Crete through the eyes of a Spanish who left Madrid to live in a village of Apokoronas - Ιστορίες, Ρεπορτάζ, Σχολιασμός Κρήτης Blog |

Τρίτη, 10 Ιουλίου 2018

Crete through the eyes of a Spanish who left Madrid to live in a village of Apokoronas


 He is in love with Crete and does not hide it. Alberto Muñoz Hernández comes from Spain and his great passion is travelling.

He has lived outside Madrid in various parts of the world, from distant Taiwan to Equatorial Guinea, but when he came to our island, 2,5 years ago, he got "stuck" and now does not seem to want to change that experience with anything.

I met him when his Apokoronian friend , Manolis Pettakakis, brought him to walk with us through the gorge of Kolikoude. He  impressed me with his calmness , his enthusiasm for this new place but also with his choice to live in a small village of Chania. And finally, I was correct and this is the case of a man worth talking about.

As he told me, he learned of Crete from one of his two brothers when he came here for a vacation. He described him the wild beauty of our country, how hospitable and different the Cretans are, and how well they relate to the English language, so it's easy to get in touch with them.

Without waiting to hear more and without an exploratory trip, he gathered his things and traveled to Crete with the prospect of staying for three months in Almyrida, where he rented his first home.

Ombrosialos, his beloved beach a short distance from the village where he lives.
Let's note that Alberto has studied economics and maintains an import-export business in Spain that does not need his physical presence, since all his work can be done through the Internet.

Crete has really enchanted him from the very first moment that he stepped his foot on her ground. After the end of the three months, he searched for a new home with a garden this time, so that besides getting to know the beauties of the island he also gets acquainted with how to cultivate his products.

His retreat and base was found in Kefalas Apokoronas. Now having completed 2.5 years in Crete he sees the perspective of leaving Crete, to get to know some other land , from difficult to very distant.
His garden at Kefalas
 All this time Alberto seeks beautiful places for hiking and bathing. Places from one end of Crete to the other meanwhile  avoiding places with intense tourist traffic and fuss just like the devil avoids incense …

Although he is not very old in his age, he likes the quiet life and it is this he could find in Crete, making him feel fulfilment .

When he told me that he thought that for the first time in his life he could find his place , on earth, here in Crete, i asked him to be more specific and he really did not stop listing  the things that fascinated him.

Kourtaliotiko Gorge, he went twice in a few days because he loved it.
Apart from the beautiful, fantastic and incredible nature, (the ratings are his), he also found on our island the incomparable hospitality of its people.

"I missed Spain only a very few times, because here i feel as if I’m home," he says, explaining that there are many similarities to Spain, due to the Mediterranean character of Greeks and Spaniards that "emit" at the same frequency.

Here in Crete, he adds, he made some unique friends, like Manoli. Alberto highly evaluates the true human communication and connection . That is why he emphasizes that the people he met here and became friends ….touched his heart and soul.

A small part of his garden where he spends hours daily caring for his vegetables.
Manolis taught him to cultivate ... the “Cretan way” his garden at his house in Kefalas. Indeed, even the “katifedes” flowers have been planted in it, as the Cretans did in the past. At the same time, Alberto is in a constant search for environmental friendly cultivation method,s since he does not want his products to even have a trace of pesticide.

He is vegan himself, so  all his food is related to vegetables, fruits and legumes. Last year in fact , from just four olive trees in his house, he produced his first olive oil, about 25 liters, which he uses in his kitchen. As his friends say he is a perfect cook.

All this, and the way he chose to live have, as he says, multiplied  the quality of his life by 2-3 times or perhaps even more,. This, of course, does not mean that there is nothing he finds negative with living in Crete. The use of weapons, the way many people drive in our streets, smoking where it is forbidden or the rubbish here and there, are some.

Alberto usually goes wherever he goes to live, for a cycle of about 2.5-3.5 years. He knows in advance how this circle will close. In Crete he is already 2.5 years and does not think of leaving. At some point, when it passed through his mind that he has the habit of changing countries and places, he found that a decision to leave our island would be very difficult for him .
Potamos beach
 To people like the Cretan loving Spaniard, this rhythm of life fits well. He believes that, as humans, we Cretans are closer to things that are worth and counting for just as he himself is.

In Spain for example , in order to see his friends he had to arrange the meeting days before while here to see his friend Manolis he just has to make a phonecall  and in half an hour they are together. In Madrid he went to the movies  three or four times a week and thought he would miss this favorite habit . Soon he found out that here it doesn’t even cross his mind . As for the sea ... he loves the fact that driving for ten minutes takes him to his beloved beach, Omprosgialos. He can go there to swim and return to his house in half an hour . This would seem unthinkable elsewhere.

Gavdos, when he went there, he was charmed and therefore is constantly talking about this place

When he goes to Madrid to see his family, he describes that he faces angry, aggressive, people who live only to consume. Their happiness is the acquisition of material goods which holds only  for a few minutes . These people continue to be trapped in a setting that does not have an exit.

"I am so happy here," he says by closing our conversation, and we really have no reason not to believe him but instead to envy him because he really seems to have found the meaning of life.

Eleni Vasilaki

(Thanks to mr Christos Zografidis for the translation into English)

(Alberto's photo material was given to us by him showing places he visited in Crete. He does not have the words to describe the emotions these places caused him)