We are back to Greece, although, if you are a regular reader of my blog, I didn’t think I will return this summer. I did for a number of reasons; my strongest being my daughter’s happiness.
We landed in Athens on Wednesday night and headed towards Thessaloniki after a couple of days of rest and a lovely encounter with a loved family member and friend.
The journey from Athens to Thessaloniki is long, especially when done in the summer, in a car with a faulty air con system. We decided to break the journey in half and have been staying on Mount Pelion, in a small but beautiful village, called Agios Georgios (Saint George), for the past two nights. Blog post to follow on our delightfully luxurious B&B!
Mount Pilio(Pelion in Greek) has been capturing the imagination of the Greek from ancient times and it is believed to have been the home of Centaurs and the starting point of major mythological events like the Trojan War. Nowadays, the mountain continues to attract a lot of local and international tourism, with its hiking paths and unique scenery which combines intense greenery and turquoise blue sea.
We were given a gentle warning by our lovely hosts and told that we will not be able to see much in a day, as the mountain and its beauty are vast and require weeks of exploration.
We attempted, nevertheless, and after seven hours on the road, got a mixed bag of wonderful scenery, car sickness from the steep mountain roads and everlasting memories ;-).
Our goal was to explore the wilder side of the mountain and it took us about 2 hours to reach the Mylopotamus Beach, renowned among the locals and awarded the reputable Blue Flags of Europe for years.
We didn’t stay long as the day was hot and the sea wild and wavy and decided to head on for a spot of lunch and more windy, twisty roads.
The cuisine of Mount Pilio is simple yet entrancing with its rich flavours: freshly baked bread, served compulsorily with every single meal; divinely tasting, always homemade butter and cheese; meat roasted slowly on the spit; creamy-sauced aubergines cooked in earthen pots, resting for hours in hot ovens; a spot of Turkish culinary imprint and Ottoman occupation with their bouyourdi, peppers and cheese melted into an amazing melee of guilt and pleasure.
We loved every morsel of it; delicious, home cooked meals and exceptionally welcoming hosts can be found everywhere along the road. Our meals varied in price, between 20 and 35 euro, depending on the appetite and always delivered great quality and taste.
On the way back and now on a wider and safer road, we took our time and stopped for a chat with a local apicultirist. Again, the mountain way was prevalent in his dealings with us. He took his time and explained in both English and Greek about the arduous process of beekeeping and honey making. He told us about how he left his uninspiring career in Athens and swapped it for the mountain air, loads of hard work and a never give up mentality which are now rewarding him much more than any city career. All done with a smile and a generous spirit.
We have decided to stay for another night on Mount Pilio upon return from our adventures. Not because we harbour any illusions of conquering its vast territory and beauty but because we wanted to enjoy another day closer to the sky and surrounded by the green of the trees before we head on to Thessaloniki. I know that many Greeks dream of reaching Mount Pilio and see its beauty and I feel it would be a shame to rush away from such a calming and beautiful spot.
I will be back tomorrow with my blog post on our lovely B&B, as promised. Until then, kalispera kai kali vradia!