Παρασκευή, 12 Ιανουαρίου 2018

New US Travel Advisory Says Greece Safe Destination




Greece is among the world’s safest destinations, according to a new travel advisory system announced Wednesday, by the US State Department.

Under the four-level advisory, Greece is listed as a “level 1” country, the lowest rating calling on travelers to “exercise normal precautions”,

The new ranking system assesses security conditions for American holidaymakers to countries worldwide.

“The State Department’s new Travel Advisory Program, launched today, assigns every country a level of advice ranging from 1 to 4.  Greece received a Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions rating that should have American tourists packing their bags to come,” said the US embassy’s Athens consular section via its twitter account.

‘Pack your bags and come’

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt invited US travelers to come to Greece via his own twitter account on Wednesday: “Greece at the best level of the State Department’s new Travel Advisory Program. I’m looking forward to seeing even more American tourists here in Greece in the year ahead.”

The ambassador added that “Greece is a pillar of stability in a volatile region, and the stronger Greece is, the stronger and more secure its neighborhood will be,” in a comment to Greek daily Kathimerini titled the “Road Ahead for Greece”.
US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt.

Pyatt went on to say that 2018 will be a critical year for Greece as it is on the verge of leaving the crisis. “The good news is that the Greek economy is showing renewed signs of life.”

Underlining the “resilience and spirit of the Greek people in the face of an unprecedented economic crisis”, Pyatt stressed that “Greece’s challenge now is to pursue a path that will bring renewed prosperity to its citizens, hope to its young people, and security to the region”.

The US diplomat concluded that obstacles must be overcome including those related to privatizations and economic reforms such as the “frequent changes in the tax and regulatory regime” which “risk scaring away foreign capital at the moment when Greece is poised to move forward”.
(Source: GTP)

Psiloritis: The sacred mountain of Crete (PHOTOS)

The cradle of Zeus, the cave of Idaion Antro, has always been the reason for Psiloritis to be glorified & regarded as sacred

 
The stone giant of Crete, a natural border between the Earth and the Sky, dominates the whole of the island. Mountainous villages perched on the edge of a precipice; caves of unique beauty; impressing karstic formations; gorges in thick shade; plateaus and alpine areas; all that and many more make up the unbeatable scenery.

The mountain chain of Idi, also known as Psiloritis, unveils all the beauty of Crete under its snow-capped peaks: the White Mountains in the west; Mount Dikti in the east; the plain of Messara, the Asteroussia Mountains and the Libyan Sea in the south; Herakeion and Rethymno in the north.

In the Doric atmosphere of this rugged land, proud, dashing and strong men are bred to farm for a living and search for the real meaning of life in the simplicity and wisdom of nature.
  
Nature’s gifts

According to Herodotus, Psilorits was once covered by thick forests where all the endemic Cretan species used to live.

The largest one of the few surviving forests is situated at Gergeri near Herakleion; it is the oak forest of Rouvas, home to the rare species of the local flora and fauna, such as the Cretan wild cat. Smaller forests are situated on the plateau of Vromonero, at Kroussonas near Herakleion, and at Zaros and Pardi, near Rethymno.

The non-forested peaks are ruled by birds of prey such as the bearded vulture, the golden eagle, the falcon, and the royal eagle.


In 2001 the Psiloritis Geopark was founded and it is now part of the network of UNESCO Geoparks. Hiking on the mountain equals an ecological and geological delight in the heart of an awesome landscape.

At the shrubby foot of the mountain bloom iris and crocus flowers, along with other wild ones, that have been decorating the land of Crete since the Minoan years. Among the wonders of nature, let us mention the springs at Spili, Lake Votomos at Zaros, the gorges of Agios Nikolaos, of Vorizia, and of Almyros.

Last but not least, at the area of Zoniana there is one of the most significant caves in Greece with impressing stalactites and stalagmites, named “tou Sfendoni i Trypa”.


 Sightseeing

The cradle of Zeus, the father of Gods and humans, the cave of Idaion Antro has always been the reason for Psiloritis to be glorified and regarded as sacred.

The largest well-preserved Minoan mansion lies at the archaeological site of Zominthos.

Christianity has left its mark here too: on the peak of Timios Stavros (2.456m) the highest one of the mountain chain, stands the stone church by the same name (meaning “Holy Cross”).

Some more religious points of interest include the legendary monastery of Arkadi, as well as those of Diskourio and Chalepa.


The road to the top!

Hiking to the top will be an arduous task, especially in the winter.

Take along your equipment and sufficient water supplies (no water available after 1.500m) and brace yourselves for a long and difficult walk.

The path E4 is the best marked one starting at the plateau of Nida. Once on the peak of Timios Stavros, seek refuge in the church and enjoy the breathtaking view.

Activities

The international event Psiloritis Race will be a perfect alternative for those visiting the area next June.

What is more, you can do mountaineering, caving/spelunking, paragliding, mountain biking, and climbing, or opt for off road jeep fun.

Source: visitgreece.gr

Mediterranean Cooking: Beetroot leaves, artichoke and celeriac salad

By: Elias Mamalakis | |


Make this nutritious salad, add some fresh cheese if you like and enjoy it as a light dinner along with crusty bread.

Serves 4 Prep. Time: 15′ Cooks in: 10′ Ready in: 25′

Ingredients
200 g beetroot leaves, washed, dry, chopped
4 artichoke hearts, sliced
1 medium celeriac, peeled, diced

For the dressing
1 tbsp grape molasses
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp fresh pomegranate juice
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt, black pepper

Method

Step 1
Bring 500 ml water in a small pan to a boil. Add 1 tsp salt and boil artichoke and celeriac for 7-10′. Drain and dry.

Step 2
Toss all salad ingredients in a bowl and arrange on a serving platter.

Step 3
Prepare the dressing by whisking all ingredients with salt and pepper. Drizzle salad and serve.

Πέμπτη, 23 Νοεμβρίου 2017

Photo of the day

We LOVE Autumn at the beach...

Plakias Suites

GfK Study: Greece Among World’s Top 5 for Tourism Reputation




Greece is ranked fifth among the top five countries in terms of global perception for tourism in the latest Anholt-GfK Nation Brands IndexSM (NBISM) study, after Italy, France, the UK, and Spain.

According to the same study – which measures 50 countries as perceived in terms of culture, governance, people, exports, tourism, and immigration-investment – France has jumped to second place for the first time since 2009, the UK is third, Japan entered the top five for the first time since 2011 with the US dropping significantly in global perception.

Meanwhile, despite the perception of Germany improving across all six categories with higher ratings for its culture (+1.07), governance (+1.28), and people (+1.34), it still hasn’t made it into the top five countries for tourism. Germany’s overall score was boosted by improved perceptions among Egyptians (+5.92), Russians (+2.26), Chinese (+2.17) and Italians (+2.06).


Global perception of the UK has also improved after it lost ground following the Brexit vote with its overall index score back to 2015 levels marking improvement across all six categories. The UK’s largest gains were for governance and people.

“The Nation Brands Index allows our clients to understand where – and why – their nation stands in terms of their current image, momentum and potential,” said Vadim Volos, GfK’s senior VP of public affairs and consulting, adding that “Changing global perception of a national brand is challenging and slow – but countries can influence biased or outdated perceptions by understanding the negative views and actively communicating actions and changes that address those.”
(Source: Gtp)

Τρίτη, 17 Οκτωβρίου 2017

Ouzo Appetizers: a Flavourful Ritual

 Cheers, or as we say in Greek “Ya mas!”

Ouzo is Greece’s national spirit, a strong anise flavoured drink, reminiscent of Greek summer.

Greeks drink it along with good friends, either straight or watered down, with plenty of ice and always accompanied by delicious appetizers, called ‘meze’ in Greek.

The strong flavour of the spirit actually ‘begs’ for a spicy, salty, or even sourish ‘meze’, usually served on little plates decorating the table’s surface right before you start eating and drinking. 
Ouzo is served bulk or in a carafe, in tall spindly glasses.

With its stimulating and strong anise aroma it promises to tickle your taste buds. Greeks are very fond of gathering with friends around a table eating, drinking, laughing and toasting each other.

Ouzo simply completes the picture and helps out in getting the spirits higher and higher. Traditionally restaurants will bring you another meze every time you order a new carafe of ouzo.

First servings usually consist of olives, cured sardines, some cheese, pickles or cold sliced meats pinned with toothpicks and at every round of ouzo the appetisers differ.

Of course the variety of the meze may vary from one location to the other and from one season to the next.
Flavours will differ between a mountainous village in winter and the ones you’ll taste in a seaside village in summer.

 Ouzo drink is much better when it is accompanied by the little plates filled with delicious tidbits!

Taste the seafood plates such as octopus (which are first hanged in the sun and then grilled on the barbeque), saganaki shrimps (tomato sauce, cheese and shrimps cooked in a pan,) steamed mussels, marinated anchovies with parsley and garlic, fried calamari (squid) and a variety of shellfish served with lemon juice.

Next on the menu is anything that is cured: sardines, mackerel, sliced meats (such as salamaki or pastourmas,) strong cheese (such as ladotyri, kefalotyri and grilled feta with tomato and hot pepper.) This ‘drinking-spree’ is without a doubt incomplete if you don’t accompany it with tzatziki (a creamy appetiser made with yogurt, cucumber and garlic), eggplant salad or tyrokafteri (creamed feta cheese with kerato spicy peppers.)

If you can’t decide which one of all you want you can order a variety of the above mentioned ‘mezes’ and savour a little bit of everything!
(source: Visit Greece)