caminada

the stone house on the hill

Archive for the tag “vacation”

The School – A restaurant to remember

This is a very important post for us.

Not only because we will talk to you about one of the best restaurants in Crete – no exaggeration really – but also because this restaurant is the primary reason why we ended up buying a house in the South of Crete.

So, this is where we arrived, when we arrived at Anydri village, SE of Paleochora, one and a half hour of driving South of Chania. It is the center of the village, some 70 meters after you pass the sign “Anydri” (Άνυδροι), and on the main road. (See related post here.)

It is the old school of the village, that was built in the 1930’s. Long after that, and while the area was one of the hot spots for hippies, in the 70’s and the 80’s, it remained deserted, rusty and destroyed. Till one day in 1996, one of the very students of the old school, Christos Vardoulakis, decided to do something with it. He and his wife, Simone, rebuilt the place more or less with their own hands. It is a big square old building, with the old windows repainted red, and a fantastic interior with loads of old objects from the everyday life of the village, ages ago.

The dreamy part of it though hides in the back yard, where all the tables are during the summer months. A huge, ancient olive tree – branches of which you can see in the picture – gives shadow on a yard with more or less 30 tables. The view of the yard is breathtaking. It looks over the gorge of Anydri – or one of them more likely – and the Libyan Sea.

The menu is a fusion of local, traditional dishes with a kind of small european twist and it has a big variety of dishes for vegetarians. As I know Christos really well, I can tell you that the ingredients of the food they are making in this place is something you cannot buy in most million-dollar-first-class restaurants around the world. The tomatoes come from his land, the beans too, the meat comes from local animals, fed on the hills, the salt comes from the sea, and the olive oil is just something else…

For two starters and two main dishes, and raki and fruit, you will pay around 30 euro. And it will be a meal to remember. Have in mind that if you go in the middle of August, you will have to queue. This place is a highlight in the area and people travel a lot just to experience its food.

Small Tip: Try going for lunch. During the day, a bunch of women from the village, are inside the kitchen and are preparing the food for the evening. It is a bliss to have a small something to eat, under the shadow, listening to the girls inside twitting with a soft music in the background. Also if you are the active type, go for a swim to Anydri beach, walk the Anydri gorge up (it starts on the back of the beach and ends exactly at the restaurant!), and arrive at the back yard of The School for a cold beer and some salad. You will oh, so thank me for it!! 🙂

Christos and Simone are just lovely. They carry the essence of Greek hospitality, they care and it shows. Everything at their place is done with “meraki”. “Meraki” is one of these Greek words almost impossible to explain. It is essentially the talent and tendency to put love and extra care in every little detail of everything you do, deeply rooted in the philosophy that happiness hides in literally everything.

Take care! 🙂

*The above picture is from Anydri beach.

How to find the house of your dreams in Crete : Part I

    

Caminada, is located on the hill above the village of Anydroi. Anydroi is 5 klm NE of the cape of Palaiochora, 70 klm (more or less South of Chania).

Caminada is a project that we actually started more than one year ago. We were on a 20-day road trip on Crete, and after a series of short stays in many beautiful spots on the island (Crete can brag for having plenty of those), we ended up to the village of Anydroi (the short, funny story about how we ended up there will soon follow). We had planned that the last 4 days of our vacation would be spent in one place, so that we could relax and enjoy the sun and the sea (I found very useful this site for the sea of Anydroi by the way).

We were not at all looking for a house at the time but just out of curiosity, the very last day of our stay, we asked the kind couple that were renting us their small apartment, how much the land costs in that area. Their answer was basically an enthusiastic 2 min drive on what you can definitely call a bad road, and a deserted house, hidden under piles of rubbish and dead plants. But it was a charming place nonetheless. On the top of a hill, in between two gorges, with a beautiful breeze and birds twitting, with goats and sheep strolling free, squeezed into big, old olive trees, with a view to the sea and only one neighbor. The owner was an old guy, who married a second time a few years ago, and since his wife had a house in the middle of Greece, he followed her there.

The price  at the time was kind of out of our budget and when we first got in contact with the owner we understood that titles of ownership was something really exotic in this part of the world. So a year and not less than 40 different papers later (this is another interesting story that will follow in a later post), we were able to say that Caminada was ours.     

There are a lot more that we want to share with you about what has become the house of our dreams, short and longer stories, but all in good time 🙂

    

For the time being, check out a few pictures from what a few corners of the house look now and please leave us a comment and follow if you would like to know more about it !

Greetings from Brussels!!

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