humidity. Apparently here it doesn’t rain in the summer, oh well, I can keep hoping and drinking water.
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