In the summer of 2011, amongst ancient olive groves and wild, thyme scented breeze, I had the fortune of meeting ubiquitous ‘Lucky’ Koukoutsakis, a shepherd among other things and the owner of Alpha Hotel and Retreat in Azorgires. Lucky is the champion and defender of this small mountain village, an almost forgotten place tucked away in the remote countryside of southwest Crete, Greece. His family has lived here since 1712.

Lucky maintains centuries old land, traditions and values, crusading to keep his heritage and that of the other villagers alive. He is the enigmatic heart and soul of Azorgires, enticing new visitors to the region and sharing pulsing stories of an old world in decline. Each evening at dusk you can hear his song wafting through the valley as he sings to his flock, they trail at his heels as he crosses through the village towards the olive trees, their bells tinkling.

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