Slow life in a Greek village

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This October me and other volunteers from Balkan Hotspot went to explore a small village in Halkidiki. We stayed at a place owned by a local man, and were impressed by the beauty of slow life, sustainable living, and enjoying nature. In an attempt to better understand the different lifestyles, I decided to ask the owner of the place some questions. Enjoy!

  • Why do you prefer to live in a small town?

I spent all my life in a big hotel with many many people. 5-star biggest hotel in the Balkans. I found there rich people, kind people, ministers, and this and that. After this time — I want to be quiet. And I love this place. This land was given to me by my mother, and when I got married we came here with my wife and we built this house. I love to be in nature. I love to live simply. Very simply.

My job was a very difficult job. I was between the guest and the staff. Now I am retired.

  • Can you tell me something about the village?

3000 people live here. Elia, the name comes from the olives. Olive in Greek is elia. This place has many olives, so people call it that. It belongs to Nikiti. The area is beautiful. The sea, the mountains, the forest, nature area. This village also has a honey factory. A lot of people work for honey-making, some people for fishing, others — for olives, some rent out the rooms.

  • What does your day usually look like?

All day I’m busy. In the garden, with olives — I have 500 olive trees, with other things. I love to cook. I finished cooking school and was a professional. I also learned in the hotel – I watched how the chefs prepared the meals, and I learned from them. From my father as well. Also I rent the rooms. From June until October I’m full.

  • For cooking, do you use ingredients that come from nature?

I use everything. I use fresh vegetables — potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines, fruit, everything. And from the sea i take calamars, octopus, fish.

Oh look, Austrians came to buy olive oil! *Goes to sell olive oil*

  • Do you need to spend a lot of money in the supermarkets, while harvesting your own food and living in a village?

I spend a lot of money in the supermarkets, but on stupid things… Coffee machine — I paid 90 euros. I don’t have to buy vegetables, never. I take everything from here – onion, garlic. Even in winter. 30% of food I produce or harvest, 70% I buy. I freeze fish to preserve it, but I don’t make anything with vegetables, I like them fresh.

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