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

Polka pisze wiec po polsku tez bedzie…

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Let it snow

Needless to say that Crete has usually a significant weather advantage in comparison with the rest of Europe. That is why we watch news about snowstorms and paralyzed traffics in other countries and we usually say: “Well, tough luck!” since it doesn’t concern us….most of the times. 

Even if the rest of Greece is struggling with bad weather, Cretan winter conditions have us out of the context. It sounds like a story out of this world when someone tells me that it is – 10°C in their country while we have a pleasant temperature of 15 degrees Celsius and at the end of December we may wander with a short sleeve and flip-flop sandals.  Then, at this time of the year, my husband usually makes fun of me and when in the middle of winter our thermometer shows 20 °C he looks at me innocently saying : “Oh honey, it is almost like in Poland these days”;)

It doesn’t mean that we don’t know what winter is about…but thank God winter on Crete is pretty short and usually means a few heavy rains and strong winds. It is not as warm as many people tend to think due to the high level of humidity. If you have never lived on the island, it is hard to understand why people wear heavy jackets and boots here. The sun is out but the humidity gets into your bones and suddenly at your thirties you feel like an old man with a rheumatism. Plus for a few winter months, your freshly washed clothes do not dry easily so this is not a really bad idea to get yourself a drier! If it rains, it rains cats and dogs! Houses on the island are definitely not built for the drastic weather conditions and during winter time, due to poor insulations and Mediterranean way of thinking of local engineers, you often hear stories about leaking roofs, water coming into your room through the extractor fan or closed windows. Moreover, due to the mild climate, most houses do not have a central heating and if temperature outside decreases, you are left with the heat of your air-conditioners or if you are lucky, you can warm you bottom next to fireplace that surprisingly many Cretan houses possess. Winter winds know how to blow here and if you ever forget a table, an umbrella or some chairs on your veranda, next day you can find them in your neighbor’s garden.

But yes, over all, we are pretty spoiled here with a good weather and the last few days with low temperature are hard for us and our pockets, meaning we need to buy more fuel oil to warm up our house where somehow we have radiators but no air-conditioning. 

Since I have this new mobile that shows temperature, I’m obsessed with checking how many degrees we have on the island every day. I was a bit surprised when today, at 8 am it showed 2 degrees Celsius (just for the record, last night it was 3°C and we had some hail). Then I turned on TV to find out that it was snowing in Heraklion, Lassithi, Omalos and region of Sfakia. Right after my morning coffee, I had to visit my bank which is located approximately 15 minutes on foot away from our apartment, but I thought that I may exaggerate wearing a cap. Soon I learnt how wrong my decision was. Till I reached the door of the bank, I was attacked by the 5-minute snow fall. Then, on my way back, I could hardly feel my ears and my brain started freezing.

So, yes, me, the islander (ok, Polish islander), I officially took out of the closet my winter cap with a pompon and I am counting the days to welcome my favorite season: KALOKERI (Καλοκαίρι/ summer)!

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