It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to share stories of my wonderful Russian friends, what follows is therapy for the soul, a journey to Incredible Crete by a Russian media celebrity.
When I learned my friend Russia One producer Evgeny Maruskin was in the hospital in Moscow having knee surgery all I could think of was how hard debilitating injuries are for sportsmen. Evgeny is one of those guys who will try anything once, or even twice if there’s a challenge involved. Feeling bad for my pal the only remedy I could think of was the most therapeutic place I know of, the island of Crete in Greece. Of course, he refused my offer because he is one of those people who never asks for a free ride. I felt terrible I could not do anything at all to help. But fate has a way of righting things.
Lefteris, who’s director at both Lato Boutique Hotel and the new eco-friendly Olive Green Hotel, is by far the most resourceful and generous man on Crete, so. But Crete has this quality that seems to mediate distress, maybe I should call the quality “guardians” so you get the gist. Whatever I call it, when another close friend introduced me to the owner of Elysium, I knew the island’s healing and protective influence was in tact. For readers unaware, Elysium Boutique Hotel is the brainchild of Alexandros Kapetanakis, who is one of Crete’s most successful civil engineers and entrepreneurs. The long and short of this connection is that the Minoan spirits were strong for Evgeny, as Mr. Kapetanakis and his staff left no stone unturned helping somebody in dire need of the healing powers of Cretan hospitality. Elysium served as a luxurious base-camp for my a reentry into the adventurous lifestyle Evgeny is so accustomed to. Like I said, Crete is just mystic in the way the island protects visitors.
For those who’ve never studied Crete, Greece’s largest island is historically a place of powerful mystic forces. The sun-drenched island so famous for sparkling waters and shimmering sandy beaches is the home of the ancient 5,000-year-old Minoan civilization, that gave birth to western civilization. Anyone who visits the place can testify, the entire island is alive with the energy of this mystical culture. Watching Evgeny’s first exploits after his arrival we instantly recognized the healing process taking place. An introduction to our angelic pal Yianna Lo Daskalopoulou and the next thing I knew was the pair of young adventurers had headed up Mt. Ida of a photo shoot and a day trip. The next day Evgeny shared an Instagram of him paragliding from the mountains to the Cretan Sea, along with some real “sojourner” images of him hiking on of the nearby peaks.
“A man needs a little madness, or else… he never dares cut the rope and be free.” — Nikos Kazantzakis
Sitting here writing about my Russian friend, I cannot decide whether to share his personality and soul or to share the soul of the magical island of Crete. But it occurs to me now that the two are interconnected in ways I am only beginning to understand. A simple way of conveying this is to share something Evgeny told me when he returned to Moscow. When I asked him how the Crete trip made him feel, he said; “On my return here to Moscow I realized how truly free I felt on Crete.” Evgeny is not alone, for every friend of mine who’s ever visited the island, they say exactly the same thing. And this reminds me of something author Nikos Kazantzakis is famous for having said. As for me, I am just delighted for having played a small role in helping heal a wonderful friend from Mother Russia.“I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.” — Nikos Kazantzakis
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.