It has been some 30 years since I was last here in Chora Sfakion, and in the mind’s eye little has changed. Although not true of parts of the northern coast of Crete, Sfakia, only tens of miles distant as the eagle flies, is a world away in essence. It is truly part of a hidden Crete, which makes travelling through this island’s mystical landscape such a serendipitous experience that it is impossible to exhaust.
Here we are perched on the edge of Europe. The isle of Gavdos, 25 miles due south, is the most southerly part of the continent. To the east on this same coast is Ierapetra, the most southern city in Europe. We are in border territory. Crete stands poised on the margins of Europe, Asia and Africa, an accident of the violent volcanic birth that endows this island with a cosmopolitan cultural legacy and a turbulent history.