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Friday, September 30, 2016

Crete, Greece

The day after Santorini, we found ourselves in Heraklion, Crete. The island is Greece's biggest and most populous and functions practically as a mini-nation of its own. The port city of Heraklion has a population of 137,000 and is an urban, function capital.
The city has a top notch archeological museum that displays the best collection of Minoan artifacts anywhere. So that was our first stop.
The museum covers some 5,500 years, but the bulk of the collection, and the best pieces, are from the Minoan civilization dating from approximately 2,000 to 1,400 B.C. This culture dominated the pre-Greek world and unlike most early peoples, they were traders rather than fighters. The culture was like one big corporation with a CEO king, accountant scholars, and bookkeeping priests. In fact, the only written records we have from this civilization are meticulous spreadsheets that show every detail of every business transaction. For all those scrappers out there: ancient STAMPING! :)
One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of Minoan frescoes from the lavish palace of Knossos. The Bull Leaper illustrates the popular pastime of vaulting over a bull. It was a happy, fun loving society that enjoyed its leisure activities.
The Minoans revered bulls. While they would vault over them, they never sacrificed them or conducted Spanish-like bull fights. This gorgeous bull's head is a drinking vessel called a rhyton and has jeweled eyes and golden horns.

The snake goddess was a particularly popular deity in Minoan culture. She was depicted as a bare-breasted, snake-handling woman that is thought to be perhaps the guardian of the home, or maybe she symbolized new life and fertility.
Burial urn complete with human remains.
Religious votives and idols.
The biggest clay pots I've ever seen.
In about 1450 B.C. Minoan civilization suddenly and completely collapsed. While no one knows for sure what happened, it is thought that perhaps the atomic-bomb sized eruption of the Santorini volcano caused earthquakes and a tsunami that swept the Minoans into the dustbin of history. The museum was newly renovated, blessedly air conditioned, and served as a fascinating glimpse into this fairly mysterious ancient civilization.

Leaving the cool confines of the archaeological museum, we headed out into the capital city itself.
The city was founded by Saracens and then expanded by Venetians during the crusades. Today, it is a modern, bustling city that feels similar in ambiance to Athens.
Old | New
The main part of town focuses on the Venetian flavored Venizelos Square and its trademark Morosini Fountain.
The streets around it are fun to explore with shopping and cafes. 
One of the first buildings built by the Venetians was the Church of St. Mark, in honor of their patron saint. The church has been worked on, renovated, and changed since it was first started in 1239.
The Agios Titos, or St. Titus church, holds the skull of the namesake saint who was the first bishop of Crete.
The Venetian fortress of Castello a Mare dominates the entrance to the harbor. Built in the 16th century, the fortress served to strengthen defenses around the city.
Other aspects of the old Venetian harbor also remain. There were posters along this vault showing movie scenes that had been filmed in the old harbor.
Little panoramic of Heraklion from near the harbor.
Our family Crete, Greece on Tuesday August 30th 2016.
The next port of call was Argostoli, Greece and we took a side trip to Melissani Cave!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fira, Santorini, Greece

While Oia may be the prettiest village in Santorini, Fira is the island's main town with the island's handiest service, best museum, and the hub for transportation around the islands. But, just because it's functional doesn't mean it's not incredibly scenic!
After seeing Oia, Chris and I went back to the boat to pick up our little ones to explore Fira all together. We hopped on another tender and made the short trip to shore. 
From the Old Port there are three ways to get up to town: take a cable car, hike up 587 steep steps, or ride a donkey up those steps. We went with the speed and comfort of the cable car.
Fira has a charm all its own with a cozy labyrinth of streets that burrow between the main traffic street and the cliff edge. 
Cafe.
A restaurant sign harkening to the belief that this area may have inspired the legend of Atlantis.
A'door'able doors.

Yummies. We got some baclava in Mykonos that was pretty darn good.

Fira has a pair of cathedrals, Orthodox and Catholic. This is the Orthodox one.

I spy the big big boat.
One of my favorite photos from the day: My guys wandering through the dreamy and scenic streets of Santorini.
If street names exist in these villages, locals completely ignore them.

Not too shabby.
Fox has forgotten he's an LA baby and has grown accustomed to the cooler Bavarian weather. But, he was good to go again after a little break in the shade.
Hotel Atlantis.
Pretty portico near the Orthodox cathedral.
Doors with no walls around them! | Peeping Chris.

Cat.
Restaurants with impeccable views.
Little Jane doggedly refused to ride in the stroller after Chris crashed the stroller with them in it in Edinburgh. She insisted on walking so for several of our adventures we left the stroller behind on the boat. It was nice.
This area is still an active volcanic site. Two little islets in the middle of the caldera have emerged "recently" (at least in geological terms), one as recently as 1707. The last small true eruption occurred in 1950 and there were photos of this on a wall. They were fascinating to look at.
To this day, those two new islets go through periods where they sputter and steam and earthquakes continue to wrack the archipelago. No wonder Santorini is sometimes called "The Devil's Isle."
But, to us it was heaven. Chris watched the sunset from the top of the boat. 
Our boat stayed in port until 10pm so we got to admire the lights of Fira lining the cliff from our stateroom.
Our family in Fira, Santorini, Greece on Monday August 29th 2016.
Then onto a quick stop in Crete!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

32 Lovely Countries Layout for SCT Magazine

I have a layout in the Summer 2016 issue of Scrapbook & Cards Today Magazine!
It's always so much fun to get this magazine in the mail and flip through the pages - physical magazines are my fave :)
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32 LOVELY COUNTRIES by Paige Evans

DESCRIPTION: I was asked to create a number specific page so I thought, well, we like counting how many countries we've been to, and the idea got the green light!

JOURNALING SAYS: Traveling is one of my most very favorite things in "the world"! I love going places I've read about or seen in pictures with my own two eyes. Major case of wanderlust!

HOW TO: I created a large "32" in Silhouette Studio and drew it with a pencil instead of cutting it with a blade onto the European map paper (Paper 15). Then I pierced a hole every 1/4" and backstitched through using ombre yarn that I've had forever and been wanting to use and now the colors are a perfect match with Take Me Away! It was also my first time stitching with yarn which isn't as easy as regular floss but I love the added texture and dimension! Will have to use yarn more, which will require acquiring more yarn, don't tell Chris ;) Once I finished stitching I painted inside the numbers using white paint to help them stand out more. I added a paper tab across the bottom and an embellishment cluster in the center. A photo on the right with a big title in the center and journaling on the left and this layout was complete!

SUPPLIES: Patterned paper, letter Thickers, foam Thickers, wood veneer, chipboard stickers, die cuts, buttons, roller stamp, paper clip: Take Me Away by Paige Evans / Pink Paislee; Die cut machine: Silhouette Cameo; Paint: Americana; Ombre yarn: Craft supply; Pen, adhesive: American Crafts

DETAIL SHOTS:
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Guess I better re-do this layout since we're up to 34 now! ;)