Days and Doors on Crete, a Retrospective

March 11, 2007

The following is what I wrote when my parents asked what we did in Crete every day. When I said ‘nothing’ they wouldn’t accept it. It’s been two years, on the dot…

Courtyard in Kolimbari

Crete, in Retrospect March, 2005

Weeks in Greece start on Sunday, and after six weeks, I’m finally getting used to calling Monday ‘deftera’ (spelled deutera.) Tuesday is triti, Wednesday is tetarti (teserra is ‘four’,) Thursday is pempti, and Friday is a bewildering paraskevi (for the record, six is ‘exi.’) Saturday is easy – ‘sabbato,’ and in true Greek style, the weekend is called sabbatokyriako.

R likes to have his first cuppa on the patio, looking over the mountains and out to the sea. I’m not so keen on going out until the sun has had time to warm up the stones. In was a strange day, as we were actually up in the morning. He called in to let me know that ‘our cat’ was here, and I grabbed the cat food and went outside. The door slammed behind me and I made nice with the cat for a few minutes, when R asked, “did you lock us out?” Our door latches when it closes, like most any door you’ve seen, but there is no handle – a key is required to open it from the outside.

Normally, when we get up in the morning, I unlock the door with the key from the inside, then put the key in the lock on the outside. Safety isn’t much of a concern, so we leave the key there unless we are leaving the house to go to town. This day, R had unlocked the door while I was still puttering around the ‘campstove’ making coffee, and hadn’t followed my system. Long story made short, I had locked us out. I went to the old lady neighbor, who keeps the keys and asked her – she had a kledia for every one of the houses except #2 – ours. I then remembered that when we moved in, R was concerned about being locked out, so G got us the second key as a backup. We’d hung it inside on a nail, to be dealt with later, and there it still hung.

After much deliberation, we decided the only thing to do was to break the window in the door. I beat on the window with a fair sized stone for a while, but it wouldn’t break. R suggested that I stand back and heave it through, which worked, but had me cleaning glass out of every nook and cranny for the majority of the afternoon.

Two years later I know that the word for Friday (Paraskevi) is related to the Greek word for preparation, which makes sense when you know that Savvato is related to the word Sabbath. Kyriaki (Sunday) is related to the Greek word for lord; it is the Lord’s day.

Most (though not all) Cretan external doors have this automatic lock/no external handle system, though we now have balconies and patios, so we don’t go out the front door as much and I’ve never had a repeat of locking myself out; everyone I know on Crete has done it at least once.


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