26 September 2016
19 October 2015
It's been a while between posts! We have been to Thessaloniki, Kastoria and now Athens. Flying home on Thursday. Thessaloniki is where most of my family are - a ton of cousins and several aunts and uncles. It's always rather hectic, going from one group to the next. By the time we go, I'm ready to leave and yet sad to do so. I cried all the way to the taxi rank after saying good-bye to my Aunt Hariklia. She is now 88. Growing up, Mum often said to me, "You're just like your Aunt Hariklia". I wish I had remembered to have my picture taken with her.
03 October 2015
01 October 2015
30 September 2015
|There should be a collective noun for multiple souvlakia|
SO great to see her and to be all together again. Her Greek is improved and she seems older and more independent. She has also grown! It seems she is now a teeny weeny bit taller than me - not such an amazing thing, given my size.
Spent the morning looking at pictures and trading stories from the last two weeks. In the evening we had dinner with my cousin Kosta and his family. It was lovely to see his eight year old daughter and Ali chatting together. We went to a local restaurant of theirs which was charming and had yummy food including lots of vegetarian options.
25 September 2015
24 September 2015
Today we went to the ancestral village of my father's family, Kirechane, where the Heristanidis-es are from. It's high in the hills not far from Trapezounta (Trabzon) with views out to the Black Sea. We are not from mainland Greece, but from Pontos in Asia Minor. Here, thousands of years ago, Greek adventurers and traders set up Hellenic colonies. The Greek presence ended in 1923 with the Asia Minor catastrophe.
We had tea with a bunch of old and not so old men. One was 90 years old and said he remembered some Heristanidises. He said there were at least four Heristanidis houses, out of about 45 Greek homes in the village.
Our guide was a lovely man who reminded both of us of one of my Greek cousins in Thessaloniki. He is Turkish but like me of Pontic Greek descent. We communicated in Greek. When I said something about being a foreigner, he said "You're not the foreigner here, they (non-Pontian Turks and others) are!
Later we visited an amazing building built by a wealthy Greek banker, Konstantine Kabayanidis in 1890 as a summer home - to escape the humidity and heat of Trabzon. It became State property after all the Greeks were expelled, as were all Greek homes and businesses.
|Kirechane primary school, complete with Pontic dancers!|
|Gorgeous tiled floor in the mansion|
|It's hazy, but there is a view to the Black Sea from|
Kirechane. Hazelnut trees in the foreground.