Thursday, 20 November 2014

My Spiritual Home

There's one place on earth where I don’t like to sleep as I don’t want to miss a thing.
I don’t want to waste a minute of the day, or night.
It’s my spiritual home. 
It's the place where I take off my suit of armour and just be Me.
It’s where I breathe deeply,
and where I laugh and play like a child again.

It’s where suddenly I am speaking my newly-acquired second language, without reticence and hesitation, and I’m understood.

Where I live like a local, with only a passing notion of time and a glorious tendency to live spontaneously.

“Sit for a coffee.”
“Share a meal with me.”
“Let’s take a walk.”
“Come for a swim.”

It’s so liberating.

The place is small but has a gargantuan history and culture, and has contributed more to the rest of the world than any other place its size. 

It has endured centuries of invasions and so been injected with extraordinary influences such as Byzantine, Venetian and Turkish to name a few.   

It lies at the heart of the Mediterranean diet and is known as the cradle of western civilization thanks to the ingenuity of the Minoan race.

It is the island of Crete.

The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is a tourist mecca. But push past the noisy the English-style cafes and the lines of shops selling gaudy t-shirts and you’ll find the ‘other’ Crete.

"My" Crete… 

...where the food is all locally grown. It's literally taken from the ground and the sea the very morning it’s lovingly cooked with olive oil from the trees outside the kitchen window and fresh oregano and thyme from the fields beyond.
...where an angular, blue-eyed shepherd deftly herds his flock over the ragged, unforgiving terrain, to the tune of the goat bells clanging in harmony with their own echoes from the mountains above.

...where Yia Yias (grandmothers) enshrouded in black blithely sweep the crooked pathways around their village, while the men loudly discuss the day’s news from under tamarisk trees as they repair sunflower- coloured fishing nets.

...where the aroma of strong Greek coffee and Assos cigarettes coming from every cafeneion beckons like forbidden fruit …since when did cigarettes smell so good?

...where pale Cretan cats, lithe and sleek, sleep Sphinx-like beneath Carob trees dripping with fruit.

...where I swim far, far into the blue as I play hide and seek with an octopus scurrying along the sand and pottery shards beneath me.

...where the Mediterranean sun hopscotches over crystal clear waters creating blues and greens unseen on an artist’s easel.

It's where visually, life is like living in a postcard.

Where, despite the political and financial woes of the country I am treated as one of the family – greeted with open arms and a warm hug and generously given everything they have.  
 Food…oh so much food.   A place to stay.  The use of their only vehicle...the list is endless.

It’s where I rise daily just as a pomegranate sun first spreads her sleepy fingers over the hill, creeping forward and painting all gold as she passes.

My own very special place in Crete is a little balcony in Adrakos Apartments, a family-run Cretan escape nestled high on a hill between the two fishing villages of Agios Nikolaos and Elounda on the East Coast.

Here I sit looking at a view which defies description.  Suffice to say I can see forever. 

Over pristine bays and whitewashed houses; perfect hotels with their perfect swimming pools; Byzantine churches; old windmills and a road which meanders along the water’s edge. 

In the distance I can see the island of Spinalonga – or what I call 
‘the island of infinite tears’ for it too has a huge, but very different history.

Where I voraciously consume the days and nights
walking… talking…learning...

Here I am truly inspired
Passing time wisely
With no regrets
Just being Me.

First published in We Said Go Travel
And then again in Crete Travel 

Frannie xx     

© 2014 Francesca Muir

Friday, 31 October 2014

Iconically Australian...

At exactly 33.89S and 151.27E you will have reached your destination!


Iconically Australian and delightfully quirky...

  ...welcome to The Grounds by the Sea...  

A Pop-Up Cafe in Marks Park  and The Grounds of Alexandria's Baby sister,

It's where comfort is paramount...

And unfortunately, NOT for sale!

It's where refreshments entice amidst the sandy bric-a-brac

And just around the corner, is the Pick Up joint...

... for sumptious snacks and exotic drinks 
served by staff schooled in the Basil Fawlty tradition!

Then take a pew...

Under the clothes line...

Amidst wodden pegs and underwear...

As you watch the sun slowly sink into the warm earth

Or if you prefer a more muted sky...

Sit at the front overlooking Bondi Beach

And a ubiqutous lone pine.

The Grounds by the Sea is surely grounds for permanency?

(This pop-up cafe is a welcome respite and part of  Sculpture By the Sea 2014)

Frannie xx     

© 2014 Francesca Muir

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Spring is in the air....

Spring is in the air...

Time to dust off the cobwebs...

Open our sleepy eyes...

Come out of hibernation...

And face the warming sun and grow some more!

Frannie xx   

© 2014 Francesca Muir

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

It's dinner time!

It's dinner time...

But I am loathe to share!

And I have a question: 
"Just how long do they think my neck is?"

But I guess there is method in their madness... there is more than enough to go round!

Frannie xx     

© 2014 Francesca Muir

Thursday, 18 September 2014

With the wisdom of Athena's owl

 Be off my wonderful, fine Friend.

Cammeray, Sydney - Australia

Fly with the winds behind you,

Sydney Harbour -  Australia

the sun over you

Cremorne Point, Sydney - Australia

and the world at your feet.

Oia, Santorini - Greece

Take with you my love,

 Vienna - Austria
My admiration 

Oia, Santorini - Greece

My heart.

Cooktown - Australia

Dance your dance of life...

Bali - Indonesia

Smile your smile of light…

Sydney Harbour - Australia

And give your glowing heart.

Church Point, Sydney - Australia

And with the wisdom of Athena’s owl...

Oia, Santorini  - Greece

Fly high

Bali - Indonesia

Fly safe

Bali - Indonesia

Fly free

Bondi Beach, Sydney - Australia

Fly wise.

Melk -  Austria

Spread your wings

Mosman, Sydney - Australia

And find your special place.

Rome - Italy

Travel with my love,

Central Park, New York - USA


Mavrikiano, Crete - Greece

For My Girl
on her 
Graduation Day
Thursday September 18, 2014
Mama     xxx


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