They call it the equivalent of Mykonos island for winter vacation. Arachova is a small village, built in the foothills of the Mount Parnassus and close to the ancient town of Delphi in Greece. It stars in most travel guides with recommendations for top winter destinations. Anyway, enough with the propaganda. My aunt comes from that village as well and she was talking to me filled with excitement about how much the place has changed over the last three decades, so she suggested we should visit it at the earliest opportunity. Well that and some pictures, the rest is history!
The fog had already made its presence felt about 5 kilometres before entering the village. Spooky as it would seem, yet it added an atmosphere of mystery to the place. It matched so well with the winter landscape. Mountainous villages should be dressed in fog at winter at least, if not in snow. We wandered for a few minutes over the cobbled pavings to end up at our traditional stone built hostel with its tile roof hat called Nostos, which means the homecoming after a long journey (remember Odyssey from school times? That’s exactly it).
Arachova is well-known for its grocery stores with local dairy products like the most typical one formaela cheese from goat or sheep’s milk (a Protected Designation of Origin product), rice pudding with cinnamon called rizogalo and a variety of freshly cut Greek type of noodles called hilopites. No need to say we tried them all, the taste from the source is always better!
Now when it comes to the main point of interest, most people would choose the bridge with the clock tower in the background. The bridge is the first thing that draws your attention after passing the road sign of entrance. Built of stone, same as the traditional houses, with a row of arches covering the base. The clock tower on the other hand has an interesting history behind. It was built on the 18th century on a rock called Tirias (Tiri in Greek means cheese). The rock was named like so because they used to keep cheese over there to maintain it, as a type of natural fridge!
The main street is definitely not less charming, though. Most of the shops, even the most recent ones, are stone built in order to maintain a homogenous style and extend along the whole street facing each other. OK, time has come for a fast quiz: How would the shopping area of a mountainous village be in terms of types of shops? (and apart from grocery stores, come on, I already mentioned that…). Well lucky guess, it’s full of ski shops due to the ski resort at the top of Mount Parnassus! Speaking about preferences, I could not really say I’m fond of skiing… A hot chocolate at a cozy little coffee shop at the main square would do just fine for me instead!