We journeyed for three days and nights, o’er land and sea to the distant island of Crete, ignoring our parents’ concerns. We could have flown directly from Dublin but it was the ‘90s and we had more time than money and more money than sense.
Crete, home of Knossos Palace, where legend says King Minos kept his minotaur son, half-bull, half-human, in a labyrinth and where loud-shirted tourists now snap up china bulls and ornate pots of knock-off perfume from the gift shop.
As students, more interested in the living than the dead and thirstier for Ouzo than knowledge, it took us months more to reach the 7,000-year-old palace ruins. We followed the thread of the honey-sweet tour guide and her paying customers through the maze, where we walked in the footsteps of Daedalus, a master inventor and the creator of the labyrinth. Imprisoned by the King with his hapless son Icarus when the maze was complete, the father and son escaped using wax wings of Daedalus’ design.
The tour guide spotted us and shooed us away before she finished the story. I assume they escaped successfully. Without her words, the palace was just a pile of old rubble.
That Autumn we flew home on scorched, but fully formed wings, to a hero’s welcome.