The Samaria gorge is closed and I go with a group to the Lassithi plateau. This is great because I love this excursion and I have done it only once this year.
I have german and englisch speaking people in my bus and on our walk to the Kronios cave one of my guests comes to me and asks me if I know why the greek flag has the blue and white colors? I know that there is no official reason for the use of these colors but most of the greeks explain these colors as the bleu for the sea and the sky and the white for the white houses on the greek islands, so this is what I tell him. Now he tells me that that is not the real reason so I ask him where the use of these colors come from then and he tells me this:
Blue and white are the colors of Bavaria (Germany) and the first king of the Kingdom of Greece that was established in 1832 was from Bavaria, King Otto (Otto Friedrich Ludwig von Wittelsbach). The guest says that King Otto wasn’t a very good king for Greece but that he was the one who decided that the colors of the Greek flag had to be blue and white as the colors of Bavaria.
I agree that king Otto was the first king of Modern Greece but that he gave the colors to the greek flag……… who knows. There are also other stories about this subject but no official ones, so lets just accept this story as another explanation.
The Fredom Day JazzFestival is an idea of the group Free The Soprano Player and is organized for the second time in Heraklion Crete. The aim of the Festival is to highlight modern jazz in Crete through the cooperation of Greek and Foreign musicians.
Memos Moustakas; Ronan Guilfoyle and OutwardBound trio; Manolakis Giorgis and Nefalo project (with Andreas Polyzogopoulos and Niko Sidirokastriti)
Bubble wrap; Maria Kritsotaki and Ntinos Manos; Babis Papadopoulos and Christos Yermenoglou (Basenezmen)
Both evenings start at 21.30 and have an entrance fee of 10 Euro
Yesterday I went on a trip up on the Psiloritis mountain to have lunch with sheppard Andreas. He lives in the village Livadia in the Idi mountains and he has been a sheppard for his whole life. He loves being out there in the nature high up in the mountains
with his sheep and goats. Together with his brothers they have around 3000 animals to take care of. Today 200 of them are already up on the mountain where Andreas milks all 200 of them twice a day and they give him each time around 100 liter of good quality milk. The other animals are still on the land they have further down the mountain and they will be brought up until the end of April.
Andreas will be milking the animals twice a day until the end of May and then for about one more month he will milk them once a day. From the month of July on the animals will mate, so they won’t give any milk until they give birth about 5 months later.
During the months that the animals don’t give milk Andreas still goes up to give them extra food and water but also because he loves being up there.
His family also built a chapel there, a saint George chapel.
Close to the chapel there stands a very large Stone Oak tree where you can enjoy the real sheppard’s lunch called antichristo. Which is lamb that is cooked next to the fire instead of on the fire. No herbs are needed during the preparation of the meat as his animals eat lots of herbs during their time in the mountains. Andreas is a very good cook and also very good company, he likes to talk about his life and work up there on the Psiloritis.
The road up to his mitato is not an easy road as it lays on a hight of 1200 meter but it really is worth the trip.
If this looks like something you would like to do during your stay in Crete than don’t hesitate to contact me.
2018 is gone and we are the start of 2019. A lot of Cretans have celebrated the change of the year with a game of poker or with playing the dies, for money so that they will have a wealthy start of the New Year! (not for the loosers of course but who knows who is going to lose or win at the beginning of the game…)
Before they start playing the family gathers together around the table for a dinner of greek specialities and of course also the melomakarona and the kourabiedes, these two “cookies” are made especialy for these days and everybody loves them, in nearly every houses these cookies are baked and they give the house that special Christmas and end of the year smell, as all Cretans say, you can’t celebrate the end of the year without this smell.
After dinner Agios Vasilis or Santa Claus comes around with gifts for the children, as the first of the year is the name day of Agios Vasileos the great or Saint Vasilis (Basil)
You see that a lot goes on on New Years eve in Crete, it is a party in which the whole family participates, young and old!
A few weeks ago a met a very friendly and interesting couple from Roumenië who participated in some of my excursions. On the last stop of the last excursion they made with me we sat together for a coffee and started talking about our interests in history and culture. During this conversation they showed me pictures of ceramics that look a lot like the ceramics the Minoans had made (2600 – 1400BC) I was very much amazed by the pictures but even more by the fact that these ceramics were made around 5200 – 3000BC!! in Europe!
This vase and other ceramic foundings are part of the Cucuteni or Tripolye Culture, it is a neolithic archeological culture that was found in Transylvania. The today area of North-East Roumania, Western Ukrain and Moldova.
This Culture is called the Cucuteni Culture because the first findings of it were found in the village Cucuteni in Roumenië in spring 1885 when the first excavations started after fragments of ceramic were found during road constructions.