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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.
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Sunday, 28 April 2013
Backwards in time
On Tuesday at 1.20 we weighed anchor for Crete, being then 6 hours in front of our scheduled time.
At about 5 p.m. we saw the mountains of Crete, 60 or 70 miles off, the highest rising to over 8,000 feet. The wind shifted westwards and gave us a slant, but soon after died away. By 5.45 a.m. yesterday morning Crete seemed to be farther off than it had been the previous day. In fact sometimes you couldn't see it at all. I would not go up to the poop to talk to the officer of the watch because I wanted to think about what I should write about Milo which we visited on Tuesday. I wrote the 400 words by 7 a.m.
The slatternly town of Candia is thrilling in a different manner. Its chief characteristic is dust, and it has a water-cart which lays the dust about once an hour and incidentally washes every pair of trousers in the vicinity. It has Cretan male costumes which are voluminous without being elegant, but no Cretan female costumes, no Cretan beauties (so far as I could discern) and little Cretan architecture. It has no posters, but permanently painted advertisements on its Venetian fortification. It has a Venetian palace, but no trams. It has pair-horse cabs, but few motor cars. Like nearly all English boroughs it has no bookshops; but it has many straw-hat shops, and far more cigarette shops than any other city I have ever seen. Almost all the shops have wide-open fronts, - that is, no front wall worth mentioning. Barbers, blacksmiths and cobblers work industriously; you can watch them working industriously. Nobody else works. The great body of the citizens sit in cafes, and play cards all day, or backgammon or chess. The chief card game seems to be a diversion called "Hearts". The Candians have discovered a mode of life which has no apparent sound economic basis, yet Crete is flourishing.
Got back to the ship at 12.20, exhausted. Some of us bathed. We left for Santorini at 6 p.m. Slight head wind. This morning when I got up all plain sail was set, and was drawing nicely.