Climbing Polyrriniá

Looking Down on the World Below

The Olive Wood Shop

The Olive Wood Shop

You might notice, I’ve been to Polyrriniá before, on my first trip to Crete…  So, while plenty of the island is still waiting for me to go and explore it, I wanted to go back to Polyrriniá.  I have finally been feeling like my normal self after being sick and in bed so much with that nasty cold I had, and I wanted to climb a mountain!  Anything really, I just had way too much pent up energy and I needed a release for it.  Plus, the little olive wood shop in the town of Polyrriniá on the mountain, is absolutely amazing and a couple of us wanted to make some purchases there…

Old Dolls in the Olive Wood Shop

Old Dolls in the Olive Wood Shop

The olive wood shop in Polyrriniá is the only place I’ll buy any products made from olive wood.  I bought a cutting board downtown my first trip, and the board cracked within days of using it.  The woman who sold me the board gave me some great end of the year deal…  and told me the wood continues to produce oil, taking care of itself essentially.  What a load of BS!  The thing dried out because, as it turns out (and I will admit, I had been skeptical when she first told me of its oil producing properties), the wood does not continue to produce oil…  Rather, it needs to be oiled with olive oil every so often to maintain its condition, and to keep the wood from drying out too much and cracking.  My second trip to Crete, while at this wood shop, I decided to give olive wood one more try, now that I knew the truth of its oil needs.  Am I glad I did!  I bought a cutting board again, and I have loved it dearly in the months since I purchased it.  I use it for everything I cut, which gives it quite a bit of use, and the board is holding up amazingly!  I absolutely love it, and wanted to buy another, larger one while here, along with some additional items for my kitchen back home.

The Olive Wood Shop's Products

The Olive Wood Shop’s Products

The man who runs the shop, is also the man who makes everything within the shop, so you know you’re buying an authentic, handmade product from Crete.  I also love knowing the money goes directly into his pocket, rather than some downtown store owner’s…  This man is ridiculously friendly, which if you spend time at places in the mountains, you will find a lot of the mountain people are.  He wasn’t in his shop when he arrived, but once he did, he came in with a large plastic water bottle that instead of water, had some spiced/honeyed version of raki in it.  Raki is essentially Crete’s moonshine, or at least that’s how I look at it.  Its made in a little still in their yards, barns, garages, wherever.  Cretans make a lot of wine (the local stuff tends to be brown in color), and they then take the left over grapes, ferment those for another few months in barrels, and then make the raki from that.  Its a clear, strong liquid that burns on its way down, and warms your insides.  The Cretans love it, and every restaurant you eat at will serve you dessert with raki, on the house.  This guy comes walking in his shop, and starts pouring us all shots of the honey raki, which was really strong, good ol’ mountain stuff…  He also eagerly supplied us with cookies and fresh oranges while we browsed his shop.  And to show you that he wasn’t just buttering us up to buy his stuff, he knocked some off of each our totals…  These people are just genuinely sweet, friendly, and kind.

The Ancient Stone Walls of Polyrriniá

The Ancient Stone Walls of Polyrriniá

Looking Out From the Remains of a Tower

Looking Out From the Remains of a Tower

Once we had our purchases safely in the car, we started our climb up to the top of the mountain.  The climb really isn’t that much, its quite a climb, but it certainly isn’t the whole mountain.  The town of Polyrriniá lies about 2/3 of the way up the moutain.  The remainder of the way up the mountain is broken up by a little chapel, some sections with the stone walls (when the path forks after the chapel, go with the left fork to see these awesome sections of wall).  Once you reach the top, the view is breathtaking.  Polyrriniá looks down on the town of Kissamos along a harbor which is bordered on both sides by two long peninsulas.  It makes for a beautiful view, and makes the climb worth it, even if there were no ruins to see along the way.  The face of the mountain, opposite from the one you climb up, that looks down on Kissamos, has more ruins of walls, and the flat piece that sticks out not far below, has the ruins of an old basilica as well (not pictured).  After this hike, I finally felt alive once more…

The Church of 99 Saints on Polyrriniá

The Church of 99 Saints on Polyrriniá


One comment

  1. Dear Midnight Angel

    I very much like the fact you are an enthousiast of Polyrrinia.
    A few days ago, I created a pinterest board (“Polyrrinia Kissamos”) about the village I come from (Polyrrinia Kissamos in Crete Greece) and would like to ask for your permission on pinning and using your photos (and words). I am an amateur and the site is not commercial. In case you do not agree please let me know and there will be no use of your photos.


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