After the distiller trip to Bulgaria, we went to Greece to visit another essential oil distiller on the island of Crete.
Janina and Babis started Wild Herbs of Crete in 1994. All their essential oils are made from plants wildcrafted by hand and distilled with the utmost care and respect.
The journey from the little airport in Crete to The Herbs of Crete was an adventure!
The coastal area is very tropical, and I felt right at home surrounded by the plants we live with in Florida (orange trees, bougainvillea, bamboo, eucalyptus trees, hibiscus flowers and palm trees).
As we made our way up the mountains, we started to see conifer trees, wild thyme in full bloom (purple!) and lots of wild carrot. We went from the stunning blue-green ocean and beaches up to a beautiful, dramatic, dry desert landscape filled with wild herbs.
The road got narrow, the mountains got huge, and we started to wonder what would happen if we came across another car on this windy, one lane mountain road! Our GPS no longer had any satellite connection, and we pulled off the road to consider if we were headed the right way. Off in the distance, we saw a large truck coming our way, and as it drew nearer we decided to ask for directions (I wished so much that I'd learned to speak Greek!). As I peeked into the truck, I saw hundreds of shoes . . . We were speaking to the local shoe repair man! He encouraged us that we were head around the right mountain and off we went.
Arriving at the cafe at Herbs of Crete was a surprising experience after driving along the mountain road! Quite suddenly, we found ourselves at the coolest little cafe with stone tables, beautiful plants, a kitchen filled with essential oils, hydrosols, homemade olive oil soap, ceramic candle diffusers, and dried flowers everywhere! Janina has created a unique, welcoming space for anyone who happens upon it and wants an organic coffee!
We stayed in her guest room for two nights as we explored Crete. We talked with Janina and Ina (her apprentice from Norway) for hours, smelled their amazing essential oils, and ate the wonderful food she prepared for us. This hidden gem is well worth exploring. They sell their essential oils online in small sizes only. The shipping is the same for one bottle or 12, so why not buy 12? So nice to find a distillery that sells retail sizes of their oils!
If you would like to see pictures of Greece--and especially Crete!--I created a slide show on Flickr.