Destination known. Another evening, another ambassador. Diplomatic community. Greek Ambassador to the UK Konstantinos Bikas co hosted a party along with his cohort the Governor of Crete Stavros Arnaoutakis at the National Geographic Store opposite Harrods and basking in the afterglow of The Lansbury. It was the London Launch of a celebration of all things Cretan. Incredible Crete.
Stavros commented, “Over half a million people from the UK have visited Crete this year. Tourism makes up 70 percent of our GDP. We have 1,000 kilometres of coastline and one third of all five star hotels in Greece are on our island.” Woody Allen ponders in Love and Death, “I wonder if Socrates and Plato took a house on Crete during the summer?” The island is after all where the first civilisation in Europe began and later home to Titus, recipient of an epistle from St Paul.
The accompanying photographic exhibition illustrated the built and natural wonders of Crete. The ghost of Crete. Shot in 1905 and then again 101 years later. Previously the only evidence of the rural legend of the Cretan wildcat was a couple of pelts purchased at the turn of last century by palaeontologist, zoologist and ornithologist Dorothea Bate. An expedition by the Natural History Museum of Crete and the University of Perugia rediscovered the Cretan wildcat in 1996. One was captured, photographed, studied, tagged, released and tracked for a few months across its habitat on Psiloritis Mountain.
Notes were swapped at the soirée on the travels and travails of reportage with The Fly Away American, a Texan turned serial expat. Snappy wordsmiths at work. Isle of Olive (say it quickly) did the catering. “We’re based in Broadway Market,” said
Christie Turlington Paulina Filippou, who owns the company with her husband. “And sell a range of natural Greek products.” The healthiness of the Mediterranean diet was on display. Dittany by Votania, artichokes, cheese, tomatoes, olives and olive oil by Lyrakis and of course, no meat. Nothing tastes as good as skinny Dakos. Destination next also known. The Tom Dixon lunch @ The Mondrian.