She waves standing in the doorway and greets you like the long time not seen son, like a lost child. Than she is off, rushing to get you a chair, some fresh musmula to peal (it's beginning of June) and refreshing, cold raki. They both - Maria and Konstantinos are so happy to see you - someone who is a total stranger, who just had happened to pass by their home. Well, you are not a stranger, in fact. Here you are a dear guest - welcomed, received with open arms, warmheartedly greeted. People passing by our house rarely stop, she says and smiles. She is happy. The whole life written in a tiny lines of her face. And her hands. Beauty is a light in the heart. Kindness.
Having made sure you are comfortable, that you have your chair, water and raki, she finally sits down. Her time-worn hands seem not to be afraid of life - they have cuddled children and embraced work. She is the one - keeping the gate of the house open, keeping the fire on, the kindness. The beauty.
She takes care of her Konstantinos. His big, blue, sightless eyes facing infinity seem looking right into your soul. It is like meeting the whole world in a long-lived soulful eyes even if they are blind. Konstantinos was a priest for over 40 years on Crete. It has been many years now since he is retired and for the past years also blind - sightless. But you cannot turn away from his eyes, his eyes seem to see everything.
They tell about their life of 64 years together, about their four grown-up children some of them living in Athens, some in Heraklion. They visit as often as they can. And than they have a bunch of grandchildren. Maria grows quiet as Konstantinos tells about his grandson - a very young, beautiful, strong Cretan who just little time was killed in a car accident. It is not always easy for them to manage on their own but they want to be independent. The house is big enough for everyone and the doors are open always for their children, friends and visitors. They go on.
They ask about me, where am I from, what is my life, how is it going, where the travel takes me. We lift the shot of chilled raki. It is all good.
Precious moments with beautiful Cretans. The feeling that it was a blessing of meeting Maria and Konstantinos does not fade away. I remembering this wonderful encounter and my heart smiles.
Having traveled for over 30 years, since 6 years now, I have found the whole world in one of the most fascinating and unique places on earth – Crete. It is a diverse, rich and inspiring island which even after so many years does not stop surprising me - its rich history and unique traditions, its people, the delicacies of Cretan cuisine, its landspace and its stunning nature. Here I reveal some of its secrets.
I see Crete through turquoise - pink glasses.
Skip the group tours, leave your rental car at your hotel and ask Joseph to accompany you on a private tour to these great spots on Crete. We did "Mystic & Rustic Crete" and "Birth of Europe". If you are a first-time visitor he will suggest an itinerary and if you have special requests he will include those. Without Joseph we would not have known about the local culture or the history of the area nor would we have met and chatted with the local people... Read more
"A great tour and experience"We spent a full day with Joseph visiting Chania, Rethymnon and an olive oil farm and we had a great time. Crete is huge so you have to make choices unless you spend a week there. We arranged this tour with Joseph discussing our options and time. Joseph was very flexible with the itinerary allowing us to customize our tour and experience the highlights of some very nice towns. Joseph was very knowledgeable and answered every question. We would definitely use Joseph again to visit the other parts of Crete that we could not get to in this visit.
"Crete showed by Joseph is unique"The experience with Joseph showing us around Crete was absolutely unique. He is Greek and speak very good Hebrew. I don't think we would had seen and experienced half of what we did with him if we'd be on our own. He told us a lot of interesting stories about the Lassithi plateau and the area. His effortless ability to chat up with locals and involve us into conversation (with some translation, of course) was amazing. Funny enough these encounters led to further invitations (for a coffee and local drink - raki). Later on, he took us to an absolutely authentic tavern in a mountain village...
"The secrets never die" Das erste Mal haben wir Joseph Batis mit einer kleinen Gruppe in Chania in einer Fischtaverne kennengelernt. Er sprach Deutsch, Hebräisch, Englisch, Griechisch und soweit ich es richtig vernommen habe auch Spanisch. Ich habe die Gelegenheit genutzt ihn über unsere Ausflugsziele zu befragen. Seine Hinweise und seine Kenntnis haben uns in die Welt von Kreta innerhalb kurzer Zeit eingewiesen. Wir haben Joseph für einen Tag engagieren können um uns zu begleiten. Joseph hat über 30 Jahre in Deutschland gelebt. Seit Jahren führt er private Reisetouren auf Kreta...
יוסי מסיורים בכרתים ויוון, הוא מדריך.... מקצוען, בעל יידע נרחב איש לבבי וסימפטי, טיילנו בשנה שעברה... היה פשוט מדהים כיף... כיף... כיף... ממליץ בחום למי שמגיע לכרתים ויוון להשתמש בשרותיו המעולים. תודה יוסי על הסיורים ,האוכל, הטברנות, היה תענוג גדול ! ! ! מאתנו: אורי אילש, אלי גנט, יגאל גרינשטיין, נטלי גרינשטיין, אור גרינשטיין
כל מי שעתיד לנסוע לכרתים או ליוון, אני חייב להמליץ על חבר יקר, מדריך מעולה, אדם חביב ונעים הליכות שידריך אתכם בכרתים בעברית, אנגלית וגרמנית, מה שתבחרו.... ל- Joseph Batis אתר בו תוכלו להציץ במה שיש לו להציע לכם כולל תכנון הטיול ומלונות וכו' הציון שנתנו לו 10+ שווה מאוד... ביקרנו במקומות שבחיים לא הגענו אליהם בכרתים ! לחצו על השם וכנסו לאתר ! בהצלחה.