Hello or ‘Gia Sou’ as we say in Greece.
Greece has been awesome these last few weeks – over the time we have travelled it has been like a bit of a Shangri-La at times as we were sweating in the hot car travelling around Australia,
or not coping with the toilets in China,
or the food in Mongolia,
or struggling to actually fit through the train entrance with our packs on in Russia……..
…….We would often think – ‘ah it will all be ok when we get to Greece and can settle down’.
At other times the thought of Greece was the end of the road for a while- when we would settle down and recommence ‘normal’ life (whatever that really is) with schools and accommodation and heaven forbid – work! The point in the map where we halt the trapesing across wild plains and continents. At least for a while. Well Greece is all of the above for us but most of all it really does feel like home for me especially – (though Yasi did try to convince me she was really Greek so why should she go to bed at 9.30pm when the Greek kids stay up till midnight!). The last five months on our mainly land journey from Australia to Greece has been amazing mostly though lots of thoughts of ‘why the @#c* are we doing this I just want to go home’ when the going got tough – and it sure did lots of times though I would do it again in a heartbeat. Travelling is always mixed with ‘tough stuff’ – our wonderful friend Fi Stewart left us with these words ‘Make all your plans – then throw them out the window and just go where the road takes you’ and many times I have thought of this expression over the last five months cause travelling is so much like that – there are so many things around corners that you just didn’t imagine or couldn’t plan for – both amazing and utterly challenging (I was going to say ‘crap’ but my lovely mother-in-law Jill hates me using that word). Anyway – now we are in Greece, actually in Crete – which I only learnt yesterday was unified with Greece in only 1913 – that is quite incredible – not sure what the history before that was but expect a blog about it in the near future.
Crete is quite incredible really – the place we picked to try to settle in is Agios Nikolaos – and how that emerged was over a dinner at our favourite Japanese restaurant in Melbourne (Yamato)with new friends Leonidas and Lefteria who had just moved to Melbourne (from Crete) within the last year to spend two years in Australia. Well we were discussing options and ‘google imaged’ (is that even a verb?) some places like Agios Nikolaos, Rethymnos and Chania. We knew we didn’t want to be in the capital (Heraklion) as it is a biggish city of almost 200,000 people and we wanted a quieter lifestyle.
We originally thought we would rent a cheap place in a wild wind swept village though Leonidas and Leftheria advised that it isn’t so easy to get around without a car and if we want our kids to walk to school, join football teams, or tennis teams and go to dance classes etc., as well as enjoy the incredible beaches then we really needed to be in a town – and Agios Nikolaos being about 19,000 people and looking incredible and actually quite Arabic in the photos caught our eye and imagination – so here we are.
Before I go on – the sea is so clear and blue, so clear and blue, so clear and blue – did you get that?
It really is utterly incredible in colour and makes lapus lazuli and turquoise look quite dull and boring. It absolutely glistens in the sun and the first day when we went swimming Toby rose up from his dive and said ‘OMG you can actually open your eyes and see clearly’. I’m really not sure what makes it so clear (the only other clear beach like it I’ve seen is Coral Bay in Western Australia) – it doesn’t make that much sense to me cause this area of the Mediteranean is such busy shipping channels etc. Regardless of the science behind it, it really is so inviting and amazing to look at. We made a pact to try to swim every day we are here even in the winter (average temp 18 – 20C). At the moment it is mid 30s though feels hotter & was 31C while walking about 10pm last night.
Anyway – there’s lots I would like to share about our first few days here in Crete but I would like to backtrack a bit and share some reflections of our time in our village in Northern Greece – which seems a world away from this place. The children have written lots about all our relatives and the cows and our house there etc so I’ll concentrate on why the place is so special to me – but ummmmmm! I might leave this blog here for today as its siesta time – I have Emilio asleep, Toby playing ‘Words with Friends’ and Kalika and Zoi want to watch ‘Litle Mermaid’ (in Greek as we are trying to faze out English shows etc) on this computer I’m using to type on. Sandy and Yas are in Heraklion (the big smoke) having some special mother-daughter time. When we were home we used to try to have one-on-one time with each child every few months though that has been impossible the last five months. We thought we should resume the practice before school starts on the 11th of Sept.