I am in Crete. Home in Crete, is what it feels like. I wish I could live here always! When I first arrived, I immediately came down with a cold – runny nose, sore throat, cough, the works. So I come to this beautiful country, to blue skies and 25 degrees celsius. I have a car for 4 days, and all I want to do is lie in bed!
Not that I actually did that. I went to the beach at Istron and had a swim. The next day, I went on a hike with friends to a defensible settlement from the late minoan period, when roving unemployed soldiers came from the sea, attacking villages, in order to find places to settle. Apparently there are 80 of these on Crete, and Phil knows of 4 of them, but has only figured out how to get to 3.
I also went on another walk with the foreign residents association, in Milatos. A group of 28, mostly from the UK, walking up through the village of Milatos, then down through olive groves to the waterfront and along the waterfront to a taverna where we all had lunch –
a veritable feast of greek mezes for 10€ per person: bread with olives and eggplant paste, fava mash, green beans, breaded and fried zucchini slices, roast pork, lamb balls, kalamari rings, baked cheese, and probably more that I can’t remember, served with beer and bottled water and ending with fresh grapes and raki.
Since coming here I have met quite a few English people, and reconnected with my greek friends and neighbors as well. As a result I have been inundated with fruit. People keep giving me bags of apples and pears, especially apples. Grapes are pretty much done here, but figs are just getting ripe and so are the pomegranates and I pick them from trees along the road or in the abandoned lot near my house.
On Monday I was pretty much over my cold, so I decided to make apple pies as thankyou’s for the gifts of apples and fruit and other help. I baked 3 pies – and went around to the neighbors with gifts of pie. It felt good to give something back. Little did I guess that this would release a flood of further food gifts, from my Greek neighbors, Maria and Maria. Maria, the retired nurse, brought me a plate of moussaka for lunch, and half and hour later the other Maria brought me a plate of stuffed vine leaves, zucchini flowers and a stuffed tomato.
After baking the pies, I counted the apples I had left, and figured that if I ate 3 apples a day, I would get through them all before I have to go back to Norway. However later that afternoon the couple from Neapoli,
who are rebuilding the house across the alley for their daughters brought me a big bag of apples and pears as well as a dozen fresh eggs from their chickens! So now I don’t know what I’ll do.
I’ll probably have to bring a bunch of apples back to Norway with me. Though I have pie left over, I don’t dare give them any, because I can’t possibly eat all the food I am likely to recieve if I do!!! Same goes for the nice elderly man whom I always greet when passing his garden where he seems to spend most of his days . He gave me a piece of pumpkin yesterday which will keep me eating pumpkin stew for a week!
Though I feel that my Greek can hardly have improved in the past year, I nevertheless find that I am able to communicate more and more with my neighbors. The retired nurse luckily speaks a little english, but we have been catching up on family news, mostly in Greek. The sudden death of the other Maria’s husband last christmas eve, the upcoming wedding of nurse Maria’s daughter, the recent and the expected births of grandchildren etc.