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Cathy Boylan takes a springtime trip to Crete where she‘s overwhelmed by the food, fauna and ‘fast‘ wine. If you fly to Crete. fly bv day. The Dalmatian coastline of Yugoslavia and the mountains of Albania are spectacular from the air then you come down low over a sparkling Aegean sea. and you‘re on land.

My partner and I planned to take a bus west along the North (foast road to Fidele El (ireco‘s birthplace

78 The List 1‘) April 2 May 199]

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but had to revise the plan when told buses would leave ‘tomorrow. not today‘. Beginning to adjust to the slower pace. we decided on 'l'ylissos. a tiny village not far away. and hired a cab. We were heading west. as we‘d been warned that the north-east coast has been spoiled by tourist developments.

Not 'l‘ylissos. We walked past Minoan ruins. among goats. chickens and braying donkeys. to the square. Small whitewashed houses are overrun by flowering shrubs equidistant from the Middle liast. North Africa and Europe. ( ‘rete‘s varied climactic and geographical influences produce over 1500 different trees. plants and shrubs. We saw. in May . violet. red and orange bougainvillea. scarlet

hibiscus. white peonies and cyclamen. crimson oleander. red and yellow poppies and pink rock roses all over the island.

We met a Mr Polithero snoozing in the sun outside his cafe in the square and l tried out the limited (ireek I‘d learned for the occasion. Very limited my inquiry if he had any rooms (I/iomuu'u) had him off to fetch a tomato salad (do/mates). We sorted this out and he brought coffees and offered us a room in his house for a few pounds. ’l‘he villagers were curious to see us: Greek uses the same word. 117105. for stranger. foreigner and guest. and we were treated. kindly, as all three.

In the morning we were fed brandy. rusks. cake and cinnamon tea. said a number of goodbyes and


Chara Spakion took a rickety bus west through the centre of(‘rete. The bus service is good. Nobody worries too much about the timetable and the routes are beautiful. along winding. often perilous roads which the drivers negotiate with a skill that looks casual. We stopped off in Anogia in the White Mountains. Surrounded by peaks. Anogia looks the way you‘d imagine Tibetan hill towns might look. It‘s a bit seedy. with grimy. whitewashed houses and a tough-looking population. Carts and : vans come and go in the main road. 5 dogs and donkeys in their wake.

Our next stop was Spili. We got a lift through vineyards. olive groves and orange orchards. passing brightly-painted beehives in the fields— dark honey mixed with fresh