The Mysteries of Crete

Spinalonga

Just across the water from our resort lies the tiny island of Spinalonga. As you gaze across the water at night you will see the island looking lit up and lovely. Should you choose to visit, you will find it a haunting place with an interesting history.

After being occupied and used as a fortress by the Venetians during their four-hundred-year occupancy of Crete, Spinalonga was overtake by Ottoman Turks. The Ottoman rule of Crete lasted over two hundred years, with Turks living on the island throughout that time.

In 1903, Spinalonga became a leper colony. The people sent to live on the island eventually created their own small town with shops, a cafe, and a school. Once the cure for leprosy was discovered in 1948, most inhabitants moved off the island. In 1957 the last 20 patients were moved to a leper hospital in Athens.

Today the island is a popular attraction in Crete – tours arrive throughout the day on boats from nearby Elounda or the small town of Plaka. You can still see the remnants of the fortress and the town as you walk among the ruins and learn the turbulent history of this unique place.

For more on Spinalonga visit:

http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20170921-the-abandoned-greek-island-shrouded-in-mystery 

http://www.explorecrete.com/crete-east/EN-Spinalonga-leper-island.html 

 

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The Cretan Diet

Exploring the marvelously healthy Cretan diet in person is yet another reason to visit Crete.

Historically Cretans have eaten only what their land produced:  lots of fruit, veggies, whole grains and pulses – the dried seeds of legumes such as lentils, beans and peas.  In addition, the abundance of olive trees found throughout the island has for thousands of years provided the Cretans with lots of olives; they consume more olive oil than any other Mediterranean people.

However, there is more to the cuisine of Crete than simply following a list of ingredients.  To gain the whole experience you should eat a meal composed of the traditional recipes, prepared with the freshest local ingredients, and of course while surrounded by friends.  You can look forward to all of this when you join us for Golbon Destinations.

In the meantime, to read more about the Cretan diet check out these articles from NPR and Mediterranean Living.

And give it a try at home!  This website has many wonderful simple Cretan recipes courtesy of Elena Paravantes, award-winning Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Writer and THE Mediterranean Diet Expert.   Here is one of our favorite recipes for Cretan Dakos.  Enjoy.