Fifty years ago my Dad took my older sister Adele and I out of school (Halandri Academy, Athens, Greece) and to the air base in Athens for a trip. When we got to the airplane, an old C-47, we found out that space available travel wasn’t possible as they had some last minute cargo which left no room for us. Not easily deterred, Dad drove us to Pireaus, the port of Athens, and we drove the car, a red and white VW Micro Bus, onto a ferry bound for Crete. The ship was quite large and we had a cabin. The voyage was overnight and we arrived at Crete the next morning. We travelled around Crete for a week and spent most of our time looking at the ruins of Minoan Civilization, most of which had been destroyed by an earthquake around 1450 BCE.
One memorable place was called Gournia. Tourism in the 1960’s wasn’t as pervasive as it is today, and we were the only visitors on a windswept hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The ground was covered by ancient pottery shards which crunched under our shoes on every step. A middle aged Greek man offered to give us a guided tour. I kind of remember him; relatively short, at least compared to us, dressed in a long sleeved shirt and wool sweater and wool pants with a typical cap and traditional moustache. I don’t remember if he spoke Greek or English, as we all spoke both. I remember him pointing out to the north over the sea and saying, “Out there is Atlantis.”
At the time I didn’t know what to think about that statement but I have always remembered it. More recently it is known that the mountain in the center of the island exploded several thousand years ago, spewing ash and fire in to the sky and destroying most of the island. Santorini had been a center for culture and commerce in the ancient world, and may be the origins of the legend of Atlantis.
That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.