CRETE: A good slice of Greece

Mena RomanoESR5, on life as a MixITiN ESR in Creta

February 2020

Thanks to the MixITiN experience I have the opportunity to conduct my PhD in Crete (Greece). The history of Crete goes back many millennia, preceding the ancient Minoan civilization by more than four millennia.

After the Minoan civilization was devastated, Crete developed an Ancient Greek-influenced organization of city states, then successively became part of the Roman Empire, the Bizantin Empire, the Venetian Republic, the Ottoman Empire, autonomous state, and the modern state of Greece.

For this reason, I was very enthusiastic to come to this magical island to conduct my PhD because I could “touch” nearly all the things I have learnt only at school from books.

But dreams are not strictly related with the reality most of the times and for this reason, at the beginning, it was extremely difficult because I suddenly realized how difficult it was to read a new and different alphabet. I suddenly realized it because I felt very uncomfortable not being able to read what was written on a supermarket product or staring at a street name and trying to understand where I should have gone. Little by little I started to learn how to read and sometimes how to write. I started to be able to communicate with people because I have made learning Greek one of my tasks for this experience. I went around the island to discover the beauties of Crete, from beaches to mountains; from archaeological sites to food. I had the opportunity to meet very nice people that helped me to be integrated and feel like I am home.

Crete embodies perfectly what makes Greece such a beautiful country. It bursts with amazing beaches, crystal clear waters, magnificent mountains, buzzing cites, archaeological sites, and picturesque villages. It is an island, yet it doesn’t feel like one. Green mountains, barren hills, deep gorges, and sandy beaches seem to unite all Greek landscapes in one island. That is Crete. A good slice of Greece.

Eating and drinking is pure pleasure here in Crete. It is possible to enjoy the amazing combination between the Mediterranean and the Turkish cuisines. The rakì is not just a drink: it’s an absolutely a fantastic occasion to stay together with friends and enjoy the warm nights.

I am very glad for this opportunity and I really think this experience will allow me to improve as a person in first place, and of course, as a scientist.