We finally made it. Everything is unpacked, bar those items that we need to store elsewhere for lack of space. You can’t believe how hard it is to move from a place with 420 square meters of floor space (including various storage areas) to 90 square meters of floor space, not counting the balcony. It took a lot of squeezing and discussions and repacking and moving from one corner to the other, from one room to the other, from one shelf to the other, but it’s done. In hindsight it’s hard to believe we needed more than 4 weeks to accomplish this, but that’s all we did.
Of course we also needed to go out and buy stuff like paint and wall fixtures and furniture. Many times we were taken by surprise by the closing times of the shops. We’re still not used to the opening hours: from 9 in the morning till 2 (in the morning, they call it here) and from 6 till 9 (in the afternoon as the locals say). The notion of time is quite different from home. I once waited for 2 hours at an appointment for coffee with my neighbour who suggested we meet at the local cafenion “in the afternoon”. I was there at 3 o’clock. He showed up quarter past five, very surprised to find me there waiting for more than 2 hours.
Now we are off — like most Cretan city dwellers — to the coast in the south. We will spend Easter there with a Greek couple until Monday. Easter is the biggest holiday of the year in Greece. People spend huge amounts of money on presents for family and friends. Everybody attends midnight mass on Saturday, even those who are not fervent Orthodox practitioners. The celebration is as much a social gathhering as a religious one. In smaller villages where not so many people can fit into the church it is not uncustomary to find most of the men outside the church, smoking and chatting.
At midnight after mass “Judas” (a mannequin of old clothes filled with straw) will be burned on huge bonfires all over the island. At that time fireworks and crackers will fill the air with deafening sounds for miles around. Time to escape to a local cafenion out of the way to have the first meat dish after 40 days. Yvonne and I joined in the fastening for the first time, not because of religious reasons, but because it is so easy to do here. There are so many delicious alternatives that you hardly miss the meat. And of course it never harms the body…
I’ll leave it at this. We’ll be back on Tuesday.