Traveling through Greece in 1977 was a hippie’s delight where travelers gathered from all corners of the Earth to experience the unspoiled beauty of Crete. When boarding a bus in Iraklion it was filled with backpackers and upon exiting you became friends and shared information on the best towns, beaches, cheap eats and pensiones unless a cave or beach would sufice. After viewing the antiquities discovered by Minos Kalokairinos and Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos we traveled by bus to the town of Rethymno where the narrow streets are filled with buildings dating from the 16th century. A young girl is at work with her crochet unaware of the camera in #00A-01A. The art of needlework is taught an early age to prepare a girl for her married life who would able to decorate her home with handmade tablecloths, doilies and embroidered items from her dowry chest. In Chania the shoe shiner and his customer in #12 & 14 are among my favorites. The shoe shiner wears downtrodden shoes while his customer enjoys a shine of his Cuban heeled boots. Mopeds on the left side of the frame were an inexpensive rental that we took full advantage of when exploring areas unreachable by buses. In Rethymno the Cretan horseman is dressed from head to toe in a black head scarf, shirt, jodhpurs and riding boots as he approaches the camera in #17 & 17_. While on the bus to Kolimbari I observed a man seated who fit a similar description in #16. His eyes were cobalt blue and copper skin was etched with wrinkles from the intensely hot Mediterranean sun. We locked eyes more than once and it was then that the camera came up instinctively to my face and in that millisecond I committed his image to film. The latent film image is one that haunts a photographer especially while on a long overseas trips. Keeping exposed film in a safe place is always a challenge until you are in the safety of the darkroom where chemicals and time perform their task. Only after printing his photo in the darkroom did I observe the nun seated behind him. From Kolimbari we traveled to the town of Matala that can be seen in frames 18A-35A. To a native Chicagoan who grew up surrounded by buildings and concrete a more beautiful geological site could not have been imagined. On our first day in Matala we explored the caves where we spent the night tucked into our sleeping bags under a full moon. In the morning bats flew out startled by the trespassers to their lair. The town was welcoming, unspoiled and retained much of it’s charm as compared to a second trip while on honeymoon in 1983. The morning street markets were filled with local delicacies that included a lemon yogurt cake from a lovely Greek woman who explained where to go and what to do in the surrounding area. Have you heard the Joni Mitchell song called “Carey” where the lyrics describe Matala?
“The night is a starry dome
And they're playin' that scratchy rock and roll
Beneath the Matala Moon”
It was a dreamy evening as we danced under the Matala moon with friends who played their guitars late into the morning. Adventures to be continued in Alexandria and Cairo Egypt!
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