The Drama Chef

Prose – Travel – Recipes

Tag: greece

Spinalonga

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“The good old times, they say. When people were dinning under candle light, marrying once for ever after, had no mobile phones or computers. The good old times, when they had no antibiotics, vaccines, access to education, information. But I guess that’s not such a romantic thought now, is it?” he said, looking at Spinalonga approaching us, as the small ship was happily sailing, full of tourists. The tiny island floated on the zephyr sea of Crete. Small houses in the colour of sand, surrounded by a high wall. A fortress on the highest point, some pine trees too, breaking the monotony of the golden colour of dust. It looked like an abandoned resort, charming, quiet, exclusive. Difficult to grasp that it used to be the exile island of the damned.

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Balos of Crete

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“Watch out!” The warning came too late. I was already sliding down the hill, the sharp small rocks cutting in my flesh, desperately trying to hold on to the small plants on the sides of the path. Looking like a bug that flipped by accident and was sliding on its back, helpless. After 5 meters or so, I finally stopped, my white shorts all red from the dust, my skin scratched and sore, my hands bleeding. “I told you not to wear flip-flops” was all she said, passing beside me, not offering a helping hand or a word of compassion. Ahhhhh, mother!

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At the very west point of Crete, on the very last day of our vacation. Balos. A magical natural reserve, leading to a beautiful lagoon.

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Summer of expats

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The moment I enter the plane, I feel free. It’s like the heavy burden of all the winters of my life is lifted from my shoulders. The gray clouds that darken my head evaporate, the fog that covers my emotions disappears, my dormant blood starts pumping in my veins again. My skin becomes crisp and joyful, my eyes regain their sparkle, my voice gets louder, my hands move in big rounds again while I speak. Motion and life return to me, the civilised neutral mask I wear at work, while going to take the train or doing the grocery shopping, breaks into a million dark pieces and falls on the floor like dust. I’m me again, as I left me back home last summer, I am picking it up from there, as if another year hasn’t passed, as if it was just a gray, brief moment that is gone forever.

Summer people. Sand. Wind. Sea. Blue. The waves and the salt, the dry yellow crisp grass, the smell of pine trees in the sun, music floating in the air. Barefoot again. On the burning sand, on the grass, on the hot concrete, on the wet stones. Sun cream. Ice cubes in café-frapé. Beer bottles with slices of lemon stuck up their necks. Octopus. Burned shoulders shinning on white hard hotel sheets. Flip-flops that will barely survive this summer and will blister your toes. Small boats flying over blue, blue waves. Blue. Again and again and again. The first day I go swimming after a whole long year, I run and jump in the sea, I kiss the water, I drink a bit too. It burns my throat, my eyes tear, I am home, I am home.

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Vanilla cream pie/bougatsa hybrid

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You are six years old, on a sunny Sunday. You are walking in the quiet streets, holding the hand of your gramma that looks huge and wise and smiles at you. The world is bright and safe, for you and for the street cats that lie on the cars, stretching in the sun or sitting in a Sphynx position, their eyes like slots, almost roaring but not quite.

You visited your aunts today, to show them your first drawings. You are six now, so you go to school. They are real drawings, water colours and everything, with your name written on the right-down corner, the letters big and uneven, going slightly downwards. A grown girl they say. You blush and you look down at your Sunday shoes, black with a silver buckle, already a bit dusty from a short run in the park. You wanted to pick up daisies, but gramma said you shouldn’t. Grandpa is softer; he lets you pick flowers and laughs at you when the tip of your nose gets yellow from the pollen. My little bee he says. Sometimes he catches a butterfly for you, but not often. When you ask why he says that when you touch too much a butterfly’s wings you destroy them, and they can fly no more. So you never ask for a butterfly again, but you always go and watch them close when they are sitting on the flowers – not touching.

“What are you thinking little one?” She looks at you from above, half-concerned, half-amused. Not waiting for the answer – “are you hungry? Let’s go and get something sweet. But you won’t tell mama or grandpa, deal?” Deal.

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