Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Roasted goat and more....

I hope you’ve had all a nice Eastern! At least I did, as I have celebrated it with a Greek family (see last post). Kostas and Eva had invited us.

One of our presents, a delicious strwaberry cake (although, the sales woman told us that there was chocolate in it....)
First, Elise and me went to the international church here in Thessaloniki and after that we drove with Elizabeth and Hannah (2 woman from Sweden) to the Greek family. We drove out of Thessaloniki and higher into the mountains. The view was so beautiful. Also the house of the mother of Kostas was really nice. It didn’t look big from the outside, but when we entered the house, there was a lot more space than I thought it would be.
As it is a Greek tradition, there was a whole goat roasted in the backyard, where we also ate.
In times like this, it’s a pity that I don’t eat meat, because it smelled really good, and it is of course a Greek tradition. But I ate a lot of other Greek food as well. Of course, there was the spinach pie, green salad (not spinach, but something else that I do not know the name of), some pasta of fish eggs (no caviar ;-) ), which was really good. And of course rice stuffed in vine leaves and roasted/grilled peppers with vinegar could not be missed at this meal. They both have a specific taste, but I really like them. So I ate a lot…. The Greek people (4 persons from the age of 60) could not speak English, but they did speak German, so I still could have a conversation, which was really nice.
Kostas and Victor (with the winning egg)
The view from the house, and the house itself were beautiful. It was outside Thessaloniki, more upon the hill, so you could see Thessaloniki and the whole bay lying in the sun.

Afterwards we went to an other Greek family, also known from the church. They lived nearby, so it was easy to pass that house as well. Here I got a piece of chocolate pie. As you can read, eastern is not very good for my weight ;-), I really ate a lot.
They had also Greek music on, and some women started to dance. Of course I had to join, but according to me, the Greek dances are not so swingin.
"I feel like dancing, dancing..."

Hannah acting weird ;-)
In my last post, I told about the skirt that I bought for Eastern. Unfortunately, I discovered some holes in it, so I returned to the Zara today. I actually wanted a new one, but all skirts in my size were broken (either holes or buttons missing). So I received my money back, and I’ll hope I find another skirt, just as beautiful as that one was… Elise picking flowers, during our walk after dinner. As real Dutch/Belgian people, we of course had to make a walk through this beautiful peace of nature.

Only one night of sleep and then we’re off: to Santorini! We’ll take the train tomorrow morning at 7:35 a.m. (Grôôô….zzzz). After a journey of more than 6 hours, we will arrive in Athens, where Mieke will be waiting for us. We will stay the night over in Athens and on Thursday in the morning we will take the boat to Santorini. I’m really excited to go, as Santorini seems to be the most beautiful island of Greece. Most of the pictures with the white houses and blue sky and sea, that are always put on books and postcards, are taken on Santorini. So I will finally see that part of Greece, that I’ve come here for ;-). We’ve also heard from a girl here, that it was already possible to swim in the sea (nearby Thessaloniki), so we’ll definitely go to the beach one time. Santorini is also famous because of the volcano that once split the island in 2 parts. One of the parts has sunk to the bottom of the ocean:

Modern Santorini
Santorini was annexed by
Greece in 1912. Major settlements in Santorini include Fira (Phira), Oia, Emporio, Kamari, Imerovigli, Pyrgos and Therasia. Akrotiri is a major archaeological site with ruins from the Minoan era. The island has no rivers and water is scarce. Until the early nineties locals used to fill water cisterns from the rain that fell on their roofs and courts, from small springs as well as by importing it from other areas of Greece. Nowadays, there is a desalination plant that provides running, yet nonpotable, water to most houses. The primary industry of Santorini is tourism and in the summer the island can get quite crowded. The pumice quarries have been closed since 1986 in order to preserve the caldera of Santorini. Santorini is home to a small but flourishing wine industry, based on the indigenous grape variety, Assyrtiko. Assyrtiko vines are extremely old and are resistant to phylloxera. Consequently they did not need to be replaced during the great phylloxera epidemic of the early 20th century. Assyrtiko Vines are well adapted to the Santorini habitat and are planted far apart as their principal source of moisture is dew. They are trained in the shape of baskets, with the grapes hanging inside to protect them from the winds. Also unique is the red, sweet and extremely strong Vinsanto.

White wines from the island are extremely dry with a strong, citrus scent; the ash resulting from volcanoes, gives the white wines a bit of a mineral/smoke flavor much like the Visanto. It is not easy to be a wine grower in Santorini, the hot and dry climate gives the soil a low productivity. The yield per acre is only 10 to 20% of the yields that are common in France and California. That said, the wine can be delicious. It has a hint of a smokey flavor, the latter undoubtedly from the still active volcano.
1707 an undersea volcano breached the sea surface forming the current centre of activity at Nea Kameni, and eruptions centred on it continue—three times in the twentieth century, the last being in 1950. Santorini was also struck by a devastating earthquake in 1956. At some time in the future, it will almost certainly erupt violently again. Although the volcano rests at the present time, at the current active crater [there are several former craters on Nea Kameni] steam and sulphur are given off.

So, I’ll go and pack my bags now. Let’s see what Santorini will bring.

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