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With so many charming stops in the Peloponesse, Parori still stands out as a favorite. I’ve been visiting this little village since 1975, and each and every time I am charmed by the majestic mountains where freezing cold fresh spring water continues to flow.  A natural wonder for sure, I’m taken aback each time by the sound of the rushing waters as they hit the moss covered rocks below.  Bring your empty canisters, bottles and jugs. This is a stop you won’t want to miss.  With several restaurants next to each other, find the one that serves “pagoto” ( ice cream ) because more likely than not, it’s a hot, hot day.

Cats meander under the tables looking for scraps and don’t be surprised if a water fight breaks out between children (I speak from experience).  This refreshing town is a must do, and a quick few minutes drive from the center of Sparta.


Coming up…more beautiful towns near Mount Tayetos, beautiful Naufplion, the ancient sites in Athens, and of course, our beloved village of Vassara!


This is Why We Travel

September 1, 2015

A bit out of sequence, but before we make stops on our Virtual Trip to Greece….let me share with you a piece I’ve written that sums up the feeling of visiting the village once the trip is winding down. This is the effect our vacations have on us, and this is why we travel…..

Vassara 2015

Paula Renee Burzawa

As the days deplete to a remaining few, my heart begins to twinge, feeling the familiar pull of angst that will set in and remain until I return. The same forlorn longing to stay in the village has begun to appear on the faces of my children, as they too have anticipate our coming departure, where we will make our fond farewell to Vassara.

This place is almost too enchanting to be real, and the other world, the one I belong to mostly now, is calling for a return to reality. Time spent in Vassara during the ‘Summer of 2015’ was sweeter than ever. After 15 trips to Greece, for the first time, I arrived without an agenda. Decisions of ‘where to go’ and ‘how to spend each day’ were spontaneous, and felt as carefree as the pink oleander flowers that bloom across the white stone houses, merely by accident.

The quiet is what I will remember most. Such quiet. Not a sound through the streets on a hot afternoon, except the flapping of a sheet on a clothesline, or a distant bell around a stray dog’s neck. Vassara is the ultimate peaceful place, allowing us to once again hear our own thoughts. There are so many running through my mind as a lifetime of memories exists at every corner, and within the deep set wrinkles on every villager’s face. It’s as if time stands still in Vassara, allowing us to step inside a magical time capsule where nothing exists outside the village. The feeling of isolation is welcomed. No crisis here. Everything outside Vassara can wait.

I watch my children grow in their souls while we are here, and recognize all of the lessons they are learning about culture and family history while making new friends, and deepening their ‘ellinismo.’ Star-filled nights running in the platia with a large group of children will make Vassara eternal in their hearts also. The torch is successfully passed to the next generation that will love the village as we do.

Here in Vassara, every face holds a deep set meaningful memory. They are all part of some grander design, like puzzle pieces creating a masterpiece befit for a museum. The storekeeper, the uncle, the aunt, the friendly neighbor, the cousin, the teenage friend who is now a mom or a dad too – I love them all. For the first few nights in Vassara, I’m kept awake by the overwhelming weight this place encompasses in my life. Rewinding each minute, I try to embroider every fond moment in my memory. I will cherish these days like a gift when I am gone.

I feel God in Vassara. I feel Panayia. I feel my ancestors, history, friendship, love and passion for all things pure and whole and real. Ever timeless is Vassara’s touch. Ever loving is our God who blesses us with this extraordinary place.