Times are dark on an unprecedented global level in recent history. But to stay sane throughout all this we need to remain level headed, focused and optimistic.
At the moment our government is taking strict but necessary measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic. And as soon as this is over we ‘ll still be here for you. Sea, sun, sand, fun and all!
Until we meet again in the real world let us give you some food for dreaming about your next holidays in Crete.
An essential part of the proud Cretan Heritage, music and dancing have taken center stage in the locals’ lives since time immemorial. Read on for the lowdown.
Continuously inhabited for the past 130,000 years, Crete is a place where fact coincides with fiction and fiction with fact. Perhaps this rather alluring overlap explains why Greece’s largest island remains largely true to its customs and traditions. More so than any other region in the country.
Rooted in history and myths, embedded in contemporary everyday life, the emblematic Cretan heritage is manifested in myriads of ways: In the Cretan’s ancient folkways, their code of conduct and close-knit family relations; through dress, dietary habits, song, and dance. In fact, music holds a special place in Cretans‘ hearts: If you visit you’ll probably bump into an impromptu live set, with lyra, mantinades and all. And this could happen in a village kafenion or even on the streets of busy urban centers like Chania. Here is some background information so that you know what you are listening to.
Crete’s much more than its sand and sun. To begin with, Europe’s oldest civilization was born here, at this southernmost, sun-kissed corner of the continent. As it happens, Crete’s history did start as it meant to go, for it never ceased to be fascinating ever since: Often turbulent, repeatedly prolific, leaving behind a compelling cultural legacy and an intricate web of myths and surviving traditions. Indeed in the case of Greece’s largest island ancient secrets and age-old customs coexist with a striking, virgin, ever-changing nature: Lending itself to all sorts of adventures; allowing for not even a moment’s boredom. And the best of all? the Cretans themselves: The island’s passionate, hospitable inhabitants who are eager to open their homes and hearts to well-meaning strangers; and to share their food, drink, music, and way of life.
“Nothing more excellent or valuable than wine was ever granted by the gods to man.” – Plato.
Our ancestors placed wine at the heart of everyday life and culture -as a staple of their diet, as an important trade commodity, but also for religious, social and medicinal purposes. Inhabitants of Greece’s largest island were no exception, but in fact groundbreaking champions of wine. With a continuous presence since Minoan times, Cretan wines have a millennial history that puts them in the center of local folklore, myths, and customs. Imbued with nutritional and merry -making qualities; invariably present at the table; to be shared with family and friends in everyday and joyful occasions; even consumed to the point of ecstasy in special feasts and fiestas- a remnant of the Dionysian cult; but also as a cure for a host of ailments and an important source of commerce and income. Extending over 50.000 acres of fertile land, the Cretan vineyard is the third-largest in Greece, yielding some 95.000 tons that account for 20% of the total produce. Despite their rather late (and at the beginning somewhat unfortunate) adaptation to current demands and imperatives, local producers are nowadays becoming increasingly sophisticated. Cretan wines, falling into several P.D.O. (Protected Designation of Origin) and P.G.I. (Protected Geographical Indication) categories; some even hailing from ancient varieties saved from complete extinction through the work of a new wave of eager winemakers, are starting to acquire international praise and acclaim. Likewise, thanks to the efforts of pioneering local producers, along with the rise of agro and wine tourism, visitors coming to Crete from the four corners of the globe are today realizing that there is so much more than its exotic beaches…
Travel is a force for good: It can open our hearts and expand our minds, give us a broader understanding of the world, inspire us to change stale habits -and that’s not to mention provide us with amazing Instagram content!
Tourism, however, can also do a number on Mother Earth. And though we cannot control the carbon emissions of the planes we fly in; or the plastics used in the souvenirs sold in our destinations of choice; there’s a number of things we can do to minimize the environmental impact of our travel. Bottom line is that going green with smart, simple choices leaves us with more positive impressions of the places we visit and allows us to have more meaningful experiences along the way.
From sleepy mountain villages to quaint, vibrant towns; from long sandy beaches with crystalline seas, water sports, and beach-bar-boogie to secluded, rocky bays, steep gorges and ravines; from ancient monuments to byzantine monasteries; from museum-hopping to all night partying… In Crete, variety is, indeed, the spice of life.
Whether you are a nature lover or a history buff; an adrenaline junkie, a foodie or a party animal, you’ll find that life on Greece’s largest island, and Europe’s most southern post, is supremely exciting and never dull. In fact, you’ll be spoilt for choice; so read on for what you need to know especially if travelling to Crete for the first time.
With grey, laden skies at this time of the year; sunny, Greece is no longer (not everyday anyway!). Even though we are currently at the heart of the cold, bleak winter, fact is that spring is just a couple of months away. And a sure proof way of overcoming the seasonal blues, I’ve discovered, is thinking about my favorite holiday spots and Crete in particular: A little slice of heaven on earth, really; imbued with a striking natural beauty, fascinating historical sites, abundant cultural life, authentic people and postcard perfect towns. Like Chania; famously the most picturesque of them all. Yet despite of its manifold charms, Chania tends to get packed and noisy at times. So another thing I’ve realized is that whilst holidaying in the area, it’s actually best to stay nearby, rather than inside this undoubtedly charming town. Just 9 km away Agia Marina-Platanias is a beautiful, seaside settlement; quaint and lively at the same time.
Christmas is in the air and at Oscar Suites & Village Hotel in Platanias Chania, we can not help but feel like kids again! This is the time to rejoice and to be merry; and though, a few kilometers away from our Hotel in Platanias, Chania– our lovely seaside town– is not your typical Northern European winter wonderland (yet we do get our fair share of snow, in the surrounding-aptly called-White Mountains), in fact in Christmas, it is particularly dashing-not to mention exceedingly fun!
Here the age old custom of decorating model sailing boats for Christmas, is very much alive. After all the people of Chania have always been accomplished seamen and the Christmas boat has been their special way of saying welcome back to the men folk of the family-husbands, sons, brothers and fathers-who toiled away at sea for months on end, while women waited for their safe return at home.
We want to start by wishing you a big, warm welcome to the blog of Oscar Suites & Village. A blog is something we have been looking forward to create for quite some time, and we hope you will appreciate the contents of the upcoming articles on this page.
There are so many things we would like for you to take a part in, and we will use this blog to share our stories and observations about the things going on in our hotel, as well as including you in the hearts of the Cretan people and their culture. Hopefully you will find this unofficial little blog both interesting and entertaining.