Festivities and Friendships

Welcome to our new site! Thanks to good friend and computer guru, Matt Barker, I have a shiny, new blog site to play with that hopefully will be a lot more “user friendly”.     Lord knows, I can use the help!

So, here I am scrambling once again to play catch up with my blog so I can post my Christmas greetings next week!  One of these days I might have to just stay home and get it all done before I run off to any more adventures – welllll… maybe not.  Anyway, the next couple of posts are ones that should have been done in November so sit back and enjoy the remainder of our Autumn memories.


October 28th marks one of the most important holidays in Greek history.  (I know, I know…the Greeks have holidays for just about every imaginable reason but this really is a big one.)  Ochi Day is a national holiday full of parades, dancing and feasting that commemorates the Greek reply to Mussolini’s ultimatum in 1940 which called for Greek surrender.  Ochi (pron. “o-hee”) means “No!”  The parade in Hania was a grand display of traditional Cretan dress and dancing along with hundreds of children marching in representation of their schools.

kids marching with their school

Traditional Cretan dress

Local car dealer and banker??


Bangie and mom Helene

The kids were my personal favorite including my own little friend Evangeline (Bangie) Kabutz.  October 28th also happens to be my dear friend’s birthday (Helene) so we were invited to a BBQ at their home that evening.  And when Heinz (her husband) cooks his famous BBQ you don’t want to miss it!


The grill men

Auntie Dena: "Enough with the silly hat..where's the beef?!"

Misa loves BBQ night

And Bangie loves Misa

Chestnut Festival

Elos village (Richard with Maxi and Connie)

October also brings with it the chestnut festivals.  We headed into the hills to the annual chestnut festival in Elos, a cute little mountain village about an hour from our house.  We missed the festivities by literally minutes, but the town had a lot to offer including an old Byzantine church, remains of a Roman aqueduct and a fabulous lunch under the shade of old eucalyptus and chestnut trees.

14th century Byzantine chapel

Roman aquaduct


Richard with Grandma Jillian, Bangie, Maxi, Connie, Helene

Damnoni (South Coast)

We did a day trip to the south coast with American friends Don and Sharon from the base to visit another friends’ art shop they had just opened at a resort near Damnoni.  Mihalis and Margarita are just two more wonderful and talented people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting here on the island.

Mihalis and Margarita

Margarita is famous for her renditions of Greek icons and she still uses the time- consuming and very intricate traditional process of create these beautiful masterpieces.  Mihalis is a fabulous jewelry artist and Richard always knows where to go to get a gift for Mel!

Don, Sharon, Melanie, Richard

We had a tour of the beautiful resort and then went to lunch at a Damnoni taverna with a drop-dead gorgeous view.

On the way home, we stopped by Moni Preveli Monastery with a rich history of being a sanctuary for fighting rebels in the 1800’s and escaping Allied soldiers during the German invasion of WWII.

Moni Preveli Monastery

Monastery cats have the best life

Wining (another year older!) and Dining

November was a month of birthdays including Richard’s and Don’s.  Richard’s bday was a quiet one of birthday sunset viewing and his favorite dinner at home with a few friends.

This was a a “big one” for Don and his wife Sharon pulled off a great surprise party for him at a local winery.  About 25 of us gathered to toast and roast Don in grand style!

Don's bday feast at Dourakis Winery

After a very interesting tour of the facility, we were treated to a phenomenal dinner and endless bottles of house wine.

Dourakis Winery garden


About Melanie A Crane

Quote: "The best journeys ask questions that in the beginning you never thought to ask." (Anon) Here's my journey: Enjoying my short life on this earth one moment at a time by being intentional with God, family, traveling, cooking, gardening, Colorado living and all the perks that come with it, playing guitar, listening more and talking less. I've discovered that both cooking and travel can be messy at times but the risks can have some amazing results. The same goes for life lived with passion.
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