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A Day in the Life of Kleisoura Village, Greece

A+Day+in+the+Life+of+Kleisoura+Village%2C+Greece

                                                                    

 

Have you ever spent a day in a small village in Greece? Let me share my experience with you.   But first let me introduce you to the Village.  The name of the village is Kleisoura, which in Greek means closed, as the Village is surrounded by mountains. It is located 400 km away from Athens .The largest nearby city is Ioannina which is 35 km away.

About 150 people live permanently in the village. There are very few children living in the Village.   Every official is elected and is managed by the president (Georgia Tolimanolis who has had this elected position for 5 years.)    The Louros River passes through the village. The village has one of the largest sycamore forests in the Balkans. On the other side of the village is a castle fortress built by the Ottoman lord who ruled Epirus in1800. It is in the shape of a cross. It is one of its kind.

The folklore museum is located in the village of Gymnotopos (which literally means naked place.)    The museum as well as the church next to it dates back to 1860.  This building was for many years been a school and only in the last 2 years was  converted into a museum of traditional art.

The inhabitants of the village of Kleisoura, as well as the inhabitants of most of the nearby villages, are engaged in animal husbandry and agriculture. They have goats and sheep from which the world famous Greek feta cheese is produced.    They grow olives, lemons, oranges and corn.

Now that I have introduced you to the Village, let me share my day spent in Kleisoura Village and the wonderful people my husband and I met.

Our day started with a morning bus ride from where our small ship was docked, Preveza. We drove through a winding road which eventually got narrower until the bus could not go any further.  Our first visit was at the museum, where we had to climb up several steps to get to it. We were met by Irini Papaioannou (Irene) and the ladies of the women#39s society .These ladies produce local products, sweets, salty and liqueurs which they share with us.

We were shown with descriptions  of all the articles that were recovered way back from the 1860 including the remnants of the school room.  Led by Irene, the President and the whole town, they are working hard to preserve this part of their history through donations and stories /donations from people from the outside who come to visit, like our group.

We were then treated with Christmas dessert called melomakarono” shaped like a small donut drizzled with honey and powdered sugar.  YUM!

Next stop was at the President’s home where we were greeted with a powerful alcoholic drink called Drakea. Georgia then took us to her kitchen and all of us were given a chore to do, to make spinach pie and the Greek tzatziki. Oh what FUN! Just like one big happy family trying to prepare for a holiday feast.   While the spinach pie was baking, we all trekked downtown to their one of a kind restaurant. Here we ate all the food we prepared in Georgia’s house. Was it ever so delicious! Prepared by all of 23 of us including our guide, Christo.We had the most informative conversations with the locals that were in the restaurant as well as the servers; most of them spoke English.

We left the Village with new found friends, acquired a better understanding of another part of the world and its people. Lesson learned: no matter our differences we can all live in peace and harmony; proven by the time spent in a day in the life of Kleisours Village, Greece.

 

 

Mari-Lou Wong-Chong is the chairperson of the Brunswick County Intercultural Festival.  She is also a chartered member of Brunswick county Toastmasters Club

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