First walk of 2016..

Good morning people..!

First of all HAPPY NEW YEAR!! 2 years ago we were saying goodbye to 2013 from Mount Parnitha and the Mpafi shelter,  this time we decided to welcome 2016 from the Flampouri shelter and a totally different point of view of Athens!

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We visited again the abandoned Sanatorium..

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With Jenna, Sergios, Nikos, Sotiris and Elina at Park of Souls..

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Golden hour over the Saronic Gulf..

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

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

A sanatorium, deers, a shelter and goodbye 2013..

Goodmorning last day of 2013!

My very first post was from Florence and this one, my 119th and last for this year,  is from my beautiful Athens and Mount Parnitha. Parnitha is the highest mountain on the peninsula of Attica, with an elevation of 1,413 m, and a summit known as Karavola. The Mont Parnes Casino, is located near the top of the mountain, and is the first casino to open in Greece. Two shelters are also located on Parnitha, Mpafi and Flampouri. In 1961 the entire mountain (250 km²) was declared a National Park and on 2007 suffered extensive damages from a wildfire which burned approximately 56 km² of land.

Last Sunday we decided to visit the Mpafi shelter and on our way there we stopped at the old Sanatorium of Parnitha and the Park of Souls. The Sanatorium was built in 1914 for tuberculosis patients and shutted down in 1960. Then for a few years it operated as Xenia Hotel and now is totally abandoned. The remarkable poet Yiannis Ritsos was a patient there and during his hospitalization wrote the famous poem “Spring Symphony”. The internet is full of “paranormal activity” references, and the fact is you can find more “ghost hunters investigations” than informations about the architectural value of the building. I won’t lie, I was totally frightened by the idea of this abandoned place, lying there in the middle of the mountain alone. Well this time I entered only in the entrance hall in the light of day so there was nothing scary about it. I could never go there during the night but I definitely want to go back and visit the whole building room by room. 

Just across the road lies the Park of Souls, an outdoor exhibition in memory of those who suffered in the Sanatorium.The exhibition consists of twenty amazing sculptures, carved from burnt logs from the Parnitha fire in 2007, with a height of not more than 4.5 meters.

On the way to the Mpafi shelter if you are lucky, as we were, you may come across deers and approach them! Finally reaching the shelter you can enjoy your coffee with a breathtaking view.

I’m wishing you a happy new year!!

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“We love the earth, the human beings and the animals, the reptiles, the sky and the insects.
We are, we too are all these together, together the sky and the earth too.”

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

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