Finding Something Better Than You Were Looking for

On Cretan mountains a few kilometers west from Agia Paraskevi a sheep family of four were rushing along the road, their little ears dangling in the rhythm they trotted. I could almost imagine the little runaways carrying tiny suitcases, especially because we had just seen the rest of the flock about two kilometers down the road on our way up earlier that day. It was Easter time. Our host Kiriakos at Pegasus Resort told us that this was the time of year when sheep grew anxious.

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Central Southern Crete is a wild child. It does not aim to please anyone but you cannot help falling in love with it. There are no cities, only bare and authentic nature, and a few little villages. Endless beaches, cliffs, streams, gorges, waterfalls and rugged mountains eventually make you forget that anything else ever existed. When you wake up in the morning the sun lights the western coast with its snowy peaks and steep hills that seem to echo all the way into the horizon. In the evening the spotlight is on the eastern coast and its magnificent self-righteous star Triopetra (Three Stones). And all the time there is the deep blue Libyan Sea in the south and the ominous misty slopes of the mountains in the north. You only need souvlaki and tsatsiki to top it off, best enjoyed in one of the world’s best seaside tavernas either in Ligres or in Agia Fotini with the friendliest staff you can find and views that make you sigh in enchantment.

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In Southern Crete there are winds. There are northern winds and southern winds, mountain winds and sea winds. I love them all. Especially sea winds. Almost every morning it was the winds that woke me up. Rattling on the roof or howling in the corners. And if it wasn’t the winds, it was the baas from the sheep. There were higher pitched baas from the little lambs and then there were the deep authoritarian head-of-the-flock baas. Every once in a while when we drove up and down the mountains we saw them crowding the roads, the little ones looking like their legs wouldn’t make it until the end of the road, and the big old horned sheep staring at us until we realized to back off.

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Crete doesn’t let you off easy. It asks you to understand and wait. Wait for the moment when the breeze calms down. Wait for the moment when you find your way out of the curvy and narrow mountain roads. Wait for the inevitable moment when you end up in a place much better than you were actually looking for. Wait for the moment when the clouds move off the way and the sun reveals the absolute beauty of the mountains and coastlines. Wait for your love to grow.

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ps. You can find more photos in my new portfolio on YouPic.

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