Knosos, Crete. There are 2 pieces to this experience. The famous Minoan archeological site, and the Archeological Museum in Heraklion. At the site, we joined a routine (free) tour group with an official guide. This means (suddenly) becoming members of an intimate, but randomly selected group of travelers, for a relatively short period of time. This was my second visit to Knosos, so maybe I wasn't paying full attention. Our particular little group seemed so intriguing to me that my curiosity about my fellow tourists was distracting me from the actual tour.
Although our tour guide was very compelling
How much we engage or bond on a tour depends on the dynamic of the particular group, and the guide. In general, total strangers bond quickly as travelers when something "happens", like a rainstorm, or a transportation breakdown, or political event... but a short site tour is usually routine and uneventful. I wished I could've gotten a deeper introduction from each person, more than country of origin, for example, and I wonder if any tour programs try to address that desire?
The valuable murals and artifacts from Knosos are 15 mins away in Heraklion's Archeology museum. This is not as strange as having to go to London. But it still feels a bit disconnected from the site. The austere museum architecture uses columns, proportions, and colors to help reference the Minoan ruin.
The grand long information counter had a welcoming flower arrangement on it, but not a soul in sight
Like shop keepers often do, the information/welcome desk attendant was relaxing off to the side, leaving the counter empty. Many visitors wouldn't realize who he was, or feel comfortable enough to approach him.