25th March- Greek Independence Day

Wednesday 25th March 2015.

It’s Greek Independence day and the team is free because schools are closed. The family, India, Elisabeth, Tanja and Chadwick, went off on their own adventure. Marcella, Chris and I bused through the gate of the walled city of Heraklion to watch the parade. The plaza near the archeological museum was filled with thousands, tiny children carrying Greek flags waving them wildly as they awaited the start of the parade. People were lined up three deep along the parade route. We heard the band long before we could see them. They made their entrance and took their places in the band stand where they would play marches all through the parade and beyond.

The rain stopped just as the parade began. First came the Red Cross workers, the men wearing huge red rucksacks. They were followed by the royal guard in their short white skirts and giant pompoms on their red slippers. After them came the ladies and gents in traditional costumes of crimson velvet trimmings of lace, women and little girls in greens and blues with flowers in their hair. All moved slowly and deliberately giving us time to admire their finery.

Finally came my favorite, the groups of students in uniforms marching proudly in dazzling white shirts and dark blue trousers for the boys and dark blue skirts for the girls. There were hundreds of students but the loudest applause of all came for the handicapped kids, some in wheel chairs and others who stepped high looking a bit dazzled.

Kindness and courtesy were the order of the day despite the size of the crowd and the excitement of the activities.

Elementary school.

Elementary school.

Traditional Cretan costumes.

Traditional Cretan costumes.

Tsolia.

Tsolia.

After the parade I enjoyed a leisurely stroll by the “gate of Saint George” down to the Venetian port. I lunched at a popular fish tavern attracted by a giant mural of Akaris and Daedelus gliding on waxen wings above the door. I snapped many photos of the boats at the marina, of the Venetian port and of the arsenal. I talked to dozens of local people throughout the day startling them with my “ you Tarzan me Jane”, command of their language.

The teams day ended with a fabulous dinner at Petousis windmill restaurant in Ammoudara. Then hugs all round and off to bed!!

“Thought of the day”

“What we have to learn to do , we learn by doing”.   Aritotle.

Journal by Annie.

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