Our traditional family cottage hides in a small village called Ambelohori on Tzoumerka mountains. It is an ideal retreat for lovers of nature, lovers of rafting and of hiking, and for anyone who wants to explore the picturesque villages of the area.
The village of Ambelohori (also known in the area as Skloupo) was my grandma's birthplace. Our house is built on the spot where my grandma's house used to be and which was eventually abandoned and left to crumble. My mom decided to build a new house on the same spot back in 1992 as a way to reconnect with her roots, after her father (my grandpa) passed away. It's built with love and filled with good memories of all the summer, Easter and Christmas vacations we have had there. We still love to visit, but since it's far away from Athens where we live (some 6-7 hours drive), we cannot visit very often.
Our house is the ideal retreat for people who want to leave the city behind and come closer to nature and even to their own selves. Authors could really find inspiration here, couples could fall in love all over again, and lovers of anything rustic will think they have landed in rustic heaven. My mom decorated it consulting her own memories of the way traditional houses were. She chose items used by her grandmother, embroideries made by my grandmother and furniture she's been collecting forever.
Our house is built on a plot with inclination, so it has three levels, plus a garden and space for parking one car. It can accommodate up to 9 guests. Please note that because of the plot's inclination there are two sets os stairs from the parking space to the front entrance, so if you are bringing a lot of luggage it may prove cumbersome to carry them in the house and may require quite a few rounds.
The ground floor has two bedrooms and a bathroom. The one room features a double bed, bedside table, an extra table, and closets. The other bedroom, right across the bathroom, features two single beds, a bedside table, and closets. The bathroom features a bathtub and a washing machine, which you are welcome to use.
The 1st floor reached via a staircase, is the living room area where traditionally the family used to gather around the fireplace. Left and right of the fireplace, there are two sofa beds (called ‘basia’) where the family would sleep because it was warm. The living room features a dining table, which you can also use as a workspace. Next to the top of the staircase there is an elevated space called ‘krevata’ (typical in traditional houses of the area) that features one more bed and a chest of drawers. A kitchenette is located right next to the living room with fridge, oven, coffee maker and kettle.
From the living room, you have access to the balcony where you can enjoy your breakfast while taking in the view of the amazing mountains and the famous in the area ‘Strogoula’ mountain top. Early in the morning, you can see the mist rising from the river that is hiding low among the mountains. This is my favorite spot in the house.
The basement level, which was built with the stones of the original house, has a room, with ensuite WC, and an independent entrance, so it is ideal for couples who are traveling with friends but want some privacy.
The house is self-catering. Towels, sheets, pillows, and blankets will be at your disposal and if you are staying for more than five days you will be provided with an extra pair of towels and sheets. The water heater is powered electrically and the house is heated with radiators.
You have access to the whole house, but if you are not interested in sleeping in the basement room, you won't have access to that.
Interazione con gli ospiti
Unfortunately, my mom and I live in Athens, so we won't be able to welcome you and take care of you personally. However, a good friend of ours will be there to welcome you, show you around the house, and provide any assistance you may need during your stay. Her contact details (name and phone number) will be made available to you after your booking is confirmed. Talking about booking, I will be handling it myself and I will always be just an email or phone call away to answer any questions you may have about our house.
Altre cose da evidenziare
Always make sure you are traveling with a mobile phone that works abroad so that we can communicate and so that you can reach out in case of an emergency.
The village is small and remote. The closest biggest village (Pramanda) is half an hour away and the nearest city (Ioannina) an hour away. Depending on how many days you are planning to stay, make sure you do some shopping before you come here (things you may need for breakfast or meals).
If you plan to come during the summer, you could choose the dates around the local fest organized annually in honor of one of the village's patron saints, Saint Paraskevi (July 26). Many people visit for the fest and the village is at its best. You can even participate in the festivities and join in on the traditional folk dances danced on the square.
As is the case with all country homes, especially in mountainous areas, sometimes you have to deal with unexpected guests, like spiders, lizards, scorpions and other bugs. No need to be alarmed but be aware. When I take a shower, for example, I always make sure there are no bugs hiding in my towel...Still, no bug has ever bitten us, except for mosquitos in the summer.
- Please treat our home with love and consideration.
- No smoking is allowed inside, but you can smoke outside on the front porch, the veranda, or the garden.
- No pets.
- Even though the fireplace is very cozy, we don't allow guests to use it for security reasons.
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Travel journalist, film buff, lover of the written word, of music, and of all things vintage, '80s child, occasional flapper, Lindy hopper, thinker, dreamer, temporary alien.
Alain de Botton, one of my favorite authors, once wrote: “…travelling should be about healing. It should be about picking things up abroad — a philosophy or an attitude — which we lack in our own lands...our journeys should be the midwives of new and better selves.”
I hope our two family homes will serve as warm and comfortable nests from where you can set off to discover the local culture and, why not, a better self.