A Cretan Angel by Senan Burke

It’s a well known fact, that to visit Crete is the start of a relationship that will never die. But if you were to ask a hundred different people, what it is about Crete that makes it so special, you would get as many different answers. Although, sometimes you can be lucky enough to get a glimpse or an insight into what makes Crete and its people so special. On a recent visit there, I was to witness a series of events which for me, more than anything else, showed the real Crete.

The day before I arrived in Crete , there was an accident where two young teenagers were involved in a hit and run, and had to be taken to hospital. This happened the day before they were due to travel home and even though they were discharged from the hospital, they were advised not to travel by the doctor that had treated them.

A local lady, who had come to their aid after the accident, went to visit them in the hospital and found out that they had not been able to return home and as their accommodation had been let to someone else, they had no place to go. The tour operator denied any responsibility towards them, since their return home date had passed. So not having a place to stay and very little money, they were stranded.

On hearing this, this lady took them home with her and not only did she put them into one of her own apartments. But she also fed and took care of them until they were able to fly home the following week.

When she was asked why she did it, she replied that, “they are someone’s children and need to be taken care of “.

I think this story again shows the real hospitality and friendship that the people of Crete are capable of, and also makes the point that, if you or a member of your family does get into difficulty, regardless of how much you spend with the large tour operators or companies, it is the local people who will come to your aid..another good reason for spending your money with a local family business rather than giving it to some company who only see you as a number on a booking form.

And finally, a few days after returning home, I found out that both teenagers along with their parents are to travel to Crete in the next few weeks to meet and properly thank their very own “Guardian angel” I think a few late nights are to be expected, and some very special friendships formed.

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