In Crete, lying on a beach is most likely the reason you first thought of visiting this island in the deep south of Greece. Many of us from northern climes get a hankering to feel the sun on our skin during long winters, or in spring when impatience for the coming warmth becomes unbearable. Our purpose is singular; shed our clothes, find a spot on a sandy beach and While away a few days reading those books we have not been able to find time for.
The problem arises once we have checked into our hotel, hurriedly changed into our swimsuits, grabbed a towel, sunscreen, and book, searched out a quiet spot on the beach and settled in for a few hours, that the contrast between our manic northern lifestyle and this sublime relaxation provokes a disturbing sense of anxiety. “What am I going to do for the next few days? Surely not lay about on this beach the whole time!”
For many southern holiday spots, the range of non-beach related activities are few and far between. Luckily in Crete, this is not the case. Uniquely among the Greek Isles, Crete is large enough to encompass a range of climates from sandy beach to the high rocky mountain top. In between lie all manner of activities from hiking to agro-tourism to the exploration of historical ruins to arts and crafts activities.
On our trip to Crete, staying near the city of Chania at Ammos Hotel, we found ourselves ready for a beach break and asked our knowledgeable host, Owner, Nikos Tsepetis what he could suggest in the way of local activities. Without hesitation, Nikos got on the phone and booked us a studio visit with Manousos Chalkiadakis a ceramic artist and painter.
Manousos was born in Chania, Crete in 1948, he studied Economics at the Aristotelean University of Thessaloniki and worked as an accountant in Athens for many years. Yearning to pursue his artistic talents he decided to get a fresh start and moved back home to Chania in 1978. He has worked as an artist ever since, creating paintings, sculptures, pottery, and ceramic art.
His home and studio are in the small village of Paidochori in Chania, situated at the foot of the “Lefka Ori” (White Mountains). In these lovely surroundings, Manousos restored an 18th-century Venetian house to its old glory and shares his talents with interested visitors offering a glimpse into the Cretan lifestyle, hidden from view for most tourists. Here you can visit and watch Manousos transform clay into beautiful vases, dishes, and objects.