Cretan New Year

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.

These kourarbiedes and melomakarona where made by my friend and college Agnes

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!

Saint George methystis (‘methao’ means getting drunk)

Yesterday in the early evening I was talking over the phone to a friend of mine when the church bells started sounding, wondering why, he told me that on the 3 of November Saint George methystis is celebrated.  A bit a strange name for a saint as ‘o methystis means’ the drunk one.

I know, the Greeks have a lot of saints, they have more than one saint Georges and even more virgin Maries etc…  The story of this Saint George is quit simple, the 3th of November is the day that the wine barrels are opened as the wine is ready to be consumed and has to be tasted.  The 3th of November is also the celebration day of Saint George and as the Greeks celebrate this day with tasting wine this particular Saint George is called now Saint George the Methystis as a lot of people get drunk on that day So Yamas!

Melidoni

I’m sooooooo exited today, I went for a short trip to the Melidoni cave and village with a friend of mine, we were only away for 3 hours but we saw so many beautiful and unexpected things, that I’m thinking about making this trip one of the short (up to 6 hours) excursions I’m preparing for next year!

here is an idea

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you will learn more about these this winter!

NO! in honor of all the fights the Greeks and Cretans fought to have a free Country

Every year again since 28 October 1944  the NO parade is walked in every city, town and village in Greece.

Several days before, practices are made,

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so that those walking the parade will show the honor that is brought to all who have lost their life in any war, during any occupation or fighting any revolt that has taken place in Greece.

In the cities children, students, the army, firemen, volunteers from the Red Cross and other humanist organizations take part in the parade.  In the small villages the children of the nuresery and primery school are the heroes of the day!

The Greek National Anthem

Cretan winter

27 October 2018

today for the last time this year I will tell some of my stories to the guests who come with me on my excursion.  It has been a good season for me, I have met some very nice and interesting people on my trips and I had a nice variety of excursions, every day of the week I could tell another story to all these people who were interested in the beauty, history, religion and culture of this beautiful island.

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I will still be sharing information with you on my blog in winter but as today is my last excursion day I want to thank you all for following me and sending me messages (I hope you will continue during winter because I love it ♥), and also want to wish you a Cretan winter, a good health and nice trips where ever you go!!

and don’t forget, live Crete alive!!

The Cucuteni Culture

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!

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This vase and other ceramic foundings are part of the Cucuteni or Tripolye Culture, it is a neolithic eneolithic 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 excations started after fragments of ceramic were found during road constructions.

to be continued…..

Fodele dorp (met video)

Het dorp Fodele is een aangenaam typisch Kretenzisch dorp waar de meeste mensen van de landbouw leven, het is het enige dorp in de provincie Heraklion waar sinaasappelen geteeld worden.  Het heeft ongeveer 600 inwoners waaronder een zeventigtal kinderen die hier naar de lagere school kunnen gaan en die voor hun middelbare studies naar Heraklion moeten.

Het dorp heeft zijn eigen bakker en slager en ook een paar kruideniers winkeltjes, sinds een paar jaar is er ook een apotheek en helemaal in het begin van het dorp is er een landbouwwinkel waar ook ijzerwaren verkocht worden.

Fodele wordt het hele jaar door ook door veel Grieken bezocht tijdens de weekends, mensen komen hier graag wandelen en eten en ook het klooster van de heilige Pantelemon wordt vaak bezocht alsook natuurlijk het museum van El Greco.

De traditionele olijfpers

Elke maandag ga ik naar het zuiden van Kreta waar een heel rustig en mooi klooster staat waar nog 5 monniken wonen.  De monniken hebben hier een mooi folkore museum ingericht waar deze oude olijfpers staat.

The caves in Matala

Matala is a small village at the south side of Crete, where the Lybian sea is, there is a beautiful bay there with a sandy beach. The beach and the caves of Matala are well known all over the world because during the 1960s and ’70s hippies from all over the world lived there. They had no rules, no bills and no restrictions. They were free people living from nature in nature.

Every year now you have the chance to relive the hippie atmosphere here in Matala, every third weekend of June there is a hippie festival where ‘everything’ is allowed.

When I go to Matala I usually have lunch in Taverne Minos Palace, Stefanos cooks here for 24 years now, no need to say more about it’s kitchen. The staff is very friendly and professional too, just give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.