Ruins are ruins: old bricks, aged stonework, dry moss, cracks. Archeological sites – all of them – are boring. You cannot change a fact. Old walls are dull!
At Knossos, things get worse: The very queue to enter the site is madness. Are you the impatient kind? Welcome to hell—a disorderly crowd lines up for selfies and I-was-there mementos. The better-dressed ones fall prey to over-zealous “accredited” tour guides who charge an arm and leg to monologue a Wikipedia page. Fun, fun, fun! I have a bone to pick with tour guides.
Before I delve even further, dear Knossos guides, you are lame. You know your material, yes, but the way you present these amazing ruins deserves nothing but ridicule. For instance, my husband is a well-read man and a Knossos fanatic of sorts. Since we moved to Crete, he’s seen the Palace at least 11 times – approximating, but please observe that I am not generalizing. Once was enough for me. You, tour guides, were enough to make me want to avoid Knossos forever.
You, dear guides, accosted my husband when he spoke about Knossos to my brother and his wife, telling him that only accredited people could deliver the information he was handling out to our family. You did it because he – from your perspective, while no one booked your services – sounded like a tour guide. You did it to save your bread. I get it, but get this too: You were pitiful. In the “age of engage,” in the age of that perfect Instagram moment, you managed to show frustration and that you don’t deserve your paycheck although you know your stuff. My husband delivered your message better. You were threatened.
There are so many creative ways to earn that paycheck every month. Dress up like a Minoan – use the costume instead of a uniform or cheap casual wear. No husband of mine will pass out for a tour guide then. (He’s too big to fit into anything anyway). Do it. Dress up, people! Oh, and your shoes: don’t wear any. Make me dream!
When you speak, use allegory, analogy, simile. Facts are fun, but fantasy is better. Own it, ride it, make it so!
You see, walls are dull. Don’t be a wall!
Here’s the thing: You are boring and dull because you are not a peacock. Be a peacock!
Oh, sweet, misguided foe! You are not proud, not of your job, not of the site, not of Minoan Crete. What if we all stopped caring? COVID-19 shall pass. What if we all stopped caring forever? Would you find another way to earn a living? It will take you a while.
I’m done bashing you. I want to tell you something about binging on Christmas movies in July: it’s cathartic. It’s fun. I want Christmas every day.
Now, your job is more demanding because you are dealing with, well… ancient walls. But are you wearing a Minoan dress barefoot when you talk to me about it? You are wearing jeans and a blouse. Give me a break: I have an app on my phone for that.
Dear tour guides, I tried to tell you why you suck and how to become better. You’ll not take it. You know it all. I’m good with it. My husband will make my experience at Knossos last a lifetime. Also, Wikipedia…
While you will not change yet overcharge for your services, I want to tell my readers why anyone should always visit Knossos while on Crete: If you are quiet enough, you can hear your heartbeat and silent prayers – it doesn’t matter who you are praying to. Your soul echoes, and if you speak softly, you conquer the world.
Those lackluster, mossed walls were here long before you were an afterthought. They built the world. That myth about some creepy half-bull half-man dude comes from Knossos. His step-daddy was called King Minos (Minos and the Minoans, imagine that!), and he was allegedly the first king of Crete. Don’t read too much into that. Greeks had kingdoms the size of villages in the past.
Do read into this: Europa, a human Phoenician princess Zeus took a liking to, was King Minos’s mother; Zeus’s spawn, and so forth. No, you’ll not feel her presence at Knossos. It’s just something the tour guide will not tell you while not being barefoot wearing Minoant clothing. King Minos’s momma is the reason why Europe is called… Matilda.
Knossos, dear ones, was a dream. Ambitious, daring, and bold. Fascinating Greek myths come from Knossos, although there are no traces of them when you visit the ruins. Daedalus built the Labyrinth for King Minos and the Minotaur. There is no labyrinth at Knossos. But then, you’ll hear about Ariadne and her thread, her lover Theseus, and her groom, Dionysus.
When you finish the legends, visit Knossos because you are always a small god on Crete. A Minoan through and through. If you are a woman, see it because women ruled sublime. Matriarchy – really really – was a Minoan (Cretan) way of life. If you are a man, see it because some people worshiped the Prince of the Lilies.
Knossos was a portal to the beyond. Keftiu. Crete still is. But focus on the ruins the archaeologists unearthed. Visit (in the absence of meaningful arguments) because you will look pretty there when you snap a selfie.
Knossos is the Cretan soul, history, heart, and blood – but let’s not go there unless you want to see why Cretans are Cretans, braver, smarter, and kinder than all of the Greeks.
You know what? Just visit Knossos because everyone else does! Also, book a tour!