Why Crete’s soul lies in its highlands

For Cretans, the real island is not to be found at the seaside. Neil McQuillian heads for the hills in search of authenticity

Thursday 26 November 2020 16:09
<p>Life is agricultural, lived seasonally</p>

Life is agricultural, lived seasonally

Some people up here have never seen the ocean,” Kostas says as we enter a village called Apladiana. He points to its roadside name sign; it is pocked with bullet holes. “See that?” he says. “It tells people, ‘We have guns’.”

Toto and Kansas come to mind – yet we’re barely an hour’s leisurely drive inland from the beaches of northern Crete.

The rhythm of coastal Crete is dictated by the relentless thrum of waves and the ebb and flow of tourists. Down there, by the water’s edge, life is sweet. The sardines line themselves up on the grill and the karafa are glugged down in pleasantly self-deluding 0.5l denominations.  

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