In May 2017 our little family took a trip to the Greek island of Crete. For the first part of our stay we made our way around the islands impressive beaches and took 1,000 photos of goats. Louie and I accompanied Andy while he got his history nerd on, visiting the 9000 year old site of Knossos and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Andy fulfilled his dream of eating a Greek salad every day and I made my way through the countless Cretan dishes that just happen to be vegan. It was beautiful and although I had heard wonderful things about the weather and food in Crete, my expectations were more than exceeded.
After all that adventure we were ready to be still, and that’s when the real magic happened. The second part of our holiday was spent at Metohi Kindelis, a 17th Century villa built on an organic farm just outside Chania. Stepping into the main courtyard for the first time, I stood in awe of the giant Cactus juxtaposed against the pink stone façade and my marvel did not cease the entire time I was there. The estate was first acquired by the Kindelis family in the early 1900s and was originally focused on Olive Oil. Manolis Kindelis, the 3rd generation to inhibit the property, turned it into an organic orchard and farm where you can now find avocadoes, mangoes, stone fruit, strawberries, zucchinis and a lush botanic garden where he has planted trees from around the world to see how they fare in the Cretan climate.
A friend of the Kindelis family once likened their home to the house in One Hundred Years of Solitude. The resemblance is striking, not only because of the magic that is lingering in every corner, but because it has been in the Kindelis family for over 100 years and there is a rich family history in the atmosphere. Though not as big as the Buendía family, the Kindelis family is impressive in it’s own right, quietly boasting aristocrats, artists and archaeologists amongst its members. I spent some time with Danae Kindeli, whose Great Grandfather took over the property at the beginning of the 20th century. Hearing her stories about growing up there, her decision to leave and the unexpected but impossible pull to return, only deepened my conviction that everyone who enters this utopia is under it’s spell for life.
Where we stayed was in the lower half of the main building which, harnessing the original architecture, the family have transformed into three jaw-droppingly beautiful apartments. Each with their own private garden and pool, the apartments have no detail spared. The use of concrete, linen, wood and historical artifacts come together flawlessly to create a minimalistic and cosy haven for you to relax in whilst nibbling away at the bounty of fruits that fill the fridge and overflow the fruit bowl. For the first time since childhood, I ate freshly picked strawberries, warm from the sun and a little bit dirty, just the way I like them.
Needless to say, when we left I felt homesick. I still do. The magic of this special place is lingering in my bones and I dream of the day I can return. If you have a chance to spend a few days in this utopia, I implore you to do so. You will find yourself living an existence that can not be paralleled.