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Iraklion, Crete

Another quick post…

What is Crete’s capital? The answer is letter C. Joke, joke, joke. :)

Irakleio is Creta’s capital. The largest city in Crete, and fifth in entire Greece. What you get is a bustling, urban city. Not very hard to notice. It is also hard to deny that this economic center has its both modern and historical importance, and has its full of wondrous discoveries within.

I first introduced you to Minoan Palace of Knossos. If you are to look up “first civilization in Europe” or “history of Europe”, you’d find that this, in Irakleio, is the site of Europe’s first civilization.

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Another place of interest is Archaeological Museum.

Me and a friend went to CretAquarium, a stop in Golden Bay, Venetian Fortress, and McDonalds (what!? Don’t judge. They have Greek Mac :D ). Crete was once in a Venetian Period, but more on that later. :)

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Last Calls…

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THE SOPHOMORE SLUMP RECOMMENDS

And since this is a quick post, I want to share you these very very cool music videos all created by OK GO.

One note: All music videos are impressively one-shot videos.

First is this massive, extreme domino effect “machine”… really really cool …

Second is a highly complex choreographed video. The matrix part close to the end is whoa-insane!

The matrix part is participated by 2300 people. During filming, this video was done in intentional slow-motion playing the song in half-time.

Next is playing “musical instruments” while driving a car … again under one take.

If you did watch it, the song was recorded during filming of the video.

This last one is creative, creative, creative. This truly is “some pleasure in the eyes”…

I really hope you got to see these whoa-some, fun, cool music videos.


Also … Madhu of The Urge to Wander is an excellent, one of the top bloggers in my book. I hope you vote for her entry for “Journeys of a Lifetime Story”. I assure your vote will be casted for the right person, or that you won’t be disappointed following her blog.

Next, a 2.0 of Death Valley, Downtown Chania, or a something-else post.

Minoan Palace of Knossos

Instead of talking history about the archeological findings, let’s learn a little bit of Greek Mythology. I think it’s more insteresting.

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Labyrinth and minotaur happened to originate or are still holding evidence here in Crete, Greece and became common knowledge or usage.

Labyrinth. In Greek Mythology, the original labyrinth is associated with Minoan Palace of Knossos. It’s an elaborate maze construction built by architect Daedalus to hold Minotaur. Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it.

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Minotaur. Minotaur comes from the words Minos and Toros which translate as “Bull of Minos”. A minotaur is now being used as a common name for bull-headed creatures. “The” Minotaur was kept in the center of the Labyrinth and was eventually killed by Theseus.

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King Minos of Crete. Every nine years, he made King Aegeus of Athens to pick seven young boys and seven young girls to be sent to the Labyrinth and be eaten by Minotaur. It served as a payment for the death of one of his son, Androgeus, in Athens.

Theseus of Athens stopped these killings by slaying Minotaur.

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Theseus. Theseus is a founder-king of Athens. He volunteered to be one of the youths. He was  successful in defeating Minotaur with the help of Ariadne, King Minos’ daughter.

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Extra:

Ariadne. Ariadne fell in love with Theseus and gave him pointers on his quest in the Labyrinth and to kill Minotaur in the promise that he’d take her with him if he’s successful. He defeated Minotaur and as promised took Ariadne with him. But Athena woke Theseus telling him to leave early and leave Ariadne. It was said that Ariadne was left in the island of Naxos (which I hope to visit one day :) ).  Later, the island’s protector, Dionysus, found her and eventually married her.

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THE SOPHOMORE SLUMP RECOMMENDS:

Movie: Juno – Hip, witty and expotentially cooler.

Here’s a clip …

Music: Voodoo by D’Angleo – Perhaps one of the most sought after artists to ever come back in the music scene. It’s because his two albums Brown Sugar and Voodoo are just too darn good not to be followed.

For the ladies … deemed as one of the sexiest music videos in history.

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I was expecting to see a real palace when we went to this place, and all I saw was a bunch of rocks. :D No, I didn’t see grand majestic construction. But the value of this place is deep in the birth of Greek civilization and mythology. It pays to read about the places you’ve been to. As it turns out, it’s so awesome to see a bunch of rocks. ;)

Last Call …

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Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) Monastery in Crete, Greece

It has been cold, cold, cold here in a famous Summer destination, Crete, Greece. Right now, it is actually raining with snows. I’m talking all over Crete, and not just on high mountains. My landlord said it was only the first time in 10 years.

Luckily last weekend, we did get to borrow a little bit of sunshine. And so, we took advantage of it!

Agia Triada Monastery

Hurry up! Let’s go…

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The Sophomore Slump Recommends

Movie: And my choice for the upcoming Oscar is Birdman to snag Best Picture, Best Director (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – tough competition against Boyhood), Best Actor (Michael Keaton – very deserving), Best Actress (Emma Stone – long shot), and Best Screenplay. 

Say what!!?? Who hates bloggers? The actual clip is only up to 1:33.

Music: Z by My Morning Jacket – Looking for the best air drums play? My Morning Jacket and their album Z might be your best bet.

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Agia Triada Monastery

As soon as you enter the gate, you will be welcomed with a nice, well-cared-for courtyard. From what I heard, not many monasteries can say the same.

Agia Triada Monastery

They say that many monasteries here in Greece come as a disappointment. Agia Triada is an exception.

Let’s go inside …

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OMG …

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Oh My Greek! :lol:

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The enitre complex looks old because it is old. :) It is one of the most important historical monuments of the island.

Agia Triada Monastery

 You have to give Agia Triada some slack. It has gone through a lot. :D

Its initial construction was stopped during Turkish Invasion. Then, during the Greek War of Independence in 1821, the monks managed to escape the monastery leaving behind historical relics and manuscripts which were burnt by the Turks. The church was completed only after the Greek Revolution.

Agia Triada Monastery

 I love its ancient look anyway. ;)

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The monastery also has a museum, a library, and a shop to buy great wine, vinegar, cheese, and olive oil products.

There is no entry fee. Everyone is welcome, religious or not. Plus, this is very close to Chania airport. Exceptionally impressive, architecturally interesting, and historically important. Agia Triada Monastery might be a great quick stop as you enter the island before hitting the beach, or as you are leaving the island before you take the flight back. ;)

Last Calls …

Agia Triada Monastery

Agia Triada Monastery

Agia Triada Monastery

 

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FEATURED BLOG

Feel, feel and feel… Saya..D..Poet is here to entertain and impress us with her poems. Here’s a favorite … Sunshine – lost n found <– click on the title.

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This weekend, we are for sure going to Rethymno for the Carnival!

My Amazing Race in California

Is everybody ready? Alright, let’s get this race started. The world is waiting for you….


Hold it! A little detour. :D

The Sophomore Slump Recommends

Music: Embrya by Maxwell – Nobody makes real Neo Soul music anymore. Thank goodness we have at least Maxwell’s music to go back to.

Remember this iconic MTV Unplugged performance? Here is Maxwell’s rendition of “This Woman’s Work” (not part of the album Embrya).

Movie: Blue Jasmine – Probably, arguably, the best female acting performance of the decade by far. Cate Blanchett is incredibly mesmerizing.


This is part of my once a month California post.

This is a redo of an older post, My Amazing Race (click here).

I used to watch The Amazing Race religiously before. The  I stopped for a very very long time. I probably just returned watching it again about a year and a half ago. I started downloading seasons that I missed. I wasn’t actually aware that I’ve already been to some of The Amazing Race’s starting lines in California were.

Out of the 25 seasons of The Amazing Race, 15 of it started in California. And out of those 15, I’ve been to 9 of them. Not bad eh. :) Two I included are general areas which are Santa Barbara and Pasadena. All others are exact locations. The only one that I actually became aware of because of the show was Hsi Lai Temple.

On my mark, travel safe, Go!

Season 5: Santa Monica Pier

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Season 12: The Playboy Mansion

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Season 13: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

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Season 18: San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm, Palm Springs

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Season 19: Hsi Lai Temple

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Season 20: Santa Barbara

Season 21: Pasadena

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Season 22: Griffith Observatory

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Season 23: Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio

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The Amazing Race premieres February 25 this year.

Next month’s California post: Street Art in California

Busting the Odometer in Souda Bay, Greece

Strap on your seatbelt. We are busting the odometer here in Souda Bay, Greece.

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View from my apartment

We’ll go the beach areas, make a quick look at downtown, eat good food,  go to one ancient structure, drive around …

And let’s get orientated!


 

THE SOPHOMORE SLUMP RECOMMENDS

Movie: Man on Wire – Before Joseph Gordon-Levitt steals the show, let it be known that there is already an awesome award-winning documentary film about Philippe Petit, the Man on Wire. There’s more theatrics to this film than just crossing a wire between the Twin Towers in New York. There’s more behind to the intensity of his balancing act. There’s more gravity to his dream chasing, of the art he performs. And at the end, a closer look of the personality behind the man on wire himself. 


Music: In Search of … by N.E.R.D.  Doesn’t ring a bell? Think Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. That combination get you a drumming, strumming, ROCKING R&B/Hip-Hop album. Although, tracks like “Run to the Sun” (best track), “Stay Together” and the album ender “Bobby James” might surprise you even more.

Here is “Rock Star” which includes a feature on, well, a NERD.


 

First thing first…

You might assume this is a beatification on the road just like I thought too …

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Nope! This is a Death Box. It means that there has been death/s from accident that happened there. The number of these death boxes you see on the road is alarming.

Before coming here, I already heard the many warnings and bad reps on driving here in Greece is – the traffic rules, the pedestrians, the narrow roads, same ordeal when I was in Naples, Italy. It is whoa dangerous to drive here.

I’ll be more careful and be more of a defensive driver.

In case we get lost, I already know the Greek translation of “How to I go back to …?” :D

I actually signed up to a Greek lesson. We’ll talk about Greek language some other time. ;)

Let’s get moving…

By the way, local Greek radio station is on. Screw putting on a CD. ;)

1st pic: Mail boxes, they’re everywhere, visible while driving the road
2nd pic: 1 Euro sandwiches!!!
4,5,6 pics: Death Boxes

This next one is the same view from my apartment, only closer. Taken from where this Nymfes Cafe Restaurant is.

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This next one is on the other side of those views.

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Views are in front of Mega Place, the theater complex here.

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A preview of the harbor around the downtown area.

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We went and had a feast by the harbor. Wine, raki (“moonshine” in Greece, none for me please), and dessert are on the house!

A quick stop at an ancient structure, close to the airport.

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… and of course, the beach areas …

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The beaches here are small. But even so, they say that during Summer tourists from all over the world come here multiplying the population up to 10x. We shall see after this rainy season.

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We’re almost out of gas. We explored enough already so we RTB (return to base). :D

You’ve been an excellent navigator. :D

(All these are culmination of solo, duet, and group trip. :) )

Now that I started driving around, I get a little used to driving here. I get to know where to shop, eat, drink coffee, places to visit and explore, and areas to just hang out.

Next weekend, we’ll wake early and go see more of the The Harbor and Downtown area. Or, hopefully, maybe fly to Athens. That’s if my supervisors let me. If not, plenty of time for Athens. ;)


 

FEATURED BLOG

Get to the front page and scroll down, down, down and be amazed on how awesome DuneLight’s photography are. Panorama, high defs, landscape and ocean views, travel photos, portraits to event pictures … DuneLight (click here) has a little bit of everything.

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park / #323

This is like a 3D post. ;) My apology if it makes you dizzy. :D


The Sophomore Slump Recommends

Movie: Persepolis – This animated movie for adults is full of quirks amidst serious historical events. It follows the autobiography of Marjane from childhood during Islamic Revolution all the way to adulthood where she needed to find herself where to fit. It’s a film that is hard to forget.

Music: Sea Change – We all know Beck who gave us psychedelic music like 90’s hits “Loser” and “E-Pro”. But in the beginning of 2000’s, he surprised everyone when he did a complete 360 and gave us one of the most heartbreaking albums of the decade with “Sea Change”.

Here is one of my most favorite album-openers, “Golden Age”. Hear also, on your own, “Guess I’m Doing Fine”.


My schedule was early. I still had one day before I had to meet friends in Yosemite so I decided to drive ahead. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are on the way anyway.

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What’s gotten to me when I drove all over California for 3 weeks was that traveling became a sign of success for me. This is what I love to do. So when I do it I feel more accomplished.

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In life, school, work, etc, when all the glory things are in front of me I tend to ask myself, “How did I get here?”. I tend to look back the way I was.

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You might not see it, but there are ancient writtings on this rock. It’s okay if you don’t see it. It’s misspelled anyways. :) I kid, i kid.

I was a scrawny little kid in the Philippines whose source of happiness came from simple things like just plain playing outside. I had no fancy toys, maybe except Lego. My shoes were my older borther’s old shoes. I had to walk more than a mile to get to my school. Things like that make me look the way I am now, and feel proud of myself.

General Sherman: THE largest tree of the world

It’s so cool to be in Sequoia National Park. You get to be among the giants of trees. :)

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Tunnel Rock

Nobody, the people who knows and knew me, would not imagine me lasting on this job that I do now. I’m not the most serious, not the most responsible, and not even the most outspoken. I am at the tenth year of my work, and happily assigned currently in Greece.

image Whatever you do, never give up. By being prudent, practical or wise, you can give up on one thing but never surrender completely. Exhaust all your options, continue however silly you look and fight to the bitter end. When someone said you can’t, screw that person. :) Erase that. Go see and prove it yourself whether you can or cannot do something. But, I’m begging you, do not have a “never give up” mentality solely because of pride.

THE Largest Tree on Earth - Sequoia National Monument

General Sherman: THE Largest Tree on Earth

I know it’s not a diploma. It’s not a promotion. It’s not an ideal woman I get to be with. :D Traveling is a big part of my accomplishments. I feel the high. I feel lucky. I feel successful when I travel.

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And when you’re really really in dire situation and heavy things are weighing on you, forget about pride. Please, when you have a problem, seek other people. Don’t bury yourself by solving your problem just by your own because of your pride. I just want to throw it out there. Because a lot of people do dig themselves deeper all because of pride. We all have problems. We all make mistakes. People need people.

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Kings Canyon is in conjunction to Sequoia National Park. I spent exploring most of the day in the latter. Most areas in Kings Canyon are inaccessible during winter.

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High Sierra Mountains as seen from Kings Canyon Overlook

I have a strong desire for traveling. This one and the one 2-weeks travel around that I did 2 years ago, I Nike just do it. I made zero reservation. No concrete plans. I was budget traveling. You gotta take risks sometimes. Sometimes. And inconvenience is nothing on me. Been there, done that.

Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park

One last thing. If you think you have a problem, think that things can be worse. Tomorrow is a brighter day. If that next day tops yesterday, the next day is even brighter. Why? Because you are still there! You have hope. You got time to refocus, adjust, or change. Some times, laugh at your problems. Maybe that’s a solution. You can always look back at the things you’ve done and accomplished. Look around you and see what you have. Then think what others don’t have.

Never completely give up.

This post is part of Special Reports. For more of Special Reports, click (here).

Omalos in Crete, Greece

Yup! Rommel of The Sophomore Slump left California and is now living in Greece! I’m back in Europe, baby! :) I’m here in the island of Crete and will be staying for a year or two.

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The Sophomore Slump Recommends

Music: The ArchAndroid by Janelle Monae – “Out of this world” weird as it may be, this “concept” album saves retro R&B in the coming of 2010’s.

Movie: Fight Club – Directed by David Fincher, this is a brilliant intellectual movie packed with unconventional words of wisdom masquerading in bloody and psychological scenes.

Here is one of Tyler Durden’s words … “It is only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

For more, here’s a blogpost of mine –> http://thesophomoreslump2.com/2014/07/11/street-food-cinema/


This is our backyard view from where I work.

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Durng my first days here, I wondered when will I ever get to come close to that beauty.

I was completely okay with waiting it out. I don’t have a car right now. I don’t know the ways of the streets here. I don’t know how to get to point A to B.

So imagine my excitement when an old-time friend invited me to go to the mountains.

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Weee!!! :D

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I was able to go to my first Greek travel destination within a week. I was happy as a clam. :)

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We snaked through a very winding road on the way to Omalos here in Crete, Greece.

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The drive gave me a headache. I had to close my eyes not to get dizzy. One of us actually puked, but she said she’s always that way.

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But as always, never mind the hassles of traveling when you get views that are this beautiful…

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See how tiny that person is from the picture above. Cool!

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I’m not one to play on the snow but I always appreciate the beauty it creates.

Last Calls …

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Crete is known for its beach scenes as people from all over the place come visit here during Summer. So during snowy winter season, Omalos is the way to go.

The first and this last picture is a view from my friend’s house. What a treat…

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