Seeing as Jessica had given us our new prized pup Hector , we figured the least we could do was buy her a nice fish supper. We went back to our hotel, scrubbed up & strolled along the shore as waited for our date to arrive.
I’m in a Love dress with a Ralph Lauren belt & the ever glamorous Mummy Londoner is in DVF daisies…
Jess pulled up with her Greek husband, Zach in a wonderfully rickety old pick up truck. Mum dove into the front seat so Zach & I were left to hoik ourselves into the back. Holding on tightly we set off to Elounda. Before we could get stuck into supper, Jess & Zach wanted to show us a special little place that only locals know about. Jutting out of Elounda’s tip you’ll find Spinalonga Peninsula (not to be confused with Spinilonga Island) where the earth oozes history. It’s fiercely guarded by Greek archaeologists & the government who (quite rightly) want to protect the area from developers & builders. There is however, one little exception. 20 years ago a local priest started having recurring, very vivid dreams about a church that didn’t exist. In them he saw a little chapel on the top of the peninsula with a bell ringing out. He couldn’t make sense of it or find anything in the history books. Not even the oldest islander could remember seeing or hearing of a church on the peninsula. The dreams refused to let the weary priest be, so he began his mission to uncover the truth. He badgered the archaeological society to dig & see if there ever was a church on the top of the hill. Eventually they conceded, started chipping away at the dirt & were flabbergasted to find the remains of an old Byzantine church. Spurred on by the idea that God has spoken to him, the priest spent the next 15 years ploughing all of his time & the last of his money into restoring the old place to its former glory. Now it stands proudly on the top of the hill.
We drove as far as we could before abandoning the car & climbing the rest of the way. We reached the summit just as the full moon did.
It might not look like much, but the air & the stone here quite literally buzz with energy. I tend to enjoy churches as beautiful buildings rather than spiritual temples, but this place is something entirely different.
This ground must have been considered holy for thousands & thousands of years. Quite incredible & humbling to think of all the people who have been here to share their devotion, thanks & cries of help over the millennia.
Now, thanks to the priest and his dreams it’s here for future generations to rely on.
As the night cooled & the sky deepened into a dark purple, we thought we should probably head to the shack for some fish. Jess fired up the truck & we trundled back down the hill.
Kanali restaurant sits just on the edge of the peninsula by the old canals. They serve up some of the freshest fish on the island with a smile, a song & a pat on the back.
We sat on painted chairs with the sea lapping at our feet.
They covered our little table with Greek goodness…
Bread smothered in garlic with olives.
Shrimp saganaki (my request, obviously).
Grilled octopus tentacles.
Anchovies (Zach pulled out the bones & drowned these in lemon & salt, making them even better than I remembered.)
The locals sang & danced while we chatted & mopped up the last of our supper.
Over the course of the meal we discovered more in common with Jess & Zach than we could ever have imagined. Mum & Jess’s fathers were even doctors stationed in Burma together during the war, so would probably have known each other before any of us existed. Not only have we found ourselves a handsome new pup, we’ve found old soul mates & friends for life. Greece really is a magical place.