• Welcome to our blog! The goal of our blog is to give our users an interactive taste of Crete and help guide them to some of the rich and diverse experiences this magnificent island has to offer. We have broadly broken down the categories into “Places to Go,” “Places to Eat,” “Things to Do,” “Places to Stay,” and “Everyday Life.” Past blogs can be found in our “Articles” page which lists all of the blogs written as well as blogs by category if you have a specific area of interest. Many of our “Everyday Life” blogs feature the real life experiences of expat’s and clients experiencing the island for the first time.

    Our website isn’t only about sharing our experiences of Crete we want to give you an opportunity to share. We would love to post your blog about your experiences of Crete. Please feel free to send us a QUICK MESSAGE or CONTACT US with your message. We would love to share your experiences!

    NICK DASKALAKIS,

    EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Brave Cretan Women

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Brave Cretan Women  Spring 1940. Because the initial failed invasion of Greece by the Axis forces was a costly liability, Hitler was forced to commit his elite forces to the task. Thus began the second invasion of Greece. By may 1941 Crete was the only Greek territory of Greece that remained free. To conquer it Hitler approved ‘operation mercury’. With Operation Mercury Hitler believed that his conquest of Crete would be complete…but history would record a different story.

The main thrust of the Battle of Crete took place in western Crete near Chania. The majority of our homes and villas are near this region.

George Tzitzikas: “There was fear. No question about that. But the fear brought anger. And when they came down on May 20th, 1941 the Cretan people were ready for them.”

On May 20, 1941 thousands of Hitler’s paratroopers descended on the island of Crete. This marked the beginning of the Battle of Crete, the largest airborne operation in World War II. With many of the islands military forces in mainland Greece only a few troops remained and Hitler expected the island to quickly fall. Hitler grossly underestimated the strong will of the Cretan people. The civilian counterattack was overwhelming.

Manolis Paterakis: “We didn’t have many guns. Metaxas had gathered them together. But still everyone, men and women, children and young men fought back with whatever they had.”

Kaliopi Kapetanakis: “You felt compelled to help your father, brothers, uncles. We wanted to fight for our country.”

Of the 8,100 paratroopers that landed on Crete, 2,764 were killed and 1,600 wounded in the next 3 days. The Germans were never expecting that kind of resistance and it was because everyone and whoever could fought back. Many Cretan women found back with whatever weapons they could find. Hitler’s troops suffered more casualties in the first day of conflict then they had suffered in any single day since the beginning of the war. Despite being grossly outmatched the Cretan people held the Germans back for 10 full days.

Its hard to imagine that this beautiful vista was once the place of so much pain and tragedy. This is Crete. An island of remarkable contrasts, a taste of history at every turn always shrouded in beauty.

An interesting note is that our Gold Coast property is very near to the famous Hill 107 and shares a similar view which many historians think was a key failure in the defense of the island that could have kept off the German attack even longer. Hill 107 overlooked the airfield at Meleme, and it is believed the resistance withdrew these positions allowing the Germans to fly in more troops to early. You can read more about it here.

The Cretan people continued to operate a guerilla campaign against the occupying Nazi forces. Many Cretan woman aided this effort by serving as spies and messengers and smuggling weapons and food to resistance fighters and by sheltering American and British special operatives who later parachuted in to help resistance. Being discovered for such brave acts meant certain death. Nearly 1,000 Cretan women were killed and an additional 500 women were deported to Germany.

The actions of these brave Cretan women and the extraordinary courage shown have been an inspiration for women around the world. The wound inflicted on Hitler by the Cretan resistance severely weakened Hitler’s forces heading into the Russian winter and was a turning point in the war. I think this quote summarizes the effort and Cretan spirit perfectly:

George Tzitzikas: “They aimed to destroy the spirit of the Cretan people. And have the Cretans submit them but they failed. And failed miserably. Crete fell, but they never surrendered.”


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Yiayia’s Cretan Boureki

Yiayia’s Cretan Boureki.  I learnt to make this dish on our first holiday to Crete in 1980. It is a traditional recipe handed down through the generations by the Yiayia (grandmother) of the family. During the occupation of Crete during WWII, families were very poor and lived off what was grown in their gardens. Meat was seldom eaten as it was just too expensive to buy. I remember vividly Yiayia having her own goat in the Avli (courtyard) and it was milked twice a day for fresh milk and cheese making. The sound of goat bells still awakens the memory of that first amazing holiday to Crete.

Kolokithia or courgettes, baby marrow or zucchini as we know them are still grown in abundance here on the island. The smaller ones are boiled and served with olive oil and lemon as a side dish and the larger ones are used to make Boureki. To make this dish you need kolokithia, potatoes, chopped fresh mint and Cretan Mezithra cheese. Mezithra is a soft creamy cottage cheese that can be bought fresh and kept frozen as it has limited shelf life.

1kg Kolokithia (courgettes) thinly sliced
4 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
Chopped Mint
Salt and pepper
½ cup Olive oil
250ml water
Mezithra cheese 500g
2 Tablespoons flour

There is a special slicer that slices vergetables very thin like potato crips. These are available at most supermarkets in Crete as vegetable pies are a big part of a Cretan diet.

Wash and slice the courgettes and potatoes separately. Layer half the courgettes in a casserole dish followed by a layer of half the sliced potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and chopped mint. Place half the mezithra cheese over the vegetables. You need to used your fingers to spread the cheese all over as it’s rather sticky.

Repeat the layers sprinkling some flour on top of mezithra and finally the mint.

Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle the water over the top.

Bake in medium oven 180 deg.C for about an hour.
The top should be crispy and brown. Take out the oven and leave to cool until serving.

Kali Orexi!


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Sunsets in Crete


Sunsets in Crete.  Beautiful sunsets take place all over the world every day, but there is nothing quite like a the sun setting over the Greek blue sea. Is it because people have watched sunsets on these shores for thousands of years? Is it the warmth and texture of the colors? Its hard to say but what we do know is that they are uniquely beautiful. Here are a few from our collection…

Sunset over Chania city.

An evening cruise at Nea Chora harbor.

Watching the sun go down in Chorafakia.

Off the southern coast of Crete near Loutro.

Seaside tavern near the old Venetian Harbor.

A warm sunset after a long day at Falassarna beach.

Off the northern coast near Heraklion Crete Greece.

Seaside taverns near Chorafakia harbor.


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An unexpected home cooked meal

An unexpected home cooked meal.  (This blog was written by Richard Martin). We were on holiday in the North West of Crete and had visited the ancient site of Polirinia during the day. I had seen the lights of a taverna in Polirinia from the veranda of the old house that we were renting in Merada and decided that it would be fun to go back that night for dinner. The 7 kilometer trip seemed much further in the dark. A bit like the Monte Carlo rally with the added diversions of goat herds thrown in as an extra challenge.

Because the landscape of Crete is so dramatic some of the mountain roads are hug breathtaking mountain cliffs, especially along the southern coast. Our drive from our villa felt just like this!

We finally arrived at Polirinia and saw the taverna “on the edge” of the mountain. We abandoned the car and walked back up to the taverna. In our best greek we wished “kalispera” to the man watering the plants and quickly made our way to the best table of the house. The man stopped watering the garden and walked to our table with a big smile on his face. As we were thirsty and starving by then we quickly ordered “Mia Mythos kai ena potiri krasi.” The smile grew on the man’s face as he responded, “Oxi taverna to spiti mou!” (This is not a taverna it is my house).

As you can imagine our faces went much redder than they already were, we were so embarrassed and full of apologies. We stood up to make a hasty exit.

“No problem , no problem,” said the kind man and proceeded to beckon us and show us around his lovely home and garden. We were then introduced to his wonderful 84 year old mother. He insisted that we stay and have drink with them and gave us some of their olives to try.

After a day out on the beach there is nothing like an ice cold beverage, a fresh salad and some lightly seasoned hors d’oeuvres on the balcony of our stone villa enjoying a cool sea breaze.

As we drove back down the mountain we discussed how we would have reacted back in the UK if a complete pair of strangers had just walked into our garden and ordered drinks. So thank you to that lovely Cretan man and his mother for their wonderful kindness and hospitality an experience that we will never forget; it could not have happened anywhere other than Crete.

RICHARD MARTIN
HAPPY MYCRETEHOMES CLIENT

After the day out it was nice to come back to the serenity of the venetian harbor and our crete home. There is something nostalgic about the cobble stone roads, rich color and old ships.


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A jewel in Western Crete

A jewel in Western Crete.  Leaving Falassarna on the western coast of Crete, and its incredible beach and expanse of fine beach sand, we made our way south along the coast to find a seaside village we were told has some of the best fresh fish in the area.

The western coast of Crete has some of the most beautiful sunsets on the island, and in the world for that matter! Watching a beautiful sunset every day is one good reason to buy property in western Crete, Greece!

As we drove along the winding road, we looked out over the Bay of Livadi and took in the magnificence of the rugged mountain cliffs ending in the sea which rippled in the blazing sunshine. The road turned inland and we drove through the villages of Kavoussi and Platanos and on towards the coast. For the next 30 minutes we were awestruck by the abundance of mountain herbs everywhere – noteably thyme, dittany, sage and oregano all known for their health properties and flavouring of Cretan food. One can find these dried and sold in town markets as well as local street markets (the Laiki). We were suddently struck with the intensity of the sun which reflected on the sea as we drove down to the seaside village of Sfinari with its row of inviting traditional tavernas right along the pebble beach.

Sfinari is a tranquil place to have a lunch and drink in the expansive coast line. Most of our Crete villas have beautiful views.

The taverna we chose is owned by a local family whose Cretan cuisine makes this place unique. They cater with fresh locally caught fish and fresh ingredients from their garden and their farm. All dishes are carefully prepared by the mother and served with her warm smile. Wild greens and a type of seaweed are also on offer as is their own cheese. The meat is local and even the salt used is locally collected. To end off the meal we are given complimentary home-made ‘lemoncello’ and warm fried pastry balls drizzled with honey and dollops of vanilla ice-cream. Their motto is more than just a restaurant! What a way to end of another magical day in Crete!

There is no where in the world with the rich blue waters of the Aegian and Ionian seas. If you buy property in Crete you can swim in them at your leisure!


If you wish to find out more about Crete, Greece please visit Discover Crete with Greeka, a magnificent travel resource!


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