PART OF A TEXT TELLING ABOUT PORTO CLUB, PUBLISHED IN “VEGAN VOICE MAGAZINE” www.veganic.net NOV. 2005 ISSUE, THANKS TO OUR GOOD FRIEND EDITOR AND PUBLISHER Sienna
The land where I was born overflows with sweet-smelling flowers, herbs, shrubs, trees, gardens, bare rocks, bare hills and mountains, scrubs, peaks, saddles, rivulets, creeks and wild gorges….
THE MAKER OF CRETE WAS IN A VERY GOOD MOOD THAT MOMENT OF CREATION SO HE BLESSED THIS LAND WITH OPEN-HANDED INFINITY, GENEROSITY AND NIKDNESS"
Unknown old Cretan author
My name is George Portokalakis, and I salute the vegans and vegetarians worldwide.
I am a 60 year old Greek travel provider.
I was born and live on the island of Crete in Greece.
I am involved in everything concerning tourism.
I am specifically concerned with private – tailor made tourism, as well as cultural, religious, alternative, culinary and cooking tours.
Over the past thirteen years I have studied and worked very hard to learn as much as possible of vegetarianism. I have learned a lot!
I can not say I am fully vegan or vegetarian, but nutritionally I live half of my days as vegan, and ¾ of my life as vegetarian.
I have been diabetic since 1999. I do not use any insulin or heavy drugs, and over the past 6 years, following the Easter period Orthodox vegan feast, which lasts 49 days, I have found that my blood sugar came much closer to normal levels.
A LITTLE ABOUT US CRETANS
Cretans eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
The fat we use in our cooked food and salads is mainly olive oil.
We eat pulses and vegetables in large amounts. They are the basis in our daily diet.
No more than two or three days would go without pulses in a meal and not a day without vegetables, wild greens, olives, uncooked fresh vegetables and greens as salad, Cretan rusks and fruits.
We eat more fruit than most, in fact, 4 times more than the other inhabitants of the Mediterranean.
A traveler in Greece when goes for lunch or dinner can find a huge variety of vegetarian / vegan meals in the called: ESTIATORION (restaurant) In these restaurants they present their specialties in show tables so guests can view the meals and choose one of them.
ESTIATORION is restaurant that operates mostly for local people. They always supply a big number of -free meat- dishes we call them LADERA. You can find them at taverns or other kind of restaurants but Estiatorion is the ones I always suggest.
HOW I GOT INVOLVED IN VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN PHILOSOPHY AND TRAVEL
In the old days, being a city child, I couldn’t imagine the charm of a diet that follows the passing of one season to the next.
Later on, when I became involved in alternative tourism and having in me the love of cooking, I watched more carefully the various dishes of our local farming cuisine.
I found that, above all, the most important thing is «the tasty hand”
No food – bread – vegetable, sweet, cookie or cake – produced by hand can be the same as another one. Every hand has a unique strength, warmth, power and skill. Behind the unbelievable inspiration and taste sensations of Cretan and Greek traditional cuisine there are many, many tasty hands.
Based on that spirit, the Greek traditional cuisine is an art that has been in practice for thousands of years by talented, creative and unnamed women, and today we are the recipients of this art.
I also discovered the huge number of meat-free dishes all over Greece, ideal for a vegan / vegetarian traveler.
AND VEGAN / VEGETARIAN PHILOSOPHY
I have no compunction in saying that Crete and Greece is an ideal destination for a vegan / vegetarian, at least nutritionally.
There is still a long way to go to connect with the philosophy and spirit of the vegan way, but any vegan visitor will be surprised at how harmoniously local Cretan people live with [nonhuman] animals, almost all of whom free range in the fields or mountains.
I hope and believe respect is a good first step between Cretans and vegans / vegetarians worldwide.
CRETE AND VEGAN / VEGETARIAN NUTRITIONAL OPTIONS FOR A TRAVELLER
For many Greeks (especially in the countryside and islands), five days a week their meal is vegetarian or vegan.
Yes, Greeks are meat and dairy eaters, but because such a large percentage of our diet consists of pulses, vegetables, greens and fruits, a vegan or vegetarian visitor will not have any difficulty in finding a huge variety of vegetarian food all over Greece.
You don’t have to <apologize> or explain why you don’t eat meat.
Taste the healthy Cretan and Greek Mediterranean meat-free delicacies and our fine wine. You shall feel strong humanity, away from the stress of our daily life.
You shall feel the warmth of Greek and Cretan company.
You shall be captured by the place, perhaps because you think that time has stood still or because they welcome you with a shot of Tsikoudia with Cretan rusks and fresh tomato or a tsipouro or an ouzo.
You shall find the true picture of Greece and Crete, not only in its magnificent monuments and tradition, but in its nature as well. You shall feel the magic of the clear skies, the smell of the aromatic plants, the full moon nights.
Welcome to the land of deep heart-given hospitality, good food and good wine….a spot on the map in the midst of the Mediterranean inhabited by warm, proud and friendly people.
Be prepared for a strong sense of daily life and for truly warm hospitality.
Cretans are the hosts. You are the guests of honor.
PORTO CLUB & PALEOLOGOS S.A TRAVEL SERVICES