Monday, November 23, 2015

Autumn In Greece ~ Days of Thanks-giving

The days are shorter now and the air softer in The Mani, the part of the Greek Peloponnese that we call home a part of the year. Jeans and long-sleeved shirts are the gear for watching the sun quietly slip away shortly after 5 p.m. – a much different sunset than those of the spring when at 9:30 p.m. it was boldly and blindingly still taking aim at the horizon.

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Sunset from the village of Stoupa
 
Even the morning sun’s arrival over the hill on which our house sits seems slow and timid compared to even a few weeks ago, in early October, when we came for our autumn stay. But even with a kinder sun, daytime temperatures are still reaching the 70F-degree level at times. We’ve been experiencing an Indian Summer, or Little St. Dimetrios summer, as they say around here.

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The Stone House and the Hill on which it sits

Stateside social media friends are reporting their hectic pace of preparations for Thanksgiving Day. It is curious to read their reports from afar where Thursday will be just other weekday – no marathon football on television, no stuffed turkey, no pumpkin pie. We do send holiday greetings to all who will be celebrating the day.

Instead of just one, here, you might say, our autumn has been filled with many  ‘thanks-giving’ days, including:

Oxi Day October 28th, celebrated annually in Greece since back in World War II when the Greek Prime Minister said “Oxi!” to Mussolini’s plan to bring Italian troops into the country. Oxi, pronounced, ohh-hee, means ‘no’. The nearby village of Kardamyli was decked out for the day and hosted a parade and presentations by students from schools throughout the area. That is the major autumn holiday in this part of the world.

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Students wearing school uniforms and traditional dress dance on Oxi Day
The Chestnut Festival – A small village, Kastania, tucked away in the hills behind us hosts an annual Chestnut Festival of singing, dancing and eating which draws hundreds from as far away as Athens (a four hour drive). We didn’t let a rain-storm keep us away – nor did others who made the trek to celebrate.

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Roasting chestnuts at Katania's Fourth Annual Chestnut Festival

Olive Harvest: The hills are alive with the sound of chainsaws and tree shakers. The pace of the harvest has intensified with the olive presses running into the late night hours. (Glad we beat the crowds and can now sit back and literally enjoy the fruits of our labors).

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Waiting their turn in the press - bags of olives 

Days spent with friends ~ We had two sets of ‘courageous couples’ who made the trip from Washington State to spend a few days with us this fall. They were adventuresome enough to get off the well-trod Greek tourist track and explore the beauty of this peninsula. There is nothing better than sharing a morning’s cup of coffee or an evening’s glass of wine with friends and doing a lot of exploring in between!

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Memories made in The Mani

The Days the Cats Returned – All of our previously reported upon stray cats are now present and enjoying life – with plenty of food and beverages – at The Stone House on the Hill. That would include Princess and Tom who we introduced you to last winter and Mom and the two kittens, now teenagers, who you met last spring.

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Tom, left, and Princess have returned
And hen there have been those ordinary-but-very-extraordinary kind of days . . .

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The Mani

‘It was one of the loveliest days in early autumn,
the general atmosphere had a tendency to subdue everything of the heart
and threw me into a thoughtful mood.’
    -- Charles Lanman, 1840

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The sea - The Mani

‘Autumn is the perfect time to take account of what we’ve done,
what we didn’t do,
and what we’d like to do next year.’
    -- Author Unknown

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A walk beyond Trahila

‘Autumn is the hush before winter.’ – French Proverb

And as always we are thankful for all of you who take a break from your busy lives to spend time with us!  We hope you are having a lovely autumn and that whatever the holiday is you are celebrating, it will be filled with happiness.  Hope to see you back again soon ~ in our next post I’ll tell you our off-the-grid plans for Christmas!

Linking up this week:
Travel Photo Thursday
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration
Mosaic MondayThrough My Lens
Photo Friday Wordless Wednesday


50 comments:

  1. HOw lovely to live in Greece at this time of year. Visiting Greece is stil on my bucket list.

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    1. Thanks Diet for stopping by today. Greece should be high on everyone's bucket list and autumn is a lovely time to be here!

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  2. HOw lovely to live in Greece at this time of year. Visiting Greece is stil on my bucket list.

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  3. Nice to see this part of the world in pictures.

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    1. Carin, Glad you enjoyed your stop at TravelnWrite. Hope to see you here soon - and that you become a regular in the comment section!

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  4. WONDERFUL!!
    Thank you to bring me my big love Greece into my house!
    Efxaristo poli! :)
    I travel every year to Greece, mostly to the Islands and one day I hope to stay a little bit longer than only 2 weeks in summer.
    Many greetings from Germany,
    Susi

    http://allemeineleidenschaften.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hello Susie in Germany! So nice to see a comment from you here at TravelnWrite. Do come back as we also love Greece and I write about it often. Thanks so much for your visit! Jackie

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  5. Those views are so stunning. :-) How I wish I could attend the chestnut festival. I have a jar of chestnut cream that's been sitting in my cupboard for three years because I don't know what to do with it and always forget to look something up. :-)

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    1. It was pouring down rain the day of the festival so we didn't stay as long as we would have in great weather, but next year I plan to return and see the village in its true autumn splendor. Happy week to you my friend!

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    1. Thank you - from you, who posts such beautiful things, I take that as a real compliment!

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  7. Even with all the celebrations the lifestyle seems serene.

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    1. It is! Not sure how we are going to adapt back in the Seattle setting after this kick-back sort of life here. Happy Thanksgiving Gaelyn!

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  8. Love seeing the photos of Greece and reading about your adventures. So glad you are enjoying all of the festivities and the local culture. Please have a Mai Tai or two for us at Chuck's. Wish we were there to toast with you!

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    1. We will toast you several times at Chuck's. Keep your Tales from The South Pacific coming. We love them!

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  9. Ahhhh, autumn in shorts and shirt sleeves. Love it!

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    1. So then it was a dark and stormy night, and day, and night. . .and winter arrived. But still warm outside so can't complain. Thanks for the visit!!

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  10. Jackie, I love the idea of Oxi Day, and it's origin. Of course, you can lure me anywhere for olives! At the chestnut festival, was it only about roasting chestnuts, or was there related baking and other food? Either way - sounds like much fun.

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    1. There was other food as well, including an enormous pot of bean soup that when we tried to buy two bowls of it were told, "You don't pay for this - it is made by the village" it was absolutely incredible. I'll post more photos of it one day soon.

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  12. Beautiful photos. Thanksgiving should not be relegated to a single day and you've shown a lot to be thankful for each day.The festivals all sound like fun. We've also noticed a change in how and where the sun rises and sets in our part of Canada, but temperatures are much cooler than 70F.

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    1. Well in the last week they dropped here as well Donna but the forecast is for more sun and warmer temperatures beginning today. . .hmmmm, it was clear last night but now we have a heavy cloud cover. . . .

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  13. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday but isn't it great to avoid the frantic hustle of the holiday season in the US and learn about new holidays in other countries? And, from your photos, I can see why Greece has stolen your heart. One of these days we'll have to head to your adopted country!

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    1. Well make sure you come visit us if you find yourselves heading to Greece! And yes, it is nice to avoid that hustle of the holidays and just enjoy its approach!

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  14. Greece in the off-season sounds so interesting and authentic. What's it like in say January/February?

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    1. We were here in early January this year and found the weather to be a mix of sunny days that reached the 60's and some stormy days when the wind and rain were horrendous. A nice mix and certainly worth experiencing sometime. The only thing about a visit then would be limited restaurants and accommodations, but someone is always operating something so you'd always find a place to stay and something to eat!

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  15. I have always wanted to live in Greece.... this time of year looks very lovely

    Mollyxxx

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    1. Molly you would love living in Greece. And autumn here - just as everyone told us it would be - has been spectacular! Thanks for stopping by, hope you'll be back soon!

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  16. Beautiful, Jackie. Your new life sounds idyllic. Thanks for sharing just a little part with us. Look forward to reading about your next post.
    Enjoy the weekend!

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    1. Well there are always a few moments that leave you wondering if you've lost your mind in leaping into a new culture but even those times are good for a laugh later! Thanks for stopping by Marcia!

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  17. You have captured some incredible photos! I love those last three shots in particular, and I really enjoy following your ex-pat adventures.

    Thank you for sharing with us at Photo Friday!

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    1. And as always, my thanks for taking on Photo Friday - it is filled with wonderful photos from some mighty talented folks!

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  18. Awesome shots! What a great place to visit.

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    1. Thanks much! Glad you enjoyed the post. It is a stunning place to be sure.

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  19. It was lovely to catch up via this post and see how life in the Mani is going - beautifully I see. It would have been lovely to share it with your friends.

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    1. Jan hopefully your travels will bring you this way sometime and you'll get a tour as well! Glad you enjoyed this sneak peak at life in The Mani.

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  20. Hello, the Greek festivals all sound like a fun time. I love the beautiful views and lovely scenes and photos. I would have to pinch myself if I lived there, it is a gorgeous place. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

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    1. Hi Eileen, you would simply love the simplicity of the Greek festivals - but somehow they are so much more interesting than those grandiose affairs we sometimes have in the States! Happy weekend ahead - thanks for the visit!

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  21. Wonderful photos from Greece. It must be very nice living there!

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    1. It will be difficult to leave when this season's visit comes to an end, but Schengen countries do require us to do so but then I guess I can look forward to my return in the spring!

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  22. Thank you for sharing the festivals you have celebrated! The photos are breathtaking and leave me speechless! Wishing you well!!!

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    1. Cathy, thank you so much for stopping by and taking time to leave a comment. Both your time and thoughts are so appreciated. Please come back often!

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  23. Attending those Greek festivals must be so much fun! Glad you had some friends to share your beautiful piece of Greece with. Always enjoy your photos!

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    1. It was great fun - simple, sincere celebrations. No big hype, no big commercial sponsors, just people celebrating together. It is so refreshing!

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  24. I remember how you were concerned about the cats, glad they're back and feeling your love again. A chestnut festival would be amazing, there used to be street vendors in Toronto selling them hot in paper bags, wonder if they still do?

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    1. I am already fretting about leaving those little furry ones again Judith but my neighbor keeps reminding me that they will fend for themselves when I am not here. My maternal instincts are brought out by them. I'll have to write more about the festivals as they were so much fun!

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  25. Those last three photos were really fantastic! And you need to circle your Stone House on the Hill so that I can find it in the photo, ha ha. I can just imagine the aroma of that Chestnut Festival. So, it sounds like you weren't desperate to fashion some sort of American Thanksgiving. We always tried to do it when we were in Malaysia with varying degrees of success. I must say that it's made me appreciate being back in the States at the end of November.

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    1. It is the house on the far right in that row of stone houses about half way up the hill. And no, Thanksgiving was an easy holiday to miss around our house.

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  26. Wow - all those sacks of olives! What a great series of pictures - I love the last shot especially.

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    1. Thanks much, Ruth. Glad you enjoyed the photos. Hope you'll be back soon~

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