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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Stop over at Chania. The city centre and the old town feel familiar by now. I am so confident that I will find my way to my hotel from the coach terminal just by  means of asking. I know it’s very centrally located by the water front. I should of course have taken into account that locals rarely retain street names. It’s a universal truth.

I end up walking to the complete opposite direction and when I ask for new instructions, a good Samaritan offers me and my luggage a ride. He balances my cabin bag on the steering-wheel of his old rusty motorbike and off we cruise along the old harbour, zigzagging through crowds of tourists…

RetroWhen I check in at Argo Beach,  I realise I’m in the same room as when I arrived on Crete a few weeks ago. A perfect circle. The room is as blue and cosy as I left it and next time I will most surely know my way here.

room 21This is my goodbye to the island for now.

I have some precious hours to dispose of. First, I run some errands and when I stop by at the nearby copy-shop I get my boarding card printed out for free.

I walk around quiet streets where the past fuses into the present and have late lunch at to Stachi, a laid-back restaurant serving traditional, organic and vegan dishes.

past presentThe food is tasty and fresh and you can sense that everything is prepared with consciousness and good intention – the extract of my past three weeks on Crete.

The owner’s gentle and caring approach adds to the culinary experience and creates a home-like atmosphere.

stachiThe highlight of my last day on Crete though, is when I meet up with my friends from last year’s Samaria gorge trek. One year later, I am invited over for coffee at their village. Amidst a busy schedule common to rural daily life, they welcome me to their home. The coffee is of course a pretext for dinner and animated discussions underneath the grapevine.

honeyServing-plates are full to the brim and so is everybody’s heart.

The ancient tradition of hospitality is alive and kicking, ready to prove it is one of the best surviving inventions of mankind.

So long Crete.

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Days have passed by in an ebb and flow of people against a constant backdrop of household chores, amazing views over the Libyan sea, white-washed walls and summer heat.

Sometimes, a breeze has bestowed its grace on us, making the bougainvillea shed purple tears all over the inner yard and the washed linen dance wildly on the ropes suspended between patient olive-trees.

img_1631The black and white kitten has gotten increasingly confident at climbing up and down tall tree-trunks and together with her mother she has given us all free lessons of grace, independence and playfulness.

In between washing dishes, tending to laundry, changing sheets and practicing yoga, I’ve made daily pit-stops at Despina’s cafe. Sometimes alone and sometimes with company, but always fully enjoying those moments of unspoilt leisure.

img_1605Then it has been the people. The encounter with those who have chosen to spend part of their holidays at Yoga on Crete this time around.  Hopefully,  as a karma yogi I have left a little positive imprint on their quest for well-being.

It is fascinating how we humans are social animals, capable to bond over short time spans. When the first big group left, an inevitable void was created. But then, new arrivals brought life back to this beautiful corner of the world. New energies, new dynamics. Different characters, needs and stories blending and connecting through a red thread of consciousness and intention.

I know that everyone has come here for a reason that is special and personal. Soon one realises that there is no such thing as an oddball. The group is its members and the members are the group.  Each person has something to give, share and receive, beyond differences and pre-conceived ideas.

The context and the constellations may at first seem random, but soon it becomes apparent that there is no coincidence, only purpose.

img_1632

This Sfakian pie.

Pronounce this a couple of times aloud and you’ll understand why this was the joke of last year.  Infantile maybe, but quite funny all the same.

But let’s return to the Sfakian pie…

What is it? First of all, what you see on my plate is just a  corn-meal based replica that I made  because I really wanted to try something resembling the omnipresent Sfakian pie, advertised everywhere around here, and which honestly makes me salivate.

SfakianpieWondering what Sfakia is to start with? Quoting Wikipedia, Sfakia  is a mountainous area in the southwestern part of the island of Crete. Fair enough. Chora Sfakion is the tiny village capital with a small stretch of tavernas and cafes by the Libyan sea and a number of houses clutched on the steep slopes.

What is in the Sfakian pie? It is a local delicacy made of wheat flour, mizithra, water and olive oil. Enjoyed hot from the pan, sprinkled with thyme honey.

Flour….The other day we went on a hiking tour from the village of St John all the way down to the beautiful beach of St Paul. A two-hour hike on a stoney path through pines and thyme bushes. A quite accessible path, despite my shaky legs. Our guide, Vangelis, pointed out that people from the mountainous villages used to descend on donkeys to the mill with their grain.  As simple as that. So people used to grow wheat on the mountain, I asked. Of course, how else, said Vangelis.

Water.  Probably coming from some source on the Lefka Ori, the White Mountains. Οil from the abundant olive groves; Cretan oil is known for its high quality and exquisite taste.

Mizithra, the local soft cheese made of sheep and goat’s milk. Look at a rock and you’ll see a goat. Goat bells and goat bleats are part of the landscape. Thyme honey, because the rocky landscape is home to many edible and medicinal herbs.

So there you have it. The Sfakian pie, a puzzle of elements, air, water and earth, all delivered on a plate for you to savour. This flat piece of appetizing stuffed dough, is Sfakia in a nutshell.  Described by and confined by nature.

sofiawise

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

The Chick on a Pea

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

Buttercupgoeswest

Buttercup is a newborn and we are taking her on a 5000 KM journey from Ahmedabad to Kanyakumari

Sadness Theory

Music with passion for the environment

zee pause café

taking a moment, having a coffee, writing down some thoughts