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Cretan Hospitality


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#1 yannis_s

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 01:01 AM

January 2, 2005. The weather is rainy in Heraklion but my information is that it is a beautiful sunny day in Matala area. I pass the information to my friends and we decide to drive the one hour to the south and spend the day there.
It takes us almost 3 hours to reach Matala because we like to stop along the way to enjoy the view and take a few photos. Until we reach Matala we have been rewarded with a magnificent rainbow in front of Psiloritis (Mt. Ida) and the beautful view of Komos beach and the Messara bay.
Matala looks like a ghost town at this time of the year and there is only one tavern and a cafe open. The beach is empty and it looks strange without all the summer sunbeds and umbrellas.
We take a walk in the empty roads where cats are more than humans. We meet a couple of fishermen and exchange the usual wishes (Hronia Polla) for the New Year. We climb some stairs and we stand on the terrace of a summer bar which is now closed and the terrace is empty.
I take some photos and suddenly a door opens and a man comes out. I wish him Hronia Polla, he wishes back and then he asks us if we would like a glass of wine or raki.
Raki is always welcome, so he disappears in his house again to come out a second later with a big bottle of raki, 3 glasses and a plate full of olives, cucumber, tomatoes, dry bread, sardines and a few mandarins.

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Everything is delicious and his raki is an excellent one with a fine aroma. In no time we start chatting with our host like we knew each other for a long time already. He even suggests to cook lunch for all of us. We refuse his offer politely and 20 minutes later we say goodbye and we leave to visit the caves at the other end of the beach.
We were all amazed by the hospitality of this man. He had never met us before and he had no reason to offer us the drinks and the apetizers. It was just a nobble gesture out of his heart. It was the famous Greek hospitality, which has become more rare but it is still part of the Greek soul.
A big thanks to Stavros for reminding us how special Crete and its people are.
Yannis Samatas
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#2 SteveB

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 01:21 AM

Oh Yannis! Sounds wonderful.You have stirred my memories and have temperarily taken me from the dark and cold of England,into dreams of being back in Crete again.I raise a glass of Raki to your health and to the people of Kriti.Yamass!

#3 Guest_guest (tim)_*

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 11:41 AM

Yannis file mou, you almost sound surprised at such hospitality! Such unexpected examples are one of the things that makes Crete and its people so special. Pity that it is not more common throughout other parts of the world- it would be a better place. I rather wish I was there to enjoy it with you at the moment.
Hronia Polla.

#4 UffeS

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 06:48 PM

Hi Yannis, what a wonderful story you share with us and lovely picture, thank you! I trust you didn't drive back to Heraklion the same day after drinking that big bottle of raki? :lol:

All the best,
Uffe

#5 yannis_s

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 07:04 PM

Uffe, you should know already that Cretans are immune to raki because they are exposed to it from a very young age.
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#6 UffeS

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 09:16 PM

Yannis my friend, I was a bit a "afraid" of such a reply from you :lol: Of course I know that raki for you is like Finnish vodka (Kosenkorva) for me, hehe... Yamas _/

#7 harribobs

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Posted 25 January 2005 - 01:07 AM

Yannis, great story and it's good to hear what Matala is like in the winter, I think i'd rather be there than here....

#8 daveg

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Posted 25 January 2005 - 10:31 PM

Here's one of many experiences I've had while living here.
I was asked as the new local "Mastorass" if I could put up some guttering for one of the older local couples.I started work the following day quite late at about 11.00am I'd only been working for about an hour when my wife and son came to see how I was doing [The house was only about 100m away from ours] Then with crys of Ella Ella! we were called into the house for a bumper lunch throughout which they kept apologising for the quality of the food because it was a saturday?. It was a wonderful,if simple lunch of fresh salad,bread,feta,Olives,Chickpea soup and Home made wine etc and my sons new found grasp of the Greek language {he's 4] kept our host entranced for some time.
It was a shame after about an hour that I had to call an end to it and politely refuse more wine [and Raki of course] as I didn't fancy working at the top of a ladder witha bellyfull of Raki!
And they still gave me an extra tip "for the child" when I finished the job!
Quick note,I must take him more often :-)
There are many more I've experienced here too numerous to mention in this post [maybe another day]
Part of the joy of living in a "Real" Cretan village.
DaveG

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