Thursday, 27 July 2017

Cicada



Even though we hear them day and night in the summer months, cicadas are very elusive and I know people who live in Greece who have never seen one. This one landed inside the awning which is outside our kitchen window and stayed there most of the day. I could not resist taking a photograph, even though I posted the image of one last year. I love the blue and its membranous wings are so delicate.



Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Around Trikala Corinthias



Despite the weather we managed a few walks around Ano Trikala Corinthias - short walks, as we were worried about it starting to rain again. During our first two days the village was eerily quiet - there were no visitors or tourists and all the locals stayed in. We did not see one single person when we ventured out for our first walk - a great contrast to what we have been told it's like in the winter months, where sometimes traffic jams occur.




For this first walk we decided to explore the north part of the village and beyond, up the mountain.





We walked past our favourite taverna, Stou Dekleri,




past one of the local churches




Agios Gerasimos





past this path





that leads to a secluded house


left the village, and started climbing up the mountain,





but did not go very far as it looked like it might rain again.



We turned around and started exploring the village



past the round house



and the newly-built chalets.




For our second and third walks we walked south towards Mesaia Trikala (middle Trikala, as opposed to Ano Trikala -  there is also a Kato Trikala, denoting the lower village)


Houses on the edge of Ano Trikala




we reached the bridge





looked down at the brook - the water was very muddy due to all the rain




and came to the vrisi - the fountain that is fed from the mountain streams. In the past this would have been the center of village life, as women and their children would come to get water, meet their neighbours and chat but also do their washing


In places, all we could see was cloud




We passed the snow bus, sitting idle in the summer




lovely blue mountain flowers




During our first walk on this stretch we met a woman who stopped and chatted with us. She told us that locals use this plant to make walking sticks: they uproot it, strip it, lay it in the sun to dry, and use the root as the handle





we came across another vrisi,




and further along, yet another one - no shortage of water here




and now we could see the first houses of Mesaia Trikala




a shop that sells local produce, sadly closed





most houses in this area are made of stone



Another sweet little house, with a gorgeous garden at the back overlooking the mountains







By now we had reached the end of the village,





we then saw a sign for the Castle of Dreams, so had to investigate. We walked down a narrow alleyway and here it is - a luxury hotel





we passed a little church.





Retraced our steps, and came to this place,





and sat on the terrace that is on the edge of the cliff. Last year when we came here, the terrace was packed, but people preferred to sit inside this time, but not us. The views are spectacular here






when there is no cloud, that is - you can see the cloud advancing in this photograph




but half an hour later, the cloud had somewhat cleared and we could enjoy the view before heading back to our guest house




and for the first time got clear views of Ano Trikala.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Hospitality in Ano Trikala, Corinthias




We stayed at the Varnevo guest house while we were in Ano Trikala Corinthias.





 It's a small guest house, with three rooms in the main building




and two suites in the tower



each room having access to a  balcony.




It's a wonderful place. The two guys who run it are very welcoming and helpful, the whole place is immaculately clean and very comfortable.





Our room was cosy. The stone walls and the wooden ceiling provide character as does the fireplace which is in full use in the winter months, the busy season for this area. Lots of people come here in the winter to enjoy the snow and ski, and the village is packed with visitors.






The woodpiles all around the place bear witness to this

My sister and her husband stayed in one of the suites in the tower





which has the bedroom upstairs on the mezzanine.





The breakfasts are impressive, home-cooked and tasty. It was a pleasure having breakfast on the terrace, but we also had early evening ouzos here, and home made spoon sweets last thing at night before turning in.





We had most of our meals at Stou Dekleri. The owner, chef and waiter (they do have a lot of staff but when the place is not very busy Mr Dimitris also waits on the customers - how he manages to fit everything in, I do not know) is an inspired cook. The food is delicious, cooked with care and flair. They serve a lot of different kinds of pies and the one we favoured was horta pie: mountains greens, leeks and various herbs wrapped in homemade, crusty pastry. We loved this and had it lots of times. Another favourite was the local home made pasta, strifti, served either with meatballs and tomato sauce, or with butter and garlic, which was my favourite.

One lunchtime, when the horta pie had run out, Mr Dimitris insisted on making the local tiganopsomo for us: homemade pastry, stuffed with feta and fried in olive oil - it was delicious. He refused to accept payment for it. When we were leaving he gave us two large bags of the strifti pasta that he makes himself, and again, refused to accept payment. I was awed by his generosity, kindness and hospitality. I particularly liked talking to him about food preparation. This is a place that I would like to return to.


Thursday, 20 July 2017

A view from the terrace



Our three-day stay in Ano Trikala Corinthias did not go as planned. The culprit? The weather. The plan was to visit lots of places in the surrounding area, to go for walks and most important of all, to sit on the wonderful terrace of our guest house and to enjoy the view




which includes parts of the village, the valley of the Zireia mountain range, going all the way down





to the sea, and the mountains of Roumeli across the water.





Instead, we got this, most of the time: a wall of cloud that would obliterate everything





There were times when it was clear, but within minutes we would see the cloud advancing, and everything would disappear.





At 1200 metres altitude it was not surprising given the weather we had. On our first night we had the mother of all storms with torrential rain, thunder and lightning. On our second full day, four fire engines climbed the mountain  - apparently lightning had struck a tree and a fire was raging further up from us - how could there be a fire, with all this rain, we wondered?

It rained the whole of our first full day, but the worst was the cold. We had left Athens with temperatures of 38oC and even though we were warned that it would be cold up in the mountains we were not prepared for a temperature drop of 26 degrees. We froze for our first day and a half. I have never been so cold, and for so long. We put on all the clothes we had, layer upon layer, but it was not enough. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that everyone smokes in Greece and it was impossible to sit indoors. So we sat on the terrace and just froze.

Fortunately, after 24 hours of sheer misery my sister's sister-in-law arrived with a thick jumper and thick fleece for me, and a bomber jacket for Ken and we finally, were warm enough.






The cloud would advance at alarming speeds - you can see it here, on the right of the picture, advancing,





and within seconds it was like this.




One minute we could see the village across the valley





and the next it was gone.




The weather improved for the second part of our stay and we were able to enjoy the view, but to also do some very pleasing walks.





I remember the moment when the mountain range across the water on the left side of this photograph appeared - for a day and a half we had not known it were there.