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For every step human beings take, ‘place’ is his and her point of reference…and for every place, its points of references… are the steps of humanity in its long journey.
Walking along well-worn paths of Northern Greece through the four seasons, there are places where a visit is like a sacred pilgrimage to Nature.
At the foot of the imposing Mount Falakro – in a verdant well-watered area – the city of Drama was built.
Drama: The land of tobacco cultivation, of marble quaries…
of benefactors. As one would expect, Drama is also a land of
cultural endeavors, including the historic Short Film Festival – but nature always steals the scene, as there is also Ancient Idonida, with its fertile plain and its abundant waters. The land of Drama greets you from the depths of antiquity…from the time when its inhabitants cultivated the vine and worshipped the god Dionysus, those strong bonds enduring until today.
Our mission-show, in this episode, came face to face with the majesty of nature and the energy of the activities, creativity, and production driven by the souls of the people of Drama, embraced by the wonderful hospitality of Mrs. Eleni Tzamtzi at the KOUROS HOTEL.
The winery of Nicos Lazaridis offered us another dimension of the region through the world of wine, showing us the way they fuse all the senses into a totality of pleasure and delight poured into a single glass – and expressed also in the world of art through their famous labels.
Federico Lazaridis introduced us to the perpetual dialogue between wine, brush, and chisel they curate in the famous gallery ‘Magic Mountain’, which houses the works of all the important artists who have created the labels of the famous wines of the estate, among them Yannis Nikos.
From the “art of wisdom” that we touched upon in our wide-ranging conversation with Federico Lazaridis, we were transported to the “art of knowledge” of the new generation of wine makers through the scientific oenologist – his daughter of Federica Lazaridis!
Heading towards the village of Paranesti on the banks of the river Nestos, our meeting with Kostas Athanasiadis, firefighter, special rescuer of the EMAK unit, and man of outdoor recreational activities was one of the surprises that our “full of images and adrenaline” trip to the Prefecture of Drama had in store for us. Rafting and the Flying Fox AKA the Zip Line were the thrilling experiences that were added to our journey during the two-hour trip from beautiful Thessaloniki.
The charms of nature drew us into the fertile plain of the municipality of Prossotsani in the shadow of the Menikio mountain, landing us in the premises of the famous livestock unit ‘Menoikio’ of Mr. Vassilis Meleneklis … There you will see the fenced organic pasture area of 90 acres where thousands of sheep and goats graze freely, valued for our tables along with the area’s famous dairy and cheese products of unparalleled taste and unique nutritional value.
Learning about their high quality milking process, we found ourselves the next day at the premises of ‘Menoigios’ with the new generation of the company, the son of Vassilis, George Meleneklis who introduced us to their production methods.
A few kilometers away, our love for history led us to the Cave of Angitis Springs (Maaras) where the deputy mayor of Drama and its Lead Chanter Grigoris Papaemmanuel and the mayor of Prossotsani Theodoros Athanasiadis were waiting for us to guide us through the largest river-cave in Greece – with a length of about 15 kilometers, of which 500 meters can be visited. There are archaeological findings and it is richly ‘decorated’ with huge stalactites. Even Hollywood has been drawn to its beauty and magic – the site was chosen for Robert De Niro’s scenes in ‘The Tin Soldier’!”
For 120 years, taste has been meeting memory through the Sariboya family, which has guarded the recipe for sausages that evoke memories of another era… the SARY sausage company. Mr. Paraskevas Sariboya spoke to us emotionally about how the family came to Greece in 1890, having traditional recipes in their luggage for pastrami, soutzoukia, salami, and many other ‘Karamanlidika’ and ‘Politika’ i.e. from Constantinople and Cappadocia, recipes used to start their first workshop in 1938.
Today, the fourth generation continues ‘reverently’ the vision of the grandfather, following and adapting his recipes and advice to the requirements of today through their state-of-the-art facilities certified by ISO and HACCP.
CHARMING CHASMS AND CHILLING SKIING
One of the deepest chasms in Macedonia, (-111m) with a large opening and permanent snow at the bottom, is located at 2100 meters, near the chalet of the ski resort. There the team of Kostas Athanasiades welcomes the visitors to the prefecture of Drama, offering them, protected by the necessary safety measures, the exclusive experience of extreme sports and downhill skiing!
The “barren slopes of Falakro – ‘Bald Mountain’ – are filled with the “dense ‘vegetation’ of entertainment and action” at the ski center, the chalet and its café, which offer shelter with a capacity of 45 beds for those who love the contact with the magic of nature in all seasons of the year. As one of the four friends who have taken over the facility, Stavros Theodoridis, tells us: “The ski resort, with 21 slopes, a total length of 20 km, with its multiple facilities, is the starting point for easy and short ascents to the highest peaks of the mountain.”
The epilogue of this special journey comes to us through a special experience at the ‘Ktima Genima Psyche’ of the Manolisakis family, which has been active in viticulture and winemaking since 1989, a key period that coincides with the beginning of the vineyards of the Adrianis area in Drama and the cultivation of the cosmopolitan French varieties Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah.
None of us expected that a few meters away from the estate, among vineyards and freshly blooming almond trees… we would experience the hospitality of… Crete through Stavros Manolessakis, in the context of a beautiful farm and a wooden house with traditional architecture and a fireplace where his commendable cooking welcomed the Lenten season with good company and of course, his delicious award-winning wines, named after his daughters… ‘Anastasia’ and ‘Pelagia’ …!
Follow us on Instagram: Clelia Charissis, apostoli_mission
Many thanks to:
– Grigoris Papaemmanuel, Deputy Regional Governor of Drama
– Theodoros Athanasiadis, Mayor of Prossotsani
– Federico and Federica Lazaridi of the winery Nico Lazaridi
– The Menoikio dairy and Mr. Vassilis Meleneklis
– The Manolesakis Winery and Stavros Manolesakis
– Paraskevas Sariboya and the sausage producers SARY
– Kostas Athanasiades, EMAK Special Rescuer
– Dimitrios Katrantzis
– Konstantinos Bidakis, photographer of guidebooks of Drama of the ΚΥΚΛΩΨ company.
– The team of Stavros Thodorides at the Drama Ski Resort
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