Tag Archives: Crete

Bright and Beautiful

As we are experiencing Siberian blasts of frigid wind and snow blizzards here in the UK, it seems a good day to review the warmest, sunniest January day on our recent trip to Crete.

DSCN2560Armed with our book, Circular Walks in East Crete we drove over the hills to the village of Kalamafka where our Three Church walk started.

Glorious sunshine had us striding up a well-defined path. After getting a glimpse of the first church the path teased us by turning away with a long, calf pulling uphill stretch.

DSCN2604How sad, well-intentioned internal repairs have ruined frescos.
An overgrown path led from this church to the next one. As the instructions said we’d need to retrace our steps, we decided not to risk falling down a gully, so this became a two church walk.

DSCN2609.jpgFrom here we looked across to the rock edifice topped with our destination church, yet another Timios Stavros, meaning Holy Cross. Alan spent ages with his binoculars trying to see the path to the top… he couldn’t so we set off again. We soon found ourselves enjoying a spell of easy walking along a gravel track. For the second time on this walk, the route took us away from our destination.

DSCN2621

On a steady incline we enjoyed seeing more of the scenery open up and guessed we’d soon see both the north and south coasts at the same time.

So beautiful, and without a breath of wind, people or distracting noises it felt very special.

After passing an agricultural area, we followed a hard to find down hill path. I nearly trod on these Sand Crocus. Stephen Lenton, an amateur botanist has a brilliant website and if you want to see the entry for this plant, or ID a plant yourself, Click Here.

Once on flatter ground, we enjoyed a breather before our climb up. Phew, it wasn’t a vertical climb all the way as the path zigzagged to the top.

At the top we enjoyed our picnic lunch feeling on top of the world looking down on the north and south coasts with the important wetlands of the Bramiana Dam and Lake too.  Ah, that’s given me a good idea for another walk…

What about you? Where do your thoughts go on a wintry day?

 

New Shop In Sissi

Scenic Sissi, is a gem on Crete’s north coast, just east of Malia. Although we love to visit at any time of year, this village really comes alive when full of summer visitors.

4-DSC04509With a picturesque harbour, waterfront restaurants and a few streets of shops and bars, Sissi is popular with day trippers,  residents of local hotels, and those who arrive by boat each afternoon from Hersonnisos.  This pirate boat, The Black Rose makes its dramatic entry to music from Pirates of the Caribbean.

This year an attractive new shop, Dia Xeiros has opened in the heart of Sissi.

ShopInside you’ll meet the welcoming owner, Kalliopi, and perhaps her daughter, Agapi. This clever pair, along with Kalliopi’s husband, Yannis, hand crafted most of the products on display. A refreshing change from the usual tourist souvenirs and at affordable prices you can treat yourself…I have my eye on a hand painted bottle with small glasses. If you’d like a closer look at the product range click here, or to find Kalliopi on Facebook click here.

Chatting to Kalliopi I mentioned how I once watched The Black Rose in extreme difficulty, fighting to gain access to Sissi harbour.  Despite clear blue skies, a howling summer gale threatened to dash the boat on rocks. Winds in Crete are fickle, and an hour later only a light breeze ruffled the water. As we seemed to be getting on well I told Kalliopi how this scene inspired a key chapter my historical novel, Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa.

Kalliope

Kalliopi was intrigued by a story featuring Sissi, and I’m delighted to say you can buy a copy of Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa from her shop.

If Sissi is not on your itinerary, you can also buy a copy from Eklektos Bookshop, Elounda and Nikitakis Gift Shop in the centre of Kritsotopoula Street, Kritsa.

To learn more about the story, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kritsotopoula’s Kritsa Launch

5-DSC06051Aristidis Cafe, in the centre of Kritsa, is right opposite Nikitakis Gift shop where my historical adventure novel, Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa is on sale.

Although the location of Aristidis Cafe made it an obvious venue for a launch party, the main reasons I chose it are the hosts, Aristidis and his wife Irene, who go out of their way to welcome guests to Kritsa. Their comfortable seating and sun umbrellas make it a great relaxing point for visitors to the village, and of course, those umbrellas gave us good protection from the rain!

It gave me an extra thrill that despite the language issue, several local people came along to wish me well, including the Chair of the Kritsa Village Cultural Association, Νικος Κοκκινης and the Chair of the planned Kritsotopoula museum, Νικος Μασσαρος. Three local women, with excellent English language skills, also bought copies of the book so I await their feedback with a mix of nervous excitement!

2015-05-28 19.21.52This is me with Nikos, owner of Nikitakis gift shop. Even though he’d moved the book stand inside due to a rain shower, it didn’t dampen my spirits. I count myself lucky that Nikos chose to stock Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa right in the middle of Kritsotopoula Street.

2015-05-28 18.30.47

These traditional musicians added to the lively atmosphere, no one danced though, too busy chatting!

3-DSC06052Of course Nikos sold books during the evening,  and I felt like a celebrity as I signed copies. This is me signing the book bought by Steve Daniels, who writes one of my favourite blogs, Crete Nature.

Some guests even brought along books for me to sign that they’d previously purchased, either from Eklektos Bookshop in Elounda or via Amazon, shame I couldn’t sign the ebook versions!

2015-05-28 18.55.26

Just for fun we had a prize draw and winners now have an exclusive T Shirt, cap, key ring or pen, all sporting the image of the Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa book cover.

Here is the T Shirt winner, Jean Dugmore.

JessieJessie, the owner Elixirio, Kritsa’s quirky mezes cafe won the hat, and here she is modeling it beautifully. If you fancy an a relaxed evening, with a range of delicious home cooked mezes while you sip your drinks in a shady arbour, then I can recomend you pay a visit, you’ll find Jessie opposite Kritsa school.

My work in progress is a sequel called Rodanthe’s Gift which includes a mystery about the location of some hidden gold, so we had a free to enter game based on this. Thanks to my friend Ann, who managed to speak to virtually everyone during the evening, we gained many entries to find the hidden treasure. Arisitidis generously donated a meal voucher for the lucky winner, of the treasure hunt, Julie Pidsley.

DSCF6788Thank you to Crete Homes for supporting me via sponsorship for this launch event and for placing a link to my blog on their website. This is Hilary Dawson, from Crete Homes displaying Nigel Ratcliffe’s retelling of the legendary poem, Rhodanthe’s Song. I’m indebted to Nigel for generously sharing his translation of the early Greek poem, and for his wise feedback on my early drafts. Our collaboration will continue as Nigel and I have already discussed how I might use some of his work in my sequel, Rodanthe’s Gift. Meanwhile, I look forward to seeing both Rhodanthe’s Song and Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa next to each other in the planned Kritsotopoula museum.

Thank you to Robin Williams, editor of Crete Today Newsletter for allowing me to use this photo of me with Hilary. If you’d like this great monthly newsletter, please email Robin via mediaplus1941@gmail.com

Most other photos are courtesy of Cynthia Pay who gave me permission to use them. Thank you Cindy.

Sincere thanks to all of those people who came along despite the ‘iffy’ weather, and to those who couldn’t attend but still sent best wishes.

Finally, if you enjoy the book, please add a review to Amazon Reviews, they don’t mind if you bought it elsewhere, and it would mean a great deal to me. X

PS – a few days after the event, a report of the event appeared in the local daily newspaper, so thanks to the reporter, Leonidas Klontzas for attending during the event and for making such a full report. I have a cutting from the newspaper so that I can translate it. Meanwhile,  this link will take you to a shorter review on line and, if you can’t read Greek then Google translate will help you read it.

http://www.anatolh.com/lasithi-news/agios-nikolaos/item/102223-παρουσίαση-της-κριτσωτοπούλας