The greeting “καλό Σαββατοκύριακο!” is music to my ears. “Kalo” means “good” or “nice” and the second word is a run-on word that combines names of two days of the week – saturday (sabbato) and sunday (kiriako.) Perfect… “Have a good weekend!” And when the weather cooperates, it is good indeed!
Usually our weekends consist of the typical chores and catch up of everyday living. But when we’re done, there’s always some fun to be found either just the two of us or with a bunch of friends.
A BBQ is always a big hit with everyone and we can be sure of a good meal with you have an Italian, a Brit and an American running the grill.
After our huge meal, taking a stroll on the beach is the perfect end to a perfect day.
When the weather isn’t so cooperative, there’s nothing like a pasta night with friends followed by an intense board game of “Ticket to Ride” AKA “The Train Game.” We soon discovered though, that Gio and Jenn had the advantage as partners because of their heavy use of Italian “table talk.” I think that could qualify as some sort of cheating, don’t you?! (We’ll forgive them because of the awesome meal.) I have to say, I’ve learned a lot about food prep since living here. The tastiest dishes are the ones that are the simplest. Gio takes his pasta to a whole new level – true Italian style – olive oil, garlic, fresh tomatoes, a little prociutto, a little roka, on top of a high quality pasta cooked al dente and Voila! Pair it up with a good wine and simple salad and it’s truly magic. “Benissimo!”
On most weekends we can usually be found exploring some part of the island by bike or hike. A beautiful hike just outside Hania up in the hills is in the area of Agia Kyriaki – a former monastery of the 17th century that was recently renovated after it fell into ruin. During the 19th century, Agia Kyriaki served as a haven for refugees and freedom fighters when the Turkish occupation was at its height. It is now owned by the nearby monastery Chrisopigi and is the home of about 12 nuns. The buildings and gardens are pristine and beautifully maintained.
A long walk up the stone-paved paths and stairways reveal cave chapels tucked within an ecosystem that has been painstakingly honored.
One weekend evening found us at Chrisa’s village home for a night of Greek cooking and music. Her husband on the bouzouki, a friend on keyboards and me on guitar provided a very casual jam session for friends that were relaxing in the cozy living room by the fire. When we finally succumbed to the sleepiness brought on by an ample fill of food and raki into the late night, we said our goodbyes knowing that, in typical Greek style, the party was just starting at 10pm.
Last weekend was gently packed with some of our favorite activities and friends. Friday’s bike ride around Stylos reaped great rewards – sweet oranges, a wildflower bouquet of huge calla lilies, a future camping spot and sore legs after a hill climb up the mountain above Stylos (not to mention the stellar downhill rush!) That night we were blessed with a worship night at our home with friends followed by more good eats including lemon bars prepared with fresh eggs and newly picked lemons from a friend’s farm. Saturday began with shopping at the morning laiki in Hania (farmer’s market) followed by a meal in the garden of our favorite lunch stop – Kouzina.
Sunday morning is filled with God’s goodness through His people at our little church in Hania. The Apostolic Church of Hania can easily be missed as it is tucked in on a narrow side street in the city but its vision and purpose serve to make it a beacon for God’s love. The congregation is made up primarily of Greeks and Bulgarians, but in the mix are others of international flavors around Europe and America. The lead pastor and his wife, Mike and Tippy are English with big hearts for the needy in this city. Our Sunday morning service is a cooperative event – Greeters are Brits, the Welcome is by a Greek gentleman, worship music is led by a Bulgarian couple and an American, sound system is run by a Bulgarian man, translation is done by a bright young Greek woman, and everyone, regardless of language barriers, come together in one Spirit to worship the Lord of ALL. It’s probably the most beautiful thing I’ve experienced while living on this island.