August is the month for holidays and here in Greece, and Crete, you can expect the pace to slow right down as many Greeks take time off work to relax and enjoy themselves, and their beautiful country. And what a country it is, steeped in ancient history with an impressive and varied landscape, wonderful weather and an abundance of hospitality; is there really a better place to be? Living here one can really begin to understand why the Greek Gods and Godesses chose this as their home! On a recent walk around Rethymno I was amused to see that coca cola have issued a a limited edition bottle celebrating Ancient Greece; I wonder what they would have made of this popular soft drink … ambrosia of the Gods!
So how best to spend your holiday time? There are plenty of things for you and the family to do, including a visit to a recently opened funpark on the North coast of Crete. Here you can experience Greek history and learn about popular legends in an informative and entertaining way; sample traditional living at the Cretan model village, immmerse yourself among the herbs at the eco-gardens, find out about Minoan civilisation … and when all this is done wander (if you dare) through the Labyrinth and hope you don’t meet the Minotaur!
Aphrodite the godess of love has cast many a spell on those coming to Greece and lots of us have fallen head over heels in love with the country and the islands. This is a nice article in the Greek newspaper which tells us about some of the rich and famous rock musicians who have made, for a time, a part of Greece their home. This series Greek Odyssey with British actress Joanna Lumley provides a pleasant report of Greece and gives plenty of ideas of places to visit and see. The August full moon and partial eclipse was a spectacular sight set against an Ancient backdrop.
You can expect big celebrations across the whole of Greece, including in most of the villages, on August 15th with the Feast of Assumption, also known as ‘the summer Easter’. It is a national holiday and an important date for Orthodox Greeks involving celebration, food, drink, fireworks and dancing. It is a lovely festival to observe and to be involved in ... and usually it is an open invite to celebrations for everyone!
If you are in Galini make sure you visit the village amphitheatre which has been newly extended; climb up the stone staircase and look out across the village towards the sea and ... relax. You may want to take some time to think about the history of the village, especially of it’s link to Greek mythology. Daedalos and Icarus are believed to have hidden from King Minos in a cave in the village and at the amphitheatre, positioned on the sea facing rocks, is where legend has it, Daedalos and Icarus took flight on their tragic journey. Two statues are positioned overlooking the harbour … which are also a part of many holiday snaps!!
Agia Galini, like much of Greece, has a rich historical past and is thought to be the ancient port of Soulia serving the Minoan city of Syvritos. In the ancient village there was a temple to the Greek Godess Artemis of which there remain two large granite columns, which can be seen at the entrance to the village church The Four Martyrs. If you want to spend your holiday time immmersed in cultural history then there is plenty on offer! Agia Galini is located near to Ancient Phaistos, Gortyna, the Tholos tomb at Kamilari, the museum of Cretan Ethnology at Vori, Agia Triada and Knossos, which are all a short drive away, so there are plenty of places to wander around and soak up the past!
Should you prefer a more relaxed pace there is always the wonderful coastline to explore, with beach front dining to experience at the many tavernas serving delicious local foods and drinks, including local wines…make the Greek God Dionysus proud and have a couple …! Swim in crystal clear waters and throroughly recharge your batteries ... or, as this article suggests, you can holiday like a Greek God!
However you choose to spend your holiday time you can be sure that Greece and Crete are here to offer pure enjoyment … have a great summer!!!
Photo: Panoramic view of Agia Galini from the amphitheatre June 2017