I remember it as if it were yesterday….. / 6

Around three decades ago I visited Crete, and prior to setting out had done some reading. I don’t remember now where I first heard of Spinalonga, but determined to get there somehow. IIn those days, you had to visit in a guided group, it was before the days of Visitor Centres.

We took a small boat across from Elounda, I think.  There was a group of about 8 or 10 of us, and I was entranced by the place.  I wanted to get some images with no tourists in, as that wouldn’t have portrayed the sense of sorrow, of melancholy.  So this was probably the first time that I had decided to hang back from the main group to get my images. I made sure I stayed in sight, as I didn’t want to cause problems with getting the boat back to mainland Crete!

At the end, the guide asked me if I was a professional photographer…I wish.

I felt a palpable sense of sorrow on that island, despite the beautiful sunny day, and tried to be as respectful to the memory of those that had once lived here as I could. From 1903 to 1957 the island was used as a leper colony. It has been abandoned ever since.

Spinalonga, 1987

Summer blue sky and vivid light,
white stars dance sparkling on the sea,
our boat cleaves through the water.

At the island we step lightly
through that forbidding arch,
into pure, tragic melancholy.

In the hushed air
echoes of distant voices
from long-stilled lives.

All the past
present in these ruins.

Susan Judd 2014


  1. Very nice, Sue. Words and visuals indeed.
    I went to that former leper colony a couple of years before you. Sadly, the photos remained with my first wife when we split up. Well, she took most of them, so I couldn’t complain. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Oh Sue, this is magnificent. The black and white photos and the poem. ❤ Touching, memorable, peaceful. Thank you!

  3. You have so captured the melancholy air, Sue – in your photos and your words. Sad ghosts.

  4. Heartbreaking; you really have caught the sadness of that place so powerfully Sue.

  5. Yes, went there in the late 1980s. Have you read Victoria Hyslop’s novel about Spinalonga?

    • Sue

      So we were there at about the same time! Had a quick peak at your blog, and seemingly we have been blogging for much the same time….coincidences can be fun! Yes, I have read Victoria Hislop’s book. And I think she made quite a god fist of it

  6. I’ve heard of this place. Your phhotos are haunting and your poem profound. You have captured the essence of the place powerfully.

    • Sue

      Many thanks, Suzanne…. The original images wer colur transparencies, some of which I have posted previously, but sepia has transformed the mood

  7. I don’t know anything about this place, but I love the poem and the photos. However the photos don’t make me feel sad. I’m not sure why, maybe the lovely dappled light you have captured in every picture.

  8. What a treasure of a post. Withholding the nature of the settlement was a mistress-stroke; the photos could indeed have been taken by a professional photographer; and the poem makes me want a lot more of poet-Sue. Thank you.

  9. Amy

    These beautiful photos are telling the stories…

Over to you...(by entering a comment, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and site URL)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk

Travel with Intent

A photographer's view of the world - words and images to inspire your travels and your dreams

Travels and Trifles

Expressing Thought Through Photography


An Occasional Diary of Everyday Life and Travel in the U.K. and sometimes elsewhere

Touring My Backyard

Rediscovering Singapore

Apalabrando los días

Isabel F. Bernaldo de Quirós Blog literario

Marsha Ingrao - Always Write

Having fun blogging with friends

Inside My Sling Bag

Living, Loving, Laughing, Learning and (Being) Lucrative

Travels with Ali

My site is all about my travels around the world and in Australia, plus daily life photos!

Agnes Ashe

Pomegranates & Vine Scroll - Art Inspired Living

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

Carla Baptista

As palavras e as fotografias não gostam de ficar fechadas muito tempo na gaveta...


Live, Love, Travel and Laugh (Proudly Pinoy)


Street Photography and Travel Blog


Aktuelles - Vordergründiges - Hintergründiges - Unergründliches - Dumm Tüch - Fotos


To See a World in a Grain of Sand...


More little things in life

All things bright and beautiful

Delighting in Our World


Quirky thoughts on the ultimate question of life, the universe and popcorn.

Paol Soren

A bit of this and that

The Glasgow Gallivanter

Adventures at home and abroad

%d bloggers like this: