If there ever were a more rigorous, dangerous, and demanding profession, the role of a cosmonaut is surely mission critical. News this week Russian ISS crewmembers Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka are ending 172 days in space on Crete, it says a lot about the healing powers of our favorite island.
A press conference held earlier this week saw top Crete officials bidding an official welcome to the Roscosmos cosmonauts, the latest International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers to end their missions on Crete doing R&R. Anemos Luxury Grand Resort, their first stop on a regenerative tour of Greece’s biggest island, it’s situated on the longest coastline of northern Crete and close to the picturesque fishing village of Georgioupolis.
A brand new luxury stay, the resorts has also hosted previous Roscosmos cosmonauts, for what is becoming the recovery phase for space travelers. Governor of Crete, Stavros Arnaoutakis, who was on hand at Anemos to welcome the cosmonauts, had this to say about their visit, and the wider Roscosmos project:
“We welcome our distinguished guests to Crete, to the finest hotel on our island that opened only this year. Your colleagues faired well recuperating here from their missions, and we hope your visits to our island will be lucky for us, and that more Russian people will come here. We wish you a great stay, and a speedy recovery too.”
Crete, famous for its healthy lifestyle and welcoming spirit, was the setting for a similar program for cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko and Anton Shkaplerov on two separate occasions. The program is being carried out at Anemos Grand Resort’s Aegeo Spa at Georgioupolis, and at the Aldemar Thalasso Resort in Hersonissou. The key goals of this re-acclamation mission is to acclimatize the cosmonauts via no just physical rehabilitation, but through cultural and social elements Crete is so noted for. Village life, the remarkable hospitality, and especially the way Cretans make people feel at home, these facets are no PR hyperbole.
Organized by Greek journalist in Moscow Thanassis Avgerinos, in collaboration with Eyewide Digital Marketing, along with the aforementioned resorts, the medical aspects of the program are supervised by Roscosmos physician, Mikhail Potapov, who oversees the therapies for the cosmonauts.
During the first few days of the cosmonauts’ stay on Crete, the ISS crewmembers helped unveil a memorial statue in Heraklion to the most famous cosmonaut ever, Yuri Gagarin. A small throng of onlookers watched Ovchinin and Skripochka present Crete’s and Greece’s tribute to lasting friendship, and to celebrate the 55 years since Gagarin’s momentous space flight.