Dear friends & guests,
our best wishes for a glorious weekend ahead ... from Spinalonga Island.
The fascinating Spinalonga Island or just "The Island" according to Viktoria's Hislop book. For decades from 1913, it was a leper colony serving the whole of Greece. Its small inner network of run-down streets and houses, abandoned by Turkish occupants at the end of the previous century, became home to the so-called "living dead".
Hundreds of lepers lived and died here – marooned far from friends and families, yet separated from the sounds and lights of normal life on the mainland by only a narrow strip of water. It wasn't until July 1957, just half a century ago, that the last remaining sufferers were relocated to a hospital near Athens. Inevitably, sadness seems to cling to the ghost-village they left behind.
In the early 1980s, the only way to get to Spinalonga was by asking a fisherman to take you. Once you landed, you could expect to have the island pretty much to yourself. That's all very different now. Tourist craft sail half-hourly from Elounda and the island receives up to 2,000 visitors a day in high season – which means that your chances of an atmospheric, contemplative ramble are much reduced. Tour groups shuffle through at a snail's pace.
Please note that there are plenty of locals who are more than willing to take you over to Spinaloga after the tour boats are finished for the day so that you can experience the island when it's quiet.
Nearby Elounda is the charming fishing village of Plaka, where you can eat in a traditional taverna or enjoy your ouzo or tsikoudia at lovely "Pefko" Coffee Bar.