With the end of our holiday fast approaching we decided we really needed to go to Spinalonga before time got the better of us.
We were up early to be on the first boat over to hopefully avoid the crowds and before it got too overbearingly hot.
Darrell, always a martyr to mal de mer, had taken his seasickness tablets and had anti motion bands on both wrists and both ankles, just to be on the safe side, despite it only being a half an hour voyage at the most.
The sea was a pure turquoise blue and crystal clear, it was just toooooo impossibly romantic for words.
We were there before we knew it, the story of The Island (by Victoria Hislop) very much in our minds.
Our visit seemed a little intrusive, knowing that so many poor people, suffering from leprosy had found themselves here, knowing that they would never see their families again and that they would almost certainly die here.
But, we are so grateful that we got there so early, as we were able to walk round the island on our own, totally undisturbed by the voices of others……..
……. and that made it all the more haunting…….
……. especially in the cemetery, at the far side of the island, away from the houses and hospital, where graves were shared due to the number and frequency of deaths and limited space. It was here that the whole history of the island being a leper colony really hit us. We felt, as I said like intruders on so much unbearable suffering and sadness.
The houses of those who lived on the island were fascinating, they lived normal lives with the usual village facilities, just totally isolated from the outside world.
When the last lepers left the houses were abandoned and some demolished in an effort to “hide” the island’s history.
We went in the church and lit a candle, but by now the island was bustling with many tour groups and their guides and our solitary mood and thoughts were broken …….
…….. but what we had, on our own was very special and will stay with us for many many years to come.
We looked at some of the items that had been left and displayed in the old shops and houses, which was fascinating………
……. but I think we will all be looking to find out a lot more about Spinalonga when we get back home.
We were on the first boat to arrive ……
…… our timing couldn’t have been more perfect.