Sunday, October 22, 2017

Greece: Oh Nuts! We missed the Chestnut Festival!

The Greeks know how to celebrate. They’ve got festivals for name days, saints days, and holidays. They even celebrate the sardine in our village. And just up the road there’s a village that celebrates the chestnut. 

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Chestnuts roasting on the open fire. . .Jack Frost definitely not nipping at the air
We’ve never been in town for the mid-summer sardine festival, but we haven't missed the chestnut festival for the last two years. We are simply, well. . . nuts about it! This year, however, our delayed return to Greece as the events unfolded related to selling our house in the U.S. meant that we arrived here just ahead of our houseguests and we set off on a road trip with them returning just before festival day. We skipped the festival to focus on household chores.  The good news is that by settling into full-time life in the Greek Peloponnese we’ll have no excuse for missing it and all the other festivals coming our way in the future.

One advantage of being a shutterbug is that you can relive those festivals with a click of a computer keyboard. So come, let us show you the festivals that we have attended:

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Chestnuts roasting - a very hot job
The village in which the festival is held in our area is named Kastania – for the chestnut tree, of course! And I should mention chestnut festivals are held in many villages in Greece – someday perhaps we’ll get to experience one in another region. However, it would be difficult to top this one.

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Festival central - in the middle of the village

On festival day the village square becomes ‘festival central’ as residents and visitors alike gather to eat, drink, visit and listen to music. . .and as the day becomes night, to dance if the notion strikes them.

Festivals we’ve attended in the village are remarkably commercial free – no corporation has naming rights to the square or the event, as has become the norm back in the States. And aside from a row of arts and crafts tables (items made locally) there is little call to spend money.

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Traditional bean soup - a festival highlight
We learned that at the first festival we attended when we attempted to buy two bowls of the traditional Greek bean soup. The aroma drew us to the taverna on the square where volunteers were ladling soup from an enormous vat and bowls lined the table. “We’d like to buy two bowls,” we said. Absolutely, not! They were free.

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Churches are open in the village
Many of the village churches are open during the festival and we never miss an opportunity to visit them. Kastania, a quiet little hamlet tucked away in the hills, is one of our favorite destinations.  We were a bit taken back when we visited on Easter Sunday and found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a Rick Steve’s tour group. (This American travel guru seems to have 'discovered' the Greek Peloponnese and he’s got some 20+ tour groups heading there in 2018. We hope he doesn’t do to it what he did to Paris’s Rue Cler, often called Rue Rick Steve’s for the guidebook toting tourists who patrol its streets seeking those places he recommends).

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Village streets wind up the hillside - too narrow for cars, you walk
The interior of this village, like so many in Greece, is accessed on foot.  Its pathways a maze among ancient stone walls and buildings, with some interesting nook or cranny at every turn. And because the village is on the hillside it makes for a good workout to walk from the lower town to the upper.

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Slate roof - up close as you head up through the village
Many of the village homes have slate for their roof.  The walkway takes you up close in a number of places.

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'Secret gardens' tucked away between the closely set buildings always seem like finding treasure as you happen upon them.

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Renovated tower overlooks the square

That’s it from us this week. We are busy settling into this full-time residency in Greece.  The fall planting is underway in our garden, the olive harvest is now days away. We've undertaken a new adventure: buying a car in Greece . . .it isn't as easy as you may think! (But it will certainly make for a future blog post, that's for sure.)  Thanks for your time and all the good wishes you sent after reading our last post. 

Until next time, our wishes for safe and healthy travels to you and your family.

Linking  up with these fine folks:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration

16 comments:

  1. I had my first taste of chestnuts last year in Spain where I handed over my €2 and got a cone of wonderful delishness. Yum! They are selling them here now in the stores so we'll have to figure out how to rig up a way to roast them. Or find out if there's a chestnut festival here in Portugal! 🙂
    Such a wonderful glimpse you've provided Jackie, of the small village of Kastania, with its narrow, pedestrian only streets winding towards the heart of the village. The slate roofs are amazing (how DO the roofs hold up their combined weight?) and I loved the 'secret' garden photo of the sunflower. It's hard to think of a gem of a place like Kastania being overrun by Rick Steve's book-toting tourists.
    Hope your weather is cooling down a bit as you gear up for your fall chores. And good luck with buying a car. I love how each puzzle piece that goes into settling in to life in a new country can be a story in itself!

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    1. The weather, like the landscape here, is dramatic. We went from a 70-degree summer-like Sunday to a 'wham bam thank you ma'am' Monday complete with power outages, howling wind and pounding rain (much needed in this drought year though). There is definitely a 'chill' in the air and autumn is peeking around the corner. Time to do some chestnut roasting by the open fire. . .

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  2. The Chestnut Festival sounds like fun. I would also enjoy the time to wander through the churches and secret gardens.

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    1. Oh Donna you are one person who I believe would love this festival! One day I hope you get to attend it or at least one like it!!

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  3. Congratulations on living in Greece full time and who wouldn't want to attend a sardine festival!

    Good luck buying the car. It brings back memories of the ordeals buying two different cars when we lived in Jamaica.

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    1. Buying a car, like buying a house, is a good reminder that 'we aren't in Kansas anymore, Toto!' Thanks for the visit and comment - it made me smile at the thought of your Jamaican experiences.

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  4. It's been years since I've seen chestnuts in the store! Brings back memories.
    Thanks for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/10/blacksmiths-at-work.html

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    1. Chestnuts do signify autumn don't they? Glad it brought back some memories!

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  5. We love chestnuts and this festival sounds like a real winner. I'm so enjoying your stories on getting to know your new home in Greece.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Sue and glad you are enjoying our tales from the Greek ex pat adventure!!

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  6. Yummm. I had my fill of chestnuts in Italy. But didn't realize they are also grown in Greece. Thanks for the enticing post.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Doreen. Suppose there is a market for chocolate dipped roasted chestnuts?

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  7. Here's to next years Chestnut Festival and a rewarding Olive Harvest in your greek stone house's garden. :) I've heard buying a car in Greece is quite the adventure :)

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  8. I have to admit I don't like chestnuts, but I always enjoy reading your updates! When is the sardine festival? I do like sardines!

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  9. O, you do lead such a fun and interesting life...I'm not sure I've ever tasted a chestnut but with the "chestnuts roasting in an open fire♪♪" on my mind, it always puts me in the Christmas mode.

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  10. Lovely shots and so interesting! I'd love to move to Greece. Right now I'm an ex-pat Brit living in Sweden.

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