WPC: Windows of Pefki, Crete

What better way to start a new blogging year than with a few challenges to add to the mix? For a little while now I’ve been thinking about taking up the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge for the simple reason that I rather like the idea of a task such as this which gives free rein to interpretation of the weekly theme while sharing a photo or two.

Quite a few of you already take part in this challenge and you have inspired me to do the same, so many thanks for that!  I hope that you enjoy this little detour which, after this week, I will try to post every Monday if all goes well.

This week’s challenge is: ‘Window’.  This excited me greatly as I happen to be obsessed with windows and shutters.  Doors too, especially old ones with peeling paint.  I love taking photos of them.

The photos I have decided to share for this challenge were taken in 2008 when Hubby and I spent a magical holiday in a delightful town called Makrigialos (Makry-Gialos) which lies on the South-East coast of the Greek Island of Crete.

One sun-baked afternoon and acting on the very enthusiastic recommendation of our holiday rep, a really lovely guy called Pete who lived somewhere up in the hills above the town and who just happened to hail from Brighton originally (small world, eh?), we hired a car and took a drive along a very dusty and narrow trail some 7 kilometers (just over 4 miles) up into the mountains to spend the day in the tiny village of Pefki.

Pefki was first recorded in the Turkish census of 1671.  Electricity arrived in 1970 and telephones in 1972.  To this day there are no facilities in Pefki such as cash machines, banks, hotels or post offices (no bad thing but just be sure to bring cash with you should you ever decide to visit!).

Yet Pefki boasts one of the  most famous tavernas in the area called the Piperia (‘Pepper Plant’) which just happens to offer absolutely stunning, panoramic views of the valley and coastline far below while you sit at trestle tables underneath the shade of an ancient olive tree eating delicious home-cooked traditional Cretan cuisine.

Which is precisely where we spent the most glorious afternoon on this particular day, chatting away with a lovely Hungarian couple.  Neither of us spoke each other’s language but we made an afternoon of it anyway, bonding over and helped greatly by a glass or two carafe of the locally produced raki and wine.

As the harsh, afternoon light dimmed into early evening and the cicadas quieted their midday song, fairy  lights lit up the old olive tree as if by magic as the locals serenaded us with their song.

I am getting carried away with my Cretan memories.  This post is supposed to be about windows. With these photos I can share with you just a tiny  glimpse of this treasure of a village-world hidden away at the top of a mountain. A short poem I felt inspired to write follows.  A very quick look through the window is all it takes.

One more thing, I’ll warn you now; if you ever do visit Crete and the village of Pefki, beware.  You will never be able to get it out of your mind.

Pefki Village, Crete (c) Sherri Matthews 2008

A typical window in dire need of repair at Pefki Village, Crete
(c) Sherri Matthews 2008

Vine covered windows, Pefki Village, Crete (c) Sherri Matthews 2008

Vine covered windows, Pefki Village, Crete
(c) Sherri Matthews 2008

I love the way these flowering vines grow around many of the windows.  A beautiful and natural way to deflect the searing heat of the day away from the window. Pefki Village, Crete (c) Sherri Matthews 2008

I love the way these flowering vines grow around many of the windows. A beautiful and natural way to deflect the searing heat of the day away from the window.
Pefki Village, Crete
(c) Sherri Matthews 2008

Typical window in Pefki Village, Crete (c) Sherri Matthews 2008

Typical window in Pefki Village, Crete missing it’s frame, no glass, just wooden shutters
(c) Sherri Matthews 2008

Arch window overlooking the main street through Pefki Village, Crete (c) Sherri Matthews 2008

Arch window overlooking the main street through Pefki Village, Crete
(c) Sherri Matthews 2008

Summer’s Dance

Cracked paint peeling from the window pane
as mid-summer’s sun bleaches the wood raw
As if it seeks, of an afternoon, to carve out its name.

Weary and fruit burdened
heave the blushed grape vines
Tendrils weaving, full of promise
of their freshly-pressed wines.

White-haired matriarchs smile
slashing creased, brown skin as their
Eyes, still bright, dance to the light
never dimmed, ever glows within.

A glimpse of my reflection caught
in the window’s glare against the ancient olive tree
Gives away my coy thoughts against this statue
As it bows to honour, far below,
The crystal-studded sea

Where, as I wait beneath its shade,
Veering far from the given path
To meet and remember my Cretan god who
took my hand beneath Diana’s moon and
Taught me Summer’s dance.

(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Poems, Travel, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to WPC: Windows of Pefki, Crete

  1. I love picture of buildings and windows from Europe and around the world. Strange how old window frames flake paint something we are prone to have cleaned and painted in North America. Windows always invite peeking. Nice photos and perfect verse.

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  2. Heyjude says:

    Wonderful village, and lovely windows and poem. I have long thought about Crete – even considered moving there a few years ago – after this I really must go.
    Jude xx

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  3. What is it about windows and doorways – the mystery of what lies inside I suppose…lovely photos and a beautiful poem. I particularly love ‘as mid-summer’s sun bleaches the wood raw’.

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, what is it? Perhaps you already know… the hidden possibilities of what lies behind! I have always loved windows and doorways. I hope that a doorway challenge comes up soon too! Thank you Andrea, I love that you quoted that particular line, love it when that happens 🙂

      Like

  4. What a beautiful post x I’ve been transported from my recovery bed to Crete! Thank you x

    Sent by Brenda Kimmins

    >

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  5. rmudge says:

    Beautiful windows! It is easy to see by the photos you’ve taken that you have a passion for windows 🙂 You see them in a certain light that no everyone else sees them. It looks like Crete is a beautiful place. I would love to be able to travel anywhere. Maybe I’ll add Greece to that list of fantasy travel spots.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Robin! I am rather passionate about windows, yes!!! 🙂 I really appreciate your comment about the photos. As soon as I saw this challenge I got really excited about sharing them here and it makes me so happy to know that others enjoy looking at them too! It’s been great to do this challenge, so glad that I did!

      I had always wanted to go to Greece (still not been to mainland Greece) and had to wait a long time before going to Crete for the first time almost 6 years ago now. I do hope that you will be able to go one day, don’t give up hope 🙂

      Like

  6. Denise says:

    Those flowering vines are amazing. Such a combination of beauty, but mixed with a real need to be there. Your poem is beautiful too and really takes me with you on your travels.

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    • Sherri says:

      They are beautiful at the height of summer. I thought they might be trailing geraniums but not so sure on closer inspection (didn’t have time to do my proper research before posting the pics). Will have to ask my mum, she knows these things!

      I feel inspired to do more posts about Crete now after this response! Thanks so much about the poem too, you know what I’m like when I get the ‘buzz’! Think my ‘brain-fog’ is lifting at last (pssst don’t tell anyone but I wrote 2,500 words of my book yesterday!) 🙂

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      • Denise says:

        You star! 2500 words is amazing!

        I thought the way you peopled your poem with mortals and gods was very soulful but immediate and physical too.

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        • Sherri says:

          Big smile 🙂 Thanks Denise! Gotta, just gotta do it this time…
          Wow, there comes that incredible reviewer that you are and what you are able to glean through the written word. Greek mythology grabbed me from an early age and so to remember dancing under the ancient olive tree that night definitely had strong associations for me.
          I take this as a massive compliment and I’m actually really humbled. Just that… x

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          • Denise says:

            I’ve only just started to get into Greek mythology and what it symbolises and you’re right, it’s amazing. In fact, the whole Greek culture and the way they had such a sophisticated system for living so early on in civilisation is pretty amazing.
            You write really imaginatively, with a grounding in what people are really thinking and feeling, which is always enjoyable to read.

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            • Sherri says:

              Well, I’m no literary giant that’s for sure, far, far from it actually, but if what I write grabs people in some small way then I’m so happy for that 🙂
              Crete boasts so many remants of its ancient Minoan culture. To see ruins of entire villages with evidence still in place of things like water cisterns and latrines is just incredible. I will definitely have to post more about Crete now, thank you Denise 🙂

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  7. Your poetry is so wonderfully descriptive, Sherri, and your window photos are really gorgeous. Lovely post altogether. So well done. 🙂 xx

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Sylvia, thanks so much for your lovely response and very kind encouragement! I’m so very glad that I took up this challenge, you inspired me 🙂 I’m amazed at the wonderful response and very excited about future challenges. I just had to do this one though since I’m so obsessed with windows! I immediately knew which photos I was going to use!
      I hope the music production is going well? xx

      Like

  8. jennypellett says:

    Love windows too – went through a bit of a phase myself when I was able to see what I was doing with a camera…
    Your poetry matches the pictures – so well done – and thanks for bringing us a glimpse of summer during this relentless winter we are having.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Funny isn’t it, when I thought I would have a go at this challenge as some light relief from the rather heavier ‘stuff’ of late, I knew exactly what photos I would use. I have taken so many photos of old windows and doorways from different places but it wasn’t until I saw this challenge that I realised the extent of my obsession!
      Obviously I’m not the only one!
      As you know, I only have a Sony Cyber-Shot so nothing fancy. But a girl can dream…
      thanks Jenny as always and glad that I was able to bring a little bit of summer into this wet, windy, cold and not-even-snowy winter of ours… 🙂

      Like

  9. Okay, first things first, do you ever sleep and, what kind of vitamins do you take, Sherri? You’re unbelievable! I love this post and your poem, absolutely beautiful. Like Denise, I thought the flowering vines photo was stunning. And I see you added an additional 2500 words to your WIP…unbelievable, but more importantly, well done!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha! Oh Jill, thanks so much but I was hoping to surprise you with my writing news, but you got ahead of me and found my little secret!! Yes, on Monday I did just that and also managed to write two articles for a couple of websites. Think something broke after I wrote my anniversary post! Since then I’ve had days full of appointments so been a bit more fragmented but I’m so glad that I decided to go ahead with this weekly challenge photo post 🙂 Monday was just one of those good days, I just hope I can keep it going…oh, and I do sleep but not well (not for many years) and vitamins?? Very hit and miss….but I am a little crazy…. ha 😉

      So glad you enjoyed the photos – I just love the way those vines grow so freely and unheeded around the windows, they are like this everywhere in Greece. Now I want to share more 🙂

      Like

  10. These windows remind me of the photos I took in Burano, Italy. Unfortunately, they’re all in storage (the photos, not the windows)! The homes there are all painted different colors and many of the windows are covered either in vines or freshly washed laundry hanging in the sun. Fabulous post and the poem is ripe with images. And great job on the 2500 words! Now that’s a challenge I can work toward! 😉

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh yes Susan, these windows are also very mediterrean and I just adore them. I just happened to have put a lot of my photos on my laptop so I can access them for times such as these but of course all those photos I took before I had my digital camera are all in boxes as with yours and so many to sort out so I know what you mean! One of these days.. 🙂
      Thanks so much, I had a good day on Monday with the writing and I felt good about it. Gotta to keep it up and therein lies the challenge….more than one challenge going on here for us both methinks 😉

      Like

  11. Are the vines bougainvilla? I was lucky to have a trip to Crete many years ago. Thanks for sharing your photos.

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    • Sherri says:

      Hello and thanks so much for visiting and reading my first-ever Weekly Photo Challenge post! I think you are right, yes, bougainvilla, that’s it! Thanks for letting me know! I’m so glad that you got to visit Crete too, isn’t it just the most beautiful place? I hope to share more about it since I’ve been inspired by everyone’s lovely response 🙂

      Like

  12. Delightful post, Sherri. Lovely photos – never been to Crete myself.

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  13. Wonderful photos 🙂 They just take you away into imagination! And I like the poem, too 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Jennifer, glad you enjoyed my first Weekly Photo Challenge post – I certainly had a lot of fun writing it and I love being able to share some of my older photos 🙂

      Like

  14. Rachel says:

    What a gorgeous place! I love that they only just got electricity in the 1970s and no banks, hotels or post offices. A bit cliche but it sounds like a place where time stands still.

    I love your photos and I can see why you have such vivid memories of it.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Rachel, so glad you enjoyed, it really is as if time stands still in Pefki, you are right! The stillness too and the peace and quiet is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Sittiing under the old olive (not oak!!) tree with the warm Cretan breeze smoothing away all your troubles is a most wonderful way to spend a day, a night, a lifetime… 🙂

      Like

  15. What fantastic pictures Sherri. You’ve got me planning my next vacation to Crete! I love collecting pictures of windows and doors. I was on a vacation in Europe with my family and I made a collection of door pictures that I turned into a screensaver for my computer. So much fun!

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh what a wonderful idea for a screensaver Heather! You are so creative, you should share this on your blog as one of your many great tips! It seems that photos of windows and doors really capture our imaginations!

      Crete is the most wonderful Greek island. We would live there if we could! I do hope that you get to vacation there and of course if you do, I have to hear all about it!

      Thanks as always and so glad you enjoyed my first Weekly Photo Challenge post 🙂

      Like

  16. How pretty! Such beautiful views, for sure.

    Purrs,
    Nissy

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  17. thirdhandart says:

    Gorgeous photos and a beautiful poem Sherri! Great entry into the challenge!

    Like

  18. Lush and beautiful–the poem, the photos, the memory of chatting the afternoon away with a Hungarian couple when none of you spoke each others’ language. That a long conversation can happen without a common language is priceless!

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    • Sherri says:

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed it, thanks so much Tracy! I’ve had a lot of fun with this Weekly Photo Challenge, felt it was something I needed to take part in from a creative point of view! Yes, we certainly had the most wonderful time with our Hungarian couple. I just wish I could remember what their word for ‘cheers’ was (I should have googled it!) as I think that our conversation can be summed up quite well by that one word 😉

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      • Egészségetekre!

        Have you found that photography changes or enhances your writing in any way?

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        • Sherri says:

          That’s it!! When I first read it I thought something was wrong with my reader then I realised it is THE word! And the very same to you Tracy, but I think I’ll stick with ‘cheers’ 🙂
          Yes, very much so. I have always enjoyed photography but just for my own pleasure and of course for family posterity, although I have enlarged and framed one or two and as gifts for family over the years.
          When I happened to notice the ‘window photo’ challenge something in me jumped up, waved hello and said ‘I LOVE taking photos of windows, why not have a go at sharing them here?’ It had never even occurred to me before.
          Back to your question, I digress as usual…yes Tracy, this is why I’m doing these challenges. I do think that the story behind my photos enhances my writing because they give me more of a creative focus which helps give my writing a sharper edge because it inspires me to dig just a little bit deeper.
          I just wish I had a better camera as I do get a bit frustrated when I can’t do the really good close ups for instance. That’s my next goal 🙂

          Like

  19. Glynis Jolly says:

    Hi Sherri

    I skipped down to your photos without reading your post. As I looked at each picture I felt that I knew where the shots were taken. Then I saw the word Turkey and thought, “That’s a little east of where I thought the pictures were taken.” That’s when I went back and read your post. I love Crete. I lived there for almost two years. I was living just east of Iraklion about 3 km south of New Gouves.

    Your photos are wonderful.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Glynis, how wonderful that you used to live in Crete! We fell in love with it and visited it again a couple of years later. We are going back as soon as we can. It gets into your blood doesn’t it? I adore the Minoan history, the food, the culture, the people, the weather and the wild beauty of the landscape. We have been to Iraklion. Where we stay on the south-east part of the island it is so peaceful and stunningly beautiful.
      So glad you enjoyed these photos, many thanks, I am inspired to write more about Crete now and share more pics 🙂

      Like

  20. You taught us all the ‘summer’s dance’ with these wonderful pictures, Sherri! Very well done.

    Like

  21. Sherri you’ve entered the challenge with a bang. What wonderful windows your photographs show with a heartwarming story of your memories of the time you spent there with your husband. You could have continued on, I don’t think you would have lost anyone. Then your poem at the end. If this is what we can expect we’ll all be looking forward to Mondays for a View from the Summerhouse. Cheers Irene

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh Irene, you are too kind, thanks so much. I could have written so much more but then it would have turned into a too-long book I think!!! I will be posting more about Crete though as my memories of our times spent there have come flooding back so it’s lovely to know of your interest!
      I’m really enjoying this challenge, and already looking forward to Monday’s assignment! Your support and encouragement means a great deal, again, thank you 🙂

      Like

  22. restlessjo says:

    Spotted it in your sidebar and I just had to take a look. I stayed in Pefkos on Rhodes many years ago- another idyllic Greek village. Liked what I saw of Crete too. 🙂

    Like

  23. Useful info. Fortunate me I found your website by chance,
    and I am surprised why this coincidence did not happened earlier!
    I bookmarked it.

    Like

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