My name is Angelina Helioti and I recently graduated from the architecture school of NTUA.

After months of thinking, I took the risk of leaving life in Athens. The reason, the very quality of life of the metropolis. The fast pace, the pressure to “meet the deadlines”, the crowd of people and the lack of natural environment were things that led me to change.


I moved to a small, mountainous village in Arcadia, Stemnitsa. Although I grew up in Laconia, Arcadia is my place of origin and so in a sense, I feel like I have come home. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to stay here, but whatever it ends up being, I’ll try to enjoy it to the fullest.

Here I am enjoying everything I have been craving! Trees, rivers, lakes, quiet, everyday life at a slow pace.

I have a simple lifestyle, but it gives me inspiration for my artistic pursuits, photography, painting, and video making. At the same time, I am studying the art of silversmithing in a public school located here. In this blog you will find journal articles about my life here.

I hope you enjoy everything I’m about to share with you.


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The light is returning

Sometimes it’s nice to wake up much earlier than normal and start your day with a refreshing bath. That’s what happened yesterday morning, but in addition to the enjoyable bath, something else happened. When I opened the window to let air into the bathroom, I saw a very tender image a few meters away from my house. Two birds were sitting almost in each other’s arms and gazing at the landscape as the first light of the day revealed the mountain.

Of course I immediately went out to observe them better. They must have been parents because there was a nest right next to them, but I’m not entirely sure. The whole moment was frozen, a bit hazy with some pink and peachy lights diffused in a few places. These winter mornings with the fog in layers and the fir mountain in the background are the best here in Mainalo.


Now the days are noticeably longer. It gets dark a little later and in the morning the sun makes its appearance earlier. The light is slowly returning and we are moving into a brighter period! I am glad that the darkest days are over and now a new road ahead is opening.

I stood there taking a few pictures until one flew away. They discussed something with each other while croaking and then the second one opened its wings and disappeared as well. I also entered the house and started my day with all the obligations, which were not few!

I mostly wanted to say good morning to everyone! I hope you also see something beautiful when you start your day. Have a beautiful Thursday!!

New year, new path!

Goodmorning and happy New Year!

Since yesterday when I stood at the window and went out on the balcony I saw some snow on the surrounding mountain tops and given the cloudy weather, I started to hope that maybe it will hold or we will see even more. Today I woke up very early, after two nights with several hours of much needed sleep… What I saw outside was even more beautiful than I had hoped!

All the mountain peaks around Vytina as far as the eye could see were sprinkled with snow like powdered sugar. And the colors of the sky were beautiful! This happens almost every year while I’m in Mainalo. Even during the holidays we have good weather and right after the New Year the real winter starts. A few days ago it was incredibly windy and raining with hail. Trees had fallen in some parts of the road and it was generally dangerous to be outside… Today is sunny and -2°C. I hope the snow doesn’t melt, because I really need the mountain to be paved so I can ski again! I have missed the activities in nature, let alone the snowy landscape.

Now a new beginning is here right along with the new year! As I told you in the previous article, some professional changes have occurred. The truth is, I resigned from the hotel I was working at, as I can now work as an architect from home! A cycle of six months has closed and now another is opening. This is a dream that I didn’t know if it could ever come true, but I somehow brought it to life and now I’ve turned the wheel in that direction. At the same time, I also work at the jewelry counter that I wanted so much! It was time to take a chance on unknown paths that require me to step out of my comfort zone and finally pursue the arts I have studied and love. Will see how it goes, though now I know there’s nothing to fear. Everything comes in time and always for our highest good.

A lot is on the schedule for this month, work, travel and contact with unprecedented experiences and knowledge! I feel that time is not enough for me and there is a little anxiety to put everything efficiently in the schedule. But I feel that the new year has entered with an air of change and opportunity. How do you feel about 2024? I hope it finds you well full of appetite and joy.

Everyday life and Christmas atmosphere

Good evening my dear friends!

The end of the year is just around the corner and I wanted to write something simple about everyday life here before 2024 rolls in. It’s a fact that the year just passed I was forced to write two articles a month. At first this made me uncomfortable because I wanted you to be more in touch with the day-to-day of my life here, but really so much happened in 2023 one after the other (many times at the same time!) that the facts, the mood were constantly changing. me and my inspiration. Also if I took you to a reality soon it would change and so I thought maybe I would confuse you and become tiresomely detailed if I kept updating everything that changed.

In 2023 I learned so much and matured so much, condensed meaningful experience in contrast to other periods that I may have been slower to finally learn the lesson about my evolution. I believe many can relate to my own feeling, I feel like it’s a collective thing that concerns most people on the planet. Personally, professionally and financially I found myself many times in questions, disappointments and I was called to take risks. But I always came out stronger, I tried to use the situation to my advantage, to learn something and I always tried to do the best I can with what I have.


I saw dilemmas to be answered, to expose myself as a person and an artist to the public, I placed myself in issues by taking risks with this exhibition. But you know something, ever since I decided to tell the world who I am, really great things have started to happen, doors have opened, people have come… and gone… and I’m sure there’s more to come.

I just want to bring something beautiful into this world. It can be a work of art, a conversation, a movement. I didn’t always succeed, there were times when I made mistakes. But I’m moving forward with the lessons I’ve learned on this roller coaster called LIFE. But even this term “lessons” I don’t know if it’s a good one. In the end I don’t know if we learn who we are, or if we are given the opportunities to create what we want to be.


In the two years I’ve been here I’ve struggled, I didn’t talk about it because I wanted to give you courage and motivation to continue your personal struggle, but the truth is that it’s a big waste to do something that others think is stupid and be far away from your own people. But this journey into the unknown and uncomfortable has made me stronger and wiser… What I want to say is keep believing in yourself, keep trying and forgive yourself. And above all, dare! It’s scary sometimes, but… dare to live! In other words, I try to put it into practice every day. It’s not always easy.

I don’t want to go into more details and I might bore you, let’s go a bit to the present and its issues now. There is some exciting news in my business, some fresh changes! But I will tell you more about this soon, with the passage of the new year. I’m home with a virus right now, I’m doing relatively well, but I’m hoping it’s over soon so I can meet up with my family, which I’ve made special arrangements for, as we’ll all be in the same location this year for the holidays.

After two days in bed doing nothing, in a moment of feeling better and full of inspiration I decided to turn the living room into a temporary painting studio. I wanted to move forward with some projects that have been left in the middle. Yes, it was a bit of a mess here, but it was creative and I’m so glad I did it, I needed it. I’ve been picking up my brushes since at least June and it makes sense when you don’t have a permanent and regular studio… But eventually I’ll paint anyway, in whatever way I can.

The days pass quietly here. In the backyard, my father and I built a hill out of wood. Now that it’s cold enough almost every day, I go back and fill a huge IKEA bag with logs. I climb two flights of stairs with the load, trying my best to keep the weight manageable. It can be quite a tedious process, but the warmth provided by the fireplace is worth it! I cook, read books, listen to music and drink a cup of tea by the fire.

I would like to make a small reference here, to the interview I was given by The Athenian Times, specifically Aristokles Lagos, an inspiring young editor. In a beautiful way through pictures, videos and text he brought my story to more people and I thank him very much for that! My tribute was the first in the Profiles column! So I wish you a good start, Aristokles! If you want to read the article click on the link:


If you’ve read this far, I want to say thank you. It gives extra meaning to my texts if you are here to read them!

Well I guess that’s all I wanted to share for now. You will hear from me after the holidays.

I wish you a merry Christmas and a bright new year!

The Netherlands – Water and Arts

Welcome to another article!
Most of you probably know that at the end of November, on my birthday, I traveled to the Netherlands! My sister Mariastella, who has been living in Rotterdam for the last few years, was waiting for me there. In the Netherlands I looked for images of site features, architecture, nature and the country’s visual arts. My time there was limited but I managed to see quite a lot. Ι visited Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Leiden, Delft and Hague and I tried to bring you important images from each city. This is not a detailed article about how exactly I spent my days there, I want more to share with you images, feelings and thoughts about the whole experience.
My neighborhood in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is an easy city to live in as everyone speaks very good English, people are friendly and there are many good amenities and facilities for citizens. Although the architecture of the city is clearly interesting, from an aesthetic point of view it did not win me over. All these brutal, ultra-modern and oversized buildings made me feel like I was a player on some giant board game board! The reason for this modern architecture is that in World War II the city was bombed resulting in large parts of it being completely destroyed. Fortunately my sister’s house was in a neighborhood that apparently had not been bombed and has retained the character of the traditional architecture. On the plus side I should add that the public transport was very functional and everything in the city was spotlessly clean.

In the city I walked to central places, the central market which looked like an open mall and an outdoor street market where they sold very interesting things, I even found grilled fish take away! I saw the familiar cubic houses and the “pencil”, “sharpener” and “eraser” buildings. I entered the Markthall shopping center, one of the most famous modern architecture in the city with small shops, mostly food and cafes and residences in its upper parts. On my birthday we ate at the Vietnamese restaurant “Little V” where I tasted delicious dishes and was pleasantly surprised that almost all the cooks in the kitchen came out singing Happy Birthday. I didn’t explore much of the city because other things took priority on my list…

As for Amsterdam, I stayed there only a few hours, once I arrived in the country. I was quite unlucky because somehow I had run out of battery on both the mobile phone and the camera. But lucky enough because my cousin Draculis was waiting for me there who was also visiting my sister in those days. I spent some time at the Stedelijk museum, but when I go again I will not make the mistake of skipping the Rijksmuseum, which houses some of the most important masterpieces of Dutch art. I explored the center of Amsterdam on foot and by tram and had a hot cup of coffee on one of the busiest streets outside the central train station.

Canal in the center of Amsterdam
Cube houses in Rotterdam

Now let’s go inside! Utrecht was the first provincial town I visited. Cute and romantic with cozy cafes, small shops, beautiful cobbled streets and the lovely canal.

There I ate a delicious delicacy something between a donut and a pear-flavored churro. I walked with my cousin on the old and new canal and bought my first souvenirs in a fully equipped shop. We enjoyed the walk among the crowd of tourists that flooded the pedestrian streets.

The traditional architecture with the buildings stuck together and almost touching the water in the canals, people on foot or on bikes (those on bikes were many!), ducks and birds giving extra life to the scenery and of course a permanent cold and one more more permanent drizzle which lasted exactly three minutes, stopped for some time and then started again the same. Utrecht clearly has character…

We sat there until it got dark and wandered through the narrow streets, the shops and then back to the canals. We had a hard time finding shops with tasty and affordable food that also offer WC space. Finally we ended up in a burger place and I preferred the falafel. When we got down to the old canal we realized that under the town there were a lot of good restaurants that we could give a chance to. It’s okay, maybe next time.

Cooks at work - seen through a window at channel level

Next city is Leiden, the birthplace of my very favorite painter Rembrandt! I visited there with my sister and maybe that played a catalytic role in this city touching my heart. We knew that many Greeks live there and the best option for brunch was a Greek shop with handmade pies, coffee and products from Greece. The narrow streets, the oversized Gothic Hooglandse church and the De Burcht fortress had a melancholy beauty. It is a circular fortification on a hill with free entrance, which offers an excellent view of this romantic city.

Apart from these, I had set a goal to visit the De Valk museum. It is a tower mill that has been converted into a museum and in its premises I was able to get an idea of how the millers and their families lived from the 17th century. The current tower is the third mill built on this site.

Lots of floors to climb and the stairs quite steep and narrow, like going up to a bunk bed and the gentlemen at the reception didn’t even warn me, I guess to have a smooth experience without spoilers.

I felt fear so alone as I was burdened with my heavy clothes and camera, but also awe that I finally managed to reach the top of the balcony and enjoy the wonderful and atmospheric view. Then of course I had to go down all the way I had come up, which was also scary. There was adrenaline, it was an intense moment.

On my last day I set off for quiet and very pretty Delft, a small town just a quarter of an hour by train from Rotterdam.

First thing is a visit to the Oude Kerk (Old Church), a Gothic Protestant church in the center of the old town. Its most recognizable feature is a 75-meter high brick tower that leans about two meters from the vertical. It was founded as the Church of Saint Bartholomew in the year 1246, on the site of previous churches dating back two centuries. The arrangement followed that of the traditional basilica, with a nave flanked by two smaller aisles.

Old Church
New Church

I then walked for a few minutes to the square looking for the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) following the map. Suddenly at a bend, a huge building rose up in front of me among so many much smaller ones. It dominated the city center pointy, but beautiful. The building was built in 1430 and completed in 1496 and is 109 meters high, which anyone can climb!

Beautiful sculptures, marble inlays and of course the stained glass windows which were sheer masterpieces of incredible detail and artistry! I was really impressed by the interior of both temples and I highly recommend you to visit them. I didn’t go up to the top of the tower because it was raining quite a bit and my time was limited, but I guess the view would be breathtaking from both churches. I should also add that both had overcrowded gift shops where I bought, among other things, a mug – a replica of a Blue Delft technique. The staff were very pleasant and I had the opportunity to have conversations about the art and history of the country. I didn’t want to leave because despite the cold atmosphere, I felt warm there, as if it were my home.

Directly opposite the New Church is the beautiful Town Hall building. Impressive in Renaissance style with red and gold details and intense sculptural decoration. The square was quiet even though many people were out in the market. The sweet harmonious sound of the church bell could be heard somewhere. I ate and drank something quick and enjoyed the view, a Christmas spirit came over me.

I said goodbye to Delft with a heavy heart because the last city, Hague, was waiting for me! A large city with a strong element of both the traditional and the modern depending on the neighborhood you are in. My goal was to reach the coast, where the view opens to the North Sea. I got on the No1 tram that connects Delft to The Hague and luckily for me along the way I realized that this is exactly what will take me to my destination at the edge of the city! So I had the opportunity to do a tour inside The Hague, like a proper tourist, and see various sights such as the Peace Palace, streets and districts.

A very friendly lady who lives on the shore guided me and showed me which way to go to get to the wheel or more correctly De Pier Scheveningen. I envisioned a large American style beach with coffee shops, food and shops and a large marina that enters the sea with the wheel and bungee jumping facility. Because it was Monday most shops were closed. But I entered STEAM, a very good restaurant with delicious food and very friendly staff. There I enjoyed an omelette and coffee and waited for the right lighting time to capture the coast.

Cold, weak but continuous rain and strong wind were my companions. Frozen fingers are a permanent phenomenon, the price is high but the beauty is wild and takes your breath away. At the point, despite the cold, surfers had come out near the shore to enjoy the waves (faintly visible in the pictures). A few local residents were walking their dogs. Seabirds flew over the water, and the sound they made joined the wind in something melancholy. I wandered around the beach and marina facilities, the wind was shaking me violently and many images came out blurry. I indulged in all this difficulty and savored it as much as I could. It was a strong finale to my trip to the Netherlands.

Then I got back on the tram and then the metro to get to Rotterdam. The next day it was very cold but very sunny, but I was returning to Greece full…

Personally, there are so many that I would like to visit and I didn’t have time, so I will be happy if the road takes me back to the Netherlands, because I will have the opportunity to delve into the secrets of a country with a lot of water and no mountains (half of the country is less than a meter above sea level, while 1/4 below sea level), friendly people and an inland beauty straight out of Rembrandt’s paintings!

Fog is waking up night fell

We are at the beginning of November and on the verge of the darkest time of the year. We are slowly heading towards winter. Things look tough when you think about the war in Gaza. So much pain and suffering. But these crises, the wars, the uncertainty of the days are an opportunity to understand deep inside that nothing is certain except the present. So the best thing to do my friends is to live it to the fullest. Every day doesn’t have to involve some crazy activity and the simplest thing can be experienced so completely, so consciously and thus find ourselves in what the ancient Greeks called “ecstasy”. To melt in the moment, to cultivate feelings of love, unity and gratitude every day. This is what the hard times need.



Before we head into November, I want to share with you some things from the fall so far, so you can get an idea of how the landscape here changes over time and what I’ve been up to.

The green has definitely faded, and the deciduous trees have that orange-yellow look. Soon all their leaves will be gone. I know most people are sad when summer ends, but I think there is nothing better than winter and how it helps put our lives on schedule.

Every morning unique shades decorate the atmosphere and make Vytina look like a village from a fairy tale. On one side of the house I have visual contact with the village, while on the other, towards the ski resort, the imposing mountain. The temperatures have dropped a lot and summer clothes have been tucked away for days. Especially in the mornings when I drive to work, the temperature of the asphalt reaches even below 5°C! So you need to be careful because in some sunless places the road can be slippery. At the same time, every day the fogs decorate the corners of the forest or completely deprive the visibility for a while and create magical and eerie scenes.

Even the sun sets differently. Every day it is lower and lower and the trajectory it traces on the firmament is shorter, constantly the night comes earlier and earlier. During October I had the pleasure of enjoying some of the most beautiful sunsets I had ever seen on the mountain.

On the first day of November, I decided to say goodbye to October with a walk to some unexplored place. I also invited my good friend Ilias because I know he really likes walks in nature and especially when they include photography equipment! We took the road to the ski lift above Vytina and at some point before the road turned and disappeared into the forest, we stopped to enjoy the view from above. The village looked like a postcard.

I can say that it was a challenge to drive that day as I am now learning to drive on roads with big horseshoes in the corners but also lots of deep potholes! In fact, the news of the month is here! In October I got my own car that I needed so much! It is something that is required if you live outside of large cities where you can be served by Public Transport. It offers a lot of freedom to have my own vehicle. The explorations now begin!

I had checked two clearings on the map, one on the road, which I realized I had visited before, and a larger one off the main road, further away. We finally settled for the first, left the other for a maybe better day… We chatted and observed the birds and trees. There is nothing to “do” there in the heart of the mountain. Just calm down. I needed this neutral time to get my thinking in order and decompress. Life in the countryside, close to nature may be somewhat calmer, but that doesn’t mean there’s no pressure or stress at all. But here there is enough space for all of us. I can run or sit quietly under a tree.

In other news I’m laying the groundwork to get back into the jewelry business, as it had been on hiatus for a while due to commitments. At the same time I am working on a project, more specifically an interview that I will give for a magazine that will be published soon. It makes me feel good to be able to talk in another space besides my blog about life here in mountainous Arcadia.

To close your article I have prepared something that I have been envisioning for months. A slick video about how the landscape changes seasonally, specifically from June to today. You can easily spot how nature transforms, from the colors, the light, the insects, the plants, even myself… The music I chose is by Marie Hsiao specifically the track “Into The Woods”.


Until the next article I send you a warm hug!

Santorini – Another wolrd – No2

We are in the narration of my experience from my holiday in Santorini. In this article I will try to gather the most important ones and present you with various activities that you can look for in your own escape to the island.

On my second day on the island, and after a very busy first day (read here), my host Nikos Giovanidis led me to the secrets of ancient Santorini and the city that seems to be the famous lost Atlantis.

The Prehistoric settlement at Akrotiri in Santorini is the most important archaeological find of the island and one of the most important archaeological sites in the Aegean. The settlement of Akrotiri is located at the southwestern end of the island and is 15 km from its capital, Fira. The excavations there began systematically in 1967 by professor Spyros Marinato, while after his death, professor Christos Dumas took over the direction. The excavations there began systematically in 1967 by professor Spyros Marinato, while after his death, professor Christos Dumas took over the direction. The first installations in Akrotiri date from the Late Neolithic Age at least from the 4th millennium BC. There was a settlement during the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium BC). In the Middle and Early Late Bronze Age (20th-17th century BC) the settlement expanded and became one of the most important urban centers of the Aegean.

The large area of ​​the settlement (about 200 acres), its excellent urban organization, its drainage network, the elaborate multi-storied buildings with the impressive mural decoration, the rich furnishings and the variety of household goods testify to its great development. Life in the settlement ended abruptly in the last quarter of the 17th century BC, when its inhabitants decided to leave it due to strong earthquakes. Then, the great Minoan eruption of the volcano followed and the volcanic materials covered the entire island and thus protected the buildings and their contents to this day, as happened in Pompeii!

After the visit to the archaeological site, we could not fail to visit the museum in Fira, where the excellent frescoes and various objects of the settlement’s residences are kept. One of my favorites was the fresco “Crococollectors” found in the Women’s House. Another well-known fresco that we were able to admire was that of “Psara” from the West House of Akrotiri.

We then decided that we needed a relaxing midday swim in the deep waters of Perivolos beach, during which I enjoyed the healing action of the sea and the warm sun. Later, we got ready for the evening outing to Oia. We reached the village about an hour and a half before sunset. Nikos gave me a quick tour of the main pedestrian street of the island and we saw the view from certain spots suitable for walking. Even though we were in the middle of September, there were plenty of people standing around enjoying the beauty, the shops, or taking pictures. I imagined that in the summer months, on a typical day I wouldn’t be able to walk the narrow streets from the crowds. Oia is not by chance one of the top destinations in the world! The view, the energy, the architecture and everything you can do there, is something unique.

Somehow we managed to escape the crowd and made our way to our destination on time. We had to arrive early at the “Andronis Arcadia” hotel and specifically at the “Pacman Sunset Restaurant”, where we would watch the saxophonist Jimmy Sax live! We received special care from the staff and the table position that Nikos had reserved was a breath away from the decks. At that time the music played by Georgia lifted my mood but also made me feel a little melancholy thinking that all this would end at some point… The sunset also contributed to this…


Nikos urged me to take pictures and so I got up and started to explore through the lens the surroundings and the shops of the hotel. It had four different catering shops, for wine, for food, for drink and a specially designed area for photographing couples with a view of the sunset.

When I went down to the pool my gaze met a couple staring at the horizon. I caught them just in time before they left. I wish I knew them to give them the picture, but at the time I was mesmerized by what was happening and didn’t think about it…

I crossed the bridge alone and was led to the edge of the pool. where the pool water, the sea water and the sun met on the horizon. Another beautiful sunset has forever left an indelible mark on my heart that will accompany me for the rest of my life.

When the sun disappeared and we moved into blue hour, I climbed back into Pacman for Georgia’s closing. The colors, the music, the people were so intense. There was euphoria. The torches were lit and so were the lanterns above our heads!

When it started to get dark there was a change in the program and Jimmy Sax took the stage. He played electronic music which he magically accompanied with his saxophone. At first we were all seated, but within minutes the musician came forward and the audience surrounded him for the rest of the evening. His music was excellent! I took very few pictures and a little video and then I was off to dance! At some point Jimmy approached me, turned to face me and we had a little debate, him with his saxophone and me with my dancing. The people enjoyed it very much and at the end they applauded at the artist’s urging!

At that moment, the rest of our group that had just arrived, some of the lifeguards of Perivolos beach, Stefania, Vassilis, Konstantinos and the rest were sitting at the table. The whole audience danced together as a group, with a permanent smile on their faces. At the end of the show, after about an hour, we managed to take a picture with the musician before he left.

At that moment, the rest of our group that had just arrived, some of the lifeguards of Perivolos beach, Stefania, Vassilis, Konstantinos and the rest were sitting at the table. The whole audience danced together as a group, with a permanent smile on their faces. At the end of the show, after about an hour, we managed to take a picture with the musician before he left.

Nikos had reserved a table for a tasting at “Santo Wines” one of the best wineries in Santorini. We arrived at the right time to accompany the sunset with four different wines. We tried the series Assyrtiko, Nykteri, Mavrotragano (which impressed me!) and of course, for the climax of the sunset, the beloved, sweet Vinsanto! It was a magical afternoon. There I left a piece of me and the view towards the caldera and the colorful horizon will be a sweet memory to support me when the challenges of everyday life arise. At that moment there were no sorrows, there was nothing. I was free.

Photo: Nikos Giovanidis

When the light disappeared we took the car for our last experience together on the island, in Megalochori. We walked to the “Symposion” an inspiring cultural center that made me lose myself in its grounds. I didn’t quite understand what was coming next, in general my host didn’t prepare me for the places we were visiting. The thread of his plan slowly unfolded every day, every moment… The Symposion is a cultural center that hosts a wide range of activities and performances inspired by the nine muses of the arts. Owned and managed by Argy Kakissis (CEO) and Yiannis Pantazis (Musical Director/Musician/Instrumental Artisan).


We attended the first commercial exhibition of the photographer Giorgos Tatakis called “Caryatis: Beta Exhibition”. About Tataki’s photos, what can I say, I am proud that we have such artists in Greece. Most of his images captivated me. The way he handles the tools of composition, contrast, forms, symmetry, hierarchy and depth is something really worth seeing up close! This particular exhibition will remain at the site until October 25.

In the exhibition hall and a little further inside a workshop and study area, I met the two musicians that we would soon hear live at the “Echoes” concert! Yiannis Pantazis (wind instruments and strings) and Yiannis Kouleis (percussion) are two excellent artists!



Yiannis Pantazis has been composing music and performing in Greece and internationally for over twenty years. He is a widely recognized instrument maker with a special interest in mythology and the role of music in Greece’s past. During his career, he has given concerts and held educational workshops in Greece, the UK, France, Turkey and the USA. He has made numerous appearances in the USA, such as in Chicago, New Orleans, etc. He represented Greece through his participation in the cultural program of the European Union “Folk Music in MusEUms” in Estonia, Norway, Italy and Spain.

Yiannis Kouleis after his studies at R.S.I. (Rhythm Section Institute), with the master Greek drummer Georgios Metallinos, worked at the Menelaos Sykakis conservatory of contemporary music in Komotini, in the drum-percussion department. At the same time, he participated professionally in musical concerts of traditional, artistic, folk and rock music with the Rhodope Cultural Movement and the Komotini Youth Community, for 4 years. He is a founding member of the EVKROTON percussion group and teaches drums and percussion at the KISIRIS MUSIC LAB.

The two musicians put me in their company and we played lyre and drum. It was so relaxing to play this wonderful musical instrument, it produces harmonious sounds very easily and simply, no matter what you play! I might buy one of these in the future! We talked about art, about the mythology of ancient Greece and I saw the study area of ​​Yiannis Pantazis. I was thrilled! I was so glad I could have some time with them! Then it was time for their enchanting concert with ancient Greek melodies and traditional Greek songs. They brought tears to my eyes. It was a balm to hear them, a wonderful closure to my Santorini experience.

Counting down to the last minute, just before the concert ended, Nikos gave the signal for us to leave, in order to catch my flight to Athens. I would love to see these musicians and the Symposium owners again, chat and sing together. I hope I can visit them again or through art somehow our paths cross in the future.


I arrived at the airport with a feeling of not stepping on the ground, so light. I thanked Nikos for the wonderful experience and without any delay I got on the plane. Somehow magically my trip to Santorini came to an end. There is so much left that I didn’t explore and so much that I would like to see again. I will try to return to the island… I suggest you visit this unique place and explore its secrets. He captivated me, captivated me, healed me!


Until the next article, travel! If not with the body, then with the mind!

Santorini – Another wolrd – No1

Good evening dear friends and welcome to yet another article on this blog. I am in the heart of the forest, in Arcadia. But in the middle of September, as I told you, I made a small escape for my summer vacation.
I visited a dream destination, Santorini! I was very lucky because within a few days I had the opportunity to experience the island “from the inside”, and not just as a tourist. The moments I lived were magical, the things I saw took my breath away several times, the things I felt are unforgettable and the people I met gave this entire therapeutic journey a meaning. So I am preparing you that a long article will follow. I have so much in store for you, that I had to write two articles to cover as much of this magical experience as I can. If you are ready to explore Santorini with me, let’s go!
Photo: Nikos Giovanidis

It all started in the middle of August when my friend Nikos Yovanidis, owner of ENAK (Hellenic Shipwreck Academy) invited me to the island to listen live to the saxophonist Jimmy Sax. At the same time, I would have the opportunity to meet the best of his team and get a taste of what the life of a lifeguard in Santorini is like. So on September 11th, after work I left straight for Athens by bus, took the 23:40 flight and within just half an hour I was seeing the brightly lit island from above. There I was greeted by my host. We did a quick tour of the center of Fira and had a beer at “KOO CLUB” listening to very good music from the decks. I soon went to bed because there was going to be a long tour in the next few days. My room was in “Villa Mare Angelica”, a really comfortable room, with a sitting area, a fully equipped mini bar, two TVs (which I never used), fresh towels every day and a stone’s throw from the sea!

The next morning when I left the room I immediately saw the blue of the Aegean. I realized that I was at Perivolos beach, known for its many beach bars where from time to time various DJs appear playing dance music. The beach is located 3 km southeast of Fira and access to it is very easy. The coast is covered with soft black sand and the sea waters are crystal clear. Due to its orientation, it is not affected by the northerly winds that can cause high waves on other beaches of the island.


I immediately identified the details of E.N.AK in the area. The boat and the white tower, from which I later learned that Stefania, a sweet and beautiful lifeguard, was overseeing the deep waters. The restaurant “En Lefko” with its beautiful tables and linen shades was the perfect choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the lifeguards of the group and therefore also for me. And it was right next to my hotel!

Soon my host arrived and the tour began! For breakfast that day we went to Firostefani, but before we sat down in the shop I walked through the narrow streets and started taking the first enthusiastic photos! Small details in the shops, the people, the view, as I wandered more and more something won the click of the camera. I sat and looked at Oia from afar, Palia and Nea Kameni, the islands left in the center of Santorini after the Minoan eruption of the volcano….

Then we enjoyed our delicious breakfast at the excellent hotel and cafe “GALINI”, overlooking the caldera of Santorini. I preferred the plate with slices of bread with almond butter and fruit, a glass of natural juice, hot tea and water from the Carpathian mountains. Although the season was coming to an end, there were many people and the shop was full.

After a quick walk in Fira, something unexpected happened. In an improvisation, Nikos decided to do something that he had been aiming for for some time. We visited the “CANAVA” winery and museum. Canaves are enclosed spaces used for wineries and wine storage, in the past mainly in captains’ houses in Santorini. CANAVA SANTORINI was founded in 1974 with special care by Evangelos Lygnos. Today his son Loukas Lygnos produces the spirits with the same recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation and are still used today.

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We basically toured the cellars of the winery and then went down to a museum, which was like a 1:1 scale model of what the houses and various shops looked like back in the day. It looked like a movie set, the smallest detail was there and I thought that soon actors will come out from the various corners. There were also black and white photographs of everyday life in Santorini in the middle of the last century. The “Waltz of Lost Dreams” by Manos Hatzidakis was playing from the museum’s speakers. The place relaxed me and I felt a sweet nostalgia.

Artemis Thalassini, an artist who sings and writes poetry, gave us a tour. She herself did us the favor of singing during the tour with her lovely soft voice. At the end of our tour, it was time for the tasting! We tried tsikoudia, ouzo and prickly pear liqueur and coffee which I loved! I wanted to buy a few bottles, but they wouldn’t fit in the backpack I had come to the island with, nor would I be able to get them through the airport. But I hope at some point to taste them again.

Our next destination was Megalochori, specifically the coffee shop of Irini for a Greek coffee and homemade lemonade with ginger. A quiet place, simple, “the neighborhood cafe” on the central cobbled street of the village. The place had a unique decoration. Various antiques, fruits, vegetables and electrical appliances, dishes in display cases and various others created an explosion of colors and compositions.

Next Nikos wanted to introduce me to Stelios, an amazing master leather worker who runs a special shop in the center of the village.

Entering the shop meditative sounds from Indian musical instruments could be heard on the speakers, climbing lusts ran through the entire shop and Stelios was back in his workshop. When I saw him we immediately struck up a conversation about spiritual quest and art… I got a card from him because even though he uses animal skins, if I ever buy a leather apron for my own business, silversmithing, I would want it made by him . See you again Stelios!

After this short break it was time for some fun but combined with knowledge and exploration. We visited the lost Atlantis museum. Yes indeed, you may not have heard it, but it is now commonly accepted by a large portion of the scientific community, that the lost Atlantis, of which we find references only from Plato, is the ancient city of Santorini! The entire geomorphological picture of the island before the eruption of the volcano and the ruins of the city, which is preserved in very good condition, testify to this!

In the state-of-the-art museum we watched a short film about this ancient civilization and its destruction by the Minoan eruption of the volcano. Only this movie was in 3D projection, the chairs moved and water was thrown at us in small doses, in an attempt to give the visitor a more intense experience, as if they were there at the moment of the explosion. The museum is ideal for children as well as adults. I recommend you visit it if you are interested in learning the secrets of Atlantis through the writings of Plato!

After this fun part of the day it was getting late… it was time for swimming. Of course, I didn’t know exactly where we were going, but soon the whole plan-surprise came suddenly in front of me! We arrived at the Vlychada marina and took the nine-meter rescue boat, so that if a rescue incident occurs we will be ready.


After we left the harbor and I said to sit down and enjoy the boating, the captain asked me to take the wheel!!! I would drive a boat for the first time! The controls were in his hands of course, but the steering wheel was my responsibility. Adrenaline was running high. We went out to sea, there I realized that there will be other boats in the water and that I have a great responsibility. However, I didn’t really worry for a moment because I followed the expert’s instructions, in cases where I had to avoid something. Offshore there was a wave and I was struggling to control the weight of the boat, using all the strength of my body. But the truth is, I enjoyed it. Nikos followed the method where the teacher throws the student directly into the sea to learn to swim.

We crossed the entire southern brow of Santorini from the side of the Cretan sea and entered the caldera in the direction of the volcano! It was there that I began to understand where we were going. We passed between Palaia and Nea Kameni, two islands with strongly embossed cooled lava, and stopped at the hot springs of Nea Kameni. They were what I had heard of as hot springs. Immediately he began to smell strongly of the sulfur rising through the sea due to the activeness of the volcano. I dived into the water and unfortunately I also submerged my head. I smelled sulfur for days afterwards, not a very pleasant smell. Be careful if you ever go, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the mud there is good for the skin. If you still want to have a strong memory of the place, go for it! The water was very hot and ashes danced among us. It is something unique and those who visit Santorini deserve to go there for swimming.

On the way back another surprise awaited me. At first I drove again, but there was a stronger wave and I got wet all over. In an instant the horizon disappeared and a large amount of water entered the boat. That’s the truth, I was a little scared, but Nikos was calm and quickly settled the matter by taking the water out of the boat. Images from movies of sailors fighting the waves came to mind. What a difficult profession… Of course these waves for an experienced sailor might be a piece of cake, but for me it was a challenge.

After a while and as the sun got closer to the horizon I stopped driving and enjoyed the ride. The blue was otherworldly, the boats now chartered by tourists lined up across the west. All for the tourists to enjoy the sunset. The sun was beginning to touch the sea and I watched the bright colors change from yellow to orange to deep fuchsia. The fuchsia was reflected in the water, it wasn’t an illusion. The effect was so intense that the colors looked psychedelic. I had my eyes fixed there. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I did not believe that the sunset in Santorini is really so unique!

Photo: Nikos Giovanidis

Soon and as the sun was disappearing over the horizon, we turned and entered the marina first to avoid the incredible crowd that would follow. Then we enjoyed a cold beer at Kamari and specifically at the “Ethnic Cocktail Bar” with live country music, the best choice to close the day. Now I was looking forward to the next day, without any doubt that more surprises awaited me, after all I was on the most beautiful island in the world in the company of the most hospitable host.


Stay tuned because in a few days the second part of my vacation will be up! Until then, many friendships!




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