Sites Visited: Palaikastro
Where did we stay tonight?: Matala
Leaders: Dallis Fox and Katie Holroyd
Saturday morning dawned early, and we were all up just early enough to grab a piece of home-made cake (courtesy of our hotel owner) or a piece of bread from the bakery down the street. We hiked through the tiny town of Palaikastro to meet with Dr. Sandy MacGillivray and Dr. Hugh Sackett, the head excavators of the site of Palaikastro, an ancient Minoan town. After getting a behind the scenes tour of the dig house, a converted monastery olive press, we journeyed into the ancient town. Us “sherd nerds” (as coined by Dr. MacGillivray for our love of broken pottery) wound our way through the ancient streets and rooms of Palaikastro, keeping a wary eye on the looming peak sanctuary that we had arduously climbed the day before. We took a brief break from the engaging lecture to get in touch with our true Minoan side; a few of us stopped to hug a baetyl (or large ritual stone) and descended into the lustral basin (a Minoan cult room). By the end of the day we felt truly connected to the site, a few of us even became determined to excavate the hidden palace buried adjacent to the town.
After bidding a fond farewell to Palaikastro, we headed west on the noble roads of Crete. One quick lunch at the Siteia Plataea later, we all took a much needed nap on the bus to the Heraklion airport where we dropped of Professor Christesen for his flight home. A few more hours of bus time later we arrived at Matala, a tiny Cretan town nestled on the beach and filled with and abundance of French high school students.
However, this day was no ordinary day, for it was our dear Alexander Assaf’s twenty-first birthday! In celebration we all went out to dinner in a restaurant overlooking the beach during which we were surprised by heavy rainstorms that, little did we know, would carry over into the next day. After dinner, exhausted from a long day of driving and birthday festivities, we all headed back to the hotel to rest up for a busy day of work on Sunday.
Turkeys at Palaikastro: