Book Review: Hidden Crete – A Notebook by Richard Clark

It took me quite a while to read Hidden Crete- A Notebook but only because I took a long break. Whether I had an excuse or not, that is not the point. However, the moment I started reading again, I finished it before I made it to Budapest (yes, I read a lot when I travel; note: the train ride is 5 hours).

Just like the other books by Richard Clark, Hidden Crete – A notebook is not a travel guide. It is, however, a lovely collection of stories.

For someone who has visited Greece, the book will make you want to book your next flight before you have finished the book (confession time: I did!). For someone who hasn’t been to Greece yet, the book will make you want to visit and explore the amazing country.

The rich and honest description of the places made me feel as if I was right beside Richard when the events happened. As for the food, I am not shy to admit I have drooled more than once.

We totter across the rocks then strike out with the incentive of lunch back at Ta Kochilia. Crunchy dakos, a dry barley rusk topped with sieved tomatoes, feta and oregano precedes a dish of squid, the calamari fried with lemon juice, garlic and olive oil, and a Greek salad, all washed down with one of the best local white wines I have experienced” remembers Richard.

We sit down to fresh anchovies followed by grilled sea bream, roast potatoes and horta, steamed wild mountain greens – which include spinach, dandelion and fennel – dressed with salt, pepper and the ubiquitous oil and lemon juice” he reminisces several pages further.

Written simply – you really do not need a dictionary even if you are not a native English speaker – the book captures the essence of the basic, yet amazing, Creten lifestyle.

Being one of those travelers that relies either on public transportation or my own two feet, the book made me realize I should probably have the courage to rent a car and explore hidden places (more often than I do now).

Just like the other books – Corfu – A Notebook, Crete- A Notebook, Rhodes – A Notebook and The Greek Islands – A Notebook-, Hidden Crete also includes very useful Greek words and phrases, as well as a short history of Greece. In between Richard’s stories, you will also find bits and pieaces of history, as well as mythology. A delight to read about things that likely were overlooked during your school years.

All in all, I loved reading the book (and the break I took was all about me). I do recommend it to everyone who loves to travel. And to those who want to dream.

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