Grandpa’s cauldron..

Goodmorning from Mount Olympus and grandpa’s cauldron!!

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Last days of tsipouro distillation and below are some important facts about this traditional drink of the greek countryside!

-Tsipouro is the extract obtained from the distillation of pomace (the residue of the wine press), containing a portion of fermented grape juice, not drained.

-Tsipouro, depending on whether it will be flavored with anethole or not, is distinguished in a) tsipouro with aniseed and b) tsipouro without anise.

-According to tradition, the first production of tsipouro was the work of Greek Orthodox monks in the 14th century on Mount Athos in Macedonia, Greece.

-The traditional cauldron was institutionalized by Eleftherios Venizelos around 1920, when permits were given to the Cretans farmers for the traditional raki boilers, in order to have the ability to produce raki from the grapes produced.

-Distillation was always “homemade” and  launched after the grape harvest in late October and had a festive character.

-From 1918 until 1935 were given 15,000 licenses of distillation pot still ownership to wine growers. Since then, there haven’t been given permits to new winegrowers, but anyone who has a cauldron can sell it if he wants. These permits are hard to come by and their price can start from 6,000 euros and reach up to 25,000 and 30,000 euros!

-In 1883, the Greek state establishes the first law on the taxation of alcohol and in 1896 the first official licenses are provided  to produce grape pomace distillate.

-A second distillation is usually performed, in which various other components can be added, such as anise, fennel, cloves, nutmeg and masticha, resulting this specific product to be purer and more aromatic.

-Anise-flavored tsipouro and ouzo have almost identical taste but vary enormously in their method of production.

-Tsipouro, raki and tsikoudia are the same drink. The main difference of tsipouro from tsikoudia or raki, is that raki is single distillated.

-Similar drinks in other countries, are the Cyprus Zivania, the Italian Grappa, Arak of the Middle East, the French Marc and the Serbian Slivovitz.

ρακή < turkish rakı < arabic عرق (araka)

 

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Meanwhile, on the foot of Mount Olympus..

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

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Around Thessaly..

Goodmorning and have a nice week people!

Last week I was at my grandpa’s village, situated on the foot of Mount Olympus, remember..?

Before that we visited the beautiful village of Anatoli, the most mountainous village of Kissavos on altitude of 960 meters and 42 kilometers away from Larissa.

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Valley patterns..

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Agios Panteleimonas church..

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Larissa’s coast..

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Arriving at Olympus.. The coffee place!

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Morning walk..

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Hera..

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Directly from grandpa’s garden..

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Morning hike (9km)..

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At the vineyard..

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(Have you checked our Instagram yet?)

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On the road towards Livadi..

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Our little patient..

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The mountain..

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The moon..

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Olympus magnetic field test..

Paranormal activity…. ⁉️

A post shared by Chrysoula Papagianni (@chrys_pa) on

Below you can see the map of the places we visited..

photos © chrysoula papagianni

Breakfast with a view..

Goodmorning people!
Finally after a tiring summer, I managed to take 2 days off and visit the island of Kea.
Have a nice weekend everyone!

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Tuscany part 6 : Badia a Passignano – Montefioralle..

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Hi everyone! A few days ago with Thekli, Giorgos, Robert and Nikos we visited a small part of Chianti’s countryside!

We left the car 5km from Badia a Passignano and walked through the wonderful tuscan landscape, amazing hills full of vineyards and houses at the top of the hills that make you feel like you are living a dream.

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The Badia a Passignano is located on the road running from Greve in Chianti through Montefioralle towards San Donato and Sambuca, and in fact was probably built there because of the importance of this route in mediaeval times.

Badia a Passignano was founded in 1049 as a consequence of the Vallombrosan monastic reforms and consists of a more or less square fortified monastic complex with corner towers. Towards the middle of the 15 C, the Abbey was augmented by the addition of cloisters and a wall. The vineyards surrounding the Badia a Passignano were bought by Antinori, one of the big names in Chianti Classico wine production, in 1987 and Antinori have leased the Abbey cellars for use in aging their wines. La Bottega and L’Osteria are an Antinori wine outlet and restaurant respectively and are located very near the gate of the Badia a Passignano.  It is possible to visit Badia a Passignano at 3 pm on the last Sunday of the month if a monk is available to act as guide. (source)

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The village of Montefioralle is probably one of the most ancient in Chianti and is still today enclosed within its original walls. These were initially two circuits but houses now fill the space between the original structures. The walls were octagonal in outline, with four gates, modifications of which still exist. During the Middle Ages it was one of the largest military and administrative centres of the area. The first notice of the settlement is from 1085. It belonged to the families Ricasoli, Benci, Gherardini and Vespucci. In 1325 it was sacked by Castruccio Castracani. (source)

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

Tuscany part 5 : Castello Banfi..

Castello di Poggio alle Mura, also known as Castello Banfi, is located 15km from the city of Montalcino, at the confluence of the Orcia and Ombrone rivers. It houses a winery, a hotel, a restaurant, a wine bar and  the Bottle and Glass Museum “John F. Mariani”.

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Its position, and the ancient history of the surrounding territory, let us suppose that the origin can even go back to the time of the Long Beards, that probably erected here one of their watch towers. There are no proofs at documentation of this theory, even it is sure that the construction of the first fortified nucleus on this hill is antecedent to year 1000. The first great widening of the castle dates back to the second half of 13th century [just after the battle of Montaperti, 1260]. The written sources tell about Poggio alle Mura for the first time in 1377, indicating the castle between the properties of Francisco di Tommaso Colombini. After the above-mentioned reconstruction of 1438, Poggio alle Mura became one of the larger castles of the Sienese peasantry. Other works were carried on during 17th century. A wing of the castle was mined during the world war II and reconstructed within the recent magnificent restoration undertaken by the current property. (source

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About a year ago during an excursion to Tuscany, we had a stop for a glass of Brunello di Montalcino at the beautiful courtyard of Castello Banfi and then we visited the “John F. Mariani” museum.

The museum illustrates the various eras of glass production through history, from the 5th century BC to our current day. Within the historic walls, in the old stable and olive pressing room, which still holds equipment dating back to 1857, the display rooms have been attentively assembled to explain the history of glass and the evolution of the wine bottle. In these rooms you will find collections of antique wine bottles, ancient and modern glassware from Venice, including the stupendous “The Water Girl” by Pablo Picasso.

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“The Water Girl” by Pablo Picasso

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Museum interior, at the right you can see an old Winepress..

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The “Enoteca”

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

Tuscany part 4 : Pienza..

Last week I visited one of my favorite places in Tuscany, Pienza!

The town of Pienza is situated in the province of Siena, and more specifically in the Val d’Orcia (val = valley). In 1996, UNESCO declared the town a World Heritage Site, and in 2004 the entire valley, the Val d’Orcia, was included on the list of UNESCO‘s World Cultural Landscapes. Val d’Orcia is definitely my favorite part of Tuscany and I intend to visit (or walk if I can) the most of it!

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Pienza was rebuilt from a village called Corsignano, which was the birthplace (1405) of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (Italian: Enea Silvio Piccolomini), aRenaissance humanist born into an exiled Sienese family, who later became Pope Pius II. Once he became Pope, Piccolomini had the entire village rebuilt as an ideal Renaissance town. Intended as a retreat from Rome, it represents the first application of humanist urban planning concepts, creating an impetus for planning that was adopted in other Italian towns and cities and eventually spread to other European centers.

The rebuilding was done by Florentine architect Bernardo Gambarelli (known as Bernardo Rossellino) who may have worked with the humanist and architectLeon Battista Alberti, though there are no documents to prove it for sure. Alberti was in the employ of the Papal Curia at the time and served as an advisor to Pius. Construction started about 1459. Pope Pius II consecrated the Duomo on August 29, 1462, during his long summer visit. He included a detailed description of the structures in his Commentaries, written during the last two years of his life. (source)

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This is the route me, Enrico, Lorenzo, Nikos and Robert followed from Pienza into the “wild” countryside by foot!

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I think these walks in Tuscany are what i’ll miss  the most when i’m back to Greece.. (Thanks to Nikos for the photo of me below!)

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

Arachova: the village, the mountains and the oracle

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Το Σαββατοκύριακο πήγα για πρώτη φορά στην Αράχωβα, αυτό το κοσμοπολίτικο χωριουδάκι με τα πέτρινα σπίτια, τα ακριβά αυτοκίνητα και τις υπέροχες ταβέρνες. Ευτυχώς, ο αριθμός επισκεπτών ήταν τέτοιος που μας επέτρεψε να κινηθούμε φυσιολογικά, να βρίσκουμε τραπέζι, θέση πάρκινγκ κλπ.

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Φυσικά είχαμε πάει διαβασμένοι (πριν από λίγο καιρό είχε γράψει η Γιώτα Μιχελή σχετικό άρθρο στο savoirville), αλλά δεν χρειάστηκε πολύς κόπος για να ξεχωρίσεις τα μέρη που αξίζουν να επισκεφτείς. Η βόλτα στο χιονοδρομικό είναι αδιαμφισβήτα ο λόγος για τον οποίο πας. Άλλωστε αυτή τη φορά δεν είχε χιόνια μέσα στην Αράχωβα, οπότε έπρεπε να πεταχτούμε στον Παρνασσό. Και φάγαμε πολύ χιόνι, πράγματι.

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Για καφέ και ποτό πήγαμε στο “E” (είναι το πιο πολυσύχναστο μαγαζί του είδους του με ιδιαίτερη διακόσμηση και γυάλινη οροφή). Πήγαμε και στο “Le Sapin”, που είναι επίσης πολύ όμορφο. Οι επιλογές είναι πάρα πολλές για το μέγεθος της περιοχής. Φάγαμε πολύ ωραία πίτσα ψημένη σε ξυλόφουρνο στο Pomodori. Και δοκιμάσαμε απίστευτα φαγητά σε δύο ταβέρνες, στον Καπλάνη και στο Αρχοντικό. Απ’ ότι καταλάβαμε όμως οι περισσότερες ταβέρνες είχαν εξαιρετική κουζίνα οπότε αν πάτε διαλέξτε όποια σας κλείνει το μάτι. Φεύγοντας πήραμε και λίγη φορμαέλα για το δρόμο.

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Αν πας στην Αράχωβα πρέπει οπωσδήποτε να επισκεφτείς το Μουσείο των Δελφών και τον αρχαιολογικό χώρο. Στο Μουσείο άλλωστε εκτίθεται ο ξακουστός Ηνίοχος και άλλα πολυ ενδιαφέροντα εκθέματα. Αν είμαστε τυχεροί, η αρχαιολόγος της παρέας a.k.a. davetaki θα μας γράψει μερικές πληροφορίες ακόμη!

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Ο Ηνίοχος των Δελφών.

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Ο αρχαιολογικός χώρος είναι ένα μέρος μαγευτικό και επιβλητικό. Ανεβαίνεις την πλαγιά και συναντάς δεξιά και αριστερά τα αφιερώματα των επισκεπτών του μαντείου, το ναό του Απόλλωνα, το Θέατρο και στο τέλος βρίσκεις το Στάδιο.

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Delfoi temple

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Εμείς φτάσαμε μέχρι το Θέατρο γιατί ο χώρος έκλεινε. Υποσχεθήκαμε όμως να ξαναπάμε για να επισκεφτούμε και τα υπόλοιπο κομμάτι.

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Και επειδή κάθε εκδρομή έχει το δικό της soundtrack, εμείς ακούγαμε έναν δίσκο του ’70. Σας αφιερώνω το σχετικό τραγούδι, με ρετρό διάθεση και πολλές ευχαριστίες στον οδηγό!

Last year in Paris…

One year ago, I was extremely lucky to visit a friend of mine in Paris. Actually, Sophie and I visited Maria, who had this amazing idea to stay in Paris for some months. Paris is magic every time of the year, but on December it is like being in a (very cold) fairy-tale.

Our good fairy Maria was willing to walk the entire city (literally!) with us, so that we wouldn’ t miss a thing. Don’t fool yourselves, four days are not enough to see it all in Paris. It is huge! They are enough though to take a glance of the city and its beauty and sacrifice a pair of shoes for that purpose. Instead of giving traveling advice (which I find pointless since I am obviously not a local expert!), I’ m sharing with you the moments we spent in Paris.

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Maria in her doudoune at Place du Tertre (Monmartre)

Day one: We visited Musée Rodin (I already wrote about it, remember?), one of the most interesting museums I have ever visited because of its breathtaking garden. We walked and walked and it was really cold. I remember making fun of Maria for wearing her doudoune, but it turned out to be the most appropriate outfit! In the evening we went to Sainte-Chapelle, a royal medieval Gothic chapel located near the Palais de la Cité, on the Île de la Cité. There we enjoyed a music concert given by an orchestra consisting of four violins and one cello. They played very vividly Adagio in G minor by Albinoni and The Four Seasons by Vivaldi. This was definitely the most remarkable memory from Paris!

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At Rodin’ s garden

Afterwards we walked Boulevard Saint-Michel and Boulevard Saint-Germain and had kir royal for aperitif in Bonaparte Bistro. Our friend Elina had insisted on visiting the area Buttes aux Calles for dinner, so we had dinner at restaurant Chez Filles (Elina suggested Chez Gladinez but it was full that night).

Day two: We visited Musée D’ Orsay which is located on the left bank of the Seine. It is housed in the former Gare d’ Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1915, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh. Many of these works were held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume prior to the museum’s opening in 1986 (source wikipedia).

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The Clock at Orsay’s entrance

After the long tour at the museum I met another friend of mine and we walked by river Seine, crossed Pont des Arts bridge with the love padlocks and finally reached Les Halles. Maria and Sophie visited Louvre Museum (no need for further information, the must-see museum!). I had been there before so I preferred to drink a hot chocolate at Edmond Michelet Square, near Pompidou Center. Maria and Sophie, after their long visit at Louvre, met me there and we went upstairs, at the roof of Center Pompidou and had a panoramic view of the city by night.

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Panoramic view of the city through the window at the roof of Center Pompidou

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The stairs to Sacre-Coeur

Day three: Monamarte! How not to be in love with the neighbourhood were Amelie lived and worked, the most artistic area in Paris? First stop Sacre-Coeur and Place du Tertre. Then, coffee break and lunch at Le Bruant. We met Le Passe-muraille  while walking to Place Pigalle.

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Le Passe-muraille

In the evening we finally reached the Eiffel Tower and walked Champs-Elysées Avenue from the Arc de Triomphe to Place Concorde! The most expensive Avenue of Paris was -as expected- overdecorated for Christmas.

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Rue Saint-Antoine, Marais

Day four: My favourite area, Marais. We had breakfast at Starbucks and then went to Carnavalet Museum, the museum of the history of Paris. There one can see exhibits like furniture, objects and art work following the history timeline before and after the Revolution. It is very exciting and informative about the city of Paris.

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Exhibit at Carnavalet Museum

Nearby is Place des Vosges and Victor Hugo’s house. Of course we went there too. Last stop before departing was Bastille, where we had a good-bye quiche!

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Place des Vosges

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Victor Hugo’s office

I find travel tips rather overestimated, some things are matter of one’s taste. But I definitely insist on this: when you visit Paris, sooner or later, don’t forget to taste macarons, drink kir royal and enjoy the panoramic view of the city from Sacre Coeur or the roof of Centre Pompidou!

Souvenirs from Venice..

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At this day, exactly one year ago, I was at Venice with Chiara, Sara, Niccolò and Nikos for the Biennale of Architecture!

There are no words to describe this city, I think we all have an image in mind, but every time I visit Venice I discover something new!  I just love getting lost in the same alleys and find myself to the same channel or bridge again and again.. However, what fascinates me most is that this city is the same as it was five hundred years ago! The transportation is on foot or by boat, which adds to the romantic character of the city.

When you visit the Venice Biennale the fact is that you do not have much time to see the city, just in the afternoon on the way back completely tired but always with an appetite for a Spritz! Spritz is definitely my favorite beverage and in Venice you have to try it with Select instead of Aperol or Campari. There are two late-night (ok, not that late!) drinking areas in Venice, the one is Campo Santa Margherita and the other one is Erbaria close to Rialto bridge.

Soooo prepare to get lost at Venice and have a Spritz for me! Have a nice weekend everyone!

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

Wandering around the Ionian..

Back to Athens after 10 days of vacations.. After I left my father’s village at Olympus, I travelled towards northwestern Greece and more specifically the cities of Kanallaki,Parga and the enchanting Acheron river. I had already visited the area 3 years ago, so I was more relaxed this time and I really enjoyed seeing these amazing places again! After that I went for the first time to Lefkada, an island of the Ionian sea which is  connected to the mainland by a long causeway and floating bridge. Having visited several islands of the Ionian, I can say that Lefkada has the most impressive beaches, I visited only 3 of them, Kathisma, Pefkoulia and Egremni beach which is included in the world’s 100 best beaches according to CNN’s ranking. I’m definitely coming back to see the rest of this beautiful island!

More details about all these places in the future!

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Beach of Alonaki near Kanallaki

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Panoramic view from Parga’s castle

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Acheron river

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Kathisma beach

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Pefkoulia Beach

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Egremni beach

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Thanks to for the photo of me above

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

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