Ioannina, Greece

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Ioannina city, the old and the new

During October I’ve had a really nice time on a long weekend at Ioannina city of Greece and finally I’ve made the time to make a post about it! It’s been a month (plus) now that I have so much work to do that I think my blue flamingo is feeling very lonely…however is always in my mind, I’m mentally preparing interesting posts to present them to you someday!

This one is about this marvelous city that I’m definitely proposing of visiting! It highlights the tradition in such a chic way, offering very nice strolls at the lake, at the old market, the traditional coffee and wine/tsipouro spots where you can warm yourself and your heart with the right company. And of course, starting from Ioannina you can explore the Zagoria villages and the mountain which is very very beautiful.

To better understand the culture and fully get in the mood of this place you should hear some traditional epirus music, I adore it! One of my favorites is this: Xechorismata by Petroloukas Chalkias.
Or a contemporary aspect of it, the Villager of Ioannina city band.
I really believe these 2 aspects of music is very characteristic of the city vibes you can’t catch by photos only. I propose to hear them while you read the post if you are into it! 🙂

Unfortunately, we had only 3 days for all, but I think we saw a lot to love the city. The first thing anyone thinks on hearing about Ioannina is the lake! Such a serene scenery and beauty of nature especially on this time of year where the tree leaves have all these hues of green-orange-yellow…They say that deeper on winter, the lake is covered by a mysterious mist and it can be even more beautiful! We enjoyed that stroll so much that definitely I could say people there are very lucky. It’s also a great place for photographers, we even saw a famous one(as we’ve been told) photo shooting his little daughter among fallen leaves, where she was doing the same at her dad with her phone! Cute, huh?

Along the shore – despite the birds and the people to look at – there are some sculptures to admire that I liked a lot. By local, famous or not (to me) artists contribute to the evolution of aesthetic level and criteria of the people. I think it’s very nice having pieces of art out in the open, for every people to get familiar with it.

As I told you another characteristic of this city you shouldn’t miss is cute cafes and small taverns where you drink local tsipouro (a very strong alcohol drink) with tasty food. In any food situation I am incapable of taking photos, it’s official! I had my mind though of capturing some moments/corners from a very cute vintage cafe where we had our morning coffee one day. It’s called “To diko mas waltz” which means “our waltz” and served coffee and more in a well preserved old house, with small rooms and old furniture. I liked the “love of books” touch at the entrance a lot.

Another highlight of the city is the Its Kale hill where the Turk commander, pasha, has his palace and facilities. From there you can have a really nice view of the lake and the city and of course learn about this era. We visited a new museum of silverware that had a huge development in the area. This museum was actually very interesting both for the exhibits and the displaying ways of them and for the renovation of such a building. I was looking at the exhibit boards and then at the lighting methods or the way they used the building structure. A must see for architects!

Also, an excursion nearby is a must! We went towards Aristi village and at its exit we stopped at the river. You can see by the photos that it was amazing! The colors of nature, the hearing of the water and the feeling of your footings at the moisty earth was very refreshing. There were also some people that were doing rafting etc it would’ve been awesome.

As you can imagine it was the joy of the photographer! A lot of desktop wallpaper choices!

Continuing from there towards Papigko villages we stopped at some water ponds called Ovires. It’s a magical place where mountain water passes by big stones, sculptured by it, creating small and larger water ponds. During summer people swim there, I don’t even imagine how cold the water must be!

The scenery there is very imposing: big mountains around you, small villages underneath them, Vikos gorge and the river whenever you can see it. Leaving Ovires we had this view in front of us! And at this mountain foot was the Small Papigko village where we stopped for lunch and exploration.

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Mountains at Vikos gorge, such a scenery!

The first thing we saw after we left our car was this scenery below…Like a fairy tale. This plane tree was like a magnet to us…we took several photos!

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This plane tree reminds my the ‘Big Fish’ movie, don’t you think?

Obviously…

And then we went to eat something because after all these our stomach was complaining clearly! Lamb ribs at a tavern’s yard compensated us! 😉

It was such a great 3days vacation yet very tiring because it’s very far from Athens. I definitely recommend to have more days there, to have a car and to explore the mountain and the magical nature/villages of the area. It’s really beautiful at any season!

 

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Long weekend in North Euboea

Euvoia001Last weekend of February I went for a small trip, as I told you. After a long time I was only working I spent 3 days in the country and it was very rejuvenating! Of course now it’s like it never happenned, I certainely need another one!

In Greece 40 days before Easter we celebrate one Monday as the start of the fasting. As so, we had a large weekend of 3days! Hooray! So, I took the opportunity and spent some days in a small village in north Euboea. It’s a big island close to mainland, where the mountain and the sea are blending together creating a beautiful scenery! Unfortunately, I didn’t had the mind to take a lot of photos and show you what I’m talking about. I chose my best ones for the blog.Euvoia 02_mbfEuvoia 03_mbfEuvoia 04_mbfThe only negative was the weather as it was dull and it was raining almost all the time. I think this is the real reason for not taking a lot of photos. But I rested a lot, “eat-drink-sleep” the main action and I charged my batteries as needed.

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These lovely cats were all day out of our door and wait for a treat! Wild enough to not let me caddle them but loyal to the family, true guards! Here they are like fluffy slippers!!

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On the countryard of the house. Traditional corners with the basics for the needs of the house.

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Another view of the countryard of the house

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Chickens welcoming us on the village! – Me, helping at the bakery store prepare the traditional bread!

The other characteristic of this long weekend was the traditional feast of that Monday! We use to eat a lot of seafood this day and as I were in a fishermen village we had a lot of treasures! I ate for the first time sea urchins and other delicacies that I don’t know the names in English as I may learned them in local dialect. I am so frustrated that I didn’t depict that table and the urchins on the skep just after they had been caught! I had all my mind on eating them I suppose… However, you can still have an idea of how these days passed and feel the atmosphere!

Fishermen boats at the seaport - Tiny mussels on the sand!!!

Fishermen boats at the seaport – Tiny mussels on the sand!!!

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Villa Kalos in Ithaca

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This amazing villa is located in the island of Ithaca, in Greece. It was an abandoned building before south African photographers Gerda Genis and Robbert Koene  decided to renovate it and use it as a guest house for holidays. The concept of Villa Kalos is to offer all those who like to spend their holidays in the countryside and are looking for an intimate environment on one side, yet furnished and completed with the top-quality details on the other, a place where all this is actually possible. Situated upon the terraced gardens that surround the home and the 6,000 square meters that the property occupies, overlooking almond trees and the olive groves dotting the nearby countryside, the only sound that can be heard are the goats nearby! Personally, I love the raw materials that are used and highlight the traditional architecture and structure of the building, leaving you with the simplicity and sincerity that is needed. I won’t say more, I leave you with the pictures…

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