Just one of those days


Early morning in the month of May. The air is fresh, no wind at all and out at sea the haze is starting to dress Crete in its soft veil. The White Mountains inland looks fantastic when the first sunbeams hit the white snow, still left on the peaks. 
What a perfect day to leave the city of Chania and enjoy the countryside and the mountains now big flourishing gardens.
While I am packing the rented jeep, a new white virgin Vitara, with cameras, bottles of water, fruits and of course our swimming-suits my wife and co-driver Sofia is studying the maps.
It is a real pleasure to drive through Chania at this early hour, no traffic at all. Before we leave the town behind we stop for a quick bougatsa served with a glass of water at Iordanis.
Odos Apokouronou takes us out to Souda and to the highway towards Rethymnon. We are passing, on our right, the road up to Megala Chorafia and to the archaeological site of Aptera from where you have a stunning view over Akrotiri, Souda bay and the Kalami prison (not used for that purpose anymore). 
Aptera is very impressing and absolutely worth to pay a visit Every time we have been there, there has always been something new to watch. Restorations are going on and for the moment they are restoring the old monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos.
After a few hundred metres just before the prison (why take a chance, you never know) we turn left and pass the village of Kalami.
The road is nice and is following the southern side of Souda bay and soon we are entering the village of Kalives.
We continue towards Plaka, Kokkino Xorio, Drapanos, Kefalas, villages that we have visited many times before but they are always nice to come back to. Having an early morning tsikoudia together with some of the "actors" from the movie Zorba in Kokkino Xorio is an adventure in itself. You never know how it will end. Dancing, singing, buying fish or boots or even sharpening your knife or just walking around admiring the old white houses.
You meet with nice, warm and very proud old men and women, always with a certain glimpse in their eyes, telling stories from the old times or telling the blood-curdling story about why the village is called Kokkino Xorio (the red village).
When we reach the Gerani, not far from Rethymnon, something has happened with the weather. It has become very hot and a strong wind is coming from south. It is not that nice anymore and especially the wind is very annoying.
What to do?
"Let's hide behind the mountains". She is very clever my co-driver.
A quick look at the map and yes there is a small road (just what I was looking for) and left we go.
It leads up and up and we can feel the strong wind trying to catch the Vitara.
We cross the road from Rethymnon to Agia Galini and continue eastwards. The roads are empty, no tourists, and now we are behind some of the mountains and it becomes more enjoyable again.
In the valleys, the fields have a very intense green colour. Half-metre high bushes with very strong yellow-coloured flowers cover the mountain-slope. When we stop the motor and jump out of the jeep, we feel the strong smell of honey and we listen to the symphony from thousands of bees collecting. 
The roadside is bordered by flowers in all the colours of the rainbow, a fantastic wild and beautiful garden just in front of our eyes, This is the Amari valley..
"Honey!" it is my co-driver speaking.
"Yes, absolutely let’s buy some honey in the next village"
"Honey??"
"Yes of course"
"Darling"
"?????"
" How about some lunch, darling"
" No honey?"
"Hmm, both!" she is saying the words with a strange look in her eyes
In the next village, we find a small taverna overlooking the valley and we stop for a beer, an omelette and a Greek salad.
The owner, a grey-haired sun-tanned man, is very interested of our country and tells us that he once had met our former Prime Minister Olof Palme (who loved Crete very much).
As it is hard to talk and eat at the same time, it becomes a long lunch. The owner is a very nice person and we are not in hurry. Before we leave, he brings cookies and we share a small bottle of tsikoudia.  
He is waving us farewell and we are on the road again. After just 100 metres, there is a very small road to the left and we follow it.
Those yellow bushes again surround us and the smell is very strong indeed. Suddenly in front of us a gate is turning up, no gatekeeper though.
My co-driver knows what has to be done and she is fast, very fast.
When she enters the Vitara again I give her some gate-money with a big smile.
"OK honey?"
No comments.
After another 200 metres, there is a new gate but also a small Toyota. The driver, a woman of 40 (?), is coming towards us and very friendly she tells us that this road has a dead end and then she returns to her Toyota.
We look at each other: 
"What the h… can she, can we" 
We close the gate behind us and continue.
Of course, our little lady in the Toyota is right soon we can see the dead end.
As we are turning the jeep in order to go back the same way we came, she is coming towards with a big smile on her face saying:
"Ela do, ela, parakalo"
She is running back to her car and from the small platform, she is taking out some pots, some wine- and water bottles and a big white tablecloth.
One stone in each corner of the cloth and the table on the ground is fixed.
Two fingers in her mouth and sharp whistle is heard and from nowhere two men and three boys are turning up.
"Hello and welcome to our land. We are making space for some new olive-trees. It is very hard work and we need some food during the day"
They offer us to share their food: bread, potato-salad, brisoles and wine.
When we tell them about our lunch, they laugh and insist that we shall eat.
One hour of Cretan hospitality and friendship at its best, you are lost. You can do nothing else but love this people.
A little Greek, Swedish, English, German, some fingers, the body, my friends the language is no problem.
Before we leave the men, we are invited to join the woman to the family-house in order to meet her husband and to have a cup of coffee.
They have a nice house just outside the village where we had our first lunch.
Her husband is asleep but soon on his feet. A Swedish couple in his house is a great honour, he says.
One more hour in nice company and it is hard to say farewell, but we have to.
As always, we are not leaving a house without something to bring along. Guess what? Honey one of the best you can ever taste.
Big hugs, kisses, and we leave this nice couple behind.
The time has passed very fast and we decide to spend the night in one of the villages along the road.
We are driving through a smiling landscape and when we reach the village of Gerakari it is time to stop for today.
The room is ok and after a quick shower, we are relaxing with a glass of whisky. What a fantastic day this has been and much of it because of the strong wind from the south.
Remember there is no bad weather.
Late that evening we are invited to the family renting the rooms. They are also running a small taverna on the bottom-floor. Again a lot of food, wine, laughter, stories, singing, drinking tsikoudia and so on.
At least my bed was a bit jumpy that night.
That is another story
Kriti stin kardia mou
lars

 

Early morning in the month of May. The air is fresh, no wind at all and out at sea the haze is starting to dress Crete in its soft veil. The White Mountains inland looks fantastic when the first sunbeams hit the white snow, still left on the peaks. 

What a perfect day to leave Chania and enjoy the countryside and the mountains, now big flourishing gardens.

While I am packing the rented jeep, a new white virgin Vitara, with cameras, bottles of water, fruits and of course our swimming-suits my wife and co-driver Sofia is studying the maps.

It is a real pleasure to drive through Chania at this early hour, no traffic at all. Before we leave the town behind, we stop for a quick bougatsa served with a glass of water at Iordanis.

Odos Apokouronou takes us out to Souda and to the highway towards Rethymnon. We pass on our right the road up to Megala Chorafia and to the archaeological site of Aptera from where you have a stunning view over Akrotiri, Souda bay and the Kalami prison (not used for that purpose anymore). 

Aptera is very impressing and absolutely worth to pay a visit to. Every time we have been there, there has always been something new to watch. Restorations are going on and for the moment they are restoring the old monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos.

After a few hundred metres just before the prison (why take a chance, you never know) we turn left and pass the village of Kalami.

The road is nice and is following the southern side of Souda bay and soon we are entering the village of Kalives.

We continue towards Plaka, Kokkino Xorio, Drapanos, Kefalas, villages which we have visited many times before but they are always nice to come back to. Having an early morning tsikoudia together with some of the "actors" from the movie Zorba in Kokkino Xorio is an adventure in itself. You never know, how it will end. Dancing, singing, buying fish or boots or even sharpening your knife or just walking around to admire the old white houses.

You meet with nice, warm and very proud old men and women, always with a certain glimpse in their eyes, telling stories from the old times or the blood-curdling story about why the village is called Kokkino Xorio (the red village).

When we reach  Gerani, not far from Rethymnon, something has happened to the weather. It has become very hot and a strong wind comes from south. It is not that nice anymore and especially the wind is very annoying.

What to do?

"Let's hide behind the mountains". She is very clever my co-driver.

A quick look at the map and yes there is a small road (just what I was looking for) and left we go.

It leads up and up and we can feel the strong wind trying to catch the Vitara.

We cross the road from Rethymnon to Agia Galini and continue eastwards. The roads are empty, no tourists, and now we are behind some of the mountains and it becomes more enjoyable again.

In the valleys, the fields have a very intense green colour. Half-metre high bushes with very strong yellow-coloured flowers cover the mountain-slopes. When we stop the engine and jump out of the jeep, we feel the strong smell of honey and hear the symphony from thousands of bees collecting. 

The roadside is bordered by flowers in all the colours of the rainbow, a fantastic wild and beautiful garden just in front of our eyes, This is the Amari valley..

"Honey!" it is my co-driver speaking.

"Yes, absolutely let’s buy some honey in the next village"

"Honey??"

"Yes of course"

"Darling"

"?????"

" How about some lunch, darling"

" No honey?"

"Hmm, both!" she says the words with a strange look in her eyes

In the next village, we find a small taverna overlooking the valley and we stop for a beer, an omelette and a Greek salad.

The owner, a grey-haired sun-tanned man, is very interested of our country and tells us, that he once had met our former Prime Minister Olof Palme (who loved Crete very much).

As it is hard to talk and eat at the same time, it becomes a drawn-out lunch. The owner is a very nice person and we are not in hurry. Before we leave, he brings cookies and we share a small bottle of tsikoudia.  

He waves us farewell and we are on the road again. After just 100 metres, there is a very small road to the left and we follow it.

Yellow bushes surround us again and the smell is very strong indeed. Suddenly a gate turns up in front of us , no gatekeeper though.

My co-driver knows what has to be done and she is fast, very fast.

When she enters the Vitara again I give her some gate-money in the shape of a big smile.

"OK honey?"

No comments.

After another 200 metres, there is a new gate but also a small Toyota. The driver, a woman of 40 (?), comes towards us and very friendly tells us that this road has a dead end and then she returns to her Toyota.

We look at each other: 

"What the h… can she, can we" 

We close the gate behind us and continue.

Of course, our little lady in the Toyota is right soon we can see the dead end.

As we are turning the jeep in order to go back the same way we came, she is coming towards with a big smile on her face saying:

"Ela do, ela, parakalo"

She runs back to her car and from the small platform, she picks out some pots, some wine- and water bottles and a big white tablecloth.

One stone in each corner of the cloth and the table on the ground is fixed.

Two fingers in her mouth and sharp whistle and from nowhere two men and three boys turn up.

"Hello and welcome to our land. We are making space for some new olive-trees. It is very hard work and we need some food during the day"

They offer us to share their food: bread, potato-salad, brisoles and wine.

When we tell them about the lunch we just had, they laugh and insist that we shall eat.

One hour of Cretan hospitality and friendship at its best, you are lost. You can do nothing else but love this people.

A little Greek, Swedish, English, German, some fingers, the body, my friends the language is no problem.

Before we leave the men, we are invited to join the woman to the family-house in order to meet her husband and to have a cup of coffee.

They have a nice house just outside the village, where we had our first lunch.

Her husband is asleep but soon on his feet. A Swedish couple in his house is a great honour, he says.

One more hour in nice company and it is hard to say farewell, but we have to.

As always, we are not leaving a house without something to bring along. Guess what? Honey, one of the best you can ever taste.

Big hugs, kisses, and we leave this nice couple behind.

The time has passed very fast and we decide to spend the night in one of the villages along the road.

We are driving through a smiling landscape and when we reach the village of Gerakari it is time to stop for today.

The room is ok and after a quick shower, we relax with a glass of whisky. What a fantastic day this has been and much of it because of the strong wind from the south.

Remember there is no bad weather.

Late that evening we are invited to the family renting the rooms. They also run a small taverna on the bottom-floor. Again a lot of food, wine, laughter, stories, singing, drinking tsikoudia and so on.

At least my bed was a bit jumpy that night.

That is another story

Kriti stin kardia mou

lars

Free Clipart

Aptera, water cisterns

 

Cytius scoparius

 

Springflowers

 


Mimosa