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Travel Photography – Crete

September 3, 2010

In my posts Crete – July 2010 and Flowers – Crete – July 2010 I introduced you to my holiday with my wife and son this summer in the Greek island Crete.

In this post, which is a contribution to Scott Thomas’ latest assignment Travel Photography, I wil tell a little more from our visit there.

As we are tourists from the far (and sometimes rather cold!)  Northern Europe we love the warm climate and the coasts with nice beaches and clear mild water.

At home our highest “mountain” is 170,86 m (!) – so the rocky mountains here are also very fascinating for us…

View from the mountains over the Western Coast around Falássarna. You can see another view from here if you look at the first photo in the previous post.

Here we are descending the last stretch down to this lovely beach for a nice swim in the blue clear water 🙂 A  swim was something we just HAD to do every time it was possible: The air was always VERY hot!

Near Kolimbári we had a break, and I discovered this unusual tree. I wonder how it has grown this way? Maybe strong winds are here in winter. Unique – and beautiful.

Trees and plants growing in Crete does not get any rain during most of the year. Many plants can’t survive this dry and hot climate. So often nature in Crete is barren with no or very little vegetation. But one hardy survivor here is: Thyme. A faboulous herb – and the thyme-honey is wondeful!

– so we just HAD to pick a lot of this to dry and bring back home…

As a gardener I was surprised that Oleander was EVERYWHERE: In gardens, along the roads, in the wilderness in the rocky mountains…..

Some of them have even become small trees… Here my son and his friend (who happened to be on holiday here too with his family) takes pleasure of the shadow from them.

In the valley around Mesklá water seemed to be more available for irrigation. This was the most green area I saw in Crete. And oranges need much water, so here were orange-trees everywhere.

I was surprised that both the ripe oranges and the green oranges for next harvest was hanging on the trees at the same time…

And I was surprised how great a fresh picked and pressed orange-juice can taste 😉

The orange-trees were at the bottom of the valley.

But look further up the mountains: Olive-trees are grown here.

And not only here. They are grown everywhere in Crete where irrigation is possible.

Olive-trees are by far the most common trees in Crete.

And I LOVE olives – and Greek olives are the best in the world!

I was fascinated by the many very old olive-trees…

Here we have been stopped by a flock of sheep. My son got some new Greek friends here…..

While I admired these old olive-trees: I wonder how many sheep they have seen grazing here? And how many boys and girls they have seen playing in their shadows? And how many millions of olives they have rewarded generations of people with?

One day we met Ireneé. Her family had been farmers for generations here in the mountains. Growing olives, oranges, wine – and bees! And she was selling their olive-oil, wine, thyme-honey and many other home-made products. We tasted – and bought – a lot of them. Here we show the lovely thyme-honey…

Behind Ireneé and the happy Danes you can see a glimpse of some of her orange- and olive-fields – and one of her many groups of beehives. The clearing around them is for protection against the fires in the dry climate.

The family had made a book about the life and production of their farm.

On the front-page is her grandfather in front of an impressive and VERY old olive-tree.

Like the rest of Greece Crete has many historic sites from its long history.

Áptera was founded 1400 b.c. – here is the view from the ruins overlooking Soúda Bay and a Turkish fortress from 1816.

Another beautiful place is the Venezian Habour in Chaniá – founded in 1537. Chaniá was founded in 520 b.c.

Today a typical house is like this. In Denmark you would NEVER see a family-house occupied in the ground floor with an unfinished floor above. Or often just the iron-bars sticking up – ready for building the second floor if better times come…

These two women – are they not beautiful?

I could not talk with them. But this summer I have started doing something, that I do not usually do…. If I met people I wanted to portrait – I asked them for permission to take photos of them. And most people said yes – including the people here.

Here are a couple of nice guys…

Of course – I also have to show you a portrait of Ireneé 🙂

Well, thanks for your patience reading this post! – The last picture from Crete is the sunset overlooking Plataniás (the town close to where we stayed) and Rodopou Peninsula:

20 Comments leave one →
  1. September 3, 2010 1:00 pm

    Unusual tree? No.

    In Aruba for eample there areDivi-divi trees.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divi-divi

    Happy weekend!!!

    Like

    • September 6, 2010 10:30 am

      Thanks for your comment and link, Sartenada! Very interesting this Divi-Divi tree, did you go to Aruba and see these yourself?

      Like

      • September 6, 2010 2:24 pm

        Many years ago I was about to visit Aruba. Then I checked what there are to be seen. I saw those Divi-Divi trees. My plan never came true and we selected more low cost holiday trip to San Francisco. From there we drove in Nebraska and California during two weeks.

        I have been visiting twice on Crete. I like it very much and its hearty people. Both times we lived in Agios Nikolaos. First time we rented a car and drove around the island and visited many monasteries. The second time, we were sunbathing, visiting Heraklion with its museum and made one day ship trip to Santorini.

        Like

  2. September 4, 2010 8:48 am

    Wow! What a fascinating trip – you took me right along with you. I felt as though I was right there on the hot hillsides, in the shade of the trees, smelling the thyme… Thyme-honey sounds DELICIOUS! I wish I could have some right now. 🙂 I’ve never been to Crete, but now I want to go and explore the place too. Thank you for sharing all those beautiful photos with us.

    Like

  3. September 5, 2010 12:52 pm

    Truels and family, thank you many times for bringing us along with you to Crête. This is a fabulous vacation you have had there. Your pictures are wonderful, I love the olive trees, the hilly country,those women smiling shyly for you, the half constructed house and the juice of fresh oranges of course. Congratulations for your contribution, I really enjoyed it and will come back here when Winter comes 😉

    Like

  4. September 6, 2010 10:36 am

    Reggie and Isa: Thank you for your nice comments, I’m glad theat you enjoyed the photos from Crete! We had a lovely holiday there – until my wife broke her leg on a steep hill the last day!! But fortunately she is allright now again – and can also think of the memories from Crete now 😉

    Like

  5. Barbara permalink
    September 6, 2010 12:04 pm

    Wow! If your wife was going to break her leg it’s a good thing it was on the last day rather than on the first day of such a fantastic vacation! I’m glad she’s on the mend now!

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos. I like that you got some pictures of the people in Crete, too, it gives a more complete feeling for the place. I was in Crete briefly as a teenager in the 1970s but don’t remember that much of it. Your pictures helped jog my memory a little bit and I enjoyed this visit there with your family.

    Like

    • September 8, 2010 9:51 am

      I’m glad you found some good memories reading my post! And I was happy bringing myself over this little step: beginning to portait people with their permission 🙂

      Like

  6. September 8, 2010 3:04 am

    truels, you have captured beautiful images of places and people, certainly made me want to visit this place someday. I’ve never seen an olive tree before and this is really a treat for me, absolutely love the view of the countryside.

    Like

    • September 8, 2010 9:54 am

      I have a passion for old trees generally, they are beautiful and can tell so many stories! And some of them give us presents – and I LOVE olives!!! How about you?

      Like

      • September 11, 2010 5:34 am

        Truels, I love black olives on my salad, and on pizza is great also.

        Like

  7. September 9, 2010 3:27 pm

    Oh, I love travel photography! It takes me places I can’t always go to. These are great shots. the people you photographed are great! Great job.

    Like

    • September 9, 2010 8:36 pm

      Thanks for your comment! Yes, portraits are certainly a must for me in the future 😉

      Like

  8. September 10, 2010 12:31 pm

    Looks like it was a beautiful vacation. My favorite picture is the one of the Venezian Harbour, it reminds me so much of childhood vacations in (the former) Yugoslavia.

    Like

    • September 10, 2010 10:28 pm

      Oh, you were in Yougoslavia? I have never been there, but now when the fighting is over, I would like to travel here sometime in the future.

      Like

  9. September 11, 2010 11:50 pm

    Truels, this was a fascinating photo essay about Crete. I have never known much about it and now feel a strong desire to travel there! Would love to wander among the olive trees and to photograph such expressions as you captured on the faces of the inhabitants. Wonderful photographs. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  10. mikecary permalink
    September 20, 2010 6:30 pm

    Looks like a beautiful place!

    Like

  11. April 28, 2011 5:35 am

    Lovely photos, I like your portraits!
    It is a good habbit also to picture people!
    But, in some countries they do not like to be taken photos of!
    Have a nice day!

    Like

    • April 28, 2011 10:58 am

      You are right about your last remark: In Australia the aboriginal people do not want to be photographed. I of course respected that – and have only photos of one man, who told us, it was OK…

      Like

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