Agios Vasillis is a tiny group of houses (and of course, as in every greek village, a lovely church) 200 metres off the ‘back road’ that goes under the bridge from Almirida up the hill to Xirosterni (eventually). Permanent residents are in single figures. There are some houses that are being /have been renovated – along with a few ‘new builds’. There are no shops / kafenions in the ‘village.’ In reality it doesn’t matter as its less than a 5 minute walk down to Almirida – although (in my case) probably more than that coming back up the hill….
Agios Vasiliis was a deserted village a few years ago when I first came to Crete. A Greek friend of mine had an Uncle (Manolis well over 70 years old) who ‘bred’ rabbits in an old ruin that he owned in the village. When Manolis fell ill it was my friends ‘duty’ to feed the rabbits. He took me up there one Sunday evening as it was going dark.
On the way there, he told me the village had been abandoned some 30 -40 years ago after a feud developed amongst few the residents, someone was shot and everyone left. I still don’t know if its true or it was just to ‘spook’ me as we arrived late in the evening. There was literally no one else in the area. Quite eerie
In the gloom I could hear a constant ‘hooting’ (like a submarine sonar device) above my head. I looked up and there was the tiniest owl I’ve ever seen. This was my first sighting of the tiny Skops owl that hauntingly hoots its way through the spring and summer evenings in the Apokoranos area.
We made our way (no lights of course) toward an old stone house with boarded windows. We then forced our way in to the house by removing the old planks of wood blocking the entrance in to Manolis’ old house so that my friend could feed the rabbits.
I’ve never seen anything like it. There were rabbits everywhere, surprisingly (for me) they all seemed quite healthy. It didn’t seem right in the dark, but then again I thought, they do live underground. All the many rabbits were black in color. My friend said taht they hadn’t all been this way when Manolis started his venture ‘n’ years ago. I expect its something to do with dominant genes rather than the dark – as was suggested.
We fed them – taking a couple of rabbits with us to leave at his Uncles house – and left. Not anything that could happen in the UK – I don’t think – but this is Crete. The villagers like to know where their food comes from. As one of them once said to me – with a look of obvious distaste and a curled lip – you eat ‘burgers’ in your country don’t you?
Since that time, people have started to breathe life back in to the village. Christos built some nice new stone houses with great sea views and others have renovated stone houses. It’s a lovely place – with great Mountain views and in some places also magnificent sea views. Peacefull? Of course – except for the Skop owls. We can help you buy a house here, renovate one or build your own!