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Family Visits, and a Birthday Trip to Paris
August 2012

MatalaThese past few weeks have been quite an exciting time for me. A couple of weeks ago, my friends and I decided to take a road trip to Matala for its famous festival. We hadn’t gone sightseeing in a while and we thought it would be a great way to explore the south of Crete.

Matala is known for its grey pebble beach and caves, which were initially used as Roman tombs in the 1st Century AD. In the 60’s and 70’s the "flower" children decided to use the area as a hang out spot to spread peace, love and laughter. When we got there, there was live music, tourists exploring the caves (which had signs saying, “Enter at your own risk”, probably because it was pretty steep), and people from all over the world were basking under the sun.

On the way to Matala, we also stopped by Phaestos, one of the four remaining palatial ruins of Minoan times. The Phaestos Disc is a round terra cotta disc with inscriptions thought to be Linear A, which Professor Owens is continuing to decipher. It is one of the most popular and significant artifacts found in Phaestos. I found Phaestos quite different from Knossos, still exciting, but different. Unlike Knossos, there were no reconstructions at this site, and only a few frescoes had been found, we could even see parts of the old palace and the new palace both which had been ruined by the earthquake. The view from Phaestos was simply beautiful.

On the work front, all is going well. I have been working on editing a book called "Periplous," which is an all-Cretan diet recipe book that is going to be used as a marketing product for the hotel. It has been interesting to see the transformation of the product.Paris

On the week of my birthday I took a trip to Paris as a treat to myself. My cousin Parul was flying in from New York to attend her very close friend's wedding in Toulon. So, we met after the wedding and stayed at her amazing friend Naina’s home.

The very next day, we went to Versailles and toured the palace and the spectacular garden. Thankfully, we went on the day of the Musical Fountain Show and were able to enjoy that too. The next day, we ended up waiting in line for two hours with empty stomachs in the scorching heat to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was worth it. It was a little scary when we reached the top because we felt it vibrating, but when we saw the view of Paris we forgot everything.Water Lilly Pond

Throughout the week, we went to different areas of Paris; Montmartre, Marais, the Champs Elysee area, Notre Dame, Palais du Justice, Louvre, Bastille and I can proudly say we covered a lot. While sitting by the Seine, opposite the Musee d’ Orsay, I saw Paris come alive as I watched the Eiffel Tower sparkle at midnight for five whole minutes. It made my whole experience magical.

The day before we left, the newlyweds, Axelle and David, took us to Giverny where we saw Monet’s château, and the water lilly pond. It was a perfect end to my trip to Paris. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Back home in Crete:
When I got back to Crete, I was exhausted but happy to be back and to get back into the grind. That same week, the three other Drexel co-op students and I met Mr. Peter Franks, senior associate vice provost for career education, and his wife Jane for dinner at the rooftop restaurant at Lato Boutique Hotel. He was there to meet the co-op employers and students, and he treated us to a wonderful dinner. It was a pleasure meeting both of them in Crete.Peter Franks

Village Festival:
Last weekend, my roommates and I went to a small town called Daphnes for its wine festival. There was a stage on the side of the square and there were people playing traditional Greek music and little children and adults together performing Greek dances. After the performance finished everyone was asked to come on stage to dance and I went up. When the music was slow the dance steps seemed easy, but it got drastically complicated when the tempo increased. I had to leave the stage because I felt I was messing everyone else up! I know I want to go to another traditional night like that very soon.

My family arrives next week and we will be going to Santorini and to the eastern part of Crete. I can’t wait for that to happen so I can write it down and share it with you all!

- Natasha