On the weekend of 24-27th of April 2015, members of Travel Bloggers Greece were invited to experience and explore the Montanema Handmade Village located in the gorge of Anthohori which is a magical spot in the heart of the mountains.
We departed Athens by car at around 14:00 pm on Friday afternoon and had reached the city of Karditsa, located in western Thessaly which is the Central part of Greece at around 18:00 pm. Here, we were going to meet our fellow travel bloggers, Family Goes Out who were traveling by train in order to write about the train travel experience. Karditsa Railway Station is the nearest train stop to the Montanema Handmade Village and is approximately a 40 minute drive by car. Once the whole team met up we drove to the resort, to find ourselves at an altitude of about 1,000 meters high in the middle of a remote rural area, with the most breathtaking view amidst a pristine forest.
We were met by Artemis Kokkinou, who unlike the usual titles that you will find in hotels has a unique one of a Village Hostess, unique as everything else that one will find in this magical place. The sun had already set, and the sky had taken on the shade of dark blue as we were being led to our guest houses. We would only experience the majestic colours of this village the following morning.
My house was a spacious one, a Family Home with the name of Melea which translating from Greek means Apple Blossoms. When entering the lodge I immediately felt the love for detail from the walls to the furniture, the bathroom, linen and the amenities which make a guest’s stay more comfortable. My home for the following three nights was definitely grand for one person.
The Family homes range from 73 to 85 square meters and have a separate sitting room with a fireplace and a kitchenette area equipped with all the necessities and of course coffee making facility. My bedroom had a king size bed with antiallergic and ecological mattress and quilt as well as a fireplace which I greatly enjoyed lighting in the evenings. The fabrics were so soft and inviting that you wanted to spend the whole day in bed, and right from the bedroom opened the view to the gorge and forest. The lodge has a separate bedroom with two single beds which is ideal for families or for a group of friends.
The bathroom was equally inviting and spacious, with luxurious bath towels and bathrobes as well as natural handmade cosmetics without chemicals. This resort is eco-friendly and nothing here goes to waste. Lighting the fireplace is easy because the hotel provides each lodge with a specially created homemade paper wrapped bun that uses leftover oil from frying and by placing it in the middle of the fire and with just one movement of lighting the match; your fire is already lit. Recycling is very popular around here.
Once settled in our accommodation we were invited to our first dinner in the Fournia restaurant, which is a word inspired by the local dialect meaning the wood fired brick ovens. Here everything is handmade from bread to exquisite traditional pies, to slow cooked meats, salads and much more. You have to really try it in order to understand what I am talking about. The food here is an experience of its own.
For our first dinner we tried a special homemade pie with one of the ingredients being pligouri which is “bulgur” in English. For the main dish we tried the most delicious slow cooked pork and potatoes prepared in the wooden over called Salmi. For desert we were served the local Greek yogurt with sweet carrot.
Breakfast here is something worth mentioning, from local bread to homemade butter, a selection of homemade jams, the freshest eggs that you will try which are actually so yellow, a shade that you will rarely see as the chickens are fed corn thus the eggs have this rich yellow colour.
Greek yogurt is served with a selection of cereals and nuts for every taste. Everything here is traditional. The menu here is never the same as the restaurant serves dishes depending on what the nature has to offer during each season. Throughout our stay we also enjoyed local red wine or else known as the brusco red (robust red) wine which comes from a small winery in the neighbourhood of “Herema”.
The staff of Montanema Handmade Village was extremely helpful and friendly, making us all feel like at home from day one of our arrival and throughout our stay. We even got to see the 3 wooden ovens where the local ladies prepared our daily meals. I can go on forever about the wonderful hospitality that we have received but as the saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words, I hope that I have managed to capture some of these experiences in my photos. I will be sharing more of our adventures and the local area in my next posts.
The Members of Travel Bloggers Greece who participated in this trip are: