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Posts Tagged ‘Greece’

Greek doors sport color and style

Greek IslandsI get it.  If your decorating your Greek Island villa threshold, do it with a flair.  I have searched out the antiques of the colorful doorways on these Cycladic Islands and the thrill of finding a rare door-knocker is around every corner.  The weathered brass ones have character and personalities.  The woman’s delicate hand on the wooden door reaches out for your grip, has the warmth and smoothness that makes you linger before the strike of metal on metal.  But, expect a loud retort from her, when you apply a bit too much force.  The faces on the painted metal strikers give a sad expression. Their personalities warrant kindness toward the thankless job that they do.  I use them boldly and then pass on by, relishing the joy found on the other side and leaving them behind to face the emptiness of the narrow whitewashed lane. Photography abounds here.

Mykonos is a good start to find them. The Mykonian maze of paths and terraces enjoy this unique embellishment on many doors.  More treasures lie on the little island of Hydra, just an hour and a half away by Flying Dolphin ferry ride from Athens.  They, the residents, enjoy no motor vehicles, only donkeys and small fishing boats. True bliss!   Mule hooves on the cobblestone streets compete with the door-knockers.  A nice combination in the village on this great Greek Island.

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The mountains and seaside slopes of the mainland of Greece etch out treasures for the traveler.

I love the islands of the Aegean and all the attractions of the city of Athens.  Yet, the peaceful existence of the smallest villages a mere 3 hour drive from 5 million residents and the hustle of the Capital City beckons.  This is a journey not to delay.  The summer months into late October support the flexible traveler to drink in the life and leisure and weather for finding that perfect route.  I can help you find that magic place.

    I focus my attention around the town square.  Lush with olive and palm trees and roped with vines and blossoms of Bougainvillea. This village life bustles in the morning, grinds to a halt at noon, unless it is a holy day, near the church.  The cafes remain active if there is a grape-arbor overhead. Pushcart vendors do stay out in the midday sun to sell the lottery tickets or the trays of slices of melon and kilo of citrus.  The shutters on most shops close and siesta prevails.  I enjoy the pace and tone of the residents.

The southern region of Greece has the benefits of mild, dry weather and the lack of people. The variety of landscape and the ability to be close to the sea should secure the  Peloponnese Peninsula as a great start. The loop around the region is a two day trip, but I prefer to linger for a long week-end.  Think of your right hand with your first three fingers pointed downward. The center southern branch is the Mani region.  Use this as your staging area and travel on the Areopolis-Kalamatas Highway toward the West. This is a two lane road though this area and in the villages it may be one lane.  A few tour buses run this loop with European senior citizen and the Central European camper vans tour in caravans.  Take the time to visit the seaside tourist town of Stoupa. The beach is commercial and the harbor front supports a thriving trade of Pubs, Coffeehouses and Tavernas.  The Brits have figured this out a while back and Bed and Breakfast Inns abound.  This area is a little busy for me and I suggest that you move west several kilometers to Kardamillis.

    In Kardamillis (Kardamyli),you will have the beach access, the Tavernas, craftshops, bars and B&Bs. The architecture is Greek, Turkish, (though they never conquered the Mani), and colonial.  The Mani castle structures remain in this western region.  There are real estate companies that may rent one of these villas for a family for the week and many have sea views from the side of the hills above this town.

    The nightly village life reverts to the passion for freshest ingredients for food of salads, wild game, carafes of red wine, more stifados of rabbit, fried zucchini and sweets.  Somewhere ouzo will find a place.  Metaxia brandy, 5 star, rounds it all out.  A rare bouzoukis player may turnout at a Taverna; hopefully yes.

My real journey for your daytrip into the mountain villages begins five more kilometers west on the Areopolis-Kalamatas Highway to the micro village of Prosili. The draw to this hillside village is the Cathedral of  The Church of Prosili, but I prefer to find the smallest white-washed paths below the church, high on the hill above. There is a blue paint, an aqua paint, and a green paint that may only be know to Greeks in this village.  This combination painted and weathered on the doors, windows and fences paired with the intense foliage is surreal.  Prosili is a bit in decay.  The Taverna in the square has been opened, then closed, periodically.  The For Sale signs perk up in several areas and the average age of the folks has risen over these years.  Still, the beauty remains and the village life rewards all.

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According to Reuters data, in the first half of the year, net tax revenues ran almost 1 billion euros below target. This means that Greece will likely miss a goal to reduce its budget deficit to 7.3 percent of GDP this year from 9.3 percent. Further,  many state mandated policies have missed deadlines and targets. Opposition parties state that the current government adheres [sic: “obeys”] to EU troika and ignores the people.  The delay in the two elections has put the finance schedule in arrears.

With the Summer Olympics looming the Spartans of ancient times must win to move to the podium of Europe.

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Vacationing on Mykonos is a 9 to 5 Job:   Nine in the Morning to Five in the Morning!

I love every hour of it, and have for summers for about twenty-five plus years. Yes, I have the routine down pat. You really need to stay on the island for several days minimum to get the rhythm and fall into a hypnotic state. I drink in the hours into their own zone of continuity.  Mornings are leisurely, breakfast is light, Photo opps prevail.  Noon is the time to mobilize to the beach, Paradise or Super Paradise or out past Ano Mera Town to a secluded cove.  Taverna food on the beach fits in somewhere.  High Five Hour is for partying on the beach bar [ literally, standing on the bar to the euro disco beat].  The  sunset brings its joy. Nap time back at the Villa.  Then the rest is open.  Dinner out in Mykonos town. Then to the clubs.  Five A. M. comes around darn fast.  Repeat all above as often as necessary.

 

Mykonos

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Good or Evil, they do the trick.

The black iris surrounded by the clearest bluest color of the crystal Aegean Sea is a required staple of Greek life.  I have several. Why not? One of these items on a keychain or on a rear view mirror will ward off those pesky evil spirits and bring me great luck.  Hanging a Blue Eye on the inside of my door at my residence assures a very peaceful existance.  Ask any vendor in the Athens Plaka or the Flea Market: Monastiraki, several block down the way.  These Blue Eyes come in every size.  They are attached to leather lariats, chains, mounted on earrings, and formed into ashtrays.  I have wonderered about the various factories that might manufacture these items. How many tons of glass are smelted?  Do little villages focus all resources to tie little cords on them?  How about a museum of these?

OK, the name is Mati, some may call it  “the evil eye”.  It is a Greek staple in life, as much as a strand of Komboloi beads or worry beads(Greek: êïìðï~ëüé).  Evil Eye Beads go back thousands of years.

It was believed that, this eye saw  all the wickedness in the world and  removed poverty and ignorance. When Horus opened its  eyes the world was enlightened, when he closed, it became dark. From Egypt, the eye talisman had spread to the Mediterranean, Middle East and Europe. The bead reflects the evil intent back to the onlooker. It somewhat resembles an eye and it is said the typical blue color is a factor in protecting the user.   I know the trick to ward off the evil.

At almost every stages of human history, man has looked for the assistance of magic objects called talismans to defy evil forces.  Accordingly the  first recorded by the Mesopotamians about 5,000 years ago in cuneiform on clay tablets, the Evil Eye may actually have originated as early as the Upper Paleolithic age.  That’s old.

So, “…the technique we use for nazar boncugu – evil eye bead making is primitive. It’s totally hand made. We use a thick and a thin iron rod. We roll the base of the nazar bead on the thick rod. This is the base. We add the white and the blue of the eyes with the thin rod. Just these two rods are our tools”, according to RASIM ALTMISKARA, beadmaster in Turkey, from a work on this subject by Kemal Güzelsin.

I’m sticking with mine and I suggest a keychain or two for you!  Or: maybe you have one now?

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     What could be the outcome if Aegean Islands are offered for sale to all?

Party with Dionysus

Delos Island, includes several Greek Gods, and architectural antiquities, close proximity to Fine Restaurants and nightlife of Mykonos Town. 3.43 km2  

Lots of room for Building,  Sorry, Columns with Pallus not included with offering.  $100,899,999! Call Now for showing.

Aristotle Onassis was here

Skorpios Island,  Beat a path here before Bill Gates.  This little piece of  heaven, developed by the big guy, is a bargain when you think of Jackie O.  Georgio Armani could join you in the bidding, but don’t count out  “The Bieber”.  Just a hop and jump on your yacht to Brindisi, It.  Real value at $200,000,000! 

360 Degree View of the Aeagan

 Keros Island,  in the center of the Cyclades, perch yourself on top of Mt. Keros, and be the first new inhabitant here.  The Artifacts abound and, yes, you can set up shop, too. Renaming rights are at your beckon. 
Bronze Age tools can get the building sites ready for condos. All permits were acquired and the officials are looking forward to you.  A Steal at $150,000,099!            Act fast.

SOLD ** HOMER’S ITHICA ** SOLD** Sorry

ITHICA, Can’t disclose where it is, but, Odysseus, Achilles, and Agamemnon will attest that the journey was worth every minute.  This piece of rock was home to countless Heroes.    Same owner as Island of Atlantis got this prize:

$100,000,000 and 4 fully equipped galleons took it.  

Call Now, Operators are waiting! 

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Vitina in the Arcadian mountain range of the Peloponnese Peninsular of Greece rises to winter pleasure.

I have travelled the countryside of the Greek mountains in the summer months and can relate the pleasure of discovering a wealth of culture aroung every bend in the road.  The northern mountains in the center of Greece provides a touristic path that gets overrun in all seasons.  I have discovered in the winter that the  southern mountains give the traveler the chance to view a  region unphased by the hassles effecting most Europeans today.  Ski resorts and the groomed mountain trails can be found on the Peloponnese.  My destination is to the villages that  support the winter trade.  Vitina is one of these villages with less that 1000 residents.
Food and drink is the important focus of this village and the church and family really support the infastructure with  real service to the visitor. The freshest dried herbs, homemade greek noodles, rounds of cheeses and dried sausages are offered by craftsmen in the very tiny shops.  White and red wines from local vines are bottled and line the shelves.  Olive trees in groves line the roads to the village of Vitina.  It goes without saying, but I will, that the first cold press of the oil is the finest and the woods of the trees make their way to lathes and the carver hands of the villagers.  Some shops specialize in the most unique crafts. Need a walking staff with a sheep head in olivewood?  When the temperature is Zero C. and the light coating of a night flurry remains on the northern facing red tiled roofs, the lunchtime gastric juices flow.  The hardwood charcoal ovens of the local tavernas whaife the aromas of the local specialty meats in the narrow pedestrian streets.  Wild boar, hare, rooster, baby lamb are on the menu.  Field greens (horta) are still hearty and grown on the southern facing glades and those tender leaves bathed in lemon juice and olive oil, touched with salt and tossed make the meal zip. I particularly like the Taverna called Paradosiaki, a comfortable, nicely decorated family enviroment with great staff and menu.

A drive to this village from Athens takes less than two hours.  The route is quite simple as you head toward the Corinth Canal and on E65 towards Tripoli.  Before  the route narrows, yet after the fantastic mountain tunnels, and tolls, the right cutoff on road E55 and then 74 toward Olympia directs you to Vitina, also spelled Vytina.  The snow topped peaks loom over the hillside passes.  It is dramatic in winter.  Many small hotels and Bed and Breakfasts abound in the village. Larger hotels are along the access route. Finding  these gems is a joy; experiencing the benefits of each is the reward.

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