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

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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

White 2015..

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Hi everyone! First of all happy new year! First post for this year with snow in Athens for the past 3 days..  Below some pics from a stroll around the neighborhood..

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Thanks to Nikos for the photo of me above!

Tuscany part 7: My 28th Birthday at Volpaia!

I woke up this morning intending to share with you some moments from my 28th birthday which was definitely the strangest birthday till now. Why? Well this is the last year or better the last week i’m living in Florence after 8 years of studies. I might have 2 exams left but i’m leaving my house here and I move permanently in Athens. So these last days here are so difficult and emotional for me. So many things to do and no time for doing even the half of them. So this morning I ended up looking photos from my previous birthdays in Florence, so many different people in them, dearest friends, friends of friends, some of them total strangers but all of them people i’ll never forget.

But let’s go back to yesterday. Me Nikos, Robert and Elena went for lunch at Volpaia, an amazing fortified village of medieval origin, situated between Radda in Chianti and Panzano in Chianti. So for lunch we went at Bar Ucci, owned by Paola the most welcoming hostess, she will always find a table one way or another, and her mother Gina in the kitchen, the funniest tuscan lady!

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When we got there the weather was good, then it started raining so we were not able to go for a walk outside the village, but seeing Volpaia only was more than enough! On our way back to Florence the weather changed again so we stopped to take a small walk and enjoy our last moments in magical Tuscany.

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Thanks to Nikos for the photo above! Below my improvised 4 piece birtday cake and some pics from my past birthdays in Florence.

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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

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

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

On the foot of Mount Olympus..

Goodmorning people!

I’m posting from my grandpa’s village, situated on the foot of Mount Olympus. I’m here since Saturday and today i’m heading towards the sea, no idea where yet!
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I’m sharing with you some moments of my stay here and some daily life moments of the village. I visited my father’s land with various trees and I had the chance to take some photos from the tobacco collection that happens this time of the year in the area. More photos soon!!
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