The day was promising and the sun was shining while raising and glowing. A perfect day for Hiking Agrafa! Another great day was starting at Montanema, where we would meet Constantinos, our initiator into the hiking paths of Agrafa and the healing herbs of the mountain.
But first, breakfast time at Agrafa.
We were very curious to see what the kitchen team of Montanema Handmade Village would serve for breakfast. Last night’s dinner was amazing and we heard that a great organic breakfast would welcome us the next morning. We were glad as hiking Agrafa would probably need a good type of energy into our bodies. Plus, we had no idea where we would go.
The dining room, where breakfast was also served, was a completely different thing in daylight. Everything was glowing and the view from our table was even more spectacular.
Despite the fact that we could order any kind of coffee from the kitchen, and have our eggs made either scrambled, toasted or any in other way, the actual variety of healthy organic freshly made & picked nutritional different foods was sufficient to eat plenty.
The butter was freshly made and all ingredients were hand picked by locals.
Do read on as we also participated in the process of making Chilopites from just-picked fresh ingredients.
The first route of Hiking Agrafa with Constantinos
Constantinos -our arranged guide from Montanema- proved to be a low-key and peaceful guy with a vast wealth of knowledge for Agrafa and herbs, and not only that.
He explained to us -with many details- the way nature works and a way to approach the essence of different herbs.
While taking a turn we saw the house of one of the owners of Montanema Handmade Village. The house seemed to be completely one with nature!
Another evidence that the owners and people of Montanema are pro for Eco-responsibility was this next to our hotel: A simple compost installation.
As we were moving on with our hiking in Agrafa, the scenery was becoming more and more beautiful and we started hearing the sound of waterfalls and small rivers.
After passing through some tricky points here is what we saw along the route.
Here is a short video we took near an old stone bridge along the hiking path.
After that point we continued to find the end of the trail along with the old watermill, which we eventually found.
We stayed there for around 10 minutes and after drinking some great fresh spring water we took the path back to the hotel, where more things were about to happen! Pleasant things along with one more hiking route, that happened after several glasses of Tsipouro (strong Greek alcohol drink).
Second route of Hiking Agrafa
Of course, we were hungry despite the huge breakfast we had!
The Montanema team had a surprise for us: A “pandaisia” (closest word is feast) of Mezedes (variety of Greek snacks) along with Tsipouro, under the sun by their pool. What a perfect thing at a perfect time of the day.
Along with Constantinos we discussed on doing an off-schedule hiking route which started from Montanema, ending to Saint George Chapel we were seeing afar from our seats by the pool. Constantinos – a natural walking philosopher- was more than happy that we wanted to do this and we did it.
The route was equally beautiful and the church was very old and very nice. But what we enjoyed most was the amazing quietness of the route. That part of the forest felt differently and along with hearing about the different herbs we met along the route we felt our minds getting even more clear.
Cannot describe it further, you need to try it.
The surprises from Montanema Keep On Going!
Artemis -our village host- told us about a surprise experience which we would have. She made us extremely curious for this one. Little did we know for how many things we would learn.
It was a mission! The mission was to make Chilopites (kind of Greek Noodles) but to get involved in the whole process. For that you mainly need: Milk, Eggs, Flour.
So, here it goes.
We milked the sheep: We went to a “stani” (place where sheep are kept) and we got acquainted with our breakfast milk providers. Our task was to milk the sheep by using our hands. The milk was to be boiled and become the ingredient number one. So, we milked the sheep and with the common effort of all us amateur shepherds we gathered it in a large metalic bowl (usually named “kardara”). Mission task 1 completed.
We collected the eggs at the same place: Some hens were not that happy for doing it but we had to collect them. Eggs -collected in cane baskets- were given to the head of ceremonies (Artemis) along with the milk. Mission task 2 completed.
Get the flour: We were driven a bit far from the “stani” to a local modern mill where we would collect our fresh organic, non-additives, fresh flour. The mill owner explained us the process of things, the different kinds of seads, how to evaluate quality of flour and many more. Flour acquired, mission task 3 completed.
Bake them all: We were driven to “Karagouna”. A traditional “chilopites” maker where all the ingredients would be mixed and then mashed inside a machine, where at its end point they would come out in the form of “Chilopites”. Mission task 4 completed.
No need to say we ate those “Chilopites” at dinner, along with great red wine and meat and terrific galaktoboureko for dessert.
And you know what?
Seems like when you get involved in the whole process you evaluate your food differently and actually tastes differently.
OK. It was night time! We had done and learned so many things in Montanema. From hiking Agrafa to even more hiking and making our own food.
But did it ended there? No! We had the pleasure of taking a short but impressive photography course by Dimitris Asithianakis, where he explained lots of the secrets of DSLR photography and lighting!
Life is about experiences and make the best of time given. And we got all of these in this amazing place. I learned that they will open a spa and a conference/events room, along with mountain bike facilities. That would be a reason to go back again and get more pictures!
You can find many details in Montanema Handmade Village website. Just click here .