Knossos – Feeling the Spirit of Theseus
Knossos was top of my list of things to do in Heraklion and the reason I based myself here. I know Knossos is a very busy place so decided to get an early bus to beat the queues.
The bus stop is two minutes from my apartment and has a small ticket hut that is manned during working hours and also a self serve ticket machine. I purchased my ticket from the attendant who told me or so I thought – bus number 12. Bus number 12 arrived and I jumped on it without thinking to check. As we journeyed out of Heraklion City I could see no signs for Knossos – I was following the route on Google maps and we seemed to be going in another direction. After about 25 minutes everyone except me had departed from the bus. The bus driver turned to me and said “Where you go!” I told him “Knossos”.
He shrugged his shoulders (and probably raised his eyes to heaven!) and shouted across the road to another bus driver that had just pulled up going in the opposite direction. He then turned back to me and told me to get on the other bus. I had no idea where this other bus was going but after another 25 minutes arrived back at the bus stop where I started.
I went to the attendant to purchase another bus ticket who looked surprised to see me again. I told him that I had got on the bus number 12 to which he replied – “No, no – bus number two!”
OK so this is an hour out of my day so far and I eventually arrived an hour and a half after my original planned time. Yes the queues were long – lots of coach parties had arrived but I persevered until I got my ticket. It is possible to avoid most of the tour groups by going in the opposite direction to them (anticlockwise) but at some point you will have to queue again to see some of the buildings. Regardless of all this I was just so pleased to be there.
Mary Renault’s book, The King Must Die really gripped my imagination. It was recommended to me by a friend and fellow Greek traveller and was probably one of the best books I’d read at the time. It’s the story of a hero, traveller and adventurer and of a love affair. Now here in Knossos it wasn’t difficult to try and bring the book to life – the Minator that lived in the labyrinth below the palace of King Minas putting the fear of God into everybody. Theseus and the other slaves being kept captive and forced to ‘dance’ with the bull, never knowing which would be their last dance. The love affair with Ariadne. You can truly feel the spirit of Theseus here at Knossos.
Purchase the book from Amazon here:
Mary Renault, The King Must Die