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Completely Crete

Member Since 29 Mar 2008
Offline Last Active May 06 2008 06:59 AM

Topics I've Started

May Day Flowers

01 May 2008 - 07:16 AM

I know today May 1st is the day when the locals go to the hillsides to pick flowers and make wreaths from them to hang over their doors. But does anyone know if they keep the wreaths all year round or do they burn them?

I think I read somewhere that the flowers are burnt on some saint's day or other. Does anyone know which saint, which day etc?

Thanks in anticipation


Samaria Gorge Open?

28 April 2008 - 10:46 AM

Does anyone know when Samaria gorge will reopen?

We've heard it'll be May 1st.


First Sound Of Cicadas?

19 April 2008 - 07:46 PM

Just as the sighting of the first cuckoo signals the arrival of spring in the UK, does the first cicada noise indicate the arrival of summer in Crete?

I heard one this evening for the first time this year.

Just wondered if there was any Cretan folklore on this subject.

Melting Snow On White Mountains

15 April 2008 - 05:23 PM

The white winter blanket of snow on the wonderful White Mountains are slowly melting.

This is good news as it means that summer is on its way and soon the Samaria Gorge will be open. I’m very keen to make the trek and explore the fabulous flora and fauna.

The recent hot weather has also brought with it a trickle of tourists eager to strip off and bathe in the sea.

I was keen to join them too and had a lovely swim in the sea yesterday at Kalyves.

Can you tell I love living here in Crete?

Bye for now.

Review Of The Island

14 April 2008 - 05:12 PM

Despite living in Crete and visiting the island of Spinalonga I knew nothing of this brilliant novel until my sister, living in the UK, enthused about how great it was. On her recommendation I began to read The Island and was enthralled by it.

Victoria Hislop, the wife of Ian Hislop of Private Eye and "Have I Got News For You" fame, authors this fabulous book.

It is her debut novel and has become an award winning bestseller and voted Richard and Judy's Book Club Best Summer Read for 2006. It’s the fictional story about the loves, lives and losses of four generations of Cretans. Set in the main in the small fishing village of Plaka, East Crete and the real life former leper colony island of Spinalonga, just off the coast of Plaka.

The novel relates the tale of a family history over the last century. It begins, however, with Alexis in present day London, about to decide on major changes to her life. To help her decide on her future, she looks to the past for inspiration and visits her mother’s birthplace in Plaka, Crete.

Through questioning an old friend of her mother, Alexis uncovers family secrets and forgotten shadows connected with her mother's, her grandmother's, and her great-grandmother's past.

With leprosy being key to the story, you could be forgiven for thinking that The Island is all doom and gloom. But Hislop brings the touching story to life very vividly and it was a really pleasurable, easy read. There are some lovely descriptions of Crete and the Cretan way of life, as well as well-drawn characters.

As a novel, The Island has come in for a fair amount of criticism that I for one strongly disagree with. I loved it! The author captured the warmth, charm and passion of the Cretans and of the Island of Crete, and poignantly described the heartbreaking situation of a time and place that still haunts to this day. You simply must read this heartrending, brilliantly descriptive and meticulously researched piece of work, whether you are able to visit the island or not. If you do read the book, then you will surely be drawn to this intriguing and mystical place.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly.