Garden at Koumos

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Things to do


Garden at Koumos

Date of travel

August, 2013

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No-one was able to direct us to Koumos Gardens, the quirky Cretan fantasy I’d read about. We bussed to Kalives in hope. There a passing Englishman pointed out a tunnel. We emerged in a vast, sunlit hotch-potch of coralesque chapels, lava-like thrones, pebbled hidey-holes, polished root chandeliers – the thirty year project of Khavaledakis Giorgos, who has encrusted every surface with love, humour and natural rock, from tiniest mosaic tesserae to rearing outcrops bearing sculptural creatures of stone, bone, rust, wood. In the loo grotto even the toilet pedestal is stuccoed in jewelled chippings, though mercifully not the seat. Lush plants curve from the seemingly arid creations, bizarrely brilliant. At a weathered wheel under spreading olives an elderly woman served dripping tomatoes, cool crumbling feta, twisty black local sausages and rough bread matching the surroundings. We ate among sun-dappled textures, beiges, russets, creams and greys, while small cats watch large-eyed. Entry is free – we thought we’d be half an hour and we were there for two. Since it’s always growing, it’s now expanded since the time we visited – perhaps one day we’ll enter its magic again.

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