Going to an island and finding a treasure

So, after the long and cold winter we had, me and Tricks took a week off and went to Crete, third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. We didn’t really know exactly where we were going until one day before departure, and even then we knew very little of the town we were going to: Hersonissos. The whole trip took us a little by surprise; neither of us had ever just gone on a sun trip before. Though relaxing by the pool at the resort was pleasant, we of course got a bit antsy after a while, and went exploring.

The town itself, considered to be one of the most highly developed tourist resorts of Crete, has a harbour mainly filled with restaurants and bars, and seems ideal for people who prefer to party a lot, I suppose (i.e. not me and Tricks, who just wanted to take it easy). There are also a couple of streets with tourist shops, selling all sorts of cheap trinkets, but for some reason there were a lot of shops selling silver- and gold jewellery, at unreasonably high prices. Maybe not a town we would have chosen. But if you look for it, you’ll always find something interesting, wherever you go.

We took the bus down there almost every day; after all, you can only lie on your butt by the pool for so long. We found a quiet restaurant run by a sweet Greek family, and we went there for iced coffee every time we went to the harbour. They always had free tables in the shade, overlooking the sea, always pleasantly cool and windy.

Passing all the tourist shops on the main street we one day saw a sign telling us we could “make our own necklaces with our names on them!”. Typical trinket store, we thought, but we stopped and tried to shade our eyes from the sun and see what was in there, this tiny shop that was no more than a hole in the wall. It was a bit dark in there, but we took a brave step in, prepared to be bombarded by sales people, trying to show you everything and explain what good prices they had.

It was a bead shop. In there sat a quiet lady, making a necklace. The walls were covered in displayed hand-made jewellery, inventive and different and beautiful. Along the walls were tables with beads and pearls and gems, in glass, metal, clay (hand painted clay pearls!), stuff we would not ever find at home. It was like finding a treasure in a cove somewhere.

We came back three days in a row. Everyday staying there for the better part of an hour, bent over the tables, studying everything, looking for more things to pick out. And every day the lady very patiently counted every bead we’d picked out (this took some time). She shyly asked if we had the bits to put it all together, and smiled. On the last day she gave us each a Mati, a glass charm, to protect us from The Evil Eye. Tricks got her address on a little hand written note, hopefully we can keep in touch.

Mati, a traditional Greek “Evil Eye”, to protect you from envy and evil by capturing it.

So we came home from our vacation with treasures. And they will last a long time, when we sit and craft and drink tea next winter.

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