Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Crete & Rhodes

We spent half a day in Crete and another half day in Rhodes. The kids loved Crete for its "cave church" and the beach. Crete is the cradle of the ancient Minoan culture, which long predates Moses - 3650-1400 BCE (Minoans) vs 1300 BCE (Moses)! Yeah, that's old.
 Walking around the lake full of tethered boats and little shops, we stumbled upon this little Byzantine era church in a dark cave. We turned on our flashlight to explore its narrow passageways Indiana-Jones-style, and the kids thought it was quite an adventure!
 We turned a corner and ran into these bars, which made us wonder if it had also served at some point as a jail. Whatever the story, the kids were wowed by the mysterious find.
 We then hiked up the stone stairs taking us away from the lake, and wound our way toward a nearby park.

 Next stop? The beach.
Look at that turquoise water!
 Ahhh, the beach!
Traveling with kids, we always make some down-time a priority.
Even if it means missing the ancient Temple of Knossos.
Just look how happy they are! :)

When you read in Exodus of the people worshiping bulls, I imagine they were under the influence of the Minoans, long before them. Fascinating how much history is tucked away on this island.
 Next stop, Rhodes. This is one of the world's best preserved medieval cities, a fortification for Crusaders & Knights Templar making their way between Europe and the Holy Land.
 More cats. Everywhere.
 This is one of the beautiful fountains in the town squares. Love the kissing seahorses.
 Palace of the Knights! This is a massive, well-preserved castle.
 We went exploring, of course.
 Lulu loves learning about illuminated manuscripts, ever since we watched The Secret of Kells over and over again (look it up on Netflix - even though it's a cartoon, I love it as much as my kids).

 We then explored the old medieval streets, full of guilds and alleyways and cobbles and old doors.

 We stumbled upon this iconography shop, where you could see the art in progress.
 Much like a priest, to be an iconographer is a highly regarded, sacramental role in the Orthodox faith. This man was delightful, and kindly let me capture him in the process of painting an archangel.
 Just across the way was an Orthodox church. Most of the ancient churches we explored would not allow photography, so there's no way to convey the way the art and architecture, musty air and shafts of light, all commingled to lift the senses to God. The kids lit prayer candles every chance they got.

 Good-bye, magnificent Rhodes!

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