Culture Enthusiasts in Olympus Pieria and Imathia
Our travel experience will start at Thessaloniki, the city of slow living, delicious food and rich culture. We will participate in a three-hour tour of almost 4km that includes stops at the main historical and cultural monuments of the town, such as the White Tower, the Roman Market, the Navarino square with Kamara and Rotonda, that are in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. During our walk, we will make some gastronomy-stops to taste some famous local snacks and sweets that are the city’s food trademarks, like the famous koulouri, bougatsa, trigona and tsoureki. Then, we will depart for Pieria by bus or train. A minibus will be waiting for us in order to get us to the traditional village of Paleos Panteleimon. There, we will stay for the next three nights in a lovely guesthouse surrounded by nature, the “Agnadi”. After we have checked-in at our guesthouse we will have free time to relax. In the afternoon we will visit the Holy Temple of Saint Panteleimon, which is located in the central square of the village under the dense plane trees and next to the water spring from where we can drink some cool water. After we have learned about the history of the Holy Temple, we will enjoy local traditional sweets and pies made with love from Mrs. Fofo at her traditional café called “To palio kafeneio”, from which we can admire the sun set over the deep blue of the Aegean Sea.
The 2nd morning, after a beautiful breakfast based on local products at our guesthouse, we will have a small walking tour in which we will learn more about the architectural heritage of this beautiful village. As traveling is not only about visiting new places but also meeting new people, we will meet two local professionals who have their own jewelry workshop at the village and will introduce us to the art of jewelry making. Then, we will have some free time for lunch and relax. In the afternoon, if our visit to Pieria is in the summer, we will have the chance to attend a theatrical play or a music concert at archeological sites of important significance in Pieria, organized by Olympus Festival. The cultural events of the Olympus Festival take place every year, for more than 50 years, in archeological sites of the area such as the ancient theatre of Dion and the Castle of Platamonas. The rest months, when this experience isn’t available, we will visit other local festivals or participate in a team building workshop with a group facilitator in which we will express creatively our thoughts and emotions regarding the common experiences that we have shared.
The next morning, we will have a two-hour guided tour at the Platamonas Castle where its placement and its high and wide walls will help us understand how important it was in the fortification of the area. When we return to our guesthouse, we will have free time to relax. In the afternoon, we will take a small taste of the local food products that are produced in the area depending on the time of the year and we will take part in a cooking workshop. Then, we will enjoy the dish that we have made as a cooking team as well as some other traditional dishes at a local tavern, while admiring the unique view of the Aegean Sea and listening to traditional music played by local musicians calling us to dance together.
The 4th day, we will check-out from our cozy guesthouse and head to Dion region, where we will have a two-hour guided tour at the Archaeological Museum and site of Dion, which houses the archeological findings of the ancient Macedonian city of Dion, which was dedicated to the king of the ancient Greek gods, Zeus (Dias). Our next stop would be at Karasimou Winery at Ganohora region, where the young and active winemaker, Artemis Karasimou will welcome us at the vineyards of the estate and explain to us the winemaking process. After a tour at the vineyards and the winery of the family, we will enjoy a meal with local dishes which are combined harmoniously with the estate’s wines. In the afternoon, full of aromas and flavors, we will change prefecture and head to Imathia region with our minibus. There, we will check-in at a traditionally build guesthouse called Olganos and have free time.
On the 5th day, we will visit the Vergina region and the UNESCO awarded archaeological site of Aigai, which is a whole area with unique archaeological findings related to Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Kingdom. There, we will dive into ancient history and culture with a three-hour guided tour. Afterwards, there will be free time for lunch and then, in the afternoon, we will participate in a mental empowerment workshop where we can express our thoughts and share our emotions and experiences regarding the cultural events and the educational workshops that we attended.
The 6th day, we will enjoy our sleep a bit more and
will have some free time for ourselves in the morning. This day will be dedicated to Visual Arts and more precisely to painting. We will visit the Elidanos studio at Veria, where the artist will introduce us to some art and painting technics. We will, then, take our brushes and visit a field of bloomed trees in order to participate in a landscape painting workshop. The ideal season to experience this activity is in the spring when this workshop will be implemented next to the wonderful vast pink sea of peach blossoms at Imathia’ s fields. At noon, we will have some free time at Veria, while in the afternoon, our group facilitator will help us make our own souvenirs based on reusable materials as a gift to remind us of all the unique experiences we lived together.
The next day, we will participate in a three-hour walking tour around the city of Veria and the traditional Jewish quarter (Barbouta) in order to admire the cobbled alleys, the architecture of imposing mansions and learn more about the multicultural history of the region. Impressed by the newly acquired knowledge, we will satisfy our appetite for a local dessert by tasting the most famous dessert of Imathia which is called “revani” (a kind of syrupy cake). Full of energy, we will leave Imathia and travel back to Thessaloniki where we will stay for the night.
The last day, we will participate in a tour in Thessaloniki’s local markets. We will go through "Louloudadika", the fragrant outdoor florist market and visit Kapani market, the oldest traditional market of the town, where we will enjoy local delicacies (called "mezedes") at a traditional cafe-tavern while listening to Greek music that will make us feel a part of the daily life of the locals. With all these aromas, colors, flavors and memories that we collected we will say goodbye till the next time we meet again.
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