The Amari Valley – the movie

At last I have found a pretty recent, hour long video professionally produced of just the beautiful Amari Valley that I have often mentioned. It is still one of the best places in Crete to see although the main roads seem to avoid it. It is the biggest area to the south of Rethymnon and has lots of beauty and history.

 

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Frangokastello

A stunning medieval castle and a tale of ghosts . . .

Frango Castello Castle

Frangokastello looks very much today as it did when it was built in 1371. In this area of south western Crete live a race of people called the Sphakiots. They are strong and brave and fear no man. They can be a severe problem to people who come to conquer them, as did the Venetians. So the castle was built here by the sea on a small plain under the White Mountains of Sphakia. Then . . . well, nothing happened. The Venetian soldiers stayed in and around the castle and the Sphakiots stayed clear of them.

But let us get on to the ghosts that still appear here, it is said. They are called the Drosoulites, the men of the dew, in English. The legend tells us that they appear on just one day a year at early dawn. A day in late May when it is damp and windless, they walk in single file through the castle and down into the sea. I have spoken to people who say that they have seen them, but they have never been photographed.

Some say that they are the hallowed ghosts of the men of Hadzi Michalis Dalianis who stood here in the castle with his 600 men in 1878 against the Turks. Eight thousand turkish soldiers were sent to deal with them.

Others say that the ghosts are simply a mirage of Libyan soldiers from across the Mediterannean, but nobody really knows. However Frangokastello keeps on being one of the most perfect 600 year old castles you will ever find.

What can we do? We Dance.

Here in Greece the recession is biting, in Crete the tourist numbers have dropped. Many people have lost their jobs. So what does a Cretan do? They dance.

Last weekend the people of Crete got together along the 200 Kilometres of National Road that stretches the length of the island, and they danced. Just like that. It cost nothing and people felt better. Now the Guinness Book of Records has accepted this dance as the world’s longest dance, so we may even be famous.

Here’s a movie of the dance:

In a way this reminds me of Zorba, from the book by Katzanzakis who was born here in Crete.

Here is the quote: “It was the dancing. When my little boy Dimitri died…and everybody was crying… Me, I got up and I danced.  They said, “Zorba is mad.” But it was the dancing — only the dancing that stopped the pain.”

Author of leper bestseller shuns Hollywood

THE bestselling author Victoria Hislop has rejected an offer of about £300,000 from Hollywood to turn her debut novel about a leper colony off Crete into a blockbuster film.

Keen to preserve the integrity of the book and to give something back to the Mediterranean island on which it is based, Hislop has instead allowed one of Greece’s main television channels to dramatise her story for a fraction of the fee.

Since its publication in 2005, The Island has sold more than 1m copies in Britain alone, won several awards and been translated into more than a dozen languages, including Greek. The popularity of the novel in America led to Hislop, 50, being courted by several film studios.

“Some were offering me high six-figure dollar sums for the rights,” said Hislop, whose follow-up novel, The Return, set in Spain, has also been a success.

After spurning Hollywood, the author settled for “far less” from Mega, the Greek broadcaster, which is turning The Island into a 26-part drama that has just started filming.

“I really don’t mind,” said Hislop. “What I wanted, and will now get, is a chance to have a say in the TV series.

“Of course it is the writer’s script, but I feel much happier with some of my input and knowing that the Greeks, who took the book to their heart, will care about making the series and keep loyally to the plot.

“I was simply not happy with the approaches from America. I was worried what might happen to my story and my characters.”

Hislop is no doubt mindful of the fate of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres, a wartime novel set on the Greek island of Cephalonia, which was filmed in 2001 by John Madden, the British director.

In the hands of Universal, the US studio, Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz were considered miscast as a captain in the Italian army and his Greek girlfriend.

De Bernieres later remarked: “It would be impossible for a parent to be happy about its baby’s ears being put on backwards.”

The Island tells the tale of Alexis Fielding, who goes in search of her Greek mother’s past, uncovering tragedy and passion. The TV adaptation will employ about 300 local actors and is expected to cost £3.5m — despite the country’s economic meltdown.

The writer, who owns a house on Crete with her husband, Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye magazine, will even have a small speaking part in the drama. “I’ve been learning Greek for the past couple of years,” she said. “I’m fairly fluent now.”

She also said the deal did not preclude secondary rights being sold to a British film or TV company at a later date.

Source

The Greek Weather Forecast

Currently we have late November weather. Some sunny days, some cloudy. Somedays even rain. We start to think again of spring and the coming summer.

But here in Greece, the weather forecast always cheers us up. Even if the weather is awful. That is because of Petroula, Star TV’s weather forecaster.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Oh Margaritas . . .

Skywatch Friday

Margaritas, a small village in Crete south of Rethimno and Iraklio with blue skies and a gentle breeze.

Small church in Margaritas

Small church in Margaritas

This was a few days ago but now, the first week in August, we have clouds, white puffy cumulus and some darker cirrus. I have never seen such clouds here in August. But back to Margaritas . . .

Pottery baked for tourists

Pottery baked for tourists

Of course there are many potters in Margaritas, but here we see other pottery shapes made apart from the many regular pots produced here. The potteries are part of the attraction to this small village on a hill, and many people come here to stock up shops all over the island with pots.

Sleeping kittens curled with each other

Sleeping kittens curled with each other

So the day goes by and come two pm, everyone enjoys siesta.