40 years ago Joni Mitchell spent some time living in Matala, Crete which she refers to in the song "Carey". It was a haven for the flower children of the time, where they could live for free in the caves and go back to a simpler and more natural existence. Matala was a very small fishing village with almost nothing there, whereas today it is a thriving tourist town but not too crowded and it still has a slight feel of the old hippy days. As well as Joni having an affair with Carey, whilst I was there I met Yiorgis, "George" who I featured in the film (the bearded one!) and I believe she had a brief encounter with him as well! He claims 6 days! He recalls her singing to him in his little fishing boat. His eyes lit up when I asked him about her.
As a huge Joni fan I went to Matala for a holiday but also to film and try and capture the atmosphere there and to convey something of what it must have been like years ago. The "Mermaid Cafe" is long gone, it closed in 1980 but the Waves restaurant featured in the film now stands where the Mermaid once was.
Some of the old people who were there 40 years ago are still there but the woman who was called "Mama" by the hippies as she ran the bakery and made fresh yogurt daily, has passed away. The old woman watering the ground in the film was certainly around back then.
I hope you enjoy a taste of Matala and that it helps you imagine how it must have been long ago....beneath the Matala moon.
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