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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 21 April 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 21 APRIL 2018 21 TRAVEL Taverna Rembetiko’s garden terrace, Sougia. PHOTO: DENNIS PIET Monastery Estate in Moni village: rustic luxury in a converted 200-year-old family home. The Daskilogiannis ferry arrives at Sougia from Agia Roumeli. PHOTO: MIKE SWEET soldiers nearby were hit by a fusillade of partisan bullets, whilst others fled the scene. The massacre had been averted, but retribution came just days later, when Koustoyerako, Livadas, and Moni were burnt and some 40 villagers killed. It was after these events that Perkins, who had not been in the area at the time of the attacks, vowed to help in the villages' recovery, and to equip the andartes with the skills to defend themselves and their community even more potently. Within weeks he had helped forge them into a hardened fighting unit – and one that went on to create severe problems for the Germans in a series of battles in the region in the months that followed. Such was the impact of the Selino gang on the occupiers' psychology that by February 1944 agents from the Athensbased German counter-espionage team Unit 3000 had been tasked to eliminate Perkins and his men. After a firefight near Kaloyeros at the foot of the Keratidias gorge, Perkins was killed, alongside andarte Andrew Vandoulas, in an ambush on 28 February 1944. Vasili, 'the Lion of Crete' had fallen, but he would be forever remembered. As you drive the winding road up the valley to Koustoyerako, a monument to the three villages' wartime story and the defiant resistance they showed stands sentinel over the valley. Each October townsfolk gather here for solemn commemorations, honouring those who fought and fell. Another sombre monument is found on the main Sougia road at the Koustoyerako turn-off. Covered in names, it remembers the scores of local men who were rounded up by German forces in early 1944 and transported to Maunthaussen concentration camp in Austria, where many of them died. SOUGIA WAR MUSEUM If it's not open, ask at the nearby Rebetiko Taverna for the key to this small lovingly-kept museum that has a unique collection of fascinating photographs and artefacts relating to the Selino gang and local resistance to the occupation. TRIPITI GORGE A small cove six kilometres east of Sougia played a remarkable role in Crete's An- zac story. In May 1943, the secluded gorge would provide the evacuation point for Australian and New Zealand soldiers in the last secret extraction of Allied troops – soldiers who had been on the run in Crete for two years. Visiting the gorge requires a demanding three-hour hike from Sougia, or a trip by boat is available from Sougia's Captain George water taxi. VILLAGE COMFORT IN MONI For those wanting tranquillity and a more luxurious option than the cheap and cheerful rooms on the coast, one accommodation choice stands out. In Moni, the Monastery Estate Guesthouse comprises five elegantly restored village houses, now luxury self-catering apartments. Opened in 2013, the build- Comprising five elegantly appointed self-catering apartments, the Monastery Estate Guesthouse serves a hearty Cretan breakfast. Immersed in hiking country, it’s a short drive to Sougia’s unspoilt beaches. ings that make up the estate date back to the 1830s and were the home of the Vourakis family, who can trace their lineage back to the 13th century. For centuries the Vourakis clan were olive oil producers, wine makers, and shepherds. Today the property is owned by George Vourakis, who returned to Chania from Athens six years ago to tap into the ever growing local tourism industry. George's right-hand woman is Konstantina Papadaki, the property's manager. Konstantina says the philosophy behind the business is that centuries-old tradition synonymous with Crete –philoxenia – the bestowing of friendship on strangers. "Our aim is to provide unique accommodation, hospitality and quality food, in an environment where a visitor is treated like a friend," says Konstantina. The estate's guests are largely drawn from northern Europe. Visitors from France, the UK, and Germany, predominate, lured by the natural beauty and deep history of the area - and the chance to savour a traditional if pampered Cretan lifestyle. For more information on Monastery Estate Guesthouse, and its sister property Monastery Estate Venetian Harbour, in Chania, go to monasteryestate.com Historical research sources: The Fortress Crete: the Secret War 1941-1944 by George Harokopos, 1993; Alexandros Papaderos, Director Orthodox Academy of Crete, Chania speech 2010; Hide and Seek - The story of a wartime agent, by Xan Fielding, 1954. Special thanks to historian and author Ian Frazer.
14 April 2018
28 April 2018