Thursday, May 31, 2012

Take Shelter

Village of Archanes:

Welcome back!

For almost three years now my country of residence has been the subject of much criticism due to its political turmoil and fiery financial mess. To say that Greece has made international headlines lately is an understatement.  The country is dealing with a severe government debt crisis, fear of bankruptcy and extremely high levels of unemployment among many other critical matters that threaten its ability to remain in the Eurozone and any further repercussions that may arise if it fails to do so. There is a constant feeling of insecurity, anxiety and despair that continues to plague its people with each new day. Not surprisingly, this is difficult for Greeks, who are commonly characterized as vivacious and generally cheerful folks.

Overwhelmed by afflictive austerity measures, they have had to reassess their budgets with respect to more serious necessities like food and shelter, in addition to less pressing, but equally important matters like social outlets, namely entertainment, fashion and travel. In the process, many have acquired a newfound respect for the simple things in life that bring people joy and satisfaction; something their genuinely wise ancestors before them truly understood and appreciated.

And so, many modern Greeks today have permanently taken to the old-fashioned traditions of the countryside to put into practice their newly adapted philosophies of the simple life and what that entails. An increasingly large amount have started growing their own produce, some are relocating to little hamlets to try their hand at farming professionally, while others are downsizing in general.

 But amidst all this chaos and change there is one aspect of Greece and its people that remains constant, and that is the security and comfort of home. Whether this is perceived as one’s own private residence, a relative’s house, or a friend’s hideaway, it is a place that provides shelter from any threatening forces, be they the erratic emotions of the elements or the heavy strains of everyday existence.

Definition: Shelter

1. A structure that provides privacy and protection from danger.[Wordnet] 

2. Protective covering that provides protection from the weather.[Wordnet] 

3. The condition of being protected.[Wordnet] 

4. A way of organizing business to reduce the taxes it must pay on current earnings.[Wordnet] 

5. Temporary housing for homeless or displaced persons.[Wordnet] 

6. That which covers or defends from injury or annoyance; a protection; a screen.[Websters] 

7. One who protects; a guardian; a defender.[Websters] 

8. The state of being covered and protected; protection; security.[Websters]

The images that follow are a collection of structures that all have the ability to provide us with what we usually refer to as ‘shelter’.  Many are also considered places of prayer, safe retreats from danger, resources of energy or venues for work.  From exploring labyrinth-like caves and resting under  florally blanketed cafes, to the solace felt in secluded churches or the security attained from hard-working windmills,  all the featured images are of Crete, my adopted home land, my rural respite from the confines of the capital, an island steeped in 5000 years of history. A magical place, where mythical creatures roamed in and out of reality, discovering truths that mortals still believe in today!

Crete: A Country Quilt: From far left: Our neighbouring village:, Psiloriti Mountains:, Oustide Anogeia:

 Far left and right: Vosakou Monastery:, churches literally everywhere! Left:, Right:

Port at Chania:

From left: Chania, old town:, Village Kafeneion:, Archanes:

An eclectic means of shade and shelter from the midday sun:

The Palace of Knossos, Heraklion. From left:,,

From left: A mitato, used for protection against the elements when making cheese or tending to the herd:, lighthouse:, windmills of Lasithi:

Caves at Matala:, Venetian Port, Heraklion:, Frangokastello: dreamstime, Spinalonga:

Hope you enjoyed your visit today.  Time for a characteristically cozy, Cretan catnap in the quiet of the afternoon calm. 

Thanks for visiting.

Talk to you soon!

A pretty gated courtyard in Archanes:


  1. Hi Poppy ~

    Thank you for such a wonderfully written post! Each time I read your blog, I simply envision this beautiful, carefree living in Greece. Never occurred to me about life in such an unstable environment. I wish the best for Greece and everyone there.

    Your photos and picture vignettes are beautiful. I hope everyone will click on the images to enjoy the large views.


    1. Hi Loi,

      Thank you so much for your comments, I really appreciate them, especially re: the advice about the larger views. I didn't realize you could do that with the vignettes! So helpful of you.

      Have a great weekend.


  2. Thank you Poppy for your lovely blog. Sometimes it is hard to stay cheerful when the world around you is in chaos. I have felt bad reading the stories about the austerity and uncertainty in Greece. It has always been one of my favourite places and one I hope to visit when I retire. I had a friend who was born and raised in Greece and his friendly happy demeanour had always represented Greece for me. The pictures are soothing and I hope that live improves for the Greek people. J

    1. Hi Julie,

      Thanks so much for stopping by and your comments. Always appreciated. So fabulous to meet a fellow Canadian! I just dropped by your place and was so happy to read about some of the things we have in common! Lovely.

      Hope to see you again soon.


  3. What a beautiful place! To me, the simple things in life are truly the best. I wish more people realized that seeing a bird make a nest, watching a flower bloom, nourishes our souls. And doesn't cost a cent.

  4. Dearest Poppy,
    Your blog is a dream...I, suddenly, feel transported as I view the incredible landscape and savor each skillful word you have written! Ahh...Such a warm and inviting home you have been blessed to live in, my new friend!
    I am looking forward to visiting your many fascinating posts in the coming days.
    And, too with the lure of RED is ever present in my mind (and heart)!
    Blessings and thanks for your kind comments on my blog,

  5. nice post and amazing photos...things are really bad right now but us Greeks never give up!!!! :)

  6. Poppy, I read this post first and then went back to read your very first one, and on through May's. So I've thought about what you're saying here and I believe if we only got to know the individuals of a country, as we sometimes do in blogs, it makes us see the people behind the newspaper stories. What you have written about Greece is a complicated issue that is difficult to understand. I can't even begin to understand the U.S.'s economic problems. Why did the economic fallout of 2008 happen? Why couldn't the government and banks and Wall Street have seen it was going to happen and prevented it?

    Greece's history is so old and complex. (I wish I could remember half of what I studied in school about it and about the legendary myth stories.) But what you wrote about shelter makes perfect sense. We all need that. Sometimes we lose that shelter, as so many people in the U.S. did during all the foreclosures in the past years, and it is heartbreaking, demoralizing for awhile. But the human spirit perseveres and we make a new shelter for us and our loved ones, just as people have done throughout world history.

    We make a home and that is wherever we live, be it losing a mansion and moving into an apartment or a mobile home or whatever. When my kids were little I read them stories of The Boxcar Children. Are you familiar with them? I think my kids secretly hoped they'd become orphans and find an old boxcar somewhere to set up house in! But there is the urge to nest in almost each of us, isn't there?

    Goodnight, dear Poppy. Time to go to bed here.

  7. Poppy, this may have been posted before I 'discovered' you but I just read it this morning and had to tell you that you've so aptly captured in words what we have seen in the villages where we've traveled in Greece - not just Crete - the villages in many cases are being re-born by those who've faltered - not failed - because of government's and economies and all things beyond their individual control. Maybe that is a good thing as the village's are coming to life and families are coming together again. . .this is a fabulous post, Poppy!


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I really appreciate hearing from all of you! Have a great day!