Category Archives: Travels
In the summer of 2009 I travelled to Sorèze, an enchanted village in the south of France. The purpose of the trip was to screen my documentary Journey into America at the Culture and Cultures Intercultural International film festival at the Château de Padiès, a mansion built on the site of a former castle, located in the outskirts of the village of Lempaut in the department of Tarn.
Denis Piel, an internationally acclaimed photographer who directs the film festival, was kind enough to put me up at the Abbaye Ecole in Sorèze, a hotel which is close to beautiful mountains and spotted with quaint village houses and medieval stones streets.
According to its website, the Abbey was built sometime in the 700s and was later pillaged and destroyed by the Normans in the 10th century. It was restored and enjoyed a period of prosperity. Razed to the ground in the 16th century during the Wars of Religion, in the 17th century it was rebuilt once again, affiliated to the Congregation of Saint-Maur and dedicated to “Our Lady of Peace.”
The picture of Ecole’s gate is one I snapped upon arrival in Sorèze. So peaceful!
Tags: Catholicism, Château de Padiès, Enchanted village in southern France, Film festival, France, Journey, Old abbey, Our Lady of Peace, Photograph, Photography, Pictures, Southern France, The Abbaye Ecole in Sorèze, Travels, Wars of Religion
I visited the Hagia Sophia at the end of 2011. It is the most magnificent building I have ever seen. A truly inspiring and breathtaking experience.
Tags: Architecture, Arts and Entertainment, Byzantine Empire, Craig Considine, Enlightenment, Greek Philosophy, Hagia Sophia, Holy Wisdom, Istanbul, Light, Photograph, Photography, Picture, Plato, Turkey
Melony and I are off to Crag Shore B & B in Lahinch. In searching for directions from Dublin, I’ve learned that it has no address. Crag Shore is really off the beaten path. Maybe the GPS location on its website will guide us there?
God willing, this will be a memorable weekend. The Micah Russell Traditional Music Festival will be going on, so we can count on some great music and a lively pub atmosphere at O’Connor’s in Doolin.
Getting out of Dublin is necessary at this moment. Both of us are in desperate need of fresh air, quiet surroundings, and friendlier people. Melony is also bringing a few of her cameras, so we will come back with fantastic photographs.
Heading out to County Clare is always special for me. My great-grandfather was born in the small village of Lisdoonvarna, which is nearby Lahinch. Every time I head out there, I feel as if I’ve been there before. It’s spooky!
I’m off to London this afternoon for the second time in as many weeks for the Journey into America screening and panel discussion at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.
I’m very happy to have my lady, Mel, joining me this time around. She’s exciting for the thrill of it all.
This panel discussion will be the first that I’ve participated in. Some of the topics include:
1) Nation and nation-making vs ummah – secular vs religious
2) Comparative questions of history – the different trajectories of Muslim migration in America and Britain
3) Muslim cultural identity formations post 9/11
4) Media representations of Muslims and documentary film making – commercial vs independent approach
This will be a hectic trip. We land at Heathrow airport at 4:50. I’ve arranged for a car service to pick us up and scoot us quickly over to Russell Square for a 6:30 start. It’s going to be tight.
Mel and I then fly back on the first flight from Stansted back to Dublin tomorrow morning. That leaves at 6:50. We both have to teach tomorrow morning.
August 10, 2012 Video: Road-trip to Maghera Beach and Port in Northwest Ireland (Over ‘Orange Sky’ by Alexi Murdoch)
I have finally edited the video that I captured when Mel and I went to visit the areas around Glencolumbkille in Donegal. I decided to use ‘Orange Sky‘ by Alexi Murdoch as a backdrop to this short but sweet clip which, I hope, captures the serenity and grandeur of the area. At times the clip moves fast and other times slow. Towards the end I focus on one clip – partly because I ran out of material to make this work. It was the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. Even better than the one I caught at Oia on Santorini island. I hope you enjoy.
At the abandoned village of Port. One of the most serene places I have ever visited. Click to enlarge.
My Ma just showed me the journal that she kept along the ride. Notice as well some of the great pictures. My favourite is the one of the two Irish men with the bicycle. Interestingly, my parents visited Trinity College Dublin (where I now teach and research). One of the pictures is where I often stand (outside of the 1937 Room). Weird.
Mel and I decided to take a day trip to Dún Laoghaire, partly because we wanted to, but also because our buddy Robbie Fry (great photographer) had to give me a CD of pictures from an event last week. Will blog about that soon.
Mel had been to Dún Laoghaire, but this was my first time. I really enjoyed it. It’s a nice seaside ‘village’ of sorts. It has a great long pier which offers a nice, romantic walk. Best of all, it offers a quiet atmosphere not too far from the hustle and bustle of Dublin.
I rented a cheap little car and was told ‘not to go off-roading’. But what did that mean? What is considered ‘off-roading’? These are two questions I certainly contemplated before taking the car down a dangerous path to the famous and isolated Kambia Beach in the middle-of-nowhere, Santorini. Would I make the car back up the road? Was I going to drive off the cliff? Obviously, I didn’t drive off the cliff because I wouldn’t be writing this. But you should still watch this short 8 minute clip.
I’ve done my fair share of traveling since graduating from college in 2007, from researching around the U.S. for one year with Ambassador Ahmed, to my own personal adventures throughout Europe and eastern Asia. I’ve been to some amazing places, from the Château de Padiès in Southern France, to the hills of Honolulu, to the famous bazzar in Kadıköy, Turkey, to the homes of ancestors of Muslim American slaves on Sapelo Island, Georgia. Several times after practically all of these journeys, I’ve said to myself “That is the best trip I’ve ever had”. This particular piece is a collection of stories, thoughts and pictures from my week long trip throughout Greece. My next project will be my short documentary concerning it, though it probably won’t be finished for a few weeks.
All pictures below © Craig Considine
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I arrived to Athens on a Saturday evening and headed straight for Syntagma Square, right in the heart of the city and the place of many recent protests over bailouts and austerity measures. People from all around Europe were there having meetings and gatherings to discuss their potential activities in the run-up to the elections the next day. There was a significant Anarchy presence amongst the people, most of whom were young, though I also read pamphlets about Communist and other Socialist movements.
I roamed around Syntagma Square for about twenty minutes before heading up the stairs and towards the Greek parliament building. There I watched several Greek soldiers perform what appeared to be the equivalent of the ‘changing of the guard’. These soldiers would march around in a very slow and methodical fashion, almost like a rusty robot, whilst raising their legs extremely straight and high, and sometimes swiping the soul of their shoes off the ground. Occasionally they would do a little trick with their long guns. I found their uniform particularly interesting. These soldiers also wouldn’t move an inch even if you tickled them with a feather.
From Syntagma Square I made the journey to my hotel, which wasn’t exactly close to the city centre. The cab ride there was wild. The cab driver was just a grumpy person, though he did have a good sense of humour. We ended up getting stuck behind a dump truck on these narrow little side streets and we couldn’t get around the thing for the life of us. The cab driver was swearing in Greek non-step and yelling obscenities at other cab drivers. When we had daylight, he would step on the gas and we would fly down the avenues of Athens. I wasn’t scared because I could tell he had a good handle on his whip. I dropped my stuff off at Pergamos Hotel. It was a decent spot though in not in the greatest of areas.
My first evening in Athens was spent at the Vintage Shopping Bar. It was a chill little spot and I spent most of my time speaking to a 50-year-old female filmmaker who had live most of her life in Brussels, but was originally from the Rhodes (she pronounced it Road-as). We had a good few laughs over some drinks. She was drinking straight whiskey and would cut the filter off her cigarettes. I asked her for some advice for my travels and she told me not to go to Santorini because it was too touristy. At first I believed her, but I still didn’t really care to listen, as the pictures I Googled were still so beautiful and vivid in my mind.
The first thing I did when I woke up on my first morning in Athens was head to the Acropolis. On my way there, I spotted this beautiful and old-looking Greek Orthodox Church, so I decided to take a stroll over to it. When I approached it, I noticed that a service had just ended. Women were totally covered and the men dressed conservatively. I walked through the doors to find a very small church with only one room. What stuck out to me were the relics and images of prophets everywhere. It was my first time in a Greek Orthodox Church. Whilst I was standing in amazement at its beauty, a church chaperon approached me and told me that there were no sandals allowed in the Church. I was also wearing shorts and he told me those weren’t allowed either. I felt pretty bad for not even thinking about these rules. I should know better considering my research and profession.
Unfortunately, the Acropolis happened to be closed because of ‘election Sunday’, so I wasn’t able to actually get to the top. That didn’t stop me, however, from getting some great sights and walking the ancients streets of Plaka (Πλάκα). I was able to view an ancient amphitheater of Dionysius at the bottom of the massive Acropolis rock and climb around some ruins on the edge of some hills. As you could imagine, the terrain was very rock and dry, though there were definitely trees here and there. Obviously, it was amazing to view the ruins, which couldn’t escape the eye even if you wanted them to. They are literally everywhere.
Plaka happened to be one of my favourite areas in Athens. Though it’s a bit touristy, it has a strong buzz and atmosphere to it, which makes it a must see even if you’re trying to escape the tourist madness. The streets are narrow and filled with shops and places to eat. The streets themselves are lined with cobblestones and ruins every few blocks. I had a great few lunches there and even managed to buy some pretty sweet articles of Greek linen clothing (more on this later).
On the way back to Syntagma Square from Plaka, I managed, unsurprisingly, to find a few more set of ruins. One happened to be out in the open, in what appears to be the main Athens valley, whilst the other was an underground excavation of an ancient worshipping spot.
At nightime on my first full day in Athens, I decided to journey back to Plaka, where I had an amazing 4 cheese pasta dinner at an outdoor restaurant called Kapyatis (English spelling). From there, because it was ‘election Sunday’, I was having trouble finding a spot to catch a drink, and I ended up walking a good distance to visit the James Joyce Pub. I had a few beers there and chatted to a few American girls now living in Athens. On my walk home, I took the picture you see below.
One thing that you can’t help but notice when visiting Athens is the graffiti. It’s literally everywhere. It has even made its way to monuments. There is clearly a young rebellious streak in Athens. The youth and perhaps even the older generations are unhappy with the current political, economic, and social climate. Some young Athenians have even lost their lives in protest to the general state of things.
My third day in Athens was an early one. I had a 7:30 am ferry ride through the Aegean Sea to Santorini, which was about eight hours away. I was thoroughly impressed with the ferry, which behaved more like a ship, as I was expecting the ride to be on a little and not-so-serious boat.
There were so many beautiful islands everywhere as we cruised through the Aegean Sea. You couldn’t go one minute without seeing one in the distance. I sat in the sun the entire time, just listening to music and gathering my thoughts as I looked out at the amazing scenery. Though it was an eight-hour ride, I didn’t mind it one bit. I’ve never seen anything so gorgeous in my entire life. Seriously.
Arriving in the Port of Santorini was really something else. As the door from the ferry lowers, all you can see are these massive rocky orange looking cliffs. There were loads of men trying to convince people to get in their cabs to go to one of the villages on the island. I was prey and just hooked on with a guy, who I told to bring me to the centre, Fira. The ride was incredible. The roads hug the side of the cliff and zig-zag nearly the entire way to Fira.
I told the cab driver to bring me to a hostel. I was so lucky to end up where I did – at Kykladonisia Hostel. It had an awesome ‘roof deck’ of sorts that overlooked the ocean and some of the island.
Once I got my bags down, I decided to take a stroll through old Fira. The small and narrow streets bring you back in time to an era that must have been too cool. I had a few quiet beers here and there and took some pretty amazing shots on one of the highest points on the island. It was an unforgettable experience.
Have you heard about the sunset on the tip of Santorini in the village of Oia? (pronounced E-ya). Once you get to the village square, which is about the size of a driveway, you see signs that bring you through the old village and towards some spots where you can watch the sunset. Like Fira, the streets are old and narrow and lined with beautiful homes everywhere. I’ll never forget watching the sunset and hearing people applaud as it vanished. That’s when you know a sunset is legit.
My first morning in Santorini started with chilling with Paul, who ran the place. Paul and I became friends and had a few laughs together. He encouraged me to either rent a four-wheel dirt bike or a car. Because I nearly died on one of those bikes in Honolulu, I decided to be safe and stick with the car, though that nearly killed me too!
I rented a car that was nearly half the size of the Volvo I drive back home. It was so little I felt like I could pick it up with my hands. It was a ‘smart car’ and was, of course, really easy to use. I scooped it for ten euros and then pumped another fifteen euros in worth of gas. When I got in the car, I had no plan or destination in mind. I just wanted to ride freely throughout the island. I was looking forward to investigating.
My first stop was the famous Red Beach. When there, I did a bit of climbing and made it to a very high peak on what was basically a mountain. I opened my backpack and took out Plato’s ‘Four Dialogues’ because, after all, I was in Greece and Socrates is one of my first favourite thinkers. I chilled for a solid hour there, just contemplating life.
From that spot I walked down what looked like the Grand Canyon. It wasn’t an easy walk and you had to do a bit of climbing/crawling. Red beach isn’t very big and it’s pretty rocky, but the water is perfect and crystal clear. The ocean floor didn’t have sand. Instead, it had rocks of various colours. The water was also warm and had no seaweed. I had a great swim.
After Red Beach, I of course decided to explore some more. I stumbled across a sign for Kambia Beach, one of the three beaches on the island. The sign was pretty budget and the road even more so. When I looked down it, I absolutely hesitated because the place I rented my car from told me ‘no off-roading’. Problem was, I couldn’t tell if this is what they would considering ‘off-roading’. I figured, what the hell, I’m on vacation and only on Santorini once (though I plan on going back!). So, I was off, down what seemed like a treacherous road on the side of a massive cliff. I also came across what seemed like ancient caves.
The road down was treacherous. There were a few instances where the car bottomed out and I feared for a flat tire or, worse, damage to the little car. I was weaving in-and-out of massive holes and rocks. It wasn’t easy. I took it slow and managed to make it down safely, though I already started to worry about making it back up. At the bottom of the hill, nonetheless, was Kambia Beach. What a sight that was! It was so quiet and peaceful down there. There was also a family run restaurant, though, of course, there was nobody there but the family. They welcomed me warmly and I sat down for some food. They only had one dish available, so I didn’t even look at the menu. The food happened to be amazing though.
When I got back in the car, I geared myself up for the journey back up. At a few points, I had to put my foot on the pedal to make sure I didn’t get stuck. I had to sustain the momentum of the vehicle. It was hugely problematic considering if I lost control I could be veering of a massive cliff. No joke. I managed, however, and when I reached the top, I was greeted by an amazing view of the sea and the countryside.
After my adventure to Kambia Beach, I headed back to Kykladonisias to regroup, but soon I was off to Fira for a late lunch. After another amazing four cheese dinner dish, I took a few incredible pictures of Fira and visited the Catholic Church. As I walked in, I could hear on the speakers either some religious man chanting or a recording of it. Either way, it was tranquil and peaceful. I sat there for a good thirty minutes with my thoughts. I prayed for my family and good health for a while too. It’s probably the coolest Church I’ve ever prayed in.
All of the walking around must have made me hungry, because only a few hours later, I was off for another meal. The sun was doing damage to me so I wanted to catch food at a quiet and cool place. I picked the Taverna Elia, where I had a delicious spaghetti bolognese with ham. I’m pretty sure I was the only customer for nearly two hours. It too was peaceful. There I had a Fix beer, which is one of the three main Greek beers along with Mythos and Alfa. I probably drank the latter most often.
This trip wouldn’t have been as amazing as it was if it wasn’t for the two ‘squirrels’, Bri and Britt, from Houston and Boca Raton respectively. The three of us met at the legendary Highlander Bar, where I had many chill nights with bartenders Teo and Angel. The two girls and I spent the next few days having some serious laughs. I’m not only thankful for the company and now their friendship, but also for saving me when I had a wicked heat exhaustion attack at the volcano. It hit me like a tone of bricks. I was super dehydrated and felt like I seriously was going to pass out. Bri and Britt, who go by ‘PPB’, also happened to be nurses, so I couldn’t have been in better hands. When I knew things were getting bad, I thought I had to go back to the main island, and they had absolutely no problem with that. They literally had to guide me down the volcano and feed me water. I’m so fortunate they were there with me. When we got back up to the main island, I puked a few times and, sadly, missed the toilet. Feel bad for the cleaning ladies
That event aside, Bri, Britt and I accumulated more inside jokes in three days than any three people have ever done in the history of inside jokes. We spent a few great nights at the Highlander and made some great memories. We shared our music tastes with each other and had a few good meals.
I took the ferry back to Athens at 3:30 in the afternoon on Friday and arrived in Athens at 12 pm. The next morning, I was exhausted, but I figured I’d go back to Plaka, my favourite part of Athens, where just a few days earlier I had an awesome lunch with some great local Greek people. One of my favourite parts of the trip was just sitting around in the sun with great food, drink, and company.
This one street in Plaka was jammed packed with people and there was a constant buzz around. I spent many many hours talking with the lovely ‘Helen of Troy’. Elizabeth, who owned the story that Helen worked in, could have been one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. She gave me a huge discount on some local Greek linen clothing, which I’m wearing below, and gave me a free t-shirt and some jewelry to bring back to my mother in Needham. I didn’t wanted to say goodbye to them.
Obviously, there are a few clear reasons why this trip was monumental, such as the weather and the beauty of the Greek islands. There were some more subliminal reasons, such as the food and the nightlife (and the Greek beer). I can’t forget the history of Greece itself, the ruins, and just the aura of walking along the streets of Plaka. I also can’t forget to mention that adventures – down with the car to Kambia Beach and of course the scary experience on the volcano. But hands down, the number one reason this was the best trip ever – THE PEOPLE. I can’t tell you how many great conversations I had with both people from Greece and around the world. Everyone seemed so incredibly family and it made me so happy. From Paul to Teo, to Angel to Jargon, to Elizabeth to Helen, and of course, to Bri and Britt, I couldn’t have asked for better company. That’s ultimately why I titled this piece “This time I mean it”. This really was the best trip ever.
Oia is a small village on the northern tip of Santorini island. It’s a famous spot for its sunset. Indeed, that was clear when the people around me started applauding when the sun was gone.
The first destination I visited was Syntigma Square. There were loads of young people gearing up for the protest which happens to be in a few hours. Huge flags and large ‘pow wow’ groups filled the area. I plan on watching it go down and catching it all on video. I feel another potential CNN iReport coming my way.
One thing about Athens that really struck me was the graffiti. It’s everywhere. There’s also no discrimination in terms of which buildings get it – even grand monuments. It appears that the authorities here have no interest whatsoever in managing this ‘problem’. Seriously, it’s everywhere. The Anarchy sign (above) is the most frequent tag.
Last night, I had a spectacular time at the Vintage Shopping Bar – the place was bumping with tunes and good company. I spent most of the evening speaking to a filmmaker who studied and lived in Belgium for many years but now lives in Athens. She is from Rhodes and told me not to go to Santorini. Looks like I should change my game-plan then.
This woman, whose name I never got, had an interesting point – she said Athens/Greece isn’t European, but rather ‘Barca‘, meaning it’s more like Serbia or Croatia than Paris or Berlin. She also suggested that this was an important time to be visiting Athens as the city is at an unprecedented juncture. She kept referring to Athenians as schizophrenic.
Athens no doubt has a serious edge to it at the moment. I’m not sure if it’s because of the economic/social/political climate or if the city has always been this way. I wonder what Socrates would say.
Off to Greece for the next week. Compare and contrast the two images below.
On May 5th, I’m packing my bags, which will absolutely include one of my all-time favourites, Plato’s Dialogues, for a much needed vacation away from the cold and rainy (but still beautiful!) island of Ireland.
It has been a hell of a few months with fieldwork and editing this Journal, so this trip couldn’t have come at a more proper time.
Of course, as only a training Ph.D. would, I’ve been conducting research on some of the key spots around Greece and thus highlighted some of the spots I seek to visit below. Not sure of the chances of seeing these destinations, but I’ll certainly try.
Delphi, for example, is at least a three hour trek from Athens via bus. Some of the islands may be tough to get to as well. I do have a week to pull this off though. If I plan appropriately and have the guts to do it, it could happen (God willing).
Definitely have the guts. Pretty confident in my planning as well.
1. The Acropolis
No trip to Athens would be complete without seeing this. UNESCO describes its significance:
The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization and form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world. In the second half of the fifth century bc, Athens, following the victory against the Persians and the establishment of democracy, took a leading position amongst the other city-states of the ancient world. In the age that followed, as thought and art flourished, an exceptional group of artists put into effect the ambitious plans of Athenian statesman Pericles and, under the inspired guidance of the sculptor Pheidias, transformed the rocky hill into a unique monument of thought and the arts. The most important monuments were built during that time: the Parthenon, built by Ictinus, the Erechtheon, the Propylaea, the monumental entrance to the Acropolis, designed by Mnesicles and the small temple Athena Nike.
2. Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon
Sounion is located on the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula. It’s best known for being the location of the Greek Temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea in Greek mythology. Archaeological finds on the site date from as early as 700 BC. The Temple of Poseidon, built on a site set back from the sheer cliffs and with its magnificent view of the Aegean Sea and islands, ‘was ideally located for worship of the powerful god of the sea. In ancient times, mariners would see the brilliant white marble columns of the Temple of Poseidon and know they were close to home’ (grisel.net). Moreover, according to gogreece.com, ‘Sounion is cleansing to the mind and spirit and thrilling to the soul and heart. Don’t miss it! While there, you’ll be at one point of a magical triangle which the ancient Greeks enjoyed – from Sounion, you could see the Temple of Aphaia on the island of Aegina, and the Acropolis itself’. How awesome does that sound?
Lycabettus Hill is really a limestone rock reaching almost 1,000 feet into the once-crystalline Athenian sky. In the evening, the top half is floodlit, and from the Acropolis it looks something like a giant souffle. By day, it’s a green-and-white hill toppoed by a tiny, flaringly white church, Agios Georgios. It’s a nagging challenge, and sooner or later you’re to want to climb it. Don’t try to walk up (pilgrims used to, but it’s an Everest for the faithless), and don’t try to take a cab, because it only goes half-way and you still have quite a hike to get to the top. Take the two-minute funicular up the southeast flank. To get there, follow the “telepherique” signs to the corner of Kleomenous and Ploutarchou Streets, between Kolonaki Square and the Athens Hilton. The panorama from the top is priceless – all the way to Mount Parnes in the north, west to Piraeus and the Saronic Gulf, with the Acropolis siiting like a ruminative lion half way to the sea. There’s also a cafe/restaurant up there. Source (tourtripgreece.gr)
4. Santorini (hopefully the village of Ia)
Santorini is a must for me. I’m putting it right at the top of my list.
‘Great poets have sung its praises, a 4,000 year old history. And the eternal rock continues to stand, strong and majestic, rising proudly from the sea and guarding well the secrets of Atlantis…’ That was according to santorini.net, which also provides a 3,600 year timeline.
Santorini, located in the Cyclades, Aegean, has one of the most spectacular landscapes in Greece and indeed the world. According to santorini-greece.biz, its traditional villages of the island, built on tall cliffs, offer a breathtaking view over a submerged volcano. Also according to santorini-greece.biz, they represent the beautiful Greek cliche one always dreamed about.
Aegina looks attractive for its famous beaches. I wouldn’t mind taking a quick nap on an isolated beach in the middle of the Mediterranean. Sounds good, no? I also read that Aegina is a friendly place and most of the merchants speak English.
I found this pretty darn good review on greeka.com of one person’s visit to Aegina:
I fell in love with Aegina ever since my first visit way back in 2004. This summer, it will be my fourth time in Aegina, this amazing island that never stops to fascinate me. This is the remarkable thing about this island, that on every visit, I find myself discovering something new. Set foot on the marina and you find yourself into a different world. Small cafes with tables on the sidewalk, street vendors selling fresh pistachios, car and bike rental agencies, the marina is a hub of activity. This small island has some of the best taverns in the islands. And don’t forget to wash down the food with ouzo! My favourite place is Perdika, about 30 minutes drive from the Town. Obviously not the best beach on the island, but certainly the best atmosphere. Fish taverns all along the coast, a beautiful setting to swim and an amazing view to a deserted island, right across the port. Frequently I do the swimming there. I need about two hours one way, so careful, don’t do it if you are not a good swimmer!!!
Crete is an island with an exquisite 1,000 kilometer-long coastline dotted with numerous coves, bays and peninsulas, which afford a multitude of soft, sandy beaches along the beautifully blue Mediterranean Sea. After all, it’s among the finest in the world and has established Crete as one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations. And, of course, the island’s historic importance in today’s world as the home of the Minoan civilizationwith important archeological finds at Knossos, Phaistos and Gortys, is evidenced by the tens of thousands of visitors to these sites each year (Source: explorecrete.com).
7. The Minoan Palace of Knossos (on Crete)
The Minoan Palace at Knossos is over 20,000 square meters. The old palace was built around 2000 B.C but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1700 B.C. Legend has it that this palace was the source of the Labyrinth myth. It was a structure that was made by King Minos of Crete, to keep the mythical creature Minotaur – who was half bull and half man – away. Eventually the creature was killed by Theseus.
The Greek myth associated with the palace about Theseus and the Minotaur is fascinating, but walking around the ruins of Knossos today it is hard to imagine it to be a place of torment and death. Instead, the palace radiates with joyous exuberance through the elaborate architectural planes and volumes that were clustered around the central courtyard over time. The elegant wall frescoes which decorated the walls speak of a people who approached the subtleties of life and the splendor of nature with a joyous disposition (Source: ancient-greece.org).
Delphi is a spot a really want to visit, but it could be a stretch considering it’s over 3 hours from Athens via bus. As someone who is fascinated with history, Delphi intrigues me because in Greek mythology, it was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god Apollo after he slew the Python, a dragon who lived there and protected the navel of the Earth (Source: Wikipedia). In research, I stumbled across this long and extensive piece on Delphi and the Oracle, though I’m not entirely sure about its accuracy. Nonetheless, it provides some interesting points.
My sister, Ali, passed on this video to me the other day. She said it reminded her of me and how I’d be able to pull off a similar feat. Doubtful, but I’d love to try. Perhaps I’ll give it a shot as I head to Greece in a few weeks. I’ll have my video camera in hand, no doubt, but I can’t imagine ever toping this…
Near the beginning, the clip mentions that Nike asked the main character to make a movie about what it means to ‘Make It Count’ (that’s the title of the clip). However, the main character and his buddy, Max, who shot and edited the clip, never made the video and instead ‘spent the entire budget traveling around the world’. I’m not entirely sure if they’re being sarcastic or what. In total, the trip took 10 days to complete.
One of the best features of the clip = the inspirational quotes running throughout.
The clip is well-done and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope you do too.
If you’re a Ph.D. student, like myself, you know how precious free time is, and you know how infrequently you find it. One of my adjustments for year two of the Ph.D. process is to find, and indeed make, time for myself away from the critical thinking, writing, and fieldwork. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been achieved nonetheless.
When I do find/make time, I tend to either want to do absolutely nothing, which entails basically still working! (answering e-mails, catching up with students and contacts, etc) but relaxing while doing so, or I want to find a unique spot either somewhere in Ireland or abroad to travel to; as with any keen traveler, my goal here has been to soak up as much of a new culture as possible.
One of my favourite places to have visited lately (I’ve been to Amsterdam, Istanbul, the Dingle Peninsula, and Kinsale in the past few months) is the small seaside village near The Burren (the rocky Burren!) and the jaw-dropping Cliffs of Moher in the stunning County Clare.
The village is called Doolin.
Doolin is perhaps best known for being the hub of traditional Irish music; I was fortunate enough to have visited it in February for the annual Micoh Russell festival. While I appreciate Doolin’s music scene and pubs for their amazing atmosphere (good craic) and hospitality, the village is fascinating to me for a few additional reasons: it’s absolutely gorgeous, it’s mystical, it’s vibrant (in terms of really feeling the elements of nature), and it’s always monumental for me because this is the area where my ancestors once roamed.
In returning to Dublin from Doolin, I was inspired to express my appreciation for the village/area in some form or another. Historically, I have been one to write, either a short essay or poem, on my feelings after some traveling experience; however, one more thing that I have worked on is using my mind creatively through new methods outside of my writing and photographs.
So, after this trip, I figured that I would do something radically different. I decided to make a ‘painting’ of sorts on a canvas which I purchased from a local shop on Thomas Street. I call it a ‘painting’ even though it was essentially made with a handful of different types of markers and coloured pencils.
The ‘painting’ took me about one painstaking week to complete; I was able to create many different colours by combining different markers here and there where and when I saw fit. Sometimes I had to take risks in fusing different colour schemes, but nothing good comes out of anything where a bit of risk-taking isn’t involved. Right?
In terms of the overall format of the picture, it’s basically an aerial view of the vicinity of Doolin. You will notice that I have landmarked key sites, such as the great pubs in Doolin, as well as important geographic sites, such as The Burren (rocky looking area on the top right) and the Cliffs of Moher (brown looking structure on far-left).
My goal with the picture was to bring out the light and colour that I remember seeing while in Doolin. I also wanted to show the diversity of the landscape.
Ultimately, I wanted to ‘paint’ a different picture from what we traditionally get in either paintings or photographs.
In theory, the ‘painting’ serves as a kind of road-map for the traveler who is visiting the vicinity of Doolin. It’s a useful map if you begin on the far-right side of the ‘painting’ (right by the black road at McGann’s pub). This is the area where you enter Doolin; from there you continue on the black road; you can head down to Considine’s Pub (bottom left) and then drive on-down to the seaside villages of Liscannor and Lahinch. Be sure to also notice the Aran Islands on the top of the ‘painting’ (in the ocean).
I’m already working on a second picture, though this picture won’t be inspired by a traveling experience. I’ve decided to ‘paint’ a picture of the Old City of Jerusalem. Particular emphasis in the picture will be centred around the Dome of the Rock. I’m not sure when it will be completed, but it will likely have to wait until I’m finished teaching this week. Check back in a few weeks.
The ‘painting’ above is not for sale.
© Craig Considine, 31/3/2012