The mountain village Paleochori
The mountain village Paleochori has approximately 2000 inhabitants and is located about 40 kilometres at the east of Kavalla in the backcountry. The trip over Eleftheroupoli is rich of fabulous panoramas and also Paleochori itself has a lot of optical attractions. On an afforested mountain upside the village, an old byzantine fortress is enthroned on that it is possible to walk and in the evenings it is illuminated.
From there, the view goes over the wide extended Philippi lowlands bordered by mountains up to Drama, that is 30 kilometres away. Beneath in Paleochori, it is very contemplative if the church bells would not bell on a sunday at 7 a.m. and get one close to a heartache. They have nothing in common with the soft german tolling, and this thought was until then completely new to us; they rather want to transmit by the sudden, frantic and exorbitant noisy employment: "Church!!! Now!!!!".
The divine service of three hours that, for western Europeans, was held in a monotone sounding singsong, is transmitted to the whole village through loudspeakers. At least it seems so. The melon sellers that drove small trucks were not less daunting, who, in the early mornings preferrably stopped at the windows of the bedrooms and invited the residents, weaponed with old megaphones, to buy their goods. Those who don't know the national language rather think the house is cornered and that they have to get our rapidly with hands up.
The centre of Paleochoris represents, as in all other traditional villages, the plaza. It concerns a street on which there taverns and Restaurants string that only serve typical national food. The center is made by a little plaza with seats. Here is where the village life happens, as greeks do mantain and enjoy the community and association in the open air until deep in the night. On large and small tv-devices there is some sport programe and greek music sounds from the loudspeakers or some people meet around a bouzouki player and sing some traditional and melancholic sounding songs about love, but in fact the songs are not blue.
Elsewhere, people sit together under big trees and talk - or keep silent. Aside the plaza, Paleochori is very angled, labyrinthine and accords to 100% to the association of a greek mountain village of west European people. Narrow and steeply alleys, bloomy gardens, dry courses of stream, white houses withe red roof tiles and squiggled balconies, old tractors, pensioners sitting outside their houses, and, of course some alley dogs.
In fact, nothing really happens here, if there is not a wedding or a greek bank holiday in schedule, but this"nothing" is absolutely sufficient to feel this effect by having a mythos-beer.
As tourists are mostly unknown in Paleochori and we definitely don't look like locals, many a gaze followed us. But this was not based on hostility or any other kind of aversion to us, but only to the fact that there was something new to look at. Maybe it was also due to the reason that us men, our hair was long and had straight three pretty women in tow. But as we meanwhile knew a considerable part of the village due to the relatedness to our tourist guide, we also could stroll over the plaza and greet the people in a cool way and consider us as a part of the village residents.
Conclusion of our trip to Greece
With Greece we were introduced to a country which inhabitants cling a lot on their traditions and mantain them. In the first place, there is the family, that also includes distantly related relationships. As the friends of the family also are very significant, we soon had the feeling to be a part of this selective community. In general, there is to conclude that anywhere we were, we experienced an unlimited hospitality.
Furthermore, we got the pleasure to discover some greek curiosities and originalities and to learn from the own ignorance. For example, an important information to know is that the greek word for man begins with an "A". Those who had to choose the right toilet door can avoid an embarrassment with this information. The word that does not begin with an "A", is consequently for the ladies. By the way, nodding with the head means "no" in Greece, whereas shaking the head means "yes". This hint is decisive if, for example, one has to communicate in one of the numerous kiosks that are completely stuffed from top to bottom.
Moreover, many greek men were named Kosta, Niko oder Jorgos, this is related to the fact that the names for males are given according to a certain kinsmanlike principle. During the conversations it can happen that for the outsiders, it is not clear of whom the conversation is about. Many other things that caught our attention or happened to us I already told in the travel report.But a thing, and indeed the only thing that could be made better is specially kept in my mind: the greek country roadsides partly look like garbage dumps and this is due to the reason that the principle "out of sight out of mind" seems to predominate. In this concern, considerable clarification is needed in Greece.
But all things considered I can resume that the part of Greece that we have visited was absolutely woth the travel in the scenical, cultural and human respect. Those who are ready to look during the vacation beyond one's own nose will surely take a permanent impression home, like we did.
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Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz