Day 01Friday, Oct 18, 2019
- Arrival at Athens (D)
Upon your arrival in Athens, you will be picked up from the airport by one of the team leaders or a Rahhalah representative, and you will be transferred to the hotel, somewhere close to the center of Athens. Recommended arrival time: 3 pm at the latest. In the afternoon, you will head towards the old neighborhoods of Athens, and you will ramble around the picturesque alleys, observing the kaleidoscopic co-existence of the Ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern Greek eras. It is an excellent opportunity to hone your photographic skills, experimenting with colors, angles, and meanings. You will also pass through the Anafiotika neighborhood – fondly referred to as “an island within a city” – from where you will enjoy the sunset and a panoramic view of the city. You will finish the day in the oldest tavern of Plaka, dining on traditional local delicacies while singing and dancing – the Greek way.
Day 02Saturday, Oct 19, 2019
- Athens - Vrachni village (B, L, D)
After breakfast, you will start the day in the hills opposite Acropolis: the Filopappou Hill (or Hill of the Muses), Pnyka, and the Hill of Nymphs. There, under the shade of the pine trees, you will hear the story of the city of Athens: the ups and downs, the golden eras and the dark ages, the differences with other well-known Greek towns, the importance of its famous monuments, and the impact of the city in Greece’s as well as the world’s history. From these hills, you will enjoy panoramic views of the Parthenon, you will visit the place where Democracy was implemented, and you will walk downhill passing in front of the Old Observatory building on your way to a few other interesting neighborhoods: Thiseio, Monastiraki, and Psirri. After lunch, you will return to the hotel to pick up your luggage and drive towards Vrachni village, close to Kalavryta in Peloponnese. Perched at 1100 m above sea level, Vrachni, along with Souvardo, are the highest (in terms of altitude), inhabited villages in Kalavryta area. The region is thought to have been first inhabited in the mid-8th century AD. The landscape is verdant green, with fir trees and running water. It is a village that is cared for by its residents with a lot of love and creative energy. Despite its tiny size, you will even find an open-air theatre opposite the Church of the Saints Theodori. After a three-hour drive, you will reach the village and the family house of Nancy (one of the trip leaders) where you will live, for a few days, like a local. This will be your home for the rest of the trip. After dinner, you will enjoy an evening tea, coffee, or drink around the fireplace, sharing stories from the region, and listening to the sounds of the nearby forest.
Day 03Sunday, Oct 20, 2019
- Tsivlou lake / Kalavryta town (B, L,D)
After breakfast, you will drive towards Tsivlou lake, one of the most beautiful lakes of Peloponnese. Located at 800 m of altitude, it is surrounded by forest that slides down to the water edge and offers an excellent opportunity for short hikes and relaxation. You will walk on the path that goes around the whole lake (a 2-hour easy trek), connecting with nature and learning to notice the details which, despite their importance, we often take for granted. Based on the season, it is highly likely that you will observe several kinds of mushrooms in the forest. You will enjoy lunch at a nearby tavern, and then you will head to Kalavryta, roaming around the alleys of the picturesque town, passing by the memorial site that shares a message of peace, and stopping at the delicatessen shop of Mr Marossis who will take you on a journey through the tastes of the region. You will have dinner at a local tavern and then return home for another beautiful evening with tea, coffee, or a drink next to the fireplace.
Day 04Monday, Oct 21, 2019
- Cave of Lakes / Planitero village/ Visit to a honey producer and honey tasting Souvardo village (B, L, D)
After breakfast, you will drive towards the Cave of Lakes, which is an old subterranean cave consisting of three levels. During the winter when the snow melts, it is transformed into a flowing stream with waterfalls. During the summer, it dries up, leaving behind 13 lakes. After the cave, you will visit Planitero village with its amazing plane-tree forest. You will explore the old settlements of the area while walking in pristine forests of fir, cypress, walnut, and chestnut trees, and, then, you will enjoy lunch at the trout-growing farm of the village. Later, you will pass by one of the honey production facilities of the region, learning more about the life and work of the bees, and tasting the numerous varieties of honey (pine, thyme, oak, forest, flower, orange, etc.) that the region offers. In the afternoon, we will walk around the village of Vrahni, getting acquainted with the local flora and fauna, enjoying the serenity on the mountains as the sun sets, and cooking a light dinner at home.
Day 05Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019
- Mushroom hunting / Cooking lesson (B, L,D)
This day, you will head to some of the secret corners of the mountains, where, accompanied by a local expert, you will search for mushrooms. Edible mushrooms are not easy to find, so this will be a fun adventure – like a treasure hunt – that will bathe you in the magical energy of the forest. In the afternoon, you will head to the local restaurant “Spiti tis Marios” where, with the help of the well-known chef and his wife, you will learn several recipes on how to cook wild mushrooms, and you will dine on your creations.
Day 06Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019
- Vouraikos gorge/ Athens / Departure (B)
After breakfast, you will pack your luggage to return to Athens. At Kalavryta, you will take the odontotos rack railway to Diakofto village, following the direction of the Vouraikos gorge, passing through several tunnels and a landscape of breathtaking beauty. The specific experience has been described by the British Guardian as one of the top 10 public transport rides in the world, so get ready to be amazed! From Diakofto, you will continue again with the cars towards Athens and the airport for your departure flights. Recommended departure time: after 4 pm.