Yesterday we left Chania and rode a bus with the Greek team along the coast of Crete to the town of Heraklion. We will be playing a four team tournament called the Thetis Cup in the coming days.
The drive was beautiful. The road followed the coast most of the way, making only a slight detour inland, once, over a forested rocky pass before opening back up to the blue Agean Sea and the sparsly inhabited shoreline. I found myself wondering about the houses that popped up here and there. Some were older. Almost worn right into the surrounding rusty red and white rocks. Vines of grapes or olive, creeping along the house rooting it to the spot. Who lived in those houses? Had it been passed down through generations of Greek families? Was it just a summer home or somone who had lived on this island their whole life? Occasionally, a brand new "modern" looking home would be proudly standing on a cliff with the most amazing ocean view, terraced vines planted adjacent to it in a square garden plot. These homes stood out to me. While beautiful and certainly of the calibur of someone's dream home, immediately I thought "Was it a wealthy American who built that?" I hoped that whoever did build it, lived in it and appreciated the amazing setting they had aquired for their home. It would be sad if it were just a possesion for some foreign person to say they have, but rarely use.
I have come to enjoy the atmosphere here on the European islands. While things are worn and used well beyond their intended years......you can tell that the land, homes, cars, churches, everything really, is loved. And that comes through in the locals hospitality and friendliness. For example, most people here do not understand our intrest in the internet. The hotel we are staying at does not have a computer or wireless connections. Things are simple. Bed. Toilet. AC. :) When we asked about internet they simply pointed to the left and said, "But the beach is only half a block away. Why do you need this?" We politely said ok and decided to go on down to the water to cool off before afternoon practice. It is HOT here and they were right, sitting inside is not where we wanted to be! When we got back to the hotel later that night, sitting in the corner of the lobby was a computer all set up and connected to the internet. So while I'm sure the owners of the hotel will never use the computer, for this hotel is what they love, it was incredibly generous of them to make us feel more at home. :)
Lucky for me so I can post while I am here!