Sunday 1 June 2014

Holiday Pinks

It's that time of year again; when London and I spend time apart to 'find ourselves' or 'take a break' for the good of my health and sanity. Recent trips away have revolved around significant birthdays - not the one on Decenber though, that was just bloody minded contrariness - so it was nice just to book and not worry about being another year closer to mandatory tummy control bikini bottoms. 

Crete was the choice of the youngest travelling companion. A dour doom merchant of drama queen proportions.  Or a pre teen Yorkshire Saffa ... Middle name 'caaaan I have a saaaaandwich?'. For as long as I've known him he has been obsessed with Greek gods so I was determined to bring him to the place where history, myth, civilisation combined to change my life at the same age. 

It was also my first time on a plane, first time not on a windy tent holiday and the first time I experienced the sea as a gentle warm blue bath. It was also where I had my first holiday romance. So it was a pretty momentous holiday by anyone's standards. 

My dad had worked some legalistic miracle for the hotel owner - or indeed had his own romance - but we somehow got invited to a family christening way up in the fragrant spiky island interior. This solemn ceremony in a tiny ancient chapel led to an explosively festive affair which carried on way into the night. A group of kids welcomed me and my younger brother, as we giggled at the ridiculous dancing adults. Music filled the air as thickly as the scents of the rosemary roasting lamb over the fire. 

In this atmosphere the beautiful young man and I kissed, and we held hands for the rest of the evening. When ever we saw one another in the hotel kitchen we would smile shyly and I imagined a life in permanent sunshine with him. At 12 the hopeless dreamer could hopelessly dream. 

So when I heard the voices and traditional music last night - as well as seeing grown adults dancing with red faces, I was transported to another time and place. Where holidays experienced as a child were actually life changing and inspirational. 

Still, even now, the child in me imagines the sea and rocky inlets sheltering ancient traders and fishermen, the purple mountain crags jangled with goats bells...whilst the lithe young men practice bull fighting and the bare breasted women waved snakes. 

I don't know what this young chap will take away from this holiday. Already his swimming confidence has grown, apparently the food is divine, and today he will walk the longest gorge in Europe. But nothing is more important than the opportunity to learn, travel and be inspired. 

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