Sunday, November 14, 2010

Walking in Crete, Luca Gianotti

The day before yesterday, in the evening, we got a mail from Luca Gianotti. He introduced himself as a walker, and asked if he could come by Kallikratis and see us tthe next day. Ofcourse, we invited him to come by.

He arrived yesterday in the late afternoon here. Luca, with his friend Stelios Georgidakis, have the project to walk the entire length of Crete, from East to West, a trip of 500km.
From Kato Zakros, crossing in the middle of Crete, walking on 3 mountain ranges (Oros Dikti, Oros Idi e Lefka Ori) , till the last part, the most famous, near the sea, with overwelming gorges, to the Monastery of Christoskalitissa. Today is his 19th day on the walk, he has covered more than 250km. His intention is, to revive the old E4 walking paths, to check their conditions and record GPS trails of the paths, which he then will publish free for any walker to use.

We were talking about his walk and experiences, about Crete and nature, about many things while cleaning wild vegetables. He had met our friend Giannis Giannoutsos in Kouses, the guy with the incredible herb shop, and Giannis had told him about us. Later, also Katherina and Antonis from Chania came, and we had dinner, and a great evening together. Luca has a wonderful approach, he calls it slow walking, which sounds most beautiful in Italian 'Movimento lento'.. walk, but do not run, have time to be present in the moment, time to meet people and nature in the now.. still, he covers about 20km daily..

He publishes a blog about his walk, which he updates daily, and which makes a wonderful read, both in Italian and English. The Italian version is daily updated, the English version is always a day or two behind.. have a look, its absolutely worth it, for all Crete lovers and for walkers.. The Italian version is at and there is a link to the English version on the site...

During the night, it started to pour down and this morning it was still pouring down with rain.. so we had a cozy extended breakfast everyone, waiting for the rain to pause.. as Luca said, that he doesn't mind rain on his walk, but he never starts out when its raining.. Today, he will walk to Askifou, where he will meet up with Stelios Georgidakis again to continue together..

After he had gone though, it again started to rain, and never stopped.. and foggy clouds filled the mountains.. we worried about him.. however, by evening he had arrived safely, but surely completely soaked, in Askifou..

May you have dry weather on your path, Luca..

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hello there.. the last weeks we have been collecting Chastetree fruits/seeds- Vitex agnus castus- down by the beach.. the weather has been fine, not too hot, but still warm enough for a swim in between work.. Luckily, we found, that this collection of the seeds, which is so important to so many people, went well also this year.
Other herbs had suffered greatly this year.. The drought during the spring, the weather changes had been a real challenge for the herbs, and therefore also for us collecting them. So many herbs flowered weeks earlier, weeks later than we ever have seen here.. and when they did, they did it in a kind of panic.. herbs, as any life on earth, wants to reproduce. All the showy flowers, all the scent which a plant produces, is made for reproduction, for attracting pollinators.. all that work and energy is spent to produce seeds, to produce life after life, life after death...

But nevertheless, plants are great adapters, change of weather, change of season, they will adapt to it-its just us humans who have difficulties to adapt..

Anyway.. we found the fruits or seeds of Chastetree just fine, managed to collect them so that we can offer their essential oil and their tincture, so precious to women, also this year.. see here for more info..

Here we have a sunset, a spectacular one, just after a day of collection of the chastetree fruits the other day..

AND THEN, maybe you followed the water issue we have here in Kallikratis, the fight we put up, the trials we made.. the drilling for water we did with the help of so many friends.. maybe you have signed our petition...

Yesterday we had municipality elections here, as everywhere in Crete and Greece. Our candidate here in Sfakia, a guy independent of any political party, Pavlos Polakis, won the elections with 63%. My words may seems dry, but the joy and happiness we felt cannot be expressed, cannot be told in words...
He was one of the first to sign our petition, he made WATER for Kallikratis a priority in his program.. and there is no doubt, that he will proceed, now that he is elected mayor as of yesterday...

So, here a few and not very good pictures from yesterday night.. We were too excited to take good ones.. Once we understood, that our favorite will win the elections, everybody went to his house.. the women of the village came with food, and a spontaneous party happened...

From all the area people came, such feelings of hope and happiness has not been seen in Sfakia for years.. Neighbors had brought tables, chairs and hundreds of people came by..
A pity, that we didn't take more pictures.. You can just spot Pavlos Polakis to the left, in the white shirt, and Babis' head (white as well, his head that is) opposite to the left, both from behind..,.

Here Pavlos Polakis is greeting the villagers of Argoules just after his return home.. He's the guy in the white shirt..

So, nothing has been in vain, and we will have water here in Kallikratis next year.. and not only that, we will have a mayor and a communal assembly, that will change this area for the good. Goodbye corruption, good morning to sustainable development, to ecology, to sustainable solutions for nature, animals and people..

In 2011 Sfakia in Southern Crete, will be a different place for inhabitants and visitors alike... Just come and see!!!

Below, I try to show you a video of the sea, since after all this excitement, we somehow need the calm but nevertheless moving, message only the sea can give.. I hope it gets through to you...