The museums of Irakleion are veritable treasure chests of knowledge about the history, culture and traditions of Crete. What’s more, they have adopted new technologies to provide unique interactive experiences.
5,500 years of history brought to life
Treasures of world cultural heritage, including the Phaistos Disk, the Snake Goddess figurines, the bull-leaping frescoes from the Palace of Knossos, the gold bee pendant from Malia, and the colorful Kamares pottery, are all beautifully presented in the newly renovated Archaeological Museum of Irakleion. The tour begins on the ground floor dedicated to Neolithic Crete and the Minoan civilization, and continues onto the first floor in the room that features the Knossos frescos. Here, The Prince of the Lilies competes in the beauty stakes with La Parisienne, also known as The Minoan Lady. Returning downstairs, you can conclude your tour at the display of archaic sculptures, which includes some of the oldest in existence in Greece.
Meet El Greco
Irakleion was the birthplace of Domenikos Theotokopoulos, better known as El Greco, and here at the Historical Museum of Crete you can see two of the artist’s most important works – the View of Mount Sinai and the Monastery (1570) and the Baptism of Christ (1569). The museum is housed in 1903 mansion and covers the history of Crete from the early Byzantine period up to the World War II. Of particular interest is an impressive 15m2 scale model of the city of Irakleion, then called Chandakas. The hall devoted to Christian religious art is also a must-see. Browse through one of the applications designed especially for the museum and when you’re done, finish off your visit in the garden, sipping homemade lemonade while enjoying the sea views.
The life and times of an eminent Greek
The village of Myrtia, lies 15 kilometers outside Irakleion; it is “the soil where they (the ancestors of Nikos Kazantzakis) were caught and buried,” as the famous writer, poet and philosopher put it in his novel Report to El Greco. During renovations in 2009, the museum took the opportunity to modernize its tour methods, leveraging digital media to create a “living, breathing” space where you can open the drawers of the furniture, browse through the author’s work via touch screens and take an up-close look at the table where he sat and wrote most of his novels. You can also see his pipe, his glasses and his handwritten manuscripts. The room dedicated to Katzantzakis’ epic poem The Odyssey stands out, as does the space with the suspended suitcases that symbolize all his voyages.
Homage to Byzantine Iconography
With the low lighting, an atmosphere of solemnity and prayer chants, it’s easy to think that you’ve come to church instead of a museum dedicated to Christian art. Housed in the largest monastery of the city – St Catherine of Sinai, a 13th century Venetian building – this recently renovated space serves as a small museum while still operating as a church. Among the treasures housed here are 15th century icons attributed to the great icon painter Angelos, as well as six icons by Michael Damaskinos and the 1721 icon of the Virgin Kardiotissa. After the occupation of Irakleion by the Ottomans, the monastery was converted into a mosque known as the Zoulfikiar Ali Pasha. At the coin exhibit, press the button and look left: a section of the minaret which remains visible becomes illuminated.
A look back at everyday living in Crete
More than 3,000 objects, most of which were part of the lives of Cretans up until the middle of the last century, are on display at this museum, in operation since 1973 and located in Voroi, just a few kilometers from the archaeological site of Phaistos. A tour of the two-story 500m2 building is an initiation into popular Cretan culture and into the history of the island. The objects date from 1000 AD until the middle of the 20th century. Another space is dedicated to those crafts that have been lost as professions, such as basket-making.
Meet a Deinotherium!
The most striking exhibit at the museum is the model of the third largest mammal to have ever walked the Earth, Deinotherium giganteum. This creature, which lived in Crete 9 million years ago, has been modeled by the scientists at the Natural History Museum of Crete. Set in an industrial building on the coastal road, the Natural History Museum of Crete delivers a full sensory experience, with impressive representations of nature presented in actual scale, as well as a simulated earthquake. Children love the animated dinosaurs and the Discovery Center, where they can play in caves, look for fossils in the sand and watch a video projection.
*Originally published on Greeceis0 Read More
Oregano adds the familiar fragrance to a Greek salad, but it also provides relief for a sore throat. Olive oil is an essential component of Greek cuisine, but it is also medicinal. Honey is a sweetener that also contains more than 180 nutrients. Ancient Greek gastronomy, the ancestor of the food culture of Rome, is the source from which many features of European diet and cuisine are derived. But that’s not all. Ever since antiquity, the Greeks have not only sought to satisfy their hunger or to find enjoyment in foods. Many foods were used to prevent or treat a number of health conditions.
A plant native to Greece, the olive tree was being cultivated in the Aegean as far back as 2000 BC. The olive and its precious oil have been omnipresent components of Greek life ever since: in the diet, in religion, in mythology, in medicine, in literature and in art. Olive oil was particularly important at the palaces of Knossos, Mycenae and Nestor (Pylos). It was a key ingredient in most cooking, used in bread-making and even eaten with bread for a light meal. However, it also had important uses beyond cooking; it served as a fuel, as a cosmetic and as a medicine (60 medicinal uses are referenced in the Hippocratic Corpus). The olive tree was endowed with rich symbolism as well: it was the sacred tree of the goddess Athena, and its branches were used to make the kotinos, a crown given as a trophy to Olympic champions.
The mainstay of the Mediterranean diet to this day, olive oil is critical to good health. It is ideal for the heart and prevents blood clots. Its polyphenols reduce bad LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol. Its cancer-fighting and anti-aging actions derive from its valuable antioxidants (flavonoids), vitamin E, provitamin A, minerals and trace elements. It helps to regulate glucose levels in diabetes, plays a key role in central nervous system development, and also aids in the normal function of the digestive system, decreasing the possibility of ulcers and improving intestinal tract motility.
“But why Greek olive oil?” you may ask. Well, first of all, because of its unique flavor. Secondly, because more and more research is confirming that olive oil produced in Greece is higher in polyphenol content – polyphenols are the precious chemical compounds that promise to rid us of many health problems – than those produced in other parts of Europe.
Its official botanical name is in fact Salvia officinalis, which is partly derived from the Latin verb salvare, meaning “save,” and alludes to its therapeutic properties. The ancient Greeks used its fresh leaves to treat wounds and snake bites, and as a drink to enhance female fertility. As a beverage, sage-infused “Greek tea,” as the French call it, or “Greek sprout” for the Chinese, remains popular to this day, either on its own or combined with other aromatic herbs.
Sage is also associated with some less scientific benefits. In Syros, for example, they say it exorcises gossip. You will often find little bunches of it hanging outside homes. A beneficial herb, sage has anti-catarrhal properties (for asthma, bronchitis and coughs), as well as anti-fungal and anti-infective action (for flu, gingivitis and insect bites). It is an effective antispasmodic (in cases of dysmenorrhea) and healing agent. Its broader effects include stimulating the nervous system, improving memory and boosting blood circulation, while its antioxidants act against free radicals.
According to gastronomic history, modern-day trahana has evolved from a porridge-like mixture of milk and wheat eaten by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The noted gourmet and recipe collector Apicius (1st c. AD) refers to this food substance as tractae. In Byzantium, it was popular as tragos or traganos. Until a few decades ago, when the refrigerator was still largely unknown in most Greek households, it was a practical method for using up leftover milk and was critical to a family’s survival – trahana could be stored for more than a year in a cool place.
Trahana is made with fresh cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk that has soured, to which wheat is added. The wheat can range from coarse to fine – Cretan xinohontros, for example, uses coarse wheat. Trahana is rich in carbohydrates and is a good source of energy. It’s also a source of fiber, which aids intestinal health. The lactobacilli in the sour milk have a beneficial effect on the digestive tract, too.
Trahana contains protein, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and calcium in a form which the body can easily absorb. It also has carotenoids, such as lutein, a powerful antioxidant that works to prevent the harmful effects of free radicals, thus helping to maintain healthy eyes, skin and heart.
Trahana can be made into a thin or thick soup, and is low in calories (100 calories/100g). In recent years, many chefs have enriched the classic trahana soup recipe with bits of meat and vegetables or fish. It can be added to savory pie fillings or used in stuffed vegetables or grape-leaf dolmades instead of rice.
According to Greek mythology, knowledge of cheese-making was gifted to humans by the gods of Olympus through Aristeas, son of Apollo. There are references to cheese products in the writings of Aristotle and in the comedies of Aristophanes, while Homer famously referred to them in the Odyssey as well, citing the production of cheese from goat’s and sheep’s milk by the one-eyed Cyclops Polyphemus who was eventually blinded by Odysseus. Could this cheese have been anthotyro? It is quite possible.
Soft, white and rind-less, anthotyro is made in most regions of Greece from whey (left over from making another type of cheese) and the addition of sheep’s or goat’s milk, or a combination of the two. Lightly salted, it combines a pleasant rich flavor with high nutritional value. It provides all of the substances that dairy products offer (protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus), but contains less fat (it is not high in cholesterol content) and is just 200 calories/100g Compare that to 470/100g calories for graviera cheese, 420/100g calories for kefalotyri, and 350 calories/100g for feta.
Anthotyro is served as a side dish with meals, used in savory pies and salads or as a spread on bread. It pairs deliciously with fresh fruit and nuts, and makes an excellent dessert when topped with honey.
These greens are a variety of wild chicory (Cichorium spinosum), and have a bitter flavor. They are a key element of Cretan cuisine. The Greek name originates from an old habit the Cretans had of placing these greens over the mouth of the water jars to keep bugs out of the water. The Stamnagathi plant is a source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, iron, calcium, potassium and vitamins A, C and E, and beta-carotene. It is an excellent tonic and diuretic; it helps to detoxify the liver and has slightly cathartic properties. The ancient Greeks considered it medicinal. The greens can eaten raw with a lemon or vinegar and olive oil dressing, boiled on their own, or cooked together with lamb or goat. They can also be pickled after parboiling.
The ancient name for rusks was dipyritis artos, meaning “twice-baked bread.” Rusks have been a staple of the Greek diet since before refrigeration or preservatives, when a way of keeping bread for as long as possible was needed. Rusks, particularly those made with barley (which thrives better in the Greek climate than wheat), are considered a key ingredient of a healthy and balanced diet.
They are a good source of vitamin B complex, selenium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, silicon (which helps to rebuild and protect bones), chromium (for better control of glucose levels in diabetes) and dietary fiber (especially beta-glucan, linked to lower cholesterol). They also aid in better intestinal and liver function and help reduce cellulitis. It should also be noted that barley contains less gluten than wheat.
So, why not try replacing your breakfast toast with barley rusks? Alternatively, you can also replace commercial breakfast cereals, which contain a high level of hidden sugars, with boiled barley, honey and cold milk. And remember that, because their low moisture content eliminates the risk of microbial spoilage, rusks do not contain preservatives, either.
The ancient Greeks considered figs a luxury, with a quantifiable economic value that lent prestige to those who could consume them. But they were also a special delicacy. There was a word – sykoskopos – that referred to someone who brought news of where syka (figs) were to be found; there was also the term sykofantis, used for the person who revealed their illegal trafficking. It was not uncommon in Attic comedies to see the impoverished protagonists dreaming of buying wine and dried figs as soon as they could find a little money. In classical times, figs were eaten fresh as an appetizer, and were usually salted. In dried form, they accompanied the wine served at symposia. The leaves of the fig tree were soaked in brine to remove the bitterness and were then used to prepare foods similar to modern-day dolmades.
The nutritional value of figs, particularly dried ones, is indisputable. Rich in natural fiber (which stimulates intestinal motility), they help in weight control because they enhance the feeling of satiety. They are one of the best sources of potassium, which regulates blood pressure and boosts ligament health: just half a cup provides 300mg. They also contain magnesium, which is important for the function of the nervous system, for metabolism and for bone health. Surprisingly, they contain more calcium than milk does. You can add chopped dried figs to milk or yogurt along with your favorite breakfast cereal, eat them together with white cheeses, or try them on their own as a snack.
The history of apiculture, or beekeeping, in Greece goes back thousands of years. Excavations at Phaistos uncovered ceramic beehives from the Minoan era (3400 BC). Hippocrates, the father of medicine, recommended honey to all his patients. Honey, eaten with bread, was the main food for Pythagoras and his followers. Frequently, the libations to the gods included honey with wine and milk, while ambrosia, the food of the immortals, was said to contain royal jelly. In classical times, desserts with honey were very popular, including honey pies called melitoutta to plakountes, which also had sesame seeds and spices.
With more than 180 nutrients, honey is a food of high nutritional value. It is an excellent source of carbohydrates, antioxidants, vitamin B complex, trace elements and minerals (calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper) essential for keeping the body in balance and contributing to everything from bone strength to metabolism. It has a lower glycemic index than sugar. In other words, in small quantities, it is even suitable for people with diabetes. The great biodiversity of the Greek land – 1,300 endemic plants and an exceptional variety of flowers, herbs and trees – also affects the quality of the honey produced in Greece: it is far superior in flavor, aroma and density than honey from other countries.
Closely tied to Christian fasting, tahini, the paste made from roasted sesame seeds, re-entered the Greeks’ diet through migrants from Asia Minor who carried with them the knowledge of how to make it and its cousin, halva, from their lost homelands. It has the delicious essence of roasted nuts and the rich flavor of its precious oil.
One spoonful of tahini, particularly whole grain, is the perfect dietary supplement. First, the fatty acids it contains are mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated: these are fatty acids which raise the level of good cholesterol (HDL) that protects the heart. It is rich in high-quality proteins, vitamin B complex (which regulates the synthesis of several hormones, among other things), calcium (acts against osteoporosis), iron (for physical and mental well-being), potassium, zinc (fortifies the immune system), phosphorus, magnesium (relieves stress and migraines), manganese and copper (reduces joint pain). It also contains selenium, which is one of the weapons in the body’s defensive arsenal against oxidative stress.
Tahini is the ideal topping for breakfast (try bread with tahini and honey). It goes well with sweet flavors (honey or chocolate), with tangy lemon and with garlic, pepper, pulses and salads (it makes a great dressing). It can also be used in soups, pies, cookies and hummus.
In the days when there was no sugar, or it was hard to come by, homemakers made full use of everything the Greek soil gave them to expand their cooking repertoire. This is how moustalevria was born. The exact date of that birth is not known. We do know it is a dessert that dates back to antiquity; during the Byzantine period, it was called moustopita and was made with flour and boiled grape must. That is more or less the recipe that survives today, though it is now embellished with nuts and cinnamon.
Moustalevria is a highly nutritious food, thanks to the raw material – grape must – which provides a large quantity of antioxidants. With the addition of walnuts, almonds, cinnamon and sesame seeds, it is enriched even further, not only in flavor but also in nutrients. Sesame seeds are rich in amino acids, minerals, trace elements and calcium. Cinnamon improves glucose levels in the blood, while walnuts and almonds provide valuable omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytosterols. What’s more, all this comes with zero fat.
Yogurt has always held a special place on the Greek table, although it is in fact widely consumed throughout the southeastern Mediterranean. The ancient Greeks called it oxygala, and they had a particular liking for it. French explorer Pierre Belon (1517-1564) wrote, “The Greeks and Turks have oxygala, a type of sour milk which they carry in fabric bags hanging off the side of their animals. Though it is quite watery, it stays in the bag without spilling.” There’s been a lot of milk under the bridge since then. Nowadays, as the food industry endeavors to offer products with long shelf lives, most yogurt is processed at temperatures high enough to prevent the growth of unwanted microorganisms. However, this means that beneficial live bacteria are also eliminated and yogurt loses a large part of its nutritional value.
Traditional Greek yogurt, the one with the skin on the surface, it made from cow’s or sheep’s milk and contains valuable bacteria which have a positive effect on the entire digestive tract. These bacteria include the Lactobaccilus, which research has shown to have cancer-fighting properties. In addition, yoghurt enhances digestion, provides all of the nutrients of milk (protein, carbohydrates, fats, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B complex and others), and can often be consumed by people who are lactose-intolerant. It is, indeed, an all-round superfood!
The ancient Greeks held it to be a symbol of joy: it was used to make wedding crowns. But they also knew of its therapeutic value and used it as a drink to treat poisoning, diarrhea and colic, or externally to relieve skin inflammation. Arcadia and Tenedos are famous for producing oregano. Until a few decades ago, Cretan folk medicine used oregano leaves fried in olive oil to make a poultice for back pain, and oregano oil offered relief for toothache.
Oregano grows practically everywhere in Greece. Fresh or dried, it adds beneficial properties along with its characteristic fragrance to many dishes. Rich in vitamin C, it also contains calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, copper, boron, manganese and vitamin A. The essential oil of Greek oregano is considered the best in the world, as recent studies have shown it to have the highest content in carvacrol and thymol, both of which have powerful antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties. It has antibiotic and antiseptic properties as well. Oregano can relieve intestinal upsets and abdominal pain; it exhibits stimulatory, sudorific and anti-asthmatic effects; it is used to treat flu, colds, gingivitis and sore throat (in a gargling solution). Amazingly, oregano demonstrates 42 times greater antioxidant action than apples, 30 times greater than potatoes and 12 times greater than oranges.
…or saffron, is probably the result of efforts to tame the wild Crocus cartwrightianus in ancient Greece, as the plant appears frequently in Crete’s Minoan-era frescoes and pottery, as well as in a fresco from the prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri in Santorini depicting a woman collecting the flowers. Saffron was widely used in medicine – the ancient Greeks drank it in a tisane to cure sleeplessness and hangovers. Today, Kozani’s saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world (it takes more than 150,000 flowers to produce one kilogram of the stuff) and is very sought-after for its subtle aroma and flavor, its properties as a coloring agent and its health benefits. Saffron contains vitamins A, C and B complex, as well as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and lycopene, which is known to help prevent cancer. It also has powerful antioxidant and anti-aging properties, as its carotenoids protect cells from free radicals. It is good for the digestive tract, boosts the metabolism and improves memory and overall brain function. In addition, it helps fight anxiety and acts as a mood elevator. A mere pinch is enough to give food a rich yellow color, a subtle tang and plenty of aroma. It goes particularly well with rice, pasta, white meat and fish; it is used in salads and soups; and it is also used in sweets. It can be found in powder or thread form and as a tea.
Traces of stored crops and seeds found at Akrotiri indicate that a local species of vetchling, Lathyrus clymenum, was cultivated exclusively on Santorini for more than 3,500 years. Dioscorides, a famed 1st c. AD physician and botanist, distinguished the plant that provided the specific fava from its relatives in other regions. The particularities of the Santorini soil, the climatic conditions and, strangely enough, the lack of water combine to create a unique product with a velvety texture and sweet flavor. Rich in protein (20 percent) and carbohydrates (65 percent), the local fava is an excellent source of vitamin B1, iron, copper, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Its high fiber content makes it ideal for maintaining normal levels of glucose and cholesterol in the blood, for promoting the proper function of the digestive system and for preventing cancer of the large intestine. And it’s just 85 calories/100g. The fava is served in pureed form with lemon juice, oregano and olive oil, and sometimes with chopped onion and capers or with tomatoes and olives. You might also see it in salads, made into patties or even served with seafood such as octopus or anchovies.
MASTIC FROM CHIOS
The mastic tree was particularly popular with the ancient Greeks: its shoots were pickled and considered a fine appetizer, while its “tears,” the well-known mastic resin, were chewed to clean the teeth and freshen the breath. These tears were also used to flavor wine. The aromatic resin of the lentisc plant, of the Pistacia lentiscus Chia variety, is not produced anywhere in Greece but Chios, and even there, it only grows in the south of the island.
Prescriptions based on mastic can be found in medical texts dating from late antiquity, when it was already considered beneficial. Modern-day studies have confirmed this. Its antioxidant extracts prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaque on artery walls, thus protecting against heart problems. Its polyphenols reduce glucose and cholesterol levels in the blood. Regular use of mastic limits the formation of dental plaque. It plays a critical role in preventing and treating diseases of the digestive system. It exhibits powerful anti-inflammatory action, and acts as an analgesic, a cough suppressant, an appetite stimulant, an aphrodisiac, an astringent and a diuretic. It is an amazing multi-purpose medicine! Nowadays, mastic has many uses: as a spice in cooking, mainly for meat and fish, and for ice cream, loukoums, spoon sweets and cookies; in beverages (in mastic liqueur and ouzo, drunk as an aperitif or added to foods while simmering); and in cosmetics. Commonly seen in the form of chewing gum, the resin can be also found in a variety of other forms, including as powders and crystals, as mastic water or as an essential oil.
It is a scorching hot, midsummer’s day up in Ano Mera and, standing atop a brown, rocky formation, typical of the Mykonian landscape, Dimitris Mantikas, an architect who has built more than 200 houses here since 1981, is left to the inspiration brought in by the strong Meltemi wind whipping the hillside. He ponders upon the challenges of the deteriorating ground and the clusters of rocks that need to be preserved. He has to take everything into account: the strong winds, the ever-changing course of the sun, the durability of his designs, the environmental impact of the structure and, of course, the view from the finished edifice.
In front of him lay different but very similar white blocks, all typical samples of Mykonian architecture. For some, these are simple forms offering practical benefits. For others, they are a means of showing off wealth. But for the architects and designers that we meet, these materials are the physical embodiment of a love affair, with all the turmoil and excitement that pathos usually brings along with it.
The colorful crowds that flock the streets of Matoyianni every summer probably don’t know that once upon a time, long ago, the island was filled with castles, the remains of which can still be found in places like Lino and Portes. From this very well organized defense system that protected the island from pirates and thieves to the huge villas with the crisp swimming pools that are found today on every little hillside, there have been centuries of evolution and transformation, always adding new elements to what we call today traditional character. And all of these changes were driven by the needs of the day.
The little houses were built one atop the other and the streets were made as narrow as possible in an attempt to close up the town against the pirates. The houses were small due to the scarcity of basic building materials and their shape and color were in reaction to unique weather conditions. Square formations and white colors protect from strong winds and the melting heat.
All this takes place in Chora, the central stage of the island. Ion Stavropoulos, an architect who has known the island since the seventies, also talks about the simple, plain cottages in rural Mykonos: “These were bright examples of the so called ‘additive architecture’, little gems of anonymous folk creativity, symbols of another type of civilization, created by poverty and inventiveness, edifices that the modernist architect Aris Konstantinidis called ‘god-built’”, he says.
Basic living dwellings were formed by cell-like rooms creating “wings” around shaded little patios. A corral for the animals, a wood-fired oven, a winepress, a water cistern, a well, and, in many cases, a small chapel would complete the farmhouse or “chorio”, a word used euphemistically for these farmhouses scattered in the rural areas, since it actually means “village” in Greek.
“This organic and shabby creation of unities ended up becoming a masterpiece of unique character”, says architect Nikiforos Fokas, while Apostolos Nazos, a born and bred Mykonian architect actively involved in strengthening the protection afforded by the local urban planning, adds: “The people who created these masterpieces were very much aware of the concept of space. Today, we are left speechless when we think of their simplicity and moderation. Every little cube is placed in the right part of the field that surrounds it, correctly oriented, and of a size barely fitting the soul of a man. What they used to say was, ‘A house just enough to fit in, a field just as far as you can see’”.
Round rocks, dry earth patches and scattered little whitewashed chapels create a dreamscape that, since 2005, has been protected by law; the island itself is legally classified as one of distinctive, natural beauty. When the sculptor and interior designer Deborah French first set foot on Mykonos in 1978, she instantly fell in love with the island. She kept coming back almost every year, until finally moving here in 1985. “Though one could argue that other places had some of these qualities, Mykonos is where I found them,” she says. “The architecture, the sculptural quality of the structures that, being white, stand out so well, allowing the eye to see the shapes as a union and to follow the undulation of the surfaces…
Other Cycladic islands had this, but none quite as perfectly.” So she decided to set up her home here, calling it “Re-inventing Mykonos”: “The original architecture of the island was my general inspiration but I took much of it from a small old farmhouse where I’d had spent my summers. It was so simple yet very alive, because of all the movements of its surface and the simple rustic details. Being a sculptor I could fully appreciate its beauty and uniqueness.”
It is safe to say that, having worked here for 35 years, Dimitris Mantikas knows the island like the back of his hand. “The reasoning of nature, of the landscape here, is much more powerful than that of the builders who tried to impose their vision on it”, he says. Javier Barba, a Spaniard who has built more than six houses here since 1997, finds his calling to be the integration of each project into the landscape: “We work the architecture from the land, with the land, adjusting to the natural pre-existing conditions. The landscape conditions you, inspires you and gives you guidelines to work on,” he says.
The wind, too, is a force to be reckoned with on Mykonos. The tough one, the Meltemi, comes from the north. The Mykonians situated their houses with their “backs” turned to the north, to shield from the wind. “On a windy day in the old houses, you could stand on the front veranda and be completely protected. This simple intelligence has been lost to those of us who are disconnected with nature and the concept of bending to it for our ultimate advantage” says Deborah French. Nikiforos Fokas believes in the elements as well. “The landscape, the climate and the strong Mykonian tradition can only bring inspiration,” he says. That inspiration, however, may come at a price.
Looking back on his first ever commission on the island, Apostolos Nazos remembers he was frozen, unable to use everything he had been taught. It was impossible to intervene in what to him was – and still is – magical scenery. Thankfully, the law has worked to the advantage of Mykonos. For her house, Deborah French had to get special permission that allowed her not to paint it white. At that time, only the animal shelters were left unpainted. “I saw that a large white house up on the hill would look ostentatious and detract from its surroundings. But built from rock, the residence blends in and almost disappears into the hill. A few years after the house was built, a rule went into effect that houses up on the hills should not be painted white. Someone got the point!”
It was, in fact, Dimitris Mantikas who brought the revised study of her house to the architectural committee, and he was also the first architect to design and establish the double walls that resembled the shapes of old farmhouses, starting a trend back in the mid-’80s. “The buildings blend well with the environment and the land has been respected,” he says. “So, if you want to talk about eco-friendly architecture, it is not always about the use of double windows or putting solar or aeolic energy to use. The way the island has been built is totally eco-friendly. Not to mention that traditionally the roofs were insulated with sand and seaweed!’’
Ion Stavropoulos talks about a violent rise in construction that started in the mid-’80s and has changed the landscape: “From being something to satisfy the basic needs of the dwellers, the house gradually became a vessel for luxurious vacation and a sign of the owner’s wealth. Contemporary materials, often imported, allowed for buildings that wouldn’t have been built by the architects of old,” he says. Deborah French adds: “The town of Mykonos was transformed in a matter of a few years from one whose streets were pristinely clean and white-washed with lime wash, bathed in soft, natural light, to one where, once high-end retailers descended, the lights became garish and the streets dirty, painted once a year at best, and with latex or enamel paint. It is a good example of how insensitivity and ignorance have eaten away at what was once so special about Mykonos.”
Skyrocketing land prices and high demand for real estate have turned Mykonos into a unique case study. According to Ion Stavropoulos, architects are often called in to design structures on secluded tracts of land, chosen solely for the purpose of offering its owner the privacy he seeks. This seclusion poses numerous challenges, including not having access to basic infrastructure, such as sewage systems and water supply.
Nikiforos Fokas believes the island has been going through a nouveau-riche phase for a long time, but Dimitris Mantikas is more optimistic: “Although there has been an effort to create a golden facade through Mykonian architecture, in general the buildings haven’t lost their traditional shape thanks to the urban planning laws. The only place left for showing off is the inside of the houses.” According to a spokesperson from the architectural design firm Zege, “it is easy to assume that Mykonos is an island of loud manifestations of wealth. But in architectural terms, there is a constant struggle to keep our traditional Cycladic building principles, devoid of excess and modernity.”0 Read More
There is always something new to discover in a country like Italy — even for Italians. Thanks to a special person, I had the chance to visit Bologna and fell in love with it at once. Emilia Romagna’s main urban center is one of the most beautiful and ancient cities in the country, and a treasure trove of artistic riches. And that’s not all: Bologna’s food is delicious, there are a lot of secrets to discover and plenty of other things to do. Of course, there are also numerous sights to visit, but since the weekend only lasts a few hours, we picked the best ones according to G&I Custom Luxury Travel.
Book your trip with G&I Custom Luxury Travel, we are here with a list of activities for you!
Ristorantino Il Tinello (Via Dè Giudei, 1c)
You can’t be thinking of leaving town without trying tortellini, right? In this little place, just a few steps away from the Due Torri, the two towers that are a landmark of the city, you will eat the best tortellini in brodo (tortellini in a broth) in town. The place isn’t very touristy, but still, it is very small so we really recommend that you book. And if you really don’t like tortellini, don’t worry: tagliatelle al ragu — also known as bolognese to foreigners — are the wonderful fallback option here.
Trattoria Del Rosso (Via Augusto Righi, 30)
In case you hadn’t realized yet, we really are giving you insider tips today. This is a trattoria that is part of the city’s history and a point of reference for locals. Their fresh pasta is rigorously handmade by the women working here. From pappardelle to lasagne, everything has the genuine taste of bygone times. I tried their spezzatino di manzo (beef stew)… And I still remember its delicious taste!
Vasinikò (Via Santo Stefano, 40)
Trust us: the best pizza in town is here… And their primi are great, too. This is a rather new place that opened recently, and it is managed by a bunch of young, friendly guys from Naples. It is big and has a lot of tables, and to honor the restaurant’s name, which means basil in the Neapolitan dialect, basil green is everywhere in the decor. We couldn’t help suggesting a pizza place: this is Italy after all!
WHAT TO SEE
Basilica di San Petronio (Piazza Galvani, 5)
This church is the biggest in town and one of the largest in Italy, too. Its unusual facade will already entice you and make you want to explore the church — which is great! Inside, on top of lots of famous paintings and a statue by Michelangelo, there is a work of art that will leave you awestruck: the famous painting that shows Prophet Mohammed in hell — an artistic masterpiece that has caused lots of controversy over the years.
Torre degli Asinelli (Piazza di Porta Ravegnana)
Looking for the best view in town? Then you should head to the top of this tower, the most famous symbol of Bologna. Don’t worry about the fact that it is leaning, it is solid enough to hold your weight while you make your way up the 498 stairs. Take a deep breath, climb up and get ready for a beautiful view.
Finestrella di Via Piella (Window of via Piella)
Guys, this is a true gem, one of those secret tips we love to discover and share with you. At first sight, this alley will look pretty boring — but you will discover very soon why locals love it. The window of Via Piella facing the Moline Canal, that winds through the buildings of the city, is a very unusual site, and absolutely deserves a visit. It looks like a corner of Venice in another location. Canals were very important for the city in medieval times, and some of them were used as waterways. The Moline Canal, specifically, was used to produce the energy necessary to power the 15 water mills of the town — as the name says, since “Moline” means “mill” in Italian.
Complesso delle Sette Chiese (Via Santo Stefano)
This might be a bit of an obvious tip, but this cluster of seven churches in one complex is a must-visit, especially since you can access it for free. You will visit beautiful medieval courtyards, crypts and cathedrals — it’s hard to explain. Just go see for yourself, it’s wonderful and moving.
Everyone knows Bologna is the city where you can stroll underneath arched colonnades: these arches are in the city center, they’re in the outskirts and even on the way to San Luca sanctuary: and this specific sanctuary is a special one, because the way up to it is the longest colonnade in the world! It’s a wonderful way to get a break from the heat in summertime, and in winter, it’s very nice for a little hike. Start training, so it will be easier for you to walk up under the colonnade — the walk is 4km long. San Luca Sanctuary and a beautiful view on the city will be awaiting you on top.
Mercato della Piazzola (Piazza dell Otto Agosto)
Last but not least, a shopping tip for those who will be here at the weekend, this place couldn’t be missing from our list and it is one of the biggest markets of the region — only open on Friday and Saturday. People from faraway areas of Italy come look for all sorts of stuff in the 400 stalls of this market, whose products range from regular clothing to vintage clothes, or flower-print shoes. The good thing is, you can find all sorts of stuff here starting from just 2 euro!
Pilio is one of Greece’s most popular year-round destinations. Offering a perfect combination of the mountains and the sea and with natural beauty within easy reach of cosmopolitan comforts, this is a place where food lovers will find themselves spoilt for choice with the local cuisine.
The area benefits from a rich natural bounty; it’s most famous for its crisp red apples, but it also produces pears, quince, chestnuts and delicious wild mushrooms. You can find many of these food items available as confitures or spoon sweets, and while you’re picking them up, don’t forget to add a few jars of mountain honey to your basket as well.
Pilio’s local cuisine is based on rustic fare such as sausage, game, wild boar and spetzofai (a sausage, pepper and tomato dish), the kind of food that was meant to nourish farmers and workers. Humble but delicious, the region’s food has developed in interesting ways, especially now that a younger generation is at the culinary helm. Reservations are not usually needed during the week, but are a must on the weekend, when both day-trippers from Volos and locals enjoying their days off pack into the local tavernas and restaurants.
“Humble but delicious, the region’s food has developed in interesting ways, especially now that a younger generation is at the culinary helm.”
Niki, the owner and hostess of this simple taverna frequented today mainly by locals, was the first to introduce a grill-house to the area 25 years ago. Everything in this taverna is based on what’s available seasonally and is cooked according to traditional recipes. Try the beef in tomato sauce; the herb-and-vegetable fritters; the meatballs served with fried potatoes; or the goat, either slow-roasted in baking paper or cut up and cooked on a spit. On weekends and holidays, the grill is in full swing, with a selection of hearty meat dishes available. Every meal is topped off with a slice of halva or a spoon sweet made with fruit from Niki’s garden. • Tel. (+30) 24260.226.26
Located on the town’s main square (known as Taxiarchon), Agnanti is a modern taverna revamped in 2007 by owners Maria José from Spain and her husband Constantinos, who took over his parents’ business. The food is Mediterranean with a twist, such as the star anise added to a classic rabbit-and-tomato stew. The mushroom soup also comes highly recommended, as does the rooster in tomato sauce served with pasta, and the beef with smoked cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. A fireplace crackles in the winter, and wines from the region are served, too. • Tel. (+30) 24260.492.10
The inn here has been operating since 1965; the owner of the establishment’s restaurant, Constantinos Rigakis, serves traditional dishes in a rustic environment. In the evening, locals fill the room in order to enjoy tsipouro, the local spirit, and creamy galotyri, a soft cheese made in-house. The specialty here is wild greens cooked in tomato sauce and served with fried eggs, once a staple midday snack for farm workers. Try the spetzofai with a variety of sausages, peppers and tomatoes, or the hearty zucchini-and-cheese pie prepared by the owner’s mother, Eleni. Around 50 reasonably priced bottled wines are available. • Tel. (+30) 24260.311.21 & (+30) 6942.016.166
Inspired by what is believed to be the oldest cook-book in the world, the “Deipnosophistae,” a study on the art of eating from the early 3rd century AD, this elegant taverna/restaurant in a beautiful building with a garden has been around since 1992. The cuisine is Greek/Mediterranean and makes excellent use of fresh seasonal products found in the locality. Crab apples, for example, are used to make a wonderful syrup that finds its way into both sweet and savory dishes, and there are mushrooms and wild legumes picked from the nearby mountains, too. Order a meal of mushroom soup followed by slow-roasted pork knuckle with caramelized crab-apple syrup and, for dessert, the apple tarts served with vanilla ice cream. The wine list comprises about 20 labels, most Greek. • Tel. (+30) 24260.498.25 & (+30) 6977.975.082
This taverna takes its name from the nickname of its owner Yiannis, “the German”, who was given this moniker by his fellow villagers after he returned from a few years’ stay in Germany. Grilled meat is the specialty here, and there’s a great view to go with your meal; the taverna’s strategic location in the main square of Neochori, above the Church of Aghios Dimitrios, means that on a clear day you can see all the way to the Sporades. During the day, locals enjoy coffee, tsipouro and meze, while on weekends and during the holidays, the rotisserie spins constantly, producing delicious roast meat. Also try the rooster in wine sauce, the wild boar with quince and the pies made with wild greens and cheese. Organic wine from the local Patistis Vineyards is served in carafes, while there are also a few bottled labels. • Tel. (+30) 24230.553.90 & (+30) 6946.934.183
The taverna named Stefanos, also known as Pappou’s (Grandpa’s) Taverna, is located on the beach of Lefokastro, which gets busy in the summer but is very peaceful off-season. The taverna’s decor is nothing special, but it’s the fresh fish you’re here for. Choose from a selection of simple, authentic dishes that include seafood appetizers and entrées and wild greens. The amazing fish stew is unmissable, but be sure to order it a day in advance so it’ll be ready for you. Wine by the carafe, ouzo and tsipouro are on offer to wash down your meal in a friendly atmosphere beloved by the locals. • Tel. (+30) 24230.335.51
The Vronti family taverna has been in the same spot since 1950. These days, it’s in the hands of the second and third generation, Nikos and his mother Dimitra. It serves classic Greek cuisine and a few local specialties that are very well prepared, such as the gioulbasi (lamb roasted with garlic and butter in baking paper), stuffed cabbage dolmades and, of course, bobari (a traditional sausage made with offal, herbs and rice). Beef tail is slowly baked until meltingly tender and then served with traditional pasta and tomato in a dish known as giouvetsi, while the tongue is turned into a hearty onion-based stew. Dessert is on the house and comes from a large jar of homemade spoon sweets or from a tray of cakes (milk, walnut and orange feature prominently) prepared by Dimitra. • Tel. (+30) 24280.994.24 & (+30) 6936.908.552
Sisters Niki and Eleni have run this restaurant without a single day off since 2000. A fireplace in the corner sets the tone for this spotless taverna, and the outstanding traditional food does the rest. Start with the pie, with handmade filo pastry stuffed with local ingredients, and move on to the spetzofai made with thin sausages, whole roasted peppers and grated tomato. The trahana ( a grain product) soup with sausage, the beef cooked in tomato sauce with wild mushrooms, and the wild legumes with fried eggs are also delicious. The milk, eggs and some of the meats come from the family’s Karaiskos Farm, located outside Portaria, while the wine list is an eclectic selection of reds and whites. • Tel. (+30) 24280.991.21 & Tel. (+30) 24280.900.06
This place, which was Portaria’s first grocery store, was later taken over by self-taught cook Antonis Tsolakoudis. The taverna retains some of the elements of the original store, such as the store shelves and a mural by the native folk artist Theofilos, while the rest of the décor (a blue wall decorated with birds, chairs dressed in red velvet, a large fireplace and soft lighting) create an attractive atmosphere. The food carries the creative signature of the chef and includes beef tongue served with pumpkin soup, French-style veal in a wine sauce, and chicken in a pepper sauce served with sweet potato, chicory and pumpkin. A good selection of wines is on offer. • Tel. (+30) 24280.999.19
*Originally published at Greeceis.com
Fall is here, temperatures have dropped, and here we are, reaching for our books again! But it’s not time to lock yourself up at home, yet: the last days of sunshine are still making us want to go out and enjoy the beauty of Milan. Our solution to the cooler temperatures is, why not go have a coffee while surrounded by books, in one of the (luckily) numerous bookstore-cafes in town? Here are 5 cafes we particularly love. You pick which one you want to test first 🙂
(Corso di Porta Ticinese 40)
This brand-new bookshops hasn’t even been open for a year, and it is just a few steps from popular spot Colonne di San Lorenzo. It has two floors: downstairs is the bar, while upstairs you will find a few tables to study and work, with open wi-fi. You will be surrounded by a selection of books from independent publishing houses, as well as a few bestsellers.
(Viale Monte Nero 6)
This place’s tag line is, more than books — and we find that is an excellent starting point, don’t you agree?? Large wooden tables and colorful chairs are awaiting you in this wonderful location near Porta Romana. You can have more than just coffee or a hot beverage when it gets cold: you can also stop by for breakfast, lunch or happy hour, which is always a good way to be pleasantly surprised by their several new ideas of food and beverage. Our tip: go for aperitif and order a Spritz: you will be offered 8 different options, including an organic one with pomegranate! Furthermore, from 7pm on, it is also happy hour for books, with a 15% discount on every purchase!
Libreria del Mondo Offeso
(Piazza San Simpliciano 7)
Originally a small independent bookshop, it shed its skin and embraced modernity by changing location, moving to one of the most character-filled squares of the city center, and opening a small bar. Trust us: just walking past will make you want to go inside, and spend the whole day reading! Breakfast, with bread and jam, and aperitif, with a glass of wine are the best moments to enjoy this space, which has a bit of Parisian flair to it.
Gogol & Company
( Via Savona 101)
A vintage touch and an unexpected calm atmosphere make this one of our favorite spots in town. Some people go there to discover new books and new publishers — this bookshop is very intent upon promoting new writers — and some just go to impress someone on their first date. Try a dish from their menu, or maybe a cold pressed juice. You’ll see: reading has never been this pleasant.
(Via Sant’Agnese 12)
A guarantee, both for readers looking for new books, and curious foodies. This place is perfect for lunch, thanks to the menu that ranges from panini to cakes: enjoy both, surrounded by a selection of books that includes classics from the past, as well as modern classics that it will be your pleasure to discover.
Christmas in Greece
Christmas (Xristougenna), the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus is one of the most joyful days of the Greek Orthodox Church. Traditionally, the Christmas holiday period in Greece lasts 12 days, until January 6, which marks the celebration of the Feast of the Holy Theophany (Epiphany). There are many customs associated with the Christmas holidays, some of which are relatively recent, “imported” from other parts of the world (like eating turkey on Christmas day and decorating the Christmas tree). In the past, Greeks decorated small Christmas boats in honour of St. Nicholas and today, they are increasingly choosing to decorate boats, instead of trees, reviving this age-old Christmas tradition.
“Kalanda” or Carols
The singing of Christmas carols (or kalanda) is a custom preserved in its entirety to this day. On Christmas and New Year Eve, children go from house to house in groups singing the carols, accompanied usually by the sounds of the musical instrument “triangle,” but also by guitars, accordions, lyres and harmonicas. Until some time ago, children were rewarded with pastries but nowadays they are usually given money.
Greece’s hobgoblins are called “kallikántzari”, friendly but troublesome little creatures which look like elves. Kallikantzari live deep down inside the earth and come to surface only during the 12-day period from Christmas until Epiphany. While on the earth’s surface, they love to hide in houses, slipping down chimneys and frightening people. Throughout Greece, there are various customs and rituals performed to keep hobgoblins away. Kallikantzari disappear on the day of Epiphany when all waters are blessed, and they return to the earth’s core.
Sweets & Treats
Traditional culinary delights symbolize good luck in the New Year and adorn the white-clothed tables. “Melomakarona” (honey cookies) and “kourabiedes” (sugar cookies with almonds) are the most characteristic and they characterize the beginning of Christmas festivity. Another traditional custom that dates back to the Byzantine times is the slicing of Vassilopita (St.Basil’s pie or New Year’s Cake). The person who finds the hidden coin in his slice of the cake is considered to be lucky for the rest of the year.
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2,400-year-old Macedonian tomb opens to the public after being painstakingly restored.
The marble door that once sealed its entrance is on display at the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, the most striking find made by Greek Ottoman-era archaeologist Theodore Makridi during his excavations of a tomb in Derveni, near Thessaloniki, two years before the northern Greek port city was liberated.
The double-chambered barrel-vaulted tomb is among the greatest discoveries in the area and has been associated with Lete, one of the greatest cities of the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia. Nevertheless, and despite the archaeologist’s concerns about the protection of the tomb that was named after him, it lay almost completely abandoned for over a century.
The elements did their worst and this beautiful historic structure was at the point of collapse in 2011, when it was finally slated for restoration and protection under the European Union structural funds programme for 2007–2013, with a budget of 1.2 million euros. Work on the site commenced in 2012 and was completed last year, so that now the Tomb of Makridi Bey, as it is known, constitutes one of the highlights of Thessaloniki’s historic sites (with details soon available online at www.macedoniantombofmakridybey.culture.gr).
Dated to between the late fourth and early third century BC, with a monumental façade in the Ionic rhythm and a marble sarcophagus in the death chamber, the tomb is a splendid sample of architecture and burial rites, as well as evidence of the incredible wealth that poured into the Kingdom of Macedonia with the return of Alexander the Great’s army from its Eastern campaign.
“When we took over, the condition of the tomb was lamentable. The structure was distorted and the antechamber had settled onto the scaffolding that had propped it up since 1997,” says architect and restorer Fani Athansiou.
An interdisciplinary team of experts conducted a dozen studies before any moves could be taken to start restoring the structure and to protect the site with a solid and innovative shelter, part of which is submerged in the ground. The team (comprising Venetia Malama, Maria Miza, Maria Sarantidou and Alexis Papasotirou) then proceeded to restore the road that led up to the tomb, its Ionic facade and the original colors of the plaster that adorned its walls and arches.
Restored and illuminated at night, the monumental tomb – 10 meters in length and 8 meters in height – constitutes yet another piece of evidence in the narrative shaped by a plethora of other finds on the strategic significance of Lete, a city that was inhabited from early Neolithic (5,600–5,300 BC) to Roman times, archaeologist Katerina Tzanavari explains. Built before Thessaloniki, it was a fortress on the narrow stretch between the plain of Langadas and Lake Koroneia, and experienced its peak during the reign of Philip II.
Excavations in the vicinity have also brought to light the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore (1936), unlooted graves from a large Archaic cemetery (1962), the ancient settlement and masterpieces in metal and gold (including the famed Derveni Krater, metal utensils, precious vessels, marble statues and the Derveni Papyrus). These finds grace the permanent collection halls of the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.
Mama shaped them round. Grandma always made them crescent – shaped, following the recipe of legendary Greek chef and cookbook writer, Tselementes. Both versions were made with the best butter that had irresistible aroma and taste.
At this time of year when Christmas is all around, I close my eyes and I am transported back to the kitchen of my childhood home. It’s as if I can see the two different shapes on the kitchen counter, each baked with all the love and affection of Christmas poured into them.
This snowy confection is a piece of Greek Christmas tradition and has been a part of every child’s memories for hundreds of years. In Athens and Thessaloniki alone every November and December, around 10 tons of kourabiedes are sold just by the Konstantinidis patisserie chain, so you can imagine how many are sold around the country as every bakery starts producing them!
In Turkey, they are known as Kurabiye, in Azerbaijan, Qurabiya and in the Middle East, Ghraibeh. The name is the literal combination of two words, kuru – dry, and biye – biscuit. Looking into the etymology of these treats, we arrive at a word from the Middle Ages – biscuit, which meant baked twice. It was a way of baking bread that ensured easy preservation and a product that wouldn’t spoil quickly. In the book “Ottoman Cookery” by Turabi Efendi (1864), kourabiedes are made with equal amounts of sugar and butter and double the amount of flour. Old Greek recipe books spun the name with a French touch and dubbed them quourabier! “You can give them any shape you want, arrange them on a baking sheet and bake them in a medium-hot oven,” writes Nikolaos Vasilakis in his 1892 recipe book.
I’m not sure if anyone today goes to the trouble of making homemade kourabiedes. Thankfully, there are plenty of patisseries which produce them on a mass scale but with a homemade flavor. So place a big, snowy plate of them on your Christmas and New Year table and don’t be scared to let yourself get covered in icing sugar as you eat them. In Greece, that’s part of the joy of the holiday season!
Originally published in Kathimerini’s K magazine.
A low-key Cycladic island experience, conveniently close to Athens.
One of the country’s more low-profile islands, Kythnos is located in the western Cyclades, just a three-hour ferry trip from Piraeus port. It features five main villages, Merihas, serving as the island’s port, Hora, the main town, also known as Messaria, Dryopida, Loutra and Kanala, as well as some smaller villages. The autumn season suits this island well as it derives its beauty more from the interior than the coastline. The greenery between Messaria and Merihas, the scene of ceramic roof-topped houses at Dryopida and the medieval castle at Oria are examples of the island’s inland charm.
Emotional and impulsive, the people of Kythnos, once called Thermia, are lively and full of surprises. Don’t be caught off guard if asked to take command of a traditional wooden boat (trehadiri), as was the case during our first visit to the island, when we found ourselves steering a 12-meter vessel at Kavouroheri, Potamia and Aghios Sostis, three small bays close to Loutra. Also, don’t feel awkward if offered a sip of local wine from a hollowed-out bull horn. They were used as spoons in the old days here. Another of our unusual experiences on the island was when a wine-filled horn spoon was passed around one night during an outdoor celebration to the sound of lute (lauto) and tsabouna (traditional bagpipe) in Dryopida.
When the dancing begins, locals let visitors know that it is time to get up and move. Any claims by outsiders of not knowing the steps to traditional dances are immediately brushed off. Visitors really have no choice but to join the traditional syrtobalos dance. Locals can be insistent on such issues and may seem a touch harsh or mad but, deep down, they are hospitable people.
The island’s culinary offerings are exceptional. On our brief trip, we tried thesfoungata (cheese croquettes), tarahto (scrambled eggs with tomato),tyropitaria (cheese pies), dried olives and, of course, souma (distilled spirit). The sweet-toothed members of our group were drawn to theTratamento confectionary workshop and store in Messaria, whose products included beetroot sweet preserve, verbena (louiza) liqueur andamygdaloto (almond-based biscuits).
*Originally Published on GreeceIs0 Read More
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