My husband and I had been looking forward to this Easter holiday since we booked a package tour a few weeks ago. It was a dream holiday come true. Pelion - the blessed mountain of the Centaurs according to Greek mythology - has always exerted a strange fascination on me. Funnily enough, I usually hate holidays in the mountains, but our Easter holiday at Pelion, Greece was a memorable one. Pelion is a mountain situated at the southeastern part of Thessaly blessed with a unique natural beauty.
DAY 1 - FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2016
I woke up early in the morning and went walking and soon afterwards I finished packing. A taxi drove us to Larnaca International Airport at 10:45 and I was glad to see that we had plenty of time for a cup of coffee and some shopping. We flew Blue Air, which left on time, at 12:45 am, and landed us safely at Macedonia Airport in Thessaloniki two hours later. A modern , comfortable coach drove us to Volos and from there to Portaria, Pelion. After a half-hour stop at the outskirts of Katerini, we arrived at Portaria at about 8:00 pm. Alkis and I had booked a package Easter holiday which did not specify the kind of accommodation we'd paid for. But, we didn't really mind as our one and only wish was to discover the unique beauties of Pelion.
To our surprise, Naoumides Guest House was beyond our expectations. A very polite lady welcomed us to her superb mansion which dates back to 1839. It has been refurbished respecting the traditional architecture while offering all 5-star hotel facilities in our room, such as bathrobes, towel slippers, television and a mini bar. In the mini bar there were two small bottles of mineral water and two small bottles of vodka..... on the house! As neither Alkis nor me drink vodka, we asked for two more bottles of mineral water. When we asked for the bill, we were told they were on the house! We had dinner at a local tavern and then joined the procession of Epitaphios.
DAY 2 - Saturday, April 30 2016
Today's programme included a day trip to Meteora but as Alkis and I have already been there twice, we decided to skip the excursion and explore Volos instead. The picturesque city of Volos dominates the prefecture of Magnesia at the foot of Mount Pelion overlooking the Pagasetic Gulf. Situated in central Greece, it is by far one of the most alluring areas in Thessaly. Built near the ancient city of Iolkos, it is regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Greece. After a long walk along the seafront, we enjoyed coffee and bougatsa at one of the cafés overlooking the sea. We took a taxi back to Portaria after having done some shopping in Volos. At midnight, we attended the Resurrection Service at the church of Portaria. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated at 0:00 sharp with drum beats, loudly pealing church bells and fireworks. We hold a candle in order to receive the holy light. Soon afterwards, a festive late dinner follows consisting of "magiritsa" - the Greek Easter soup and roast kid goat served with salad and potatoes. We also crack red eggs. The cracking symbolises the breaking open of the tomb and Jesus' Resurrection from the dead. Two people compete by holding their respective eggs in their hand and tapping at each other's egg. The goal is to crack the other player's egg! Alkis cracked mine and he was the winner for this Easter. This festive late dinner, included in our package, was arranged at Kritsa's Restaurant. Unfortunately, it was very disappointing. Both the soup and the meat were cold and the service was terribly slow.
DAY 3 - Easter Sunday - May 1, 2016
Soon after breakfast, we enjoyed strolling along the narrow roads of Portaria before joining the festive Easter lunch consisting of various starters, salads and lamb on the spit. Soon after lunch, we had the pleasure to discover the beautiful village of Milies in Western Pelion.