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    Posted August 21, 2014 by
    Carry le Rouet, France
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Travel photo of the day

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    Heartbreaker in the Land of Zeus


    While traveling on the island of Crete, I met a family that invited me to visit Psichro Village on the Lasithi Plateau. Better known as the birthplace of Olympian Zeus, Psichro hosts a half-marathon every year in mid-August. We arrived in the relative coolness of late afternoon as the athletes began to file over the finish line. The village is small, but it appeared as though all the residents had turned out for the event. Windows and doors were flung open and the main street was lined with chairs and tables loaded with water bottles and watermelon and other savory items for athletes and spectators alike. I began to snap pictures of the architecture in ubiquitous blue and white, the inhabitants and the weary athletes. Suddenly I saw this widow and her granddaughter. I loved the juxtaposition of black clothing: the t-shirt of the young girl and the traditional widow's weeds of her grandmother.
    With characteristic Cretan hospitality, people began to ask who I was. My friends’ daughter said I was a journalist. Suddenly, an elderly gentleman arrived with a chair to make me more comfortable while watching the runners. I had to accept although I was busy taking photos. Then I was told the village could find me a husband. I hadn’t asked for one, but I appreciated the accommodating spirit.
    The winners received their trophies while standing on logs of varying heights marked 1st, 2nd and 3rd while standing under a banner in Greek and English, "The Birthplace of Zeus." A stranger no more, I was invited into a home where I was offered a beautiful meal of Cretan specialties and homemade Raki, the potent drink made from the last press of the grapes. I managed to leave without a husband.


    Tag: Young Cretan girl and her grandmother watch marathon runners as they cross finish line in the village of Psichros, Crete.


    (I have traveled extensively and I believe that to travel and to travel with an open mind gives one the opportunity to become an ambassador of sorts. We have an unmitigated duty to respect the customs of another culture while offering insight into our own.)


    Bethany Atherton is a journalist for CIANJ, Commerce Magazine in New Jersey. She lives in France.

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