Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Products scents and Flavours of Halkidiki

Thanks to its climate and soil morphology, Halkidiki produces olives and olive oil that are renowned for their particular flavor and quality. Olive trees in Halkidiki are produced without the use of any chemicals. The high nutritional value and wonderful flavor of Halkidiki olives and olive oil have established these products as an integral part of the Mediterranean diet. The most important areas of production are Mt Meliton, Pallini peninsula, the foothills of Mt Holomon, and the plains of Polygyros, Ormylia, Olynthos and Moudania. The traditional goat cheese of Halkidiki is produced using pure goat milk and has a high protein content. Mt Holomon, where most stock farming units are located, has special soil and climate features and unique vegetation; these contribute to the favourable composition of the goat milk used to produce the cheese. The high quality of its nutrients make it deal for a wholesome, healthy diet. More than 2300 years ago, Aristotle praised honey and its benefits for humans, stating that honey extends human life expectancy. Today, the beekeepers of Halkidiki continue the tradition, utilizing the rich flora of Cassandra, Sithonia and North Halkidiki in the purest way, producing large quantities of honey that is renowned for its purity. The high content of trace elements in pine honey render it a highly nutritious honey products. Visitors have the opportunity to observe the traditional honey production method, to participate in farm work and to experience the beekeeper’s work and see beehives from up close.
Delicious fruit are the raw material for the famous jams and sweet preserves produced by the uniquely skilled women of Halkidiki. With the use of traditional production methods and the purest Greek varieties of grapes (Limnio, Roditis, Athiri, Assyrtiko), in these ideal climate conditions (xerothermic climate), Halkidiki has become a production centre for some of the finest wine varieties.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Halkidiki Greece

Halkidiki is the most original Macedonian region of Northern Greece. It is separated into three peninsulas: Cassandra, Sithonia and Mt Athos. There are two monumental mountains Mt Holomon and Mt Stratonikos. The regions soil is famous for its mineral wealth, known since antiquity for its manganese, cooper, iron, pyrite, bauxite and magnesite mines, as well as its hot springs with healing properties, such as that of Agia Paraskevi. Petralona Cave, known throughout the world, is worth visiting for its paleontological interest. There are numerous sites in the broader region of the Municipality, offering stunning findings and exhibits. Among them are: Ancient Acanthos, Mendi, Olynthos, Ancient Stagira and Ancient Toroni. The beaches of Halkidiki are captivativing, with their green-blue waters and wonderful find sand, rich vegetation and clean seas, many of which have been receiving a Blue Flag award every year. The region meets the needs of even the most demanding visitors, with its traditional hamlets and cosmopolitan holiday resorts with vibrant nightlife.
Accommodation is comfortable and pleasant, allowing visitors to choose between hotel complexes and units, furnished apartments, rented rooms, picturesque inns and organized camping sites. There are countless choises for fans of water sports, mountaineering, hiking and cycling. Holidays in Halkidiki provide a cosmopolitan atmosphere, natural beauty and picturesque serenity.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Windsor Castle, part 4

In Queen Victoria’s reign Windsor Castle acquired its importance as the home of the British monarchy. The Prince Consort hated London and in his quiet manner persuaded his wife that the freedom of country life was infinitely preferable to the pleasures of the town. The proximity of Windsor to London, especially after the arrival of the railways, made it a convenient place from which to transact the business of the realm. It was at Windsor that Prince Albert died of typhoid fever on 14th December 1861, and plunged Queen Victoria into lifelong grief. After his death a somber atmosphere brooded over the castle and there was constantly a feeling that someone was missing. Indeed, by the queen’s order, the room in which the prince had died was preserved in precisely the same state as on the fatal day, with the medicine beside the bed and fresh water on the washstand daily. It remained so until Edward VII became king and a gayer and freer mode of live was instituted.
Long before he ascended the throne Edward VII had acquired a country residence of his own at Sandringham, and Windsor Castle lost its pride of place to some extent. He did indeed add a modern amenity in the golf course which he laid out at the end of the East Terrace to gratify a taste for the game acquired in middle age, but for the most part Windsor Castle was used for short periods only at Easter and for Ascot Week. King George V continued this arrangement of periodic occupation, but Queen Mary was a chatelaine of genius and her flair for furniture and decorations contributed many improvements to the State and Private Apartments; among these was the abandonment of Charles II’s six-roomed suite for State Visitors with its splendor, but undoubted discomforts and inconvenience, in favor of smaller suites properly modernized. There is still a State Bedroom to be seen by the public at Windsor, but the last royal sleeper in it was King Manoel of Portugal in 1909.
In the Second World War, Windsor resumed its traditional role when it became once more the fortress home of the Royal Family. The immensely thick walls provided a ready retreat from bombs and, being close to London, the king and queen were able to go about their royal duties and still on occasion live with their children in a place of comparative safety. The winters of the war were enlivened by the pantomimes which the princesses staged and acted in the Waterloo Chamber where playbills graced the empty portrait frames; these burlesques were gay in comparison with the theatrical performances given at Queen Victoria’s command by the leading actors of the day.
After the war King George VI and his family resumed residence at Royal Lodge, a secluded house in the Great Park which they greatly loved. Since the accession of Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen Mother has continued to live there and the castle has been brought into frequent use as a royal residence at week-ends, for the Great Park provides splendid opportunities for riding which The Queen and her family enjoy so much. At normal times the household is on a modest scale, but twice during the year the State Apartments cease to be a public museum and are restored to their rightful use when the Court and The Queen’s guests assemble at the castle and Windsor is to be seen in its full glory.
At the foot of the hill to the north of the castle stands a simple monument to the memory of King George V, first Sovereign of the House of Windsor, for it was he who in 1917 by proclamation assumed this English surname.
Queen Elizabeth II has perpetuated the dynasty formed by her grandfather, for on 9th April 1952, she issued a declaration that it was “her will and pleasure that she and her children be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor”. Had this not been done, she would have taken her husband’s name Mountbatten like any other married woman, but it is fitting that Windsor should be chosen as the surname for the English monarchy, since kings and queens for close on nine centuries have lived there and have loved the castle and the pleasant town beside the Thames.