23 July 2024
Escapes

A trip to the Homeland of God Pan, Arcadia

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“From the olden days and up through all the years from Arcadia to the stone fields of Inisheer. Some say the Gods are just a myth but guess who I’ve been dancing with…The great god Pan is alive” Waterboys, “The Return of Pan”

The pastoral utopia which still offers the idyllic vision of unspoiled beauty and harmony has been a source of inspiration for Virgil in his Divine Comedy, often referred to as Arcady, for the Renaissance writers, when they needed to describe paradise and for Sir Thomas More who in his book “Utopia” described Arcadia as a place, untouched by human civilization, thus not corrupted.

Only a  two hour drive from the chaos of Athens and you find yourself immersed in the wilderness of nature, mesmerized by the traditional architecture of the picturesque villages and the most welcoming accommodation since Arcadia is considered one of the most popular Autumn and Winter retreats.I have visited several times this land and I always find something new to add in my to do and repeat list because once you go there you always want to return.

Arcadia, located in the center of Peloponnese, the unseen presence of the mythic God Pan is felt intensely here.

The Waterboys

So if your adventurous nature drives you to the historical Arcadian mountains here are some places you wouldn’t want to miss.

  • The house of Kolokotronisin Libovisi, the main historical figure  of the War for the Greek Independence (1821-1832)
  • The more than 1000 year old The Holy Monastery of the Philosopher  built inside a cave is said to have served as a secret school during the Ottoman Rule.The half kilometer hiking down to the old monastery into the landscape of the Lousios river gorge is totally worth the effort. On your way back to the New Monastery the priests will welcome you with a sweet treat “loukoumi” and you get to ring the bell and receive their blessings.
  • If you want to have a taste of Arcadia, Liaropoulos Traditional Products  is the meeting point of food lovers in Vityna. Christos , the owner, will welcome you with the most amazing treat, goat gruyere with cranberries, followed by a showcase of traditional pasta, different types of honey and spoon sweets.Don’t forget to add mountain tea and herbs  in your basket.
  • Kapnopoleio , an old tobacco shop which has turned into the best place for your coffee break or evening drinks.Try the white chocolate with the dried rose petals and make sure one of your friends stays sober because the cocktail’s list is long and irresistible.
  • An organic winery taken out of a fairy tale, Kalogri located in the village of Kapsia on the road to Vityna.In the restored building of 1870 visitors are learning about the history of the family while tasting the different wines accompanied by homemade pies, bread with petimezi, apples,  olives, and cheese.Each room is decorated with vintage toys from the 1940s and there is a beautiful collection of dolls and puppets which adds a special note to your magical journey,
  • When I visit this region I always stay at Levidi Suites , a family owned pet friendly hotel with the most welcoming owners and an exquisite interior decor that respects the aesthetics of the region but at the same time provides the comfort of modern living.Their breakfast buffet  is always a beautiful surprise but wait till you try trahana with honey. You will want to book your next stay immediately.
  • Make sure you visit the historical village of Zatouna  where the famous Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis was exiled with his family during the Greek Junta.On your way there you might want to listen to his music embraces the spirit of fighting for one’s ideals and freedom but also the necessity of love in our everyday life.Greeks are a combination of epic and lyric, of rock and sea, just like our beautiful country.

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