The highlight of August in Crete was the wedding of our dear friends’ daughter in the idyllic setting of Loutro on the south coast. Accessible only by foot or by sea, we opted for a water taxi rather than the 45 minute hike with our belongings (including a guitar) over the narrow path that skirts along the edge of the arid south coast hillside. This little seaside village tucked into a beautiful cove was once an important port town in Hellenistic and Roman times. Today, Loutro is a popular destination for tourists and is especially suited for weddings not just because of its Meditteranean beauty, but because the whole town is so accommodating. This little village closes down in the winter and explodes in the summer with 95% of the population being visitors. But somehow, it manages to preserve the small village feel – no discos, no loud parties, no cars, buses, scooters – just a peaceful, relaxing, stunningly beautiful place to get away from it all.
We had been to Loutro a few times before but this time was special because it was sweetened by the presence of good friends and families gathering for a joyful occasion.
The wedding took place at a restaurant perched above the town with a view over the sea. Even more beautiful than the surrounding was the bridal party and family. I had the honor of playing some music during the wedding and so I had a great seat for viewing!
But what stood out as the crowning moment for many of us were the tributes said at the reception. Rather than the typical chain of cheesy toasts and raunchy roasts offered by tipsy siblings or college roommates looking to outdo one another with feeble attempts at humor (usually at the expense of the embarassed bride – “Please, will somebody take the microphone away from him!”), this was a class act of beautiful thoughts shared with the intention of honoring the recipient and peppered with just enough humor to lighten the mood. Not a dry eye in the crowd. I must say that Nick, the father of the bride, took the prize for an eloquent speech that left even him choked up.
After the reception, the dancing began with traditional Greek dances and lots of good drink! We woke up to a nice surprise the next morning and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to dive in a swim around with this beauty. She even accepted a little stroke on her back from me as we were paddling around together. I never put “swim with a sea turtle” on my bucket list because I never thought it would happen. Now I think I’ll put it on there just so I can cross it off. What an amazing experience!
It was hard to leave on Sunday to return back to the “real world” (or as real as you can get on a Medittereanean island.) Nick has a favorite word he uses a lot to describe something very special, and this weekend in Loutro was nothing short of it …..”Magical!”