Τρίτη 25 Νοεμβρίου 2014


The best thing about memories is making them again....
Plakias, Crete!!

Season 2015

10% discount for early booking until 30/11/14


Παρασκευή 21 Νοεμβρίου 2014

"Crete the island inside you" - Crete Daydreaming

The Region of Crete continues to promote the island..
Amazing work with new video!!

Holidays in Greece: a history in tourism posters.

For intrepid early romantics on their Grand Tours to the18 million travellers expected to visit this year, Greece has long been one of Europe’s most alluring destinations. These posters, marking 100 years of what is now the Greek National Tourism Organisation, highlight its winning combination of culture, charm and sunshine!!
Greece 1920s In 1922, Greece’s Bureau of Foreigners and Exhibitions is upgraded to a ‘Service’. In that year, under the heading Independent Travel without Trouble, Thomas Cook’s Traveller’s Gazette begins: ‘Let us suppose one is desirous of taking wife or family for a tour on the continent …’
Greece 1934 In 1936, the Greek National Tourism Organisation is abolished by prime minister Ioannis Metaxas. He orders all houses on the Cycladic islands be whitewashed – for hygiene but also because he believed it made them more picturesque.
Greece 1940s_2 

 In 1941, tourism is transferred to Greece’s ministry of national economy, where a directorate of spa towns and tourism is created, despite the second world war raging. At the end of the war, a secretariat general for tourism is established. 
 Greece 1949_01This 1949 poster is from the time of the Marshall Plan, which provided US aid to Europe after the second world war. A supreme council for tourism is set up – but Greek finances are in disarray: ‘Since the release of Greek territory from enemy occupation, the monetary system is in a state of confusion,’ notes the Thomas Cook Continental Timetable.
Greece 1950s_2 By 1955, foreign tourist numbers to Greece have reached 200,000 – a five-fold increase in five years. The average stay of the visitors is one week.
 Greece 1967 _03In 1967, a Greek military junta – the ‘Regime of the Colonels’ – came to power. For the first time, tourism numbers decline – by about 14% – though they rebound the following year. In the UK, the government imposes a £50 limit on the allowance for British citizens travelling abroad.
 Yachting in Greece 1969Greece is one of the first destinations to be chosen by Britannia Airways for its new Boeing 737 jet, with charters from Luton to Athens. In 1968, Jacqueline Kennedy marries the Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis on the Ionian island of Skorpios. 
 Greece 1981In 1980 there is evidence budget travel is flourishing, with the publication of Europe: a Manual for Hitch-hikers. It says: ‘Greece is one of the most beautiful countries on earth to get stranded for a few hours.’ Greece joins the EU in 1981, and the latest James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only, features the monasteries of Meteora. 
 Greece 1990sIn 1990 visitor numbers hit nine million for the first time, with some tourists inspired by the movie Shirley Valentine, released the previous year. Cephalonia features in Louis de Bernières’ 1994 novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, about the Italian and German occupation of Greece in the second world war. 
ATHENS_Herodeio_2004 Greece win the 2004 UEFA European Championship, beating the hosts Portugal in the opening group match and again in the final. The following month, Athens hosts the Olympic Games. Visitor numbers to Greece are now more than 13 million.

Photo of the day: Are you ready for swim?

Today in Plakias, Crete: 26 degrees Celsius!!

Πέμπτη 13 Νοεμβρίου 2014

Amphipolis: Skeleton found, mystery remains (photos + 3D interactive tour)

A skeleton has been found in the monument for the mortal who was probably worshipped by his society at the time
Archaeologists in northern Greece announced on Wednesday that they found a skeleton belonging to a distinguished ancient celebrity from the time of Alexander the Great in the ancient tomb at Amphipolis. Chief archaeologist Katerina Peristeri speculated that “the tomb in all probability belongs to a male and a general.”
The skeleton found is housed in a wooden coffin once held together by iron and bronze nails and studded with bone and glass decorations. Though the coffin has disintegrated over time, the skeletal remains are intact and were found both inside and outside the floor of the tomb, possibly as a result of the looting during ancient times.
Archaeologists estimate that the person whose remains were found was 1.8 meters tall, however there will need to be complex lab work and an analysis of organic residue that could take months to complete before having a clearer picture of the occupant of the tomb. The analysis will allow archaeologists to restrict the number of potential candidates that the tomb belongs to rather than point to a single person with certainty, possibly Nearchos or Hephaistion, or even Alexander the Great, event though finding the latter is unlikely if historical sources are taken into account.
An analysis of the bone structure will give a clearer idea of the occupant’s build, health and injuries they may have had during their lives that could give scientists more clues when pinpointing the identity of the occupant of the tomb.
The announcement of the discovery of the skeleton overshadowed any other discussion on the monument and a number of serious questions remain unanswered. For instance, the question as to why the monument was sealed even though it had been looted. Furthermore, there is a strong contrast between the pre-chambers and size of the monument compared to the no-frills decor in the main burial chamber and the frugal space in the underground cist grave where the skeleton was found.
Take the tour...
The excitement of finding the skeleton dominated the discussion, however noteworth is the fact that over 500 pieces of the surrounding wall were found near the place where the Lion of Amphipolis sits. More than 100 stones were discovered just a couple of days ago in Lake Kerkini where the pieces were transferred in 1936 by the company Ulen who were responsible for the construction of the Dam at Kerkini.
A5(Source:prototema, Greektoys, sketchfab)

Δευτέρα 10 Νοεμβρίου 2014

The simple is beautiful... Thank you Paolo!

     When the art meets the perfect places...                                            

"You don't take a photograph, you make it"
                 Ansel Adams

Κυριακή 9 Νοεμβρίου 2014

Photo of the day: November in Plakias!!

And the winners of the 32nd Athens Marathon are… Kenyan! (photos + video)!!

The race brought people from 120 countries to run the ancient route!!
Kenyan long-distance runner Felix Kandie is the winner of the 32nd Athens Classic Marathon with a record win after he covered the 42km-course in 2:10:36. With this result he broke the previous record set by Italian Stephano Baldini at 2:10:55.
“This is my first time in Athens and I am happy,” he said. “I desired to be in the top three and manage to do my best time. The people here were very good and the atmosphere was welcoming. Running at the historic Panathinaic stadium made me happy. I had heard about this stadium in Kenya and I am very happy.”
Raymond Bett, also from Kenya, came second. This was his fourth time at the Athens Marathon and he had reserved optimism despite being last year’s winner and receiving first place in the Marathon twice and second place twice in previous years. He was pleased with his time.
The best Greek winner was Christoforos Meroussis from the isle of Chios with 2 hours and 25 minutes.

"Crete the island inside you" - Crete Daydreaming

The Region of Crete continues to promote the island..
Amazing work with new video!!

Mediterranean cooking: Octopus stew with eggplants and potatoes!

A traditional recipe that brings out the flavor and the aroma of the fresh octopus.

Serves: 6 Preparation time: 30m Cooking time: 60m Ready in: 1h 30m
A traditional recipe that brings out the flavor and the aroma of the fresh octopus.
An octopus weighing approximately 1½-2 kg, cleaned and washed
6 small striped eggplants cut in large cubes
6-8 small potatoes, halved or 4 medium potatoes, diced
1 large onion, finely chopped
5-6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and grated
1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
2-3 bay leaves
2/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preparation method
Step 1
Cut the octopus into large pieces and place them in a saucepan. Over medium heat, let the octopus boil in its own juices until tender.
Step 2
Sauté the eggplant cubes in half the oil until golden brown. Sauté the potatoes for a few seconds and place them with the eggplant cubes.
Step 3
Heat the remaining oil and sauté the onion until wilted. Add the octopus and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato, the parsley, the bay leaves and the pepper. Do not add salt because the octopus itself is salty. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Step 4
Place over the octopus the eggplants and potatoes. Cover the saucepan and let it the ingredients simmer until the octopus is tender and the sauce thickens. If needed, add a little water occasionally. Taste for salt at the end and season if necessary.
Source: Olive magazine
Chef: Georgia Kofina
Photo: Vangelis Paterakis
Food Styling: Antonia Kati

Πλακιάς: Ανάσα στην τοπική οικονομία από την τουριστική κίνηση

Αυξημένη κίνηση και έσοδα σχετικά περιορισμένα. Αυτά είναι τα δύο βασικά χαρακτηριστικά που συνέθεσαν το καλοκαίρι την τουριστική εικόνα στον Πλακιά Αγίου Βασιλείου, που είναι ένας από τους δημοφιλέστερους προορισμούς της νότιας Κρήτης.

Παρόλα αυτά, οι επαγγελματίες του τουρισμού μιλούν για μία από τις καλύτερες τουριστικές χρονιές των τελευταίων ετών, επισημαίνοντας πως έχουν ήδη καταγραφεί οι πρώτες κρατήσεις και για την επόμενη τουριστική σεζόν!

Μπορεί η τουριστική περίοδος που ρίχνει αυτές τις ημέρες την αυλαία της να κύλησε με αρκετές δυσκολίες, εντούτοις χαρακτηρίζεται ως μία από τις καλύτερες τουριστικές χρονιές των τελευταίων ετών για ξενοδόχους και επαγγελματίες των νότιων περιοχών του Ρεθύμνου.

Καθ' όλη τη διάρκεια του καλοκαιριού η τουριστική περιοχή του Πλακιά "πλημμύρισε" από χιλιάδες επισκέπτες που επέλεξαν αυτό τον προορισμό στα νότια της Κρήτης για να απολαύσουν τις διακοπές τους και τις ομορφιές της φύσης.

Στη παρούσα χρονική στιγμή κάποια ξενοδοχειακά καταλύματα παραμένουν ακόμα ανοικτά προκειμένου να παρέχουν του υψηλού επιπέδου τις υπηρεσίες τους στους εναπομείναντες επισκέπτες της περιοχής.

Επαγγελματίες από το χώρο της εστίασης μιλούν για την παντελή έλλειψη ελλήνων παραθεριστών στην περιοχή τους, ενώ δεν κρύβουν την ανησυχία τους για τους μήνες του χειμώνα, οι οποίοι όπως μας λένε θα κυλήσουν δύσκολα, αφού το «πικ» της τουριστικής σεζόν κυμάνθηκε μεταξύ Ιουλίου Σεπτεμβρίου.

Οι ίδιοι πάντως ατενίζουν με αισιοδοξία το μέλλον, καθώς είναι πλέον πραγματικότητα οι πρώτες κρατήσεις για την επόμενη τουριστική σεζόν.

Και παρά το ότι ο Πλακιάς είναι ένας από τους δημοφιλέστερους προορισμούς πολλών ευρωπαίων επισκεπτών, δυστυχώς, ακόμα "αιμορραγεί" λόγω έλλειψης βασικών υποδομών. Το θέμα αυτό βρίσκεται ψηλά στην ατζέντα της νέας δημοτικής αρχής, που δηλώνει αποφασισμένη να μην αφήσει καμία χρηματοδοτική ευκαιρία να πάει χαμένη.

(Στέλλα Μαθιουδάκη - neatv.gr)        

Σάββατο 8 Νοεμβρίου 2014

The Holocaust of the Monastery of Arkadi (Rethymno Crete)

Aerial photo of Arkadi Monastery
Arkadi Monastery is located near the village Amnatos, 23km east of Rethymno. It is built at an altitude of 500m, on a fertile plateau with olive groves, vineyards, pine, cypress and oak trees. Around the monastery there are several picturesque chapels and from there starts the beautiful Arkadi gorge.
The exact date of the foundation of the monastery is not known, but it is believed that it was actually founded by Byzantine Emperor Arkadios in the 12th century. According to another version, the name is taken after a monk called Arkadios, who first founded the monastery. Moreover, the monastery was called Tsanli Manastir by the Turks (i.e. beneficiary bell), as the Arkadi monastery was the only Cretan monastery that had the right to ring its bells.
The initial church of the monastery was dedicated to Saint Constantine and some ruins of it are preserved in the northwestern part of the monastery enclosure. Arkadi is surrounded by massif walls that made it impregnable from the enemies and its rich fortification attracted the rebellious Cretans. Many Turkish and Greek documents are referring to the life and the adventures of the monastery, that provided educational, national, ethical and monetary  support for the locals.
Arkadi is certainly the most historic monastery of Crete and has become the most sacred symbol of the Struggle of the Cretans for Freedom. It is the theater of the tragic battle of 1866, which opened the way for the liberation of the island in 1898. Indeed, UNESCO has designated Arkadi as a European Freedom Monument.

The Battle of Arkadi

The battle of ArkadiDuring the Turkish occupation of Crete, the Cretans made many revolutionary movements, such as the Revolution of Daskalogiannis in 1770, of the Janissaries in 1821, against the Egyptians in 1822, of Gramvousa in 1828, of Chairetis in 1811. They all failed but strengthened Cretan morale and hatred against the Turks. The Revolution that opened the way for the Liberation of Crete was the Revolution of 1866, which, combined with the revolutions of 1878 and 1895, put an end to the Turkish Occupation in 1898.
The Cretan Revolution of 1866 brought a blow against the Turkish Empire, caused significant economic damage and stultified its military prestige. The Monastery of Arkadi from the first moment of the Revolution was the center of the Cretan struggle. On May 1, 1866, 1500 Cretan rebels gathered under the leadership of Hadji Michalis Giannaris and elected representatives of the various provinces of Crete. As president of the Rethymno Commission, was elected the abbot of Arkadi Monastery, Gabriel Marinakis.
When Ismail Pasha was informed of these events he demanded that the abbot had to expel the Revolutionary Committee from the monastery, otherwise he would destroy it. The abbot refused and in July Ishmael Pasha sent his troops. However, the Commission had abandoned Arkadi and the Turks only destroyed the icons and sacred vessels of the temple. The committee returned in Arkadi and, in September, Pasha reasked the abandonment of the monastery, otherwise he would destroy it completely!
Arkadi templeThe message of Ishmael was rejected and the rebels immediately started organizing their defense. On September 24, Panos Koroneos arrived in Bali and visited Arkadi with his soldiers, where he was announced as the General Chief of Rethymnon. He organized the military defense and pointed out that Arkadi is not suitable for defense. The abbot and monks had the opposite opinion, so Koroneos set John Dimakopoulos as commander and left Arkadi. The monastery was a refuge for many women and children from the nearby villages. So, on November 7, in the monastery there were 964 people. 325 of them were men of whom 259 were armed.
On the evening of November 7, an army consisting of 6000 soldiers, 200 horsemen, 1200 Albanians and 30 cannons departed from Rethymnon city. In the morning of November 8, 1866 all that army, led by the groom of Mustafa Pasha, Suleiman Veis, was standing in front of the monastery. The dawn of the same day found the Cretans in the Divine Liturgy (in church). When the abbot Gabriel learned that the Turks were established on the hills around the monastery, he blessed all the rebels and everyone took up battle positions.
Soon, Suleiman Veis asked from the Cretan warriors to surrender. The answer was given by the shooting guns and the raised emblem - flag depicting the Transfiguration of Christ (and now kept at the Museum of the Monastery). The battle started.
Women helped by carrying ammunition and water for the warriors, while the Turks were trying in vain to approach and destroy the West Gate. The battle continued all day with many casualties of the Turks. In the windmill outside of the gate (where the ossuary is currently set) seven Cretans were hidden, who caused the greatest damage to the Turks, but by the evening they were all killed.
At the night, the Turks brought two heavier cannons from Rethymnon. One was the famous bombard koutsahila, famous throughout Crete for its devastating effectiveness. The desperate besieged managed to send secretly the priest Kraniotis and Adam Papadakis to ask for help from Koroneos and the other chieftains of Amari province. The two men managed to escape Arkadi and reach the other rebels, but they could not help. It is worth mentioning that the heroic Adam Papadakis decided to return the monastery, where he knew that he would certainly die.
In the evening of November 8, the bell rang for last time. Warriors, old men, women and children came to the Holy Communion (Blessed Sacrament). Even children had understood that they lived the last moments of their lives.
When November 9 dawned the battle began. The new canons destroyed the western gate. The abbot ordered whoever would manage to be alive when the Turks would enter the yard, to give fire to the gunpowder storage room.
The sacrifice of the Cretans in the gunpowder roomThe battle continued relentlessly. The Turks managed to enter the gate of the monastery and the battle was bounded inside the monastery. Those warriors that had run out of ammunition came to the courtyard and fought with their swords. Many girls and women ran to the storey with the powder kegs, as they preferred to surrender their bodies to the flames rather than the atrocities of the Turks. When most of the Turks entered the monastery, Dimakopoulos and other warriors, rushed with swords and killed many Turks from those who were in the yard. After a while their swords were broken and the Turks continued to come from everywhere after the resistance had fallen from all sides.
It was now dark and most women had gathered in the powder room. Kostas Giamboudakis then raised his pistol and ordered anyone who wanted to leave the storey, as he would explode the gunpowder. Hundreds of Turks were trying to break the door to slaughter the Christians. Giamboudakis waited to attract as many Turks as possible outside the door. Then he shot the powder kegs and a huge explosion was heard. Stones, bodies, heads, ruins, soils were all mixed and the souls of the Cretans passed into history forever.
After the explosion of gunpowder, John Dimakopoulos and a few survivors continued to fight against the Turks and the Albanians in the courtyard of the monastery. He decided to surrender when he was guaranteed that the last alive defenders would be left free. However, on the next day, they were all beheaded. Even today you can see the marks of the swords on the dining tables. The result of the holocaust of Arkadi, as this drama has prevailed in Greek History, was: 114 men and women prisoners, 864 dead Cretans and about 1500 dead Turks.
In the cypress of the monastery there are still bullets of that battle. Pasha believed that his victory would stop rebels in Crete. However, this battle was learned in Europe and opened the closed doors of European diplomacy, changed the mindset and tactics of the Great Powers towards Crete and led to its liberation in 1898.

Τρίτη 4 Νοεμβρίου 2014

Photo of the day!

Plakias sunset... Crete.

Δευτέρα 3 Νοεμβρίου 2014

Plakias - Crete from above !

Come and... fly with us over Plakias in the South of Crete!!
Bravo to youtube's user:Interlaced Light

Greek traditional Pastitsio.

Can’t get any more Greek than that… 3 main steps to a delicious pastitsio
Serves:  a medium oven tray Preparation time: 40m Cooking time: 40m Ready in: 1h 25m
For pastitsio
500g. thick macaroni
3 tsp. tablespoons olive oil
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. tablespoons of butter
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cup cheese, and / or Parmesan, grated
¼ tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
     For the meat sauce
750g. minced beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ cup tomato juice concentrate
1/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
salt and pepper
   For the sauce
8 tsp. tablespoons butter
8 tsp. flour for all uses
1½ liter of milk, warm
3 egg yolks
½ cup grated cheese
Salt and white pepper
Preparation method
Prepare the meat
step 1
Put the mince  in medium pot over medium heat and with a wooden spoon  “crush” to let the fluids  stand completely. Stir with the mince the onion and garlic, and again stirl and add the olive oil.
step 2
Saute until the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the pan and finish with the wine. Add the tomato juice, cinnamon, salt and pepper and let the sauce simmer for 30-35 minutes until it thickens.
Prepare spaghetti
step 1
Boil in a saucepan 1 1/2 liter of water and add 1 tsp. teaspoon salt. Put the pasta in the pot and cook for 6-7 minutes. Drain and toss with olive oil until well smeared and dont stick together. Beat the egg whites, add the pasta and stir in well.
Prepare the sauce
step 1
In a medium saucepan melt the butter and add the flour. Stir constantly with a whisk until the flour gets a little color and remove from fire. Keep 2-3 tablespoons of lukewarm milk, to mix with the egg yolks and add the rest to the saucepan, stirring constantly with wire, to prevent clotting.
step 2
Put the pan back on low heat and let simmer, stirring constantly until thickened. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Mix the egg yolks with 2-3 tablespoons of  the milk that you keep cool and just a little cream, add them. Season to taste and stir well to unite the egg cream. Finally add the grated cheese and stir well.
Prepare pastitsio
step 1
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Butter a medium oven tray and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Lay in the tray half of the pasta, sprinkle with 5-6 tsp. grated cheese and pure all the sauce over the meat. Sprinkle with some cheese again and pure evenly over the remaining macaroni.
step 2
Spread over the spaghetti sauce and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake the pastitsio for 40-45 minutes, until it gets golden.

Source: Olive magazine
Chef: Georgia Kofina
Photo: Vangelis Paterakis
Food Styling: Antonia Kati

A underwater wedding in the Cretan sea!!

Two years ago Zahara from South Africa met the woman of his dreams, Renata, from Hungary. Their love of diving brought them closer so they decided to get married under the Cretan sea at Kalypso Cretan village on the southwest of Crete, in the area of Plakias!!

Athens Marathon 2014: Call For Volunteer Music Bands, Musicians To Support Runners

Photo source: Hellenic Athletics Federation
The organizing committee of the “Athens Marathon. The Authentic” has put out a call for volunteer music bands and individual musicians to give rhythm and support to the runners of the 32nd marathon event.
Athens-Classic-Marathon-2013-10On 9 November 2014, all eyes will be on Athens and the 32rd Athens Marathon, on the original course of 42,195m from Marathonas to the Panathinaikon Stadium. The participating runners from all over the world are asked to try their best, reaching in many cases the ultimate of their human will and resources.
Bands and musicians are invited to offer their volunteer support and be present somewhere along the Marathon course or in Athens center and create a festive mood for participants and spectators of the event.
“Besides the purely sport aspect of the Athens Marathon event, this is a city celebration in which everyone plays his part encouraging the runners, applauding, cheering, dancing and singing,” the organizing committee said.
The call is open for amateur music bands, school music groups, municipal philharmonic groups, individual musicians, dancing groups and others.
Those interested can contact Dimitris Kondylis (Athens Marathon Music Project Manger, +30 210 9657947, +30 6973 032425) to learn how and where they may participate in the initiative.
GTP is the main tourism communication sponsor for the Athens Marathon. Τhe Authentic.

UK Travel Agents Have Faith In Greece As A Destination

Greece_Greece’s significant tourism growth was discussed in a meeting in London on Friday 31 October between Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni and the chairman of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), Noel Josephides.
GNTO General Secretary Panos Livadas, Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni and ABTA Chairman Noel Josephides. Photo source: Greek Tourism Ministry
Mrs. Kefalogianni is currently on an official visit to the United Kingdom to attend the World Travel Market (WTM) 2014 that will open on 3 November at ExCeL London.
During the meeting it was underlined that Greece has managed to become a priority destination for British tourism professionals.
Both sides agreed that attractive travel packages to Greece can be offered to British travelers, considering the variety of tourism forms the country has developed. Key factors also include the improvements made to Greece’s infrastructure and to the quality of offered services to tourists.
On his part, ABTA’s chairman informed Mrs. Kefalogianni that British travel agents realized Greece’s tourism upgrade and for this reason selected the country to host the ABTA 2015 Travel Convention.
The fact that the convention will be held in Greece is considered a vote of confidence to Greece from the UK tourism market, an announcement by the Greek Tourism Ministry read.
The ABTA Travel Convention is considered a top tourism event and is expected to attract over 600 British travel agents/ABTA members and representatives of Internet companies Google, Yahoo, Tripadvisor and travel writers of leading British publications. The convention will take place at Costa Navarino, a luxury coastal resort complex in Messinia (Peloponnese), from 12-14 October.
According to Mr. Josephides, Greece has attracted the interest of the British travel agents, something that is expected to show during next year’s tourism season.