local-kiwi-alien

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Zagorohoria

I love my mountains, fresh and cool and green all year round..

Zagorohoria - 46 traditional villages in the Pindus Mountains

Way up north, close to the Albanian border there are 46 mountain villages, their houses built in local stone,  smoke drifting up from their chimneys.  Houses are perched on the sides of mountains in villages where the streets are paved with cobble stones and spreading plane trees shade the tiny central square where the old men gather to drink tsikoudia and watch their women clattering past with bags of greens gathered fresh for their dinner.   

One of our cousins has built a luxury hotel in the tiny village of Aristi.    Aristi sits above the Vikos Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world, carved  out by the Voidomatis river.  




Here I am sitting on one of the 60 stone arched bridges 



The zig-zagging mountain road to the two traditional villages of Papigo and Little Papigo


Mountain village of Aristi. Population around 200




Cow in the road.  An unusual sight for us who encounter sheep and goats everyday but rarely cows


Down below the village on the banks of the Voidomato river.  Freezing cold water, 9oC, but our cousin used to swim here daily in the summer.  It is from this delightful shaded beach that rafts are launched for a one hour trip down the river through dense natural forest, ending up under one of those magnificent stone bridges


Or you can visit one of the other villages and try a piece of the pies, cheese, chicken or greens, that are famous here. With a beer or raki




This was the hotel in 2009 when we first visited


Now a luxury boutique hotel.  Aberratio Hotel Aristi
Thick stone walls, open fireplace in every room, a huge fireplace in the reception area and a sunny terrace with an incredible view over the mountains and Vikos Gorge


Coffee time in the silence and beauty of the Zagorohoria




Our second visit was for a family wedding.  It was a three day wedding celebration, a gathering of the Tzanos clan, endless laughter, tall tales, remembrances, music and food.  

The following year younger members of the family went up for a visit and to try out some of the sports.  Besides rafting you can hike the Vikos gorge, a 7 hour hike through wild thyme, oregano and birdsong,  go horse riding, canoeing, mountain climbing or just plain walking through nature.






12 comments:

  1. That sounds absolutely beautiful. You live where we work all year to go on vacation to. Incredible scenery and lovely hotel, what a view.

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    1. A real luxury hotel. Lucky it belongs to relatives so we can have a cheap visit

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  2. When does the Local Kiwi Alien holiday tours start? I will book two tickets.

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    1. With your own personal guide. I'll gladly head the tour!!

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  3. Not only sea. Incredibly beautiful, Linda!
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. The mountains are beautiful. Quite a few tourists in the summer but not like the crowded islands. July and august are wonderful months to vsit

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  4. I will put the hotel down on my itinerary if I visit Greece. It sounds great.

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    1. Besides the beautiful setting they are also incredibly friendly. In fact the whole village is.

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  5. Beautiful. The village of 200 (Aristi) looks as if it has one house per person!

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    1. I presume a lot of those houses are owned by city slickers who come at weekends and on holidays .

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  6. I think I’d rather just sit in a quiet shaded spot. With some mezes and a glass, or two, of wine
    I’d obviously watch everyone else doing the active stuff, and I’d cheer them on lol

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    1. My favourite place for morning coffee and contemplation

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