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Anoghia / Crete

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Michalis Skoulas' Kafenion

by the lower square of the mountain village of ▶ Anoghia on the island of ▶ Crete is at the first glance quite an ordinary traditional kafenion, and on the second glance as well.
 
That is what makes it particular: This kafenion has as yet not been conquered by tourism.

Tourists are welcome as well as Cretan customers are, however they will always remain guests.

Just as in every other proper kafenion there is coffee on offer (the strong black stuff from the very small cups, with the grounds on the bottom). It comes with a glass of water.
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photo The other classical beverage which must not miss in a Cretan kafenion is named Tsikoudia. It is made out of the pomace which remains when pressing the grapes, and has about 40 % of alcohol.

Tsikoudia is also known as "Raki" but that is a Turkish word from the occupation period.

It is always served with some olives, some pieces of cucumber, and/or some dried bread as in Crete, they will never drink any alcohol "dry".
 
Since more and more tourists find the way to Anoghia, Michalis also offers beers and several soft drinks.

In wintertime, locals and guest sit together inside around the old wood-burning stove, and in summertime outside under some shady trees.

In Crete, there are however quite a few kafenions which have their own Internet presentations.
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It is (among other reasons) because of Michalis' family. His father was the well-known painter and sculptor Alkibiades Skoulas. Michalis' brother Georgios cares for the family's small ▶ museum.
 
photo In front of the kafenion there are some sculptures which Alkibiades Skoulas made, and inside there are some of his paintings. Furthermore, there are several other paintings, photos, and framed documents inside the kafenion, which on a few square meters communicate living history.

By the way - the large plasma screen which hangs above the old bar is a part of that living history, too. As they want to know in wintertime as well what is going on in the world.
 
When driving to Anoghia from Iraklion you will first arrive to the upper half of the village.

So it needs to continue down to the lower half and not to take the short cut to Rethymnon: This way you will arrive to the lower village square and to Michalis' kafenion.

When coming from ▶ Rethymnon, do not take the short cut to Iraklion. This way you come to the lower village square and to the kafenion.
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photo To the left hand around the kafenion and the corner, there is a narrow lane which leads to the museum of Michalis' father. His brother Georgios loves it to entertain visitors by playing some genuine Cretan mountain songs on his lyra.

Michalis' other brother ▶ Vassilis is an artist as well. He is even one of Crete's most famous lyra players. Above the village by the road to the Nida high plateau, he runs a small ▶ hotel with a very big ▶ restaurant.
Michalis Skoulas
 

Text by Ingo H. Dietrich
Photos by Matthias Konopka and Ingo H. Dietrich


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