Itinerary of Greek trip August-September 1961

This itinerary is based on John's 1961 diary.

Click on any thumbnail to see a full screen image - use your browser's 'back' button to return to this page  


Saturday 05/08/61

London Dover


Sunday 06/08/61

Dover – Ostend – Köln – Heidelberg – München (train)  


Monday       07/08/61

München – Salzburg – Ljubljana – Zagreb  


Tuesday       08/08/61

Brod – Belgrade – Kragujevac – Kraljevo – Kosovska Mitrovica – Skopje – Gevgelija (frontier)

The stretch Kragujevac – Skopje was not the route taken by most through-trains and it went through some very remote, rugged and poor country.

001 Yugoslavia Kraljevo station.jpg (720904 bytes)             002 Yugoslavia Kraljevo station.jpg (594133 bytes)             003 Yugoslavia.jpg (786340 bytes)

001  Kragujevac stn                    002 Kragujevac               003


Wednesday     09/08/61

Eidhomini – Thessaloniki – Larissa – Thebes – Athens (arr. 12.30).  Visit Post-Office, climb Lykabettos in heat, then get access to the apartment we had been lent.


Thursday 10/08/61

Athens:  visit Arch of Hadrian, Theatres of Dionysus and Herodes Atticus;  after lunch and siesta, bought hats and went round ancient Agora, Theseium and watch sunset from Areopagus.  


004 The theatre of Dionysus.jpg (315997 bytes)             005 The Theatre of Dionysus.jpg (392850 bytes)             006 The Theatre of Dionysus (with John).jpg (319026 bytes)            007 Acropolis Sunset.jpg (332731 bytes)

004 Theatre of Dionysus             005 T of D                      006 T of D + John          007 Acropolis


Friday 11/08/61

Morning at embassy and practical matters;  Afternoon, start on the Acropolis;  Evening see “Iphigenia in Aulis” at Theatre of Herodes Atticus.  


010 Acropolis.jpg (306706 bytes)          011 Acropolis.jpg (355095 bytes)          012 Erecthyum.jpg (213801 bytes)

010 Parthenon              011 Parthenon                         012 Erechtheum



Saturday 12/08/61

To Sounion and back by bus: spent day swimming, exploring and getting an idea of local geography (we could see Euboia, Kea and the Argolid, but no further because of haze); watched sunset before returning.  


013 Sunion.jpg (244162 bytes)          014 Sunion.jpg (199493 bytes)          015 Sunion sunset.jpg (283542 bytes)          016 Sunion sunset.jpg (271476 bytes)

013 Sunion                   014                                          015                                         016


Sunday 13/08/61

Athens:  morning in Orthodox Cathedral (Mitropoleos), watched a wedding;  afternoon at Areopagus, Pnyx and Hill of Philopappos.  


017 Athens Cathedral (Wedding).jpg (185889 bytes)

017 Cathedral wedding


Monday 14/08/61

Morning and late afternoon on Acropolis.  

018 Mount Lycabettos.jpg (378389 bytes)          019 Acropolis.jpg (687080 bytes)          020 Athens Streets.jpg (294834 bytes)          021 Athens Streets.jpg (298950 bytes)          022 Athens Streets.jpg (387866 bytes)          023 Acropolis.jpg (311350 bytes)

018 Lycabettos                       019 Acropolis                          020 Streets                   021 Streets                             022 Streets                   023 Acropolis


024 Acropolis.jpg (319089 bytes)          025 The theatre of Dionysus.jpg (342443 bytes)          026 Erecthyum.jpg (311606 bytes)

024 Acropolis                          025 Herodes Atticus                026 Erectheum


Tuesday 15/08/61

Morning at the Kerameikos, Street of Tombs and Sacred and Dipylon Gates, interesting archaeological sites;  Afternoon to the Agora again and museum in the Stoa of Attalus (see #319 Stoa of Attalus)


Wednesday 16/08/61

Most of the day in National Archaeological Museum, (where we ran into Colin Renfrew, ‘ex-President of Union’ in my diary). impressive collection of Mycenian and Minoan objects (eg Mask of Agamemnon) which overshadowed the classical sculptures.  Afterwards Temple of Zeus and ancient Stadium.


027 Athens Museum.jpg (316971 bytes)         028 Temple of Olympian Zeus.jpg (162619 bytes)          029 Temple of Olympian Zeus.jpg (289191 bytes)

027 N A Museum                   028 T of Z                    029 T of Z


Thursday 17/08/61

By bus via Daphni and Eleusis to Khani Kaza to investigate site of 4th century frontier fort of Erythrai (very well preserved fortifications);  

030 Erythrai.jpg (421190 bytes)

030 Erythrai

The frontier was that between Attica and the Thebans;  in the Peloponnesian War Thebes was allied with Sparta and the frontier forts saw a great deal of use.  It was from a fort like this, one further east, that the exiled Athenian democrats descended in 403 BC to expel the ‘Thirty Tyrants’, oligarchs who had seized power after Athens’ defeat in the Peloponnesian War.  The episode forms the climax of Mary Renault’s The Last of the Wine.

Then hitch-hiked to site of ancient town of Plataia. One of those who gave us a lift was a local doctor who alarmed us with talk of war over Berlin - the Berlin Wall was begun 13/08/61.

Back (hitch-hiking and bus)..


Friday 18/08/61

Morning John went to Epigraphic and Numismatic Museums, Derek was sketching on Acropolis.  Afternoon Byzantine Museum, Library of Hadrian, Roman Agora and Melitus quarter; Between Pnyx and Areopagus.  splendid sunset viewed from Acropolis.  


031 Athens Streets.jpg (372406 bytes)          032 Acropolis Entrance.jpg (324757 bytes)          033 Erecthyum.jpg (231425 bytes)          034 Acropolis Sunset.jpg (170339 bytes)

031 Streets                   032 Acropolis                          033 Erechtheum                        034 Sunset


Saturday 19/08/61

Bus to Pendelis Monastery, then on foot skirting summit of Mt. Pentelikos (the summit itself had a large and well-guarded military installation) then across highish country before dropping down to Nea Makri near Marathon. Here in 490 the Athenians beat back a Persian army attempting to land from the sea.  The dramatist Aeschylus was in the army.

035 Near Marathon.jpg (309804 bytes)

035 To Marathon

Near to this 'photo we met a nun whose primitive water bottles we carried to a chapel on the last ridge; and I’ve a memory of a female voice saying “stin ayyan Petron” – which is ungrammatical but means “to St. Peter’s”. 

We estimated we’d done at least 16 miles out of the statutory 26 (and 385 yards). Back to Athens by bus.


Sunday 20/08/61

Morning on the Acropolis;  Afternoon. to suburb of Nea Smyrni to visit an acquaintance of mine, Clea, but she was out.  Evening saw a performance of “Nausicaa” (Peggy Glanville-Hicks) in Theatre of Herodes Atticus.  


036 Acropolis from the Theatre.jpg (389245 bytes)          037 Acropolis Entrance.jpg (242974 bytes)

036                              037

Monday 21/08/61

We catch up with Clea and had enormous lunch with her family;  evening a folk-dancing and music show in Peiraios.  .


Tuesday 22/08/61

With Clea to Daphni Monastery;  

101 Daphni.jpg (408241 bytes)          102 Daphni.jpg (351895 bytes)          103 Daphni.jpg (300881 bytes)          103a Daphni Pantocretor.jpg (362179 bytes) 

101 Daphni with Clea              102 Daphni                             103 Daphni                   103a Pantocretor    


Then by bus to Peiraios where we explored the classical harbours!  

104 The sea.jpg (226880 bytes)



Wednesday 23/08/61

To Corinth by train in afternoon via Eleusis, Megara and bridge over Corinth Canal.


Thursday 24/08/61

On foot to ancient Corinth (Palaiokorinthos) which is about 8 km from modern Corinth and was abandoned after an earthquake in the 1880s.  We climbed its acropolis, Akrokorinthos (1800 ft) in sweltering heat;  it has extensive fortifications (Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian and Turkish) around summit and (of course) magnificent views.  


105 Acrocorinth.jpg (408617 bytes)          106 Acrocorinth.jpg (275665 bytes)           107 Acrocorinth.jpg (342880 bytes)

105 Acrocorinth          106  Acrocorinth view               107  Acrocorinth


Friday 25/08/61

Corinth to village close to site of ancient Mycenai by train;  


108 Kharvati (query).jpg (132302 bytes)

108 Kharvati(?)


Afternoon at Mycenai, its citadel first, then down to the Lion Gate and the site that Schliemann made famous;  slept out, on concrete roof of a hotel (Iphegenia in Aulis), for first time (for me at least)

109 Mycenae.jpg (372279 bytes)          110 Tomb of Atreus.jpg (298502 bytes)          111 Mycenae Lion Gate.jpg (289939 bytes)          113 Mycenae.jpg (353112 bytes)          114 Mycenae.jpg (332845 bytes)

109 Citadel                              110 Atreus Treasury     111 Lion gate              113                                         114


Saturday 26/08/61

Mycenai to Argos (on foot) - memorable for me because I was ambushed by dogs, whose ‘owner’ called them of by pelting them with rocks.  

115 Argos.jpg (393831 bytes)

115 Argos market


Afternoon bus to another Mycenaian site, Tiryns (massive ramparts, but on a level plain close to the sea).  

116 Tiryns.jpg (292970 bytes)

116 Tiryns

Then on to Navplion (on foot?), the first capital of newly independent Greece 1827-1834.  Athens was within the earliest independent state, but had been badly damaged during the War of Independence.  Navplion is visible across the bay in the above photo (no. 116) .


Sunday 27/08/61

Navplion to Epidavros with its magnificent theatre, also a sanctuary-hospital (the museum had details of cures inscribed on tablets);  then back to Navplion (bus).  


117 Epidavrous.jpg (445277 bytes)          118 Epidauros 01.jpg (367952 bytes)          119 Epidavrous from afar.jpg (646103 bytes)

117 Epidavrous           118                                         119 from afar


Monday 28/08/61

Navplion – Argos – Sparta.  The journey from Argos to Sparta was a long one, by train to Tripolis (in Arcadia), through impressive highland country. Then a long stretch by road, which we were lucky enough to do in one hitch. There wasn't much to see in Sparta - but there wasn't much to see in Sparta 2400 years ago. The Spartan aristocracy were rather like feudal knights, dispersed throughout the countryside and suspicious of trade (no coinage), 'development' and towns. Quite different from the rest of Greece which lived in poleis or 'city states'.


120 Intrepid explorers (at Epidauros).jpg (360137 bytes)

120 Location unknown!


Tuesday 29/08/61

Sparta to Mystra (2000 ft) apparently on foot;  it is medieval, founded by the crusader, Guillaume de Villehardouin, and much more has survived than of classical towns; From 1261 to 1460 Mystra was the capital of the Peloponnese (then known as the Morea) and an important centre of scholarship.

121 Mystra.jpg (894703 bytes)          122 Mystra.jpg (275930 bytes)          123 Mystra.jpg (295165 bytes)          124 Mystra.jpg (399310 bytes)          

121 Mystra                  122                              123 Mt Taygetos??      124 Lakedaimon basin from Mystra


back by way of the monastery of Perivleptos. Nearby we found this market

 125 Perivleptos market.jpg (352232 bytes)          126 Perivleptos market.jpg (342901 bytes)

125 Market                             126


Wednesday 30/08/61

Taxi Sparta – Kalamata over Mt. Taygetos range - rising, we estimated, to about 6000 ft.   The taxi cost the (to us) immense sum of 110 drakhmai, but bus fares back to Tripolis and then via Megalopolis to Kalamata would have been just as expensive.

Afternoon on to the modern town of Pylos.  

127 Pylos 27.jpg (257071 bytes)          128 Neo Kastro.jpg (392899 bytes)          

127 Pylos                                128  

This is at the south end of the almost enclosed bay of Navarino. Classical Pylos was at the north end of the bay, on a promontory facing the sea and close to the channel that separates the mainland from the island of Sphakteria;  in classical times the Homeric Pylos, home of Nestor, was assumed to be somewhere north of the bay too, and this has been proved correct by the excavation of a Mycenian site there.  at the south end of the almost enclosed bay of Navarino . This bay is noted for two events in military history.  In 425 BC it saw the first known surrender of living Spartan soldiers to the Athenians – Spartans were warned “to come back with your shield or on it” (ie as stretcher cases).  And in October 1827 the Battle of Navarino saw the destruction of the Ottoman and Egyptian fleets by a force of British, French and Russian ships.  It was the turning point of the Greek War of Independence, and the last naval battle between sailing ships. 


Thursday 31/08/61

Walked, partly along beach, to north end of Navarino Bay, and crossed to Sphakteria The channel can now be crossed by wading, whereas it took ships in classical times;  this may account for the shift of the main settlement to the south end of the bay. On Sphakteria we explored the rocks, dunes and lagoons north of the bay.  Back to Pylos in evening.

Friday 01/09/61

Pylos to the excavated Mycenian site north of the bay (bus) a bit NE of the village of Khora, and now renamed ‘Nestor’.

129 Pylos Tomb.jpg (438469 bytes)

129 Nestor tomb

Back to Pylos in evening.

130 Pylos.jpg (241945 bytes)          131 Pylos harbour.jpg (246225 bytes)

130 Pylos                                131 Harbour


Saturday 02/09/61

Pylos to modern Messini (a bit west of Kalamata. by bus), then walked / hitch-hiked north to the village of Mavrommati which was reported to be on the site of the classical town of Messini.  Mavrommati means ‘black eye’, and the ‘black eye’ in question was a spring gushing vigorously out of a black hole in a rock. In Turkish (which I suspect got it from Arabic) the same word can mean both ‘eye’ and ‘spring’ or ‘source’ and this link is reflected in Greek place names.  Investigation showed that the water came through a tunnel from an ancient Greek or, more probably, Roman aqueduct.  

We explored the well-preserved site of ancient Messini and climbed Mt. Ithome ; The lowland area west of Taygetos was called Messini and had been ruled by Sparta for several centuries.  In 370 BC a ‘national-liberation’ movement began in Messini, centered on the fortified Mt. Ithome , and this, with help from the Thebans, succeeded in throwing off Spartan hegemony.  The city of Messini was then founded with Ithome forming part of its perimeter.  Its walls, in a better state of preservation than almost any other classical site in Greece , were visible amidst thick vegetation all around Mavrommati.  


132 Old Messini.jpg (306004 bytes)

132 Old Messini


In evening to Valyra by bus, which had no hotels or cafes at the time (a sign of how much ‘off the beaten track’ we were!).  We were surrounded by almost the entire village when we arrived and a farmer, by a process of negotiation mysterious to us, ‘won’ the right to entertain us.  He and his wife gave up their own bedroom for us;  the living quarters were reached by a ladder, which, I think, means that the ground floor was a stall for animals. The house was very comfortable


Sunday 03/09/61

We offered to pay our hosts - but they refused.  They did ask that we take their picture and send a copy - which we did.

133 Our saviours.jpg (394423 bytes)            134 Our saviours House.jpg (336162 bytes)

133 Our hosts                           134 Their house


Valyra to Megalopolis (on foot and hitching).  Afternoon by bus to highland village of Andritsena.  



Monday 04/09/61

Andritsena to the temple of Bassai on a high plateau and back by taxi.  Bassai is of the same basic design as the Parthenon but much better preserved.  The reason for the taxi was that we wanted to get back to Andritsena to catch the bus;  on foot it would have taken us 3 hours each way. 


135 Temple of Bassae.jpg (223044 bytes)          136 Temple of Bassae.jpg (406939 bytes)           137 Temple of Bassae.jpg (395523 bytes)      

135 Bassai                              136                                          137


and back to Andritsena

138 Andhritsena.jpg (302791 bytes)

138 Andritsena


Afternoon by bus from Andritsena to Pyrgos on the west coast of the Peloponnese;  then bus further inland to Olympia. The pleasant valley site where the original Olympic games had been held (nothing to do with Mt. Olympos!).


Tuesday 05/09/61

Olympia all day. I wrote that it seemed to have combined the functions of ‘Lourdes, Wembley, Geneva and Westminster Abbey’.

201 Olympia.jpg (318843 bytes)          202 Olympia.jpg (305155 bytes)          203 Olympia.jpg (242287 bytes)

201 Olympia                           202                              203


Wednesday 06/09/61

From Olympia by train via Patrai to Aigion (pronounced ‘Eyyon’) on the south coast of the Gulf of Corinth.  After dark crossed the gulf by ferry to Itea on the north coast, the port for Delphi.


Thursday 07/09/61

Itea by bus up to Delphi at 1880 ft., the pre-eminent religious site of ancient Greece (and when you get there you see why!)  Spent the day at site of Delphi.  

204 Delphi.jpg (255442 bytes)          205 Delphi.jpg (295444 bytes)          206 Delphi.jpg (273788 bytes)          207 Delphi.jpg (321075 bytes)          208 Delphi.jpg (287962 bytes)          209 Delphi.jpg (230135 bytes)

204 Delphi                              205                              206                              207                                          208                             209

Its importance centred on the Delphic Oracle – a priestess called the Pythia who answered questions “in a state of frenzy induced by means not now ascertainable with certainty” [Oxford Classical Dictionary].  She was consulted by people and states from all over Greece and beyond, primarily on religious matters, but also on morality and politics.  Croesus, a king from what is now Anatolia, asked her whether he should attack the Persian Empire, to which she replied “Attack Persia and you will destroy a mighty empire”.  He did attack and the empire he destroyed was his own.


Friday 08/09/61

Morning in Delphi;  afternoon hitch-hiked to Athens via Arakhova, Levadia and Thebes.


Saturday 09/09/61



Sunday 10/09/61

Athens, mainly on and around the Acropolis, including during a thunderstorm.


210 Acropolis Entrance.jpg (408067 bytes)          212 Acropolis.jpg (328350 bytes)          

210 Acropolis              212  Acropolis


Monday 11/09/61

By boat from Peiraios to island of Tinos, leaving at 1.00 p.m., passing Sounion, 

213 To Tinos.jpg (229789 bytes)          214 To Tinos.jpg (231692 bytes)

213 Sounion                 214

sailing between Kea and Kythnos and stopping at Ermoupolis on Syros;  final crossing Syros to Tinos done after sunset.


Tuesday 12/09/61

Morning explored town of Tinos, then in the afternoon climbed to Venetian fortress Exoburgo on peak of the island’s mountain (1760 ft.).  

215 Tinos.jpg (258483 bytes)          216 Tinos.jpg (303574 bytes)          217 Tinos.jpg (240754 bytes)          218 Tinos.jpg (279809 bytes)          219 Tinos.jpg (353109 bytes)          220 Tinos Rocks.jpg (465582 bytes)

215 Tinos                     216                              217                                          218                                        219                                         220

Tinos  remained under Venetian rule and was not taken by the Ottomans until 1715, centuries after most of Greece had been annexed.  In consequence it has a large Roman Catholic population and its architecture is very different from that of mainland Greece .


Wednesday 13/09/61

Tinos, swimming and exploring probable classical sites outside the town;  evening cross by boat to Myconos.


Thursday 14/09/61

Explored town and island of Myconos.


Friday 15/09/61    

Crossed for the morning to the island of Delos - with its very large area of classical (and later) ruins to explore. 

221 To Delos.jpg (232527 bytes)           222 Delos.jpg (400281 bytes)          223 Delos.jpg (252982 bytes)          224 Delos.jpg (197655 bytes)          225 Delos.jpg (329752 bytes)          226 Delos.jpg (248890 bytes)

221 To Delos                           222 Delos                                223                              224                                           225                                           226              

Delos is considered to be the birthplace of the God Apollo. It was an important religious site and strategically important as well - a fleet based there could control the Cyclades .  When Athens had rolled back the Persian Empire from the Greek-speaking Ionian (nowadays western Turkish) coast, she founded the Delian League - Ionia and most of the Aegean islands in alliance with Athens .  Its treasury was located on Delos .  Delos continued as a major trading centre in Hellenistic and Roman times.

Afternoon climbed to highest point on Myconos, with splendid views of Cyclades .

227 Mykonos.jpg (210493 bytes)

227 Myconos


Saturday 16/09/61

Morning on Delos again; afternoon. walking on Myconos;  evening board boat for Rhodes

228 Delos.jpg (318379 bytes)          229 Delos.jpg (465552 bytes)          230 Mykonos.jpg (230022 bytes)

228 Delos                    229                                          230 Myconos


Sunday 17/09/61

Boat stopped at Kalymnos in dark, at dawn we round the northern tip of Kos and stop at harbour of Kos town, with opposite the rocky and grim (in this light) peninsula of Kızıl Burun and the site of Halicarnassos;  then south and around the precipitous peninsula of Cnidos, south of the island of Syme and, still in the morning, into harbour of Rhodes at northern tip of the island.  Rhodes is tree-covered – in stark contrast to the coast of Turkey ;  the vegetation is closer to tropical than in the Greece we have seen so far, and the architecture quite un-Greek. From the boat the sky-line was a combination of palm trees and minarets.  The key to this is that Rhodes had belonged to the crusader Knights Hospitallers until 1522, was Ottoman 1522-1912 and Italian 1912-1948.  It has a substantial Turkish minority and, when we were there, it had the highest standard of living in Greece (if Athens was treated as a single unit), in part a consequence of not having been occupied during World War II.


231 Rhodes.jpg (319676 bytes)          232 Rhodes.jpg (169844 bytes)          233 Rhodes.jpg (363542 bytes)          

231                              232                              233


In afternoon walked round old town, visited Museum and then entered Turkish quarter where we were invited to join the celebrations of a Turkish circumcision (boy about seven, in best suit on donkey), but language of ceremony apparently Greek.

234 Rhodes (Turkish sector).jpg (302540 bytes)          235 Rhodes circumcision ceremony.jpg (238593 bytes)          236 Rhodes circumcision ceremony.jpg (239935 bytes)

234 Turkish quarter            235 Circ. ceremony      236


Monday 18/09/61

Morning John went by bus to Lindos, a classical site about halfway down the east coast of Rhodes (Derek hitch-hiked to join him there later. Sea water had got into his camera (probably on one of the crossings between Myconos and Delos ) and he was having trouble with the shutter speeds. Lindos (ancient and present) lies between two almost landlocked harbours;  its acropolis is a rock with sheer sides, 116 m. high, on the seaward side dropping straight down into the water;  access only by flights of steps. I wrote, “the most awesome religious site we’ve seen,” but I was perhaps forgetting Delphi .  It was at one time the most important city on Rhodes .  We stayed there exploring and swimming (in the northern harbour) until late afternoon, then bus back to Rhodes town.  Sat on the waterfront eating and reading, until about 9.00 p.m., when excited newsboys rushed in with newspapers, their front pages consisting entirely of the headline (in Greek) ‘Menderes hanged’ and a large picture of the former Turkish Prime Minister dangling from a gibbet.

Tuesday 19/09/61

Spent the day exploring and photographing in and around town of Rhodes.

301 Rhodes.jpg (181222 bytes)           302 Rhodes.jpg (112778 bytes)          303 Rhodes.jpg (180091 bytes)          304 Rhodes.jpg (177020 bytes)

301                               302                                           303                                           304

This included a visit to a mosqueInside the date on the calendar was the year 1377.  This was not, as we probably thought at the time, a hijra date – if it had been, the Gregorian equivalent would have been 1957 – but an example of the Ottoman solar, Julian calendar, adopted in 1789;  to convert its years to Gregorian years add 584 (1377 + 584 = 1961✓).  Turkey adopted our Gregorian calendar (though with indigenous Middle-Eastern month names) at the end of 1925, but apparently the clergy of this mosque had not heard of or disapproved of Atatürk’s reforms.  (I regret I did not note down what script was used in the mosque.) and a walk around the entire town on top of its town-walls.  We broke away from a rather staid conducted tour of a small segment of the wall (restored by Mussolini) – but no-one stopped us..  Evening spent on waterfront again, this time waiting for the boat to Crete, expected between 3.00 and 4.00 am.  


Wednesday 20/09/61

The good ship Andros, built 1908, Glasgow (I think), didn’t get away until 6.15 a.m.  It called at Chalki (a bare rock in the sea west of Rhodes), Karpathos and Kassos in the Dodecanese and Sitia (town on the northern coast in the far east of Crete), before getting into Cretan Agios Nikolaos at midnight.  Not much seemed to be open, so we accepted a café owner’s offer of his floor to sleep on…  


Thursday 21/09/61

  …little knowing that the café was home to rats as well.  Undisturbed we were on the road (hitch-hiking) for the Minoan site of Gournia by 8.00 a.m., a small palace and the remains of a network of town streets. .We would probably have made more of it if we had been to Knossos first!   Then a spectacular bus ride along the north coast through wild mountains and later tropical banana groves to Heraklion, the largest town of Crete.  We drove in to a hero’s welcome of massed crowds in festive clothes.  Sadly they were not for us but preparations for the next day, which marked the thousandth anniversary of the liberation of Crete from the Arabs by the future Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros Phokas. (But oddly the historians of Byzantium which I later studied date the end of the Cretan campaign to March 961)


Friday 22/09/61

Knossos is 10 minutes bus ride from Heraklion, in unspectacular country, but a very spectacular site.  Knossos was dug and restored by the English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, controversially restored in the opinion of many, especially of non-British. (‘Eez very eenglish, zees civilisation’ we were told by two Frenchmen). 


305 Knossos.jpg (174804 bytes)          306 Knossos.jpg (148601 bytes)           307 Knossos.jpg (195321 bytes)          308 Knossos.jpg (189270 bytes)          310 Knossos.jpg (192795 bytes)          310 Knossos.jpg (192795 bytes)

305                                          306                                          307                              308                                       309                                        310


311 Knossos.jpg (213311 bytes)           312 Knossos.jpg (194677 bytes)

311                                         312

I think we came to the conclusion that it had been right to restore the architecture in the way he had:  after all the Palace of Minos was both a labyrinth and had stood four-five storeys high in places, and the impact of that was impressively conveyed.  We were less sure about the restoration of the frescoes and other art –-the details of clothing, the bull-leaping ceremony -- which seemed based on very fragmentary evidence (however they satisfied Mary Renault, who was no mean classicist).  We looked at them in the Heraklion Museum, though replicas are in situ at the Knossos site.


Saturday 23/09/61

Caught bus to Phaistos, the next most important Minoan site, on the south coast;  side-trips to Agia Triada (Minoan villa) and Gortyn (classical inscription of law code).  


313 The Palace at Phaistos.jpg (159263 bytes)           314 The Palace at Phaistos.jpg (193801 bytes)          315 The Palace at Phaistos.jpg (167143 bytes)          316 The Palace at Phaistos.jpg (102482 bytes)

313                                            314                                          315                                              316


Sunday 24/09/61

Most of the day at Knossos again – it is an immense site – and walked back to Heraklion.


Monday 25/09/61

Half of morning at Heraklion Museum again.  Then catch ship (bigger than the earlier ones) at 12.00 noon for Athens.  Called at Rethymni and Khania in western Crete before setting off northwards under a bright full moon.  


317 Boat leaving Crete.jpg (164568 bytes)          318 Boat leaving Crete.jpg (161405 bytes)

317                                          318


Tuesday 26/09/61

Dawn close to coast of Attica.  Spent most of day preparing for journey home (tickets, shopping etc).


Wednesday 27/09/61

Last day....

Morning in the National Archaeological Museum (which we had visited on 16th August) for a second look at the Cretan and Mycenian material.

319 Stoa of Atalus (reconstructed).jpg (121489 bytes)

319 Stoa of Attalus

Afternoon, last visit to the Acropolis, and a trip to the Stoa of Attalus which we had visited on 15th August. (back to 15th August)

After a good meal we were at the station by 9.00 p.m.  Train for north left at 10.30 p.m.


Thursday 28/09/61

At dawn train has just passed Larissa and we skirt the flanks of Mt. Olympos.  Thessaloniki by 9.30 a.m., frontier at 10.45.  Left Gevgelija at 1.30 p.m., Skopje by 4.30, sundown c.5.30.


Friday 29/09/61

Sunrise c.5.30 a.m. between Sremska Mitrovica and Vinkovci, ie already in Croatia.  Novska, Sisak, Zagreb. It was here that the train started to pull out of the station suddenly, when many students were still on the platform.  I was among the last to swarm aboard, and, to my horror, found I was hanging on to the outside of a locked door...  It felt like a lifetime but perhaps it was only a minute or two before someone passed me out a key... 


Jesenice (frontier with Austria) at 2.30 p.m., Salzburg by 8.15pm.


JHM, 21.vii.11