Still Life in Crete

20140703_134951.jpgDriving off the beaten track in Crete often brings lovely surprises, and in this post I’ll look back to the time we found the remarkable village, Avdou. Why did we stop there? No idea. I can’t remember if we were driving through the pretty Lagada Valley on our way to or from Lassithi. It is a lovely road with access to for off-roading, horse-riding, hiking, walking and bird-watching.

However, for something completely different, I recommend a visit to Avdou if you’re in the area. Don’t go midday day in July if you’re hungry though, we only found a small supermarket open, and that was the delight.

We hadn’t wandered far before we saw painted ‘shop’ signs. Some, outside a kafenion or shop made sense, others were fixed above empty properties. Once we realised these the signs told the commercial history of the village, the quest was on…


Each sign had a pictorial description and the dates of operation. Some, like the tinner, had closed their doors many years ago, while the most recent I saw had served local folk until 2002. The slide-show below shares a good selection.


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20140703_133900.jpgBack in Kritsa I showed the photos to a couple of local people and they laughed aloud at this one. No, I didn’t realise, it was the place to get your rams castrated!

There are many empty shops in Kritsa and I’d love to see an initiative like this. Not only would it be a great contribution to local history, it would encourage visitors to wander beyond the main street of shops and imagine what a vibrant village it must have been when people worked and shopped locally.


21 thoughts on “Still Life in Crete”

  1. Love the signposts, especially the χιστηριο. Sounds hysterical. It’s always sad however in Greece to find so many villages that are empty now with shops boarded up. Worse now because of the crisis.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely idea💙 Many shops have closed in recent years in the village where I live in the south west Peloponnese….so sad to see the shutters pulled down and the building all closed up.


  3. What a wonderful idea with signing the houses this way. A lot of times we have thought about abandoned houses, what they had been used for in further times. We visited Avdou a yeara go on our way back from Lasithi, but only to have diner. Next time we´ll also have a walk here. Thank you for ths tipp.


  4. i have a small house in the mountains near ziros that was a liitle like the “goat house”in mama mia before i spent time and money renovating it.there are only2/3 kafenions in the village and it still i would say is a working all of greece there are always numerous abandon/neglected properties but on the plus side many that are well kept.i learnt a long time ago the old and the new side by side are part of what makes greece what it is.some visitors cannot see that comparing with their own countries.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lovely to meet you here, David – you are very welcome. We still have Ziros gorge on our ‘to do’ list. It won’t be this year, but we will stay nearby a couple of nights to really explore out of season. My home village of Kritsa also has many neglected properties among the habitable. Perhaps that is one of the reason us ‘incomers’ seem to be welcomed as we bring another house back to life. As you say, it all adds to the charm. Best wishes, Yvonne x


      1. Thankyou yvonne.i am not sure if you looked at my blog so i will explain briefly.i just created a new blog on wordpresss however i imported a blogger blog and all those posts went into new blog which was not the plan.i have lots of blogger blogs re crete/greece.anyway i am coming to my house end of september and my new blog should see new posts although it is not entirel greek focused.i said a brief explanayion haha. David


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