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Autumn trip to Metsovo

14 October 2014 / 13:10:32  GRReporter
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Pindus Mountain, a centuries-old tradition, nature, mountainous relief, natural beauty and rare flora and fauna, Metsovo guarantees you all this and more. It is enough to pack and set off to the Ioannina area, about 400 km away from Athens, and particularly to the mountain town with 3,000 inhabitants and 1,600 m altitude in the heart of Pindus, which means that you must put warm clothes in your suitcase.
     With its name that comes from the Slavic word for "bear" and the "ovo" ending (which means "village"), Metsovo has a lot to offer to those who travel during all seasons, although the majority of them associate it solely with winter destinations. The beauty of the town goes beyond the stereotypes and its traditional atmosphere impresses in different ways all year round. Cobbled streets, traditional fountains, stone houses and, on top of this, nature that remains timeless and resists the tourist requirements, thus preserving all its splendour. A typical example is the clothing preferences of some of the older inhabitants who still wear their traditional costumes and continue to speak the local Wallachian dialect.

     Let us start with the cultural sites. In the restored mansion of the Tositsa family you can visit the Ethnographic Museum of Metsovo and admire embroideries, paintings, ornaments and household items, traditional carved wooden furniture, costumes embroidered with gold threads, weapons, coins, farm tools and other exhibits that will help you understand what exactly Metsovo is like.
     The Averoff gallery (named after Evangelos Averoff-Tositsa from Metsovo) offers you the opportunity to enjoy a rich and impressive collection of paintings by Greek painters who lived and worked during the XIX-XX centuries, and a remarkable collection of sculptures and engravings.
     The Averofios garden should definitely be part of your walk. The park covers an area of ​​10 acres and is home to all wood species of Pindus Mountain. If you like walking, you will find different paths with signs that will take you to Valia Kalda National Park and Mount Mavrovouni. The village of the same name is the mountain refuge for 30 people, where you can stay overnight.
     An important site in the area is the dam Pigon Aou (which means the Springs of Aou) where you can try your luck amidst the spellbinding landscape if you are keen anglers. It is worth stopping off at Gina mill on Arachtos River bank, which for years used the waterpower to convert it into mechanical energy for grain grinding.

     Those who like church tourism can choose between the "Holy Sunday" church in the centre of the town, which is perhaps its most important church, "St. Nicholas" with its wooden bell tower and "The Assumption" or "St. Charalambos" with its two ambos.
     If we talk about cuisine, Metsovo offers plenty of smells and flavours that you can try. First in terms of taste and fame are the local cheeses metsovone and metsovela. The town also produces graviera and kefalograviera cheese, yogurt and butter, and is famous for its wine production. You can add to your culinary enlightenment a visit to the exemplary dairy of Tositsa-Averoff Foundation where you can obtain selected products and see the underground Averoff Winery with its hundreds of oak barrels and facilities for wine maturing. Do not leave before you try traditional dishes like lamb with cauliflower, Metsovo sausage, goat stew, grilled lamb offal and pies! A lot of pies!

     If you want to enrich your travelling experience in the region, organize your own excursions near Metsovo. In winter you can visit the ski centres of Karakoli and Politses, located 2 km and 5 km away from Metsovo respectively, and the ski centre Anilio which is located 6 km away from the town and the construction of which lasted from 1998 to 2012.   
     A walk from the traditional village Milia through Anthohori to the ski resort of Anilio and Votonosi where you will hear the Wallachian language quite a lot, will complete your escape around this different area of Greece making it unforgettable.  
Translated by Vladimira Godinyachka

Tags: MetsovoIoanninaPindus MountainEvangelos Averoffthe Tositsa familyTraditional Greek villageAutumn vacation
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