Cretan Season in the Sun

19 – 26 October 2016

“We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun…….
.”

Having just returned from another visit to Crete I was about to write a new blog when I found that there wasn’t one from my previous visit. I suddenly felt very confused. After experiencing such a stimulating and rejuvenating environment surely I couldn’t have forgotten to reflect upon it? Had it mysteriously disappeared? Or had I really been too busy to actually do one.

A look at the calendar and then it all became clear. Yes, I was busy. The trip was made two years ago, during the Autumn half term break while working at Rowlatts Hill Primary painting the ‘Once Upon A Time’ mural. However very soon after we returned our world turned upside down, as Mum’s health took a serious turn for the worse and sadly she passed away. It could be said that this visit was the calm before the storm. The writing of a reflective Crete blog was obviously lost in the maelstrom of events which occurred during the weeks that followed and which saw that difficult year through to its conclusion.

Before embarking on a new blog therefore, I’ll make amends and write an old one first.

It’s the last week of October 2016 and all is still well. Our busy schedule has been replaced with a few days in the sun, in Peter & Monica’s exceptional company, staying with them in their idyllic world in Agia Pelagia near Spili, and our minds and soul nourished and enriched once again with warm Cretan hospitality; watching a sleeping dog soak up the sun while drinking a chilled glass of Fix beer at the Agia Fotia Taverna in Agia Fotini and listening to nothing but the sound of lapping water; exploring sights of significance in the history of Crete, the monastery at Arkadi and the WWII monument and bridge at Preveli; finding plants both beautiful and strange while wandering the paths of the Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete, a haven of tranquility created out of the ashes of a fire in 2003; looking at the jaw dropping sight of the upper entrance of the Samaria Gorge; indulging in the sights of the beautiful Amari valley and taking a hike up to the summit of Mount Samitos; luxuriating in the peace, shade and uninterrupted birdsong of the Olive Grove studio; savouring a glass or maybe three of the latest batch of my Kaydia brother Yiorgos’ excellent home brewed wine; the leisurely hustle and bustle of cafe life in Plakias and Rethymno thrown in for good measure.

We couldn’t foresee the events that were about to unfold, but that break gave us the energy to face it. We’d found an island of calm, and the peace and tranquility of Crete had given us the strength to confront anything an impending storm could throw at us.