A Glimpse of the Minotaur

Fallen in love with the legends of ancient Greece and living Rome, I hopped over to Athens. June 1967 was after the military takeover by a very nasty lot of Greek colonels and the imminent threat of yet another Arab-Israeli war. But I went anyway, determined to actually see the Palace of Knossos with visions of Theseus, Ariadne and the Minotaur.

My only companion was a woman I met on the plane from Athens to Crete, a registered nurse whose job was escorting back to Greece a man who had gone mad in America – in agony over the Colonels’ takeover (which was, in fact, bloody). She and I were alone; there wasn’t another tourist in sight.

So the two of us got a private viewing of the Palace. Our guide, wagging his head over the absence of tourists, allowed us to take turns sitting on the throne of King Minos, followed by a walk through the whole Palace, no waiting for hordes of other people to clear a room before we could enter it!

We dined that night in a restaurant peopled only by Cretans – charming - who surrounded us with lamentations about the absence of tourists – their livelihood, I daresay, but also reflecting their pride and love of their beautiful, historic, legendary and dramatic country.

I flew back to Athens the following day, startled to be sharing the plane with three of the Colonels.

When I was back in Rome my colleagues said I was crazy not to have changed my reservation. The presence of the Colonels made my plane a prime target for a bombing. But I was totally happy with the whole blissful week…

Barbara Bowen
Southbury, CT
©2012

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