August 21, 2015
After three years of inhaling the diesel fumes of Paris, I have had the chance to spend a few weeks in Metsovo, in northern Greece. Known to the Greeks and the Bulgarians as Vlachs and to the rest of the Europeans as Aromanians, the Latin dialect-speaking community of Metsovo are a warm and welcoming lot and their small town atop the Pindus mountains is spotlessly clean. The fresh mountain air and the multitude of springs are complemented by an excellent local cheese production, which can make gourmet food lovers’ voyage worth their while. Specialities such as Graviera, Metsovone and Parmesan cheese are best accompanied by a bottle of locally-produced Averoff wine.
Less visited in summer, Metsovo comes to life in winter as one of Greece’s chief ski resorts. Accommodation is plentiful and good quality, while prices are moderate. There are 3, 4 or 5-star hotels, some fitted with indoor swimming pools. Ease of access is another plus, as driving there on the scenic Egnatia freeway – one of the EU’s finest – takes about 3 hours from Thessaloniki airport.
Naturally, one won’t find the same abundance of products on supermarket shelves as before the crisis, but all the basic foodstuffs, drinks and hygiene items are available, and the pharmacies seem to be well-stocked. The local artisans, on the other hand, have a spectacular array of Byzantine-style jewellery for sale, and the restaurants and taverns offer some of the best lamb dishes in Greece.Florian Pantazi