Profitis Elias in Assini – Προφήτης Ηλίας της Ασίνης


Demetris and Elia

In a couple of days it will be the two years anniversary since we moved to Assini.  I’ve been seeing “Profitis Elias” rock, every day from my porch and I must have photographed it a hundred of times but it never crossed my mind that one day I would go up there.

Σε μερικές ημέρες κλείνουμε δύο χρόνια από την ημέρα που μετακομίσαμε στην Ασίνη.  Κάθε μέρα βλέπω τον Προφήτη Ηλία από τη βεράντα μας και πρέπει να τον έχω βγάλει εκατοντάδες φωτογραφίες αλλά ποτέ δεν πέρασε από το μυαλό μου ότι μια μέρα θα ανέβαινα στην κορυφή.

Collage Profitis Elias

However, when my daughter visited us last week she wanted to go up there.  I was afraid to follow but then I thought to myself “I am not getting any younger and who knows when they’ll decide to go up there again”.  I made up my mind that I would follow and the worse scenario, if I could not follow, I would sit under a tree and wait for them to return for me.

Profitis (profet) Elias takes its name from the small chapel on the top of the egg-shaped mountain.  The mountain is steep but from up there you will be rewarded with a bird’s-eye view of Tolo, Drepano, Vivari, even Iria when the weather is clear and on the other side Karathona beach and of course the villages of Assini, Lefkakia, Pyrgiotika etc.

Όταν μας επισκέφτηκε η κόρη μας την περασμένη βδομάδα ήθελε να πάμε εκεί πάνω. Στην αρχή φοβήθηκα να τους ακολουθήσω αλλά μετά σκέφτηκα ότι “Ποιος ξέρει εάν θα ξαναπάνε εκεί πάνω σύντομα και σίγουρα δεν γίνομαι πιο νέα όσο περνά ο καιρός”.  Έτσι αποφάσισα να τους ακολουθήσω και στη χειρότερη περίπτωση, εάν κουραζόμουν και δεν μπορούσα να προχωρήσω, θα καθόμουν κάτω από ένα δέντρο και θα περίμενα εκεί μέχρι να γυρίσουν.

Όπως σχεδόν σε όλες τις κορφές των βουνών, εκεί πάνω υπάρχει ένα εκκλησάκι αφιερωμένο στον Προφήτη Ηλία..  Η ανάβαση είναι αρκετά απότομη αλλά η θέα από εκεί πάνω αξίζει τον κόπο.   Από εκεί φαίνεται το Τολό, το Δρέπανο, το Βιβάρι, μέχρι τα Ίρια όταν ο καιρός είναι καθαρός και από την άλλη πλευρά μέχρι την παραλία της Καραθώνα και φυσικά το χωριό μας την Ασίνη, τα Λευκάκια, τα Πυργιώτικα κλπ.

Parking place before going on foot

We headed off early in the morning as the temperature in August is quite warm. Be sure to wear a hat and have water with you and if you have trekking poles, they will help a lot.

After passing from Agia Paraskevi and turning left to the cemetary we reached a sheepfold, where that was the last point where we could park our car.

Ξεκινήσαμε νωρίς το πρωί που κάνει δροσιά γιατί δεν είναι ν’ ανεβαίνεις τον Αύγουστο μεσημεριάτικα.  Εάν αποφασίσετε ν’ ανεβείτε μην ξεχάσετε να φορέσετε καπέλο, να’ χετε νερό και ακόμη και τα ειδικά μπαστούνια για το περπάτημα, τα οποία σίγουρα θα χρειαστούν.

huge steps

At the beginning, walking up the mountain is not that bad but after a while you end up climbing huge steps.  We had to stop a few times for me to rest but we finally made it to the top!

Στην αρχή η ανάβαση δεν είναι και πολύ δύσκολη αλλά μετά από λίγο δεν είναι μόνο ανηφορική η διαδρομή αλλά ανεβαίνεις τεράστια σκαλοπάτια.  Έπρεπε να κάνουμε μερικές στάσεις ενδιάμεσα να ξεκουραστώ αλλά τελικά τα καταφέραμε!

Elia

My daughter was the first to get up there.

Η κόρη μου έφτασε πάνω πρώτη.

Inside Profitis Elias

Inside the chappel of Profitis Elias.

Το εσωτερικό του Προφήτη Ηλία.

Bell and View from Profitis Elias

But the view up there is breathtaking!

Αλλά η θέα από εκεί πάνω σου κόβει την ανάσα!
View of Koronissi

The bell and view of Tolo bay area with Romvi and Koronissi islets

 Το καμπαναριό και η θέα προς το Τολό και τα νησάκια Ρόμβη και Κορωνήσι.

 

view of villages

View of the villages of Agia Paraskevi of Assini, Lefkakia, Pyrgiotika.

Θέα των χωριών Αγία Παρασκευή Ασίνης, Λευκάκια, Πυργιώττικα.

view of Drepano, Kallithea, Vivari

View of Assini, (I can see our house), Drepano, Kallithea, Vivari.

Θέα της Ασίνης (βλέπω και το σπίτι μας), το Δρέπανο, η Καλλιθέα και το Βιβάρι.

view of Karathona beach

View of Karathona Beach.

Θεά προς την παραλία της Καραθώνα.

View of Ancient Assini and Plaka Drepanou

View of Ancient Assini, Plaka Drepanou and nearby islands.

Θέα της Αρχαίας Ασίνης, της Πλάκας Δρεπάνου και των κοντινών νησιών.

Άλλες παρόμοιες αναρτήσεις:

A tour in Nafplion and Cooking for “All the best”, with Zita Keeley / Βόλτα στο Ναύπλιο και μαγειρεύω για Αμερικάνικη εκπομπή.

Assini / Ασίνη (Ναυπλίου)

Archaeological Museum of / Nafplio / Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο Ναυπλίου

Nafplion, the first capital of Greece, Part 1 / Ναύπλιο, η πρώτη πρωτεύουσα της Ελλάδας  (Μέρος Α)

Nafplion, a tour in the old town, Part 2 / Ναύπλιο, περιήγηση στην παλιά πόλη (Μέρος Β)

Tolo / Τολό

You can find Greek recipes on my other blog.  My cookbooks “More Than A Greek Salad”, and “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” are both available on all Amazon stores.

Για συνταγές στο άλλο μου blog.  Τα βιβλία μου “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” και  “More Than A Greek Salad” κυκλοφορούν  στα Αγγλικά και διατίθενται σε όλα τα καταστήματα Amazon.  Μετάφραση του πρώτου μέρους του πρώτου βιβλίου με τίτλο “Κοπιάστε στην Κουζίνα μου” διατίθεται και στα Ελληνικά σε μορφή pdf από εμένα.

 

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi / Κοπιάστε και Καλή Όρεξη!

House is almost ready and Koukoulopites (Galettes) or Kolokythopita (Zucchini Pie) – Κουκουλόπιτες ή Κολοκυθόπιτα


Μετάφραση της συνταγής πιο κάτω

I wish that the day comes when I will be able to tell you that I made this recipe or any others from vegetables from our garden, but at the time being I am still buying my vegetables from the farmers’ market.

The plot is small but hopefully there will be a small garden one day.

We made another short trip to Assini to finalize a few loose ends.  We left early on Wednesday morning and came back Thursday afternoon.

It’s been a long time I updated the blog but the economical crisis in Greece has changed our plans radically after seeing our pensions drop to almost half.  Under normal circumstances the house would have been ready by 100% last August and now we would be living in the countryside and relaxing.

Since last year we have been striving to finish at least the ground floor (which is about 40% of the whole structure) but there is still a lot to be done, which of course requires a lot of money.

Our family has been helping us out with loans, so on Wednesday we had an appointment for the fixing of the closet, which took about three hours.

In the afternoon we looked around for a shower cabin, washing basin and toilet, to finish the bathroom, kitchen tiles to put above the counter and doors for the bathroom and bedroom.  The kitchen tiles will be a mosaic of turquoise blue, which matches with the doors but as well as the brown counter and closets.  I am really anxious to see how it turns out,

We gave an advance payment for the electrical appliances for the kitchen, which is the oven, the stove top, which is both with gas and electricity, a ventilator and a washing machine for the clothes.  Unfortunately, we will not buy a new refrigerator as we do have a smaller one in Athens which will be used temporarily until we can afford one and will not buy a dish washing machine.

Hope now that we finally have a new Government, after the failure of the previous elections in May, that  the banks may now have cash to give us the remaining part of our loan in order to cover post-dated cheques issued and repay our debts.  The house still needs a last layer of plaster on the walls, painting  and the electrical wiring, plugs, sockets, etc., to connect electricity and water.  At a later stage we still need outdoor rails, to pave the driveway / garage, fence, central heating, a solar water heater, central heating etc., etc., not to mention furnishing the house.

On Thursday we had to be there to receive the equipment we ordered the previous day for the bathroom and then to look around for the bathroom and bedroom doors .

I chose the dark brown colour, second row, first one, which is similar to the kitchen closets and island.  These will be ready by next week.

The exterior painting will start this week and as you can see scaffolding has been set around the house.

The most difficult part was to decide what colour to paint the exterior.  The doors and windows are in a light greyish-blue colour so we wanted something to match.  We went to a store selling paints  to choose the colour.  The decision has been taken:  the majority will be a mustardy-yellow colour and frames around doors and windows navy blue. A stripe of ice-white colour will be separating the storeys.

I played around colouring the house on the computer but I don’t think the colours match to the ones we have chosen.  This is just to give you arough idea.

Update:  Here is the house after it was painted.

House painted

Finally we also went to an electrician’s store to buy sockets, plugs etc.  Next week, we will have to go again when the electrical appliances are fitted.

We had some time to go for swimming.

Although the heatwave has passed, it was still 38 degrees C in Argolida but as it was partly cloudy and windy, it was bearable.  The first day we went to Castraki, picture above, which is the closest to our house and the second day to Karathonas beach which is near Nafplion.

Koukoulopites are Greek pies, similar to galettes made with phyllo.  I filled them with grated zucchini, lots of herbs, especially peppermint and Greek cheeses. You can use any flour you like to make the phyllo but this time I opted for whole wheat flour.

The filling is inspired by two other Greek pitas called plasto and badjina, which however although both are without phyllo they have some minor differences.   Badjina is with pumpkin and cheese whereas plasto is with herbs.

I made half of the mixture into small galettes and the remaining in a baking tin which I froze and baked it another day.

You can see a video here:

Kolokythopita (Zucchini Pie), recipe by Ivy

Preparation time:  1 hour

Baking time:  45 – 50 minutes

Makes:  10 galettes (or 5 galetes and 1 baking tin)

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour Horiatiko phyllo
  • 600 grams zucchini, coarsely grated
  • Salt (no more)
  • 1 medium red onion, coarsely grate
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • A handful of fresh peppermint, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 grams ladotyri
  • 150 grams halloumi
  • 150 grams feta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • Extra olive oil for brushing the phyllo and baking tray

Directions:

  1. Prepare the dough, cover with cling film and set aside for at least half an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F.
  3. Grate zucchini on the large side of a box grater.
  4. Put it in a colander and sprinkle some salt.  Let it sit for half an hour and then squeeze to remove as much fluid as possible.
  5. Grate the onion or chop it in a food processor.
  6. Wash and finely chop the herbs: a handful of peppermint, 1 green onion, including green parts and zucchini blossom flowers (optional).
  7. Put the herbs and grated onion together with grated zucchini in a large bowl.
  8. Add the eggs and grated cheese.  Season with pepper (do not add salt as zucchini have already been salted and the cheese are also salty).
  9. Finally add the flour and mix well.
  10. Divide the dough in ten equal parts.  Shape them into round balls.
  11. Roll out each ball into a round phyllo around 20 cm diametre.  Brush it with 1 tbsp olive oil.
  12. Add a generous amount of filling in the middle.
  13. Fold the outer parts of the galette into the centre, forming a round galette.  Brush with olive oil.
  14. Place them in a well oiled baking tray and bake for 50 minutes, or until lightly brown.
  15. You can serve it as a main dish with a salad or as I did, with marida or maridaki the Greek equivalent of the north Atlantic whitebait, Greek fried potatoes and salad.

Κουκουλόπιτες με Κολοκύθι ή Κολοκυθόπιτα, συνταγή της Ήβης

Χρόνος προετοιμασίας:  1 ώρα

Χρόνος Ψησίματος:  45 – 50 λεπτά

Γίνονται:  10 κουκουλόπιτες ή 5 και μία σε ταψί

Υλικά:

  • Χωριάτικο Φύλλο με αλεύρι ολικής άλεσης
  • 600 γραμμάρια κολοκυθάκια, χονδροτριμμένα
  • Αλάτι
  • 1 μέτριο κόκκινο κρεμμύδι, τριμμένο
  • 1 κρεμμυδάκι φρέσκο, ψιλοκομμένο
  • Μία χούφτα μέντα, ψιλοκομμένη
  • 2 αυγά
  • 120 γραμμάρια λαδοτύρι Μυτιλήνης ή γραβιέρα
  • 150 γραμμάρια χαλλούμι
  • 150 γραμμάρια φέτα
  • 1/4 κούπας ελαιόλαδο
  • Φρεσκοτριμμένο μαύρο πιπέρι
  • 1 κούπα αλεύρι για όλες τις χρήσεις
  • Επιπρόσθετο ελαιόλαδο για άλειμμα του ταψιού και του φύλλου

Εκτέλεση:

  1. Ετοιμάζουμε τη ζύμη, τη σκεπάζουμε με μεμβράνη κουζίνας και την αφήνουμε να ξεκουραστεί για μισή ώρα.
  2. Προθερμαίνουμε το φούρνο στους 180 βαθμούς Κελσίου / 350 βαθμούς F.
  3. Τρίβουμε τα κολοκυθάκια στον τρίφτη.
  4. Το βάζουμε σε σουρωτήρι με αλάτι.  Το αφήνουμε για μισή ώρα και το στύβουμε να φύγουν τα υγρά.
  5. Τρίβουμε το κρεμμύδι στον τρίφτη ή στο μούλτι.
  6. Πλένουμε,  στραγγίζουμε και ψιλοκόβουμε τα αρωματικά χόρτα:  μια χούφτα φρέσκια μέντα, 1 κρεμμυδάκι φρέσκο με τα φύλλα και μερικά λουλούδια από τα κολοκύθια (προαιρετικά, εάν υπάρχουν).
  7. Βάζουμε τα αρωματικά χόρτα, το τριμμένο κρεμμύδι και κολοκύθι σε ένα μεγάλο μπωλ.
  8. Τρίβουμε και προσθέτουμε τα τριμμένα τυριά, τα αυγά και πιπέρι.  Προσοχή δεν βάζουμε αλάτι (γιατί ήδη έχουμε αλατίσει τα κολοκυθάκια και τα τυριά είναι αλμυρά).
  9. Τέλος προσθέτουμε το αλεύρι και ανακατεύουμε καλά.
  10. Διαιρούμε τη ζύμη σε δέκα ίσα μέρη.  Τα κάνουμε μπαλάκια.
  11. Ανοίγουμε κάθε μπαλάκι ζύμης σε ένα στρογγυλό φύλλο διαμέτρου περίπου 20 εκατοστών και το βουρτσίζουμε με 1 κουταλιά ελαιόλαδο.
  12. Προσθέτουμε αρκετή γέμιση στο κέντρο.
  13. Διπλώνουμε τις άκριες και σχηματίζουμε ένα στρογγυλό πουγκί.  Το βουρτσίζουμε με ελαιόλαδο.
  14. Τοποθετούμε σε λαδωμένο ταψί και ψήνουμε για περίπου 50 λεπτά ή μέχρι να ροδίσουν ελαφρά.
  15. Μπορείτε να τις σερβίρετε σαν κυρίως φαγητό με σαλάτα ή σαν συνοδευτικό όπως έκανα εγώ με μαριδάκι, πατάτες τηγανιτές και σαλάτα.

A few days later, I had more zucchini which I made into a Zucchini, Feta and Halloumi Tart.

Μερικές μέρες αργότερα, επειδή είχαν περισσέψει κολοκυθάκια, έφτιαξα αυτή την Κολοκυθόταρτα με Φέτα και Χαλλούμι.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

A roof over our head and please help me make up my mind!!


Everybody’s dream is to have a roof over their head and we have reached the stage where the roof is now being placed on our house.  Hopefully it will be ready by next week.

At this stage there are so many things we have to decide about and I am so confused!!

What colour to paint the exterior?  What colour the interior?

I think the exterior may not be so difficult, so let’s focus on the interior.

The photo above is the kitchen I have chosen from the show room and below is my kitchen space, a couple of months back.

According to the plan of our house, this is the sketch which has been prepared for us.  The colour is the same as above, as the picture below has been scanned from a low resolution print.

The colour of the floor is something like the picture below but instead of wood, it is a granite floor tiles and the walls will be something between beige and light yellow (buff).  See colours below.

A dining room table will be placed infront of the window and opposite the kitchen will be the living room, which are all in the same space.

I am not buying new living room furniture as the ones I now have, were bought a couple of years ago.  Their colour is dark chocolate brown, so I have to match them with the remaining house.


I have beige covers on the leather couches, which I may not use in the other house.

I can’t make up my mind if making the kitchen brown and beige will be too dark.  Shall I keep it like this or is it better to make it the opposite i.e. everything beige with brown counter tops, bearing in mind that the walls will be probably beige as well.

I found this colour chart, so what do you think?  Shall I paint the walls in the living room chocolate, beige and blue green?

What do you think?  Any suggestions are welcome.

 

Sandwiched Sardines / Σαρδέλλες Σάντουϊτς Ψητές

Aside


We were sitting in one of the cafeterias of Nafplion enjoying our morning coffee when a fishing boat anchored just opposite us.

In no time people started gathering around it to buy freshly caught fish.

Απολαμβάναμε τον πρωινό καφέ μας σε μια από τις καφετέριες της παραλίας του Ναυπλίου, όταν έφτασε η τράτα και άραξε ακριβώς απέναντί μας.

Σε χρόνο ντε-τέ άρχισε να μαζεύεται ο κόσμος για να αγοράσει φρέσκα ψάρια.

The catch of the day was xifias – sword fish (Xiphias gladius),  sardelles – big sardines or pilchards -(Sardina pilchardus) with only 5 Euros a kilo, barbounia – mullets, koutsomoures  (Mullus surmuletus – a kind of goat fish of the mullet family), lithrinia (pandora – Pagellus erythrinus) etc.

Η ψαριά της ημέρας ήταν ένα ξιφίας, σαρδέλλες μεγαλούτσικες με 5 Ευρώ το κιλό, κουτσομούρος, λιθρίνια κ.ά.

Unfortunately I could’t buy any and bring it back to Athens but last week I bought some sardines from the farmers’ market, which were much smaller though.

Δυστυχώς δεν μπορούσα να αγοράσω και να τα φέρω στην Αθήνα, αλλά προχθές στη λαϊκή βρήκα σαρδέλλα η οποία όμως ήταν αρκετά πιό μικρή.

Sardines are rich in Omega 3 fats which are considered to be very healthy for the heart.

Τα ωμέγα-3 λιπαρά οξέα που προέρχονται από τα λιπαρά ψάρια (σαρδέλλες, γαύρος, σκουμπρί, τσιπούρα, ρέγκα, σολομός) είναι λίπος ευεργετικό για την καρδιά

This time of the year Sardines are in abundance and are affordable and a popular choice everything being so expensive.

This dish would be perfect to grill over charcoal but for people like us living in apartments, you can also grill it.

Another way to make sardines is to marinate them the same way like gavros (anchovies).

Marinated Sardines / Μαριναρισμένες Σαρδέλλες

Αυτη την εποχή οι σαρδέλλες είναι σε αφθονία και με την οικονομική κρίση που διανύουμε ένα πολύ οικονομικό φαγητό, αλλά και ταυτόχρονα πολύ νόστιμο.

Αυτό το φαγητό θα ήταν ιδανικό να ψηθεί στα κάρβουνα, αλλά για εμάς που μένουμε σε διαμέρισμα μπορούμε να τις ψήσουμε στο γκριλ.

Ένας άλλος τρόπος να φτιάξετε τις σαρδέλλες είναι να τις μαρινάρετε ακριβώς όπως γίνεται και ο γαύρος.

Marinated Sandwiched Sardines, Recipe by Ivy

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Marinating time:   1 hour

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

Marinade Ingredients:

 

1/2 kilo fresh sardines

¼ cup olive oil

3 tbsp lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Oregano

For filling:

4 tablespoons coriander pesto or other pesto of your choice

1 spring onion, finely chopped

¼ cup parsley, finely chopped

2 tbsp dill, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Extra Lemon juIce to sprinkle on top as well as parsley.

Directions:

Scale the sardines and cut the head pulling out the guts.  Wash them and drain them.  With a filleting knife cut it in the belly and remove spine with any remaining guts.   Wash again and strain.  Place them in a bowl in one layer and add olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper.

Cover with cling film and let them marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Finely cut all the vegetables and mix with the pesto.

Preheat your oven at 180oC, setting it on the grill.  Line your baking tin with parchment paper.

Open the sardines flat and press them with your fingers to become as flat as possible.  Add a tablespoon of filling and sandwich with another sardine.

Place on the baking tin and when done add the leftover marinade on the sardines.

Grill for ten minutes on one side and ten minutes on the other.

Serve as a side dish to dried legumes or as a mezes with ouzo or tsipouro.

Σαρδέλλες Σάντουϊτς Ψητές,  Συνταγή της Ήβης

Χρόνος προετοιμασίας: 30 λεπτά

Χρόνος για το μαρινάρισμα: 1 ώρα

Χρόνος ψησίματος: 20 λεπτά

Υλικά:

Για το μαρινάρισμα:

 

1/2 κιλό σαρδέλλες

¼ κούπας ελαιόλαδο

3 κουταλιές χυμό λεμονιού

Αλάτι και φρεσκοτριμμένο μαύρο πιπέρι

Ρίγανη

Για τη Γέμιση:

4 κουταλιές πέστο κόλιαντρου ή άλλο πέστο της αρεσκείας σας

1 κρεμμυδάκι φρέσκο, ψιλοκομμένο

¼  κούπας μαϊντανό, ψιλοκομμένο

2 κουταλιές άνηθο, ψιλοκομμένο

1 σκελίδα σκόρδο, ψιλοκομμένη

Επιπλέον λεμόνι για από πάνω και μαϊντανό

Εκτέλεση:

Καθαρίζουμε τα λέπια από τις σαρδέλλες, κόβουμε το κεφάλι και μαζί φεύγουν και τα εντόσθια.    Τις πλένουμε και τις στραγγίζουμε.  Με ένα μαχαίρι φιλεταρίσματος κόβουμε την κοιλιά και αφαιρούμε τη ραχοκοκκαλιά και καθαρίζουμε από άλλα εντόσθια.  Τις ξαναπλένουμε και τις στραγγίζουμε.  Τις βάζουμε σε μία σειρά σε ένα μπωλ και ρίχνουμε το ελαιόλαδο, το λεμόνι, τη ρίγανη, το αλάτι και το πιπέρι.

Σκεπάζουμε με μεμβράνη κουζίνας και το αφήνουμε στο ψυγεία για τουλάχιστον μία ώρα να μαριναριστούν.

Ψιλοκόβουμε το μαϊντανό,το κρεμμυδάκι και το σκόρδο και τα ανακατεύουμε με το πέστο.

Προθερμαίνουμε το γκριλ του φούρνου στους  180o C.  Στρώνουμε λαδόκολλα σε ένα ταψάκι.

Παίρνουμε τις σαρδέλλες και τις πιέζουμε με τα δάκτυλα να ανοίξουν.  Προσθέτουμε μια κουταλιά γέμιση και προσθέτουμε άλλη μία από πάνω.

Τις βάζουμε πάνω στο ταψάκι και ρίχνουμε τη μαρινάδα από πάνω.

Ψήνουμε για δέκα λεπτά από τη μία μεριά και δέκα από την άλλη.

Σερβίρουμε σαν συνοδευτικό με όσπρια ή σαν μεζέ για ούζο ή για τσίπουρο.

Kοπιάστε και Καλή Όρεξη!

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!

Back from Assini and progress of the house


We just came back from another trip to Nafplion.

The house is progressing swiftly and now all the bricks have been laid.   Next follows the electrical wiring and plumbing pipes, tubing etc.

The two chimnies are, one for the central heating and the other for the fireplace.  These will be morphed when bound together and will have some arches as well.  I forgot to mention that the arches are gothic, elements of Cypriot architecture.

This will be the kitchen / dining room.  The sink will be under the window on the right.  You can see this side of the kitchen in the next photo.

Next to the right window will be the fireplace.

The staircase leading up to the bedrooms is now ready.  Next to the staircase is the W.C.

One of the bedrooms is next to the bathroom.

Upstairs:

This is one of the bedrooms upstairs.  The closet will be on the wall next to the door and as it is not ver big, we came up with the idea of demolishing part of the bricks which are above the staircase.  The ceiling above the staircase is very high so we can take advantage of this space by replacing it by a second small storage closet.

The second bedroom and behind the wall is the W.C./Bathroom.

It was the first time I saw the view from upstairs and was secretly hoping to have even a distant view to the sea but unfortunately this is all we can get, not that I am complaining but it would be great and relaxing having a sea view 🙂Just before leaving my husband gave me a piece of orange blossoms and the smell was amazing all way back!

See “Recent Posts” for full text with pictures.

Tolo / Τολό


View of Tolo from Ancient Assini

Tolo is a small picturesque seaside village only 12 km south from Nafplion and 3 km from Assini Village and at a walking distance to Ancient Assini (around 1 km).

Το Τολό είναι ένα γραφικό παραθαλάσιο χωριό σε απόσταση 12 χλμ Νοτίως του Ναυπλίου και  απέχει 3 χλμ από το χωριό Ασίνη ενώ από την αρχαία Ασίνη είναι περίπου 1 χλμ.

Tolo is situated in a bay on the gulf of Argolis on the Eastern shores of Peloponnese.

Το Τολό βρίσκεται νοτίως τους Ναυπλίου, σε ένα κόλπο του Αργολικού Κόλπου, στην Ανατολική Πελοπόννησο.

It has beautiful sandy beaches which spread accross 2 km called “Psili Ammos” meaning thin sand and on the beach you can find restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, night clubs, souvenir shops etc.

Το Τολό απλώνεται σε έκταση 2 χμ. αμμώδους παραλίας, τη Ψιλή Άμμο, και κατά μήκος της παραλίας βρίσκονται τα εστιατόρια, οι καφετέριες, μπαρ, νυχτερινή διασκέδαση, ξενοδοχεία, τουριστικά μαγαζάκια με σουβερνίρ κλπ.

Opposite Tolo there are three islets, Romvi, Daskalio and Koronissi which can be visited by boat.  On Daskalio you can see the chapel of Zoodochou Pigis, which was built in 1688.

Απέναντι από το Τολό βρίσκονται τρία νησάκια, η Ρόμβη, το Δασκαλιό και το Κορωνήσι, τα οποία μπορείτε να επισκεφτείτε με βάρκα.  Στο Δασκαλιό βρίσκεται το εκκλησάκι της Ζωοδόχου Πηγής που κτίστηκε το 1688.

The history of this village is rather recent according to Greek standards and begins after the Independence War of 1821.  The Bay of Tolo and the neighbouring Ancient City of Assini have been know since Homeric times.   Homer mentions in The Iliad that the ancient port of Assini, was situated here in the bay and  it is was the from here, that the fleet of Assini departed to Troy and took part in the Trojan War.

View of Ancient Assini Acropolis f rom Tolo – Η Ακρόπολις της Αρχαίας Ασίνης από το Τολό.

Η ιστορία του χωριού είναι σχετικά πρόσφατη, δηλαδή μετά την Επανάσταση του 1821.  Ο κόλπος του Τολού που ήταν το επίνειο της Αρχαίας Ασίνης είναι γνωστά από τα Ομηρικά χρόνια, όπου ο Όμηρος αναφέρει ότι ο από εδώ ξεκίνησε ο στόλος για τον Τρωϊκό πόλεμο.

Many conquerors occupied the area from the Crusaders, to the Frankish rule, to the Venetians and the Turks.  During the Byzantine era, the bay served mainly as an auxiliary naval station to Nafplion and a place of the people of Nafplion to visit during the summer.  After the decline of the Byzantine Empire during the 12th century, it falls into the hands of the Franks, it is then taken over by the Venetians, who in their turn surrended it to the Ottomans in 1540 a.D.

Πολλοί κατακτητές πέρασαν από εδώ, από τους Σταυροφόρους, στους Φράγκους, Ενετούς και τους Τούρκους.  Κατά τους Βυζαντινούς χρόνους ο κόλπος χρησίμευε σαν βοηθητικός χώρος για προστασία του στόλου, αλλά ήταν και τόπος ψυχαγωγίας των κατοίκων του Ναυπλίου.   Κατά το 12ο αιώνα οι Σταυροφόροι καλαλαμβάνουν όλες τις περιοχές που είχαν οι Βυζαντινοί, μετά περνά στα χέρια των Φράγκων. στη συνέχεια εξαγοράζεται από τους Ενετούς, οι οποίοι με τη σειρά τους την παραχωρούν στους Οθωμανούς το 1540 μ.Χ.

In 1685, at the outbreak of the Morean War, the Doge of Venice, Morosini took command of a fleet against the Ottomans and 2.000 Greek volunteers joined him.  Over the next several years, he captured most of the Morea.  When he  was ordered to capture, Nafplio, the bay of Tolo was chosen as a place suitable as a base of operations for his expedition as it was the safest place in the region, while the shore was used for the army to camp. After the success of his expedition and until 1718 AD, when the area again was occupied by the Turkish, Tolo was used as a secondary naval station for the Venetian fleet.

Το 1685 ο Δόγης της Βενετίας Μοροζίνης, επικεφαλής του Ενετικού στόλου ξεκινά εκστρατεία με 2000 Έλληνες εθελοντές για την απελευθέρωση του Μωριά από τους Οθωμανούς.  Όταν παίρνει εντόλη να πολιορκήσει και να καταλάβει το Ναυπλίο, σαν σημείο κατάλληλο να δεχτεί τις δυνάμεις του και να αποτελέσει ορμητήριο της εκστρατείας του, επιλέγει τον κόλπο του Τολού, σαν το πιο ασφαλές λιμάνι της περιοχής.   Μέχρι και το 1718 μ.Χ. όταν η περιοχή περνά ξανά στα χέρια των Οθωμανών, το Τολό χρησιμοποιείται σαν ένας ασφαλές αγκυροβόλι για τον Ενετικό Στόλο, ενώ η παραλία χρησιμοποιήθηκε σαν χώρος καταυλισμού των στρατευμάτων.

Afther the Greek Independence in 1821, Nafplion became the first capital of Greece and from here the remaining Greek towns under Turkish rule were aided.  The new Governor of Greece Kapodistrias helped the Greek refugees, after being persecuted by the Turks from Crete, to settle here.  The village founded here at the Port of Tolo was named Minoa, in honour King Minos of Crete.  After the liberation of Crete the remaining refugees who remained here renamed the fishing village to Tolo in 1916.

Μετά την Επανάσταση του 1821, το Ναύπλιο γίνεται η Πρώτη πρωτεύουσα του νεοσύστατου Ελληνικού κράτους και από εκεί στέλλεται βοήθεια στις υπόλοιπες Ελληνικές πόλεις που ακόμη αγωνίζονταν για να απελευθερωθούν.  Ο Κυβερνήτης της Ελλάδας Ιωάννης Καποδίστριας, με ψήφισμα τον Μάρτιο του 1831 ξεκινάει μια προσπάθεια αποκατάστασης όσων αναγκάστηκαν να εγκαταλείψουν τα σπίτια τους και να προσφύγουν στην τότε ελέυθερη Ελλάδα, ειδικά τους πρόσφυγες από την Κρήτη και τους παραχωρεί το Τολό σαν χώρο εγκατάστασης.  Το χωριό ονομάζεται Μινώα προς τιμή του βασιλιά της Κρήτης Μίνωα.  Μετά την απελευθέρωση της Κρήτης όσοι από τους πρόσφυγες παρέμειναν στην περιοχή δημιουργήσαν ένα μικρό, γραφικό, ψαράδικο χωριό που ζούσε απομονωμένο, στους δικούς του ρυθμούς και το οποίο στα 1916 γίνεται η κοινότητα Τολού.

From the middle of the 20th Century it evolved into this beautiful touristic resort.  Close to many archaeological sites such as Mycenae, Epidauros and its natural beauties, its sandy coasts, deep blue waters, verdurous landscapes and untrodden spots, composing an unparalleled icon that shall bedazzle you

Από τα μέσα του 20ου αιώνα, εξελίσσεται σ’ αυτό το υπέροχο τουριστικό θέρετρο. Με εύκολη πρόσβαση σε πολλούς αρχαιολογικούς χώρους, όπως τις Μυκήνες, την Επίδαυρο κλπ. αλλά και γεμάτη από φυσικές ομορφιές, η περιοχή του Tολού σφύζει από εκτεταμένες αμμουδιές, καταγάλανα νερά, κατάφυτα τοπία και απάτητες γωνιές, συνθέτοντας μία απαράμιλλη εικόνα που θα σας εκθαμβώσει.

Finally from Tolo you can take daily cruises to Hydra, Spetses, Poros and Monemvassia.

Τέλος από εκεί μπορείτε να διοργανώσετε μονοήμερες εκδρομές στην Ύδρα,  Σπέτσες, Πόρο και  Μονεμβασιά.


Assini: the village and the Ancient Acropolis


Assini or Asine (Ασίνη) is a village in the prefecture of Argolida, belonging to the Municipality of Assini, (which includes the villages of Assini, Tolo, Iria, Drepano and Karnazeika). It is 8 km away from the town of Nafplion and 2 km before Ancient Assini. According to the census of 2001 the municipality has 6000 inhabitants, out of which (according to the census of 2001), 1.064 inhabitants live in Assini.

This is the main road of the village, which goes to Ancient Assini and Tolo. Road to the left goes to our house.

The population is mainly rural, cultivating citrus groves (oranges and tangerines), olives, vegetables, mostly artichokes and also people have fishing as their occupation. The past years the village being not far away from the sea and the most tourist developed resort of Tolo, has also developed tourist facilities as well.

Manoussakios Library
Aghia Paraskevi

Before reaching the village, 500 metres on the foothill of Profitis Elias, is the settlement of Aghia Paraskevi, with about 200 inhabitants enjoying a wonderful view of the plain around it.

View of Assini Village from Kastraki
Ancient Assini – known as Kastraki
Kastraki

The Acropolis of ancient Assini (or Asine), today known as Kastraki is a rocky promontory by a natural harbour in the Gulf of Argolis, near the town of Tolo. The promontory is 52 m above sea level; it is 330 m long and 150 m wide. Some have linked the silhouette of the rock to a ship with full sails.

According to Homer, Assini together with other Argive poleis (city states), such as Argos, Tyrinth and Epidavros, took part in the Trojan War with a fleet that consisted of 80 ships and was led by King Diomedes.

The Walls

The earliest traces of settlement on the Acropolis are from the Neolithic period (5th millennium b.C.). The site was subsequently settled during the Early Bronze Age (2600 – 1900 b.C.), during the Middle Bronze Age (1900 – 1550), during the Late Bronze Age (1550 – 1050 b.C.) and again during the historical period to 600 A.D.

Kastraki – The Walls from the Hellenistic period

The fortification walls around the Acropolis can be dated to 300 b.C. They were most likely built by Demetrios Poliorcetes, during his time as King of Macedonia. The main entrance lies in the north, with a side entrance in the east. The Great Bastion on the eastern side of the circuit wall, as well as two smaller towers on the acropolis, was built to resist catapults and other siege machines. The fortifications were added on to at least during the Byzantine (6th – 7th century A.D.) and the second Venetian (1686 – 1715) periods. During the Italian occupation in World War Two (1941 – 1943) trenches and other defense works were constructed on the Acropolis.

Archaeological excavations were conducted by Swedish Archaeologists between 1922 and 1930 in the main settlement on the Acropolis, in the Lower Town and on the Barbouna Hill. From the 1970s onwards, excavations were resumed by the Swedish Institute at Athens and by the 4th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities at Nafplion.

A ship wreck of the late Mycenaean period 1200 b.C., carrying cargo from both Crete and Cyprus was located near Cape Iria 14 km to the southeast of Assini at a depth of 28 m. The findings of the wreck such as pots, amphorae, ceramics, a stone anchor etc., are exhibited at the Museum of Spetses.

A terracotta head of the same period, known as the “Lord of Assini”, gave its name to a poem by the Nobel laureate G. Seferis. It was found in a cult room in one of the Late Bronze Age houses in the Lower Town and can be dated to 1200 – 1100 b.C.

Assini flourished again in early historical times, in the 8th century b.C (Late Geometric period). At this time the town had contacts with Athens, as well as the Cyclades and the southern Peloponnese. According to Pausanias, Assini was destroyed by neighbouring Argos, most likely around 700 b.C., as it had taken Sparta’s side in a war between those city states. The inhabitants were forcibly moved to the Assini of Messenia (today’s Koroni).

The settlement at Assini decline for a couple of centuries but the site was never abandoned completely. An Archaic shrine to Apollo (7th – 6th century b.C.) has been located on the top of the Barbouna Hill. However, there are no extant remains.

Houses from the Hellenistic period (3rd – 1st century b.C.) have been found as well as cisterns and olive presses both on the Acropolis and in the Lower Town. Hellenistic burials have also been found in the neighbourhood. The settlement at Assini continued into Roman times. Ruins of baths from this period (5th – 7th century A.D. can be seen in the Lower Town next to the picturesque chapel of Panaghia.

Archaeological Museum of Naflio

The findings from the excavations at Assini are mainly kept in the Nafplion Archaeological Museum. Some of the findings from the excavations of the 1920s are now in Sweden in accordance with an agreement between the Assini Committee of the 1920s and the then Greek Government.

(Source: Information board on site).

View from Castraki

At the Western side of the Promontory a small bay with organized facilities and a taverna.

The town of Tolo
View of Tolo from Kastraki

At the Eastern side of the Promontory

Assini Beach during winter

Back from Assini


Yesterday morning we left early in the morning for Nafplion.  The weather forecast was not  very encouraging and we were thinking of postponing the trip but we finally decided to go. It was cloudy and cold but at least it did not rain.

Today it was partly sunny, quite cold again and windy and although the locals were dressed in winter clothes, wearing jackets, the first tourists which have arrived seemed to be enjoying the sun, dressed up in shorts and summer clothes.

This morning we went for a walk at Assini beach and we were freezing but nonetheless a woman was skinny dipping as the beach was desserted.  When she saw us, she seemed puzzled but as we did not want to embarass her, we returned back to the hotel from a side road.

Yesterday we visited the house as there were a few things we had to decide on the spot.

As you can see in the pictures, the houses in Greece are built with cement and bricks.  All buildings must now meet strict levels of energy efficiency, using ever-more advanced insulation materials.

The semi-basement

The ground floor bedroom

View from the ground floor bedroom

A new house is now built in the plot next to us and a couple of new ones are being built opposite us.

This is part of ground floor, the living room, staircase, bathroom and W.C, which is partly under the staircase and behind the bricks is one of the bedrooms.  The other bedrooms and bathroom are on the top floor.

This will be the kitchen and the dining room.  Although at the beginning the plan was to have two windows on this side of the wall, facing the orange grove but I changed my mind and prefer that the window is facing towards the side verandah.

Kitchen Window

The internal staircase has not yet been built so I was afraid to go up the ladder to take some pictures.  Hopefully next week when we visit again the staircase will be ready so that I can take some pictures.  I am anxious to see the view from up there.

The citrus treas are now in full bloom and the air was full with the sweet aroma of citrus.

I am not sure what these citrus trees are but I remember last year seeing oranges, tangerines and bitter oranges on the trees.

Looking for Land


We often used to vaguely mention how great it would be if one day we could leave Athens and live in the countryside but this was far away in our future plans, as we were both young for retirement.

However, you never know what is in store for you and my husand “retired” or was rather forced to retire from the army when he was only 50 years old.   At that time I had already opened a bookstore, so he would help me there for some years.  Business was not going well but I had to keep it running for a few more years until I could apply for early retirement.

If I wanted full pension I would have to keep the business until I became at least 60 years old in order to retire.  Fortunately, for me there was a law at the time that if a woman at the age of 50 had at least been working for twenty years and had three children, the youngest being under 18 she could qualify for reduced pension.   Selling the bookstore was out of the question, although we tried but who would buy a business having no substantial profit and getting a job was also impossible at my age, as  the unemployment rate  in Greece is very high and even young people can’t get a job.  So I closed the shop just before Evangelia (Elia) turned 18 and I applied for early retirement.   Although it took almost 2 1/2 years to be approved but  I was lucky enough to benefit from this law as shortly after, this law was annulled.     That’s the time when I started blogging as a hobby.

Now that we were both “early pensioners” and free from obligations, I started telling my husband how great it would be if we could move to the countryside after Elia would turn 18. The idea matured in our heads and two years ago we started looking for a plot where we could build a small house where we could retire.

The seashore suburbs of Attica were out of the question for a few reasons. One was that the land was too expensive but also becauce the suburbs are now so crowded that it’s just like living in Athens and living in an apartment near the seaside was out of the question.  I wanted a house with a garden which would not be far away from the seaside but also not very far away from Athens.

We didn’t want to move too far away because our children would still be living in our house in Athens, so we decided to search within an area of two hours’ drive.

Our first choice would be the region around Nafplion.   When Elia was still in elementary school, her school organised an excursion there and it was love at first sight.  We started dreaming how great it would be if he manged to get transferred there but although we had applied many times, it was not in the cards, at least not in the near future.

During the past two years we have been traveling to Nafplion, every now and then meeting with real estate agents and we were so close to signing twice, when something went wrong just at the last minute.

The first house we really liked was one of a complex of three small houses.  Each one was 65 sq. metres and had two bedrooms, one bathroom and the rest of the house was an open spaced kitchen  with the living room.

However, it had a huge porch but most of all, each house had  1.500 sq metres land of its own, with an open view of  the Argolic citrus orchards in front of us.

This would be perfect to be used just as a summer house, as it was rather remote to live there year round.  We liked it for several reasons, the first being that it was within the limited budget we had set, it was only ten – fifteen minutes’ drive to Karathonas beach, it had a huge area to have a garden with lawn, it was partly furnished, all rooms had air-conditioning, it had a fireplace and it even had an inflatable, family sized swimming pool and part of the garden was cemented and arranged for the pool.

Before signing, we asked our lawyer to look into the legal formalities but to our disappointment, he advised us that although the property was big we were not allowed by law to build anything else or expand the present building, as it was outside the town limits.  Furthermore, the contractors were not in compliance with certain formalities of the law, so we had to reject it.

We continued searching and kept arranging appointments with real estate agents every now and then.    They showed us maisonettes which were small like pigeon holes, plots that were very far away from Nafplion, or in degraded areas where there were a lot of gypsies and thefts were a usual phaenomenon, others with existing small old houses which needed a lot of money to be renovated and other plots which we liked but were much above our budget.   The ones near the seaside or even with a distant view of the sea were very expensive.   Each time we left without finding anything, we were very disappointed.

In one of our visits, after over a year of searching, we finally found a second one we immediately liked.   It was a plot of land which was rather far away from Nafplion about 20 km but it had a fantastic view of the Argolic Gulf.    Nothing was built, except for a couple of houses in the far distance and the closest village was a couple of kilometres away.  The closest beach was Myloi, a seashore village about 15 km away but the beach was not so good as Karathonas but the view was fantastic and a little more effort getting to a decent beach was worth it.  The price, however, was high and after visiting a second time and bargaining we finally reached an agreement and we shook hands, which was almost like signing.  However, this was also too good to be true.  Just before signing we found out that the law changed and those plots were no longer in the town plans and were excluded from the building area.

Most of the weekends, we continued making trips around Athens, towards Evia,  Sounion, Corinth, Orea Eleni, Epidavros etc., but we did not like what we saw.

On one of our visits to Nafplion, after an exhausting day seeing many real estate agents, we were very disappointed for one more time and were thinking to give up.  Fortunately, the last one, who was the owner of the land and a contractor had an orange orchard in Assini which he decided to cut into building plots, I think they were about sixteen and he showed us the last two which were for sale.  Each plot wasn’t very big, it was only 350 square metres big, but at least we could build a 100 sq. metres house plus a semi-basement.

We liked it as it was only 2 km away from the beach and without any hesitation, we shook hands.

We returned back a couple of days later and signed the contracts early July 2010.

Hello Argolida!


Welcome to Gourmet Concoctions.  This is blog is mainly the chronicle of our relocation from Athens to Assini, in Argolida, Peloponnese, Greece!!

Why Gourmet Concoctions?   Well, I am a food blogger and after relocating, who knows, I may start a culinary business there or I may…….  Anyway, I have a few ideas going on in my mind but it’s too early to make plans and talk about them.

For the time being I am only dreaming…

The blog will be mainly written in English but when I will be adding some recipes, there will also be a translation in Greek.

Kopiaste!