A life experience of a Polish girl on the Greek island of Crete.

Polka pisze wiec po polsku tez bedzie…

Monday, 7 March 2011

Farewell to Carnival

It was a beautiful and sunny day yesterday. Perfect day to celebrate the end of Carnival, in Greek named APOKRIES (απόκριες). We were hesitating in between a small local parade in Kasteli  - a village located approximately a 30 minute drive northwest from Chania or Rethymnon  - an hour drive northeast from Chania. As I said, we are not really into dressing up and masquerades, but the weather was encouraging and with a pleasant company we decided to head to the biggest parade on the island. 

Rethymnon is such a cozy town, mostly busy with students. They have a big marina and a long promenade at the seaside, a thing that we are missing here in Chania.
Rethymnon and its marina:

Their Carnival is famous on the island and people from all over Crete come here once a year, to dress up, drink some wine and enjoy fresh souvlaki straight from the grill, right before SARAKOSTI – 40 day period of fasting.

Even though we didn’t really dress up, we had such a good time wondering among crowds with wigs, crazy make ups, and funny outfits. I was really shocked how well and safely it was organized. Unusually to every day Greek conditions, there was plenty of room to park at the harbor. Police, Red Cross blended in the crowds. Parade was colorful and joyful. Not a rich and spectacular show like they have in Patra (the famous Greek Carnival destination still on my list of things to do), but I would definitely recommend it as a family event. I bet if I were a child, I would have a sleepless night still thinking about those magical creatures from the Carnival of Rethymnon. There were vampires, lots of princesses, ballet dancers, people dressed as vegetables, swans, candies.  So much fun!!! …as we called it “a day without a crisis”!

It was amazing to see Greeks dancing and enjoying themselves in such an active way. ..quite opposite to what you can see in clubs, where Greeks hold onto their drinks and may not change their standing position through the whole night.

I can brag about the wonderful time in Rethymnon for another few paragraphs, but in this case just check a few pictures I took yesterday. Hope they will convince you to visit Crete and Rethymnon during the winter time – the period full of traditions and joy.

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