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A few days of sea-swimming and sunshine is all that we need to wash away the weariness of the business day-to-day life and to unite, once again with nature. Our hearts are at peace, our minds at rest, our souls radiant with happiness, our adventure spirits eager to venture on the road and discover Crete’s ancient mysteries and secluded country side. Away from the tourism, deep in the country, there where for centuries little has changed. Our mini cabrio is struggling to protect us from the melting heat, but it is offering refreshing breeze and happy music in abundance. Kiss FM Radio makes us lift up hands in the air singing loud. Yes, it is true, we are on holidays!
We are travelling for a while, stopping only briefly to admire the majestic mountains. Tracking a monastery on a faded paper map, proofs to be a real challenge. Are the Creek alphabet road-signs giving us a trouble or is the happy music in the car? We don’t really know and we don’t really care. In reaching our destination, we are completely overtaken by the hill-top monastery view – a wide blue-deep-sea horizon. We envy the monks. How can someone possibly wake up every morning with a view like this? We savour the moment, dreaming of the past, imagining all turbulent soul-seeking solitary confinement within the walls of this sanctuary, their stories untold, yet the marks of their steps still visible, carved unevenly on the surface the church stone floor.
Back in the car we are quiet for awhile. The scenery is changing as we drive down-hill, from bare yellow sun-dried grass to greyish trees, farming fields, luscious green forests, picturesque villages and at last, a sparking smaragd-green yacht haven. A French couple is giving us the thumbs up as we choose our table. “C’est bon”, letting us know that by chance we have entered the most delicious restaurant on the Riviera. The menu is appealing, yet my eyes glide in amazement towards the description “A day old slice of bread, soaked in tomato sauce, topped with feta and fresh parsley”.
Could this be true? The images of bright sunshine, my grand-father sitting on the veranda with a slice of bread in his hand, squeezing a sun-warm garden-picked red-ripe tomato, sprinkling sea-salt, fresh parsley and some feta crumbles on top, fill my heart with fond memories. Has it really been so long? The last time I have tasted this simple, yet full of flavour, peasant dish I must have been no more then 5-6 years old. We order the dish and I try to explain what it means to me. How do you describe a memory? How do you invoke in somebody else, the purest feelings of childhood happiness? The taste does not disappoint. And for a moment, I am a little girl again, running in my grandmother’s garden, picking up flowers, chasing butterflies, sampling raspberries, making a water droplets rainbow and laughing in the sunlight.
Time is a mysterious stranger. Putting on a new coat for every season, yet wearing a familiar smile and a gaze, drawing all your memories back to live, making you remember.
I look into the sparking smaragd-green sea, slowly awakening to reality, while we discuss our next destination – one of the major Minoan excavation sites. We smile, and Indiana Geri is ready for the road again.
1. Rasp the tomato, retaining all its zest and liquids leaving only the skin away.
2. Season the tomato sauce with the olive oil, sea salt and the fresh parsley.
3. Place the slice of bread in a deep plate and pour all the tomato sauce on top, sprinkling small pieces of feta cheese.
4. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes, allowing all the flavours to soak into the bread.