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May 28, 2007

Road Trip Day #2: The road to Lasithi and the Homo Sapiens museum

Armed only with what we later established to be an incredibly inaccurate map of central Crete, we set off from Archanes with the aim of reaching the Lasithi Plateau. The Plateau is in the East of the island, and consists of a plain that is 900 metres above sea level, itself surrounded by mountains.

After a little bit of to and fro to get to the right road, we were eventually heading East, and able to follow where we were on the map. Now, if there are two things Claire doesn't like, it is heights, and winding roads. Luckily for her, the approach to Lasithi is almost exclusively composed of these two things.

We approached the plateau from the North, which gave me, as passenger, some spectacular views back across the island.


We had agreed a special "We are not children being driven by our parents" rule that meant that whilst driving, it was OK for either of us to request a stop to 'stretch their legs' at any point during the journey. I invoked the rule just passed the village of Aski, and then found myself involved in a comedy routine.

I don't know if you've ever seen the 60s Batman TV movie where Batman is trying to dispose of a ticking time-bomb. He is running along a pier by the sea, but at every turn, just as he is about to drop the bomb, he sees a reason why it can't be allowed to detonate there - either some children playing, or a mum pushing a pram, or two nuns etc etc.

Well, my attempt to relieve myself at the side of the road followed a similar pattern. Oh, not here, that man can see me. Ah, but he can't see me if I move into this niche in the rock. Oh, but this is where someone is growing lettuce. Oh, not here, it is right next to a roadside shrine. Oh, not here, that goat is tethered, but I might still be within his reach. Oh, not here, now another guy can see me. And so on!

That wasn't the funniest thing on the journey to Lasithi though. That came very near the top of the mountain. We rounded a corner to see the unexpected sight of the "Homo Sapiens" museum. "Ascend, And Be Near God!" it proclaimed at a height of 800 metres.


Obviously we had to get out and have a look.

We didn't actually go into the museum, but judging by the quality of the exhibits outside, we don't think we can have missed too much.


The highlight, perhaps, was a large stone, which featured a barely recognisable face-type shape, with a sign that proclaimed it to be "Homo Sapiens Dog"


A kindly French tourist offered to take our photograph together, so here we are, 800m high, with the Northern coast of Crete behind us, sharing the "Homo Sapiens Throne"


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