As I close in on 100 countries visited in a lifetime of roaming and working abroad, I’m retracing my route towards that “100 Club” and sharing impressions collected along the way.
A family holiday in Crete gave free reign to a young mind that had been devouring Greek mythology, alongside fantasy and science fiction novels. In my dreams, lost in a labyrinth, I would come face to face with the minotaur, half-man and half-bull, but would always awake mid-battle, in suspense as to whether I was a Theseus or a failed hero skewered on the monster’s horns.
As we sunned ourselves on the island’s beaches, behind the sun’s glare I would imagine the eyes of the gods peering down from Olympus, bemused by the folly of those pasty mortals roasting themselves like pigs on a spit.
When we visited the leper colony of Spinalonga, an arid rocky islet a stone’s throw from Crete to where lepers were banished from across Greece in the early 1900s, I could almost hear the tinkling of bells and smell the decaying flesh. Perhaps the unclean were tracking us from behind those ruined walls awaiting a chance to avenge their cruel fate.
Photo credits: Russell_Yan on Pixabay; nonbirinonko on Pixabay; Thanasispp on Pixabay.