Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Amoudia: Then and Now

In 1988, the village of Amoudia (The older people call it Splanza) in Epirus, Greece had only a few riverside cafes. 

Amoudia is a few minutes from Margariti. It lies at the mouth of the Acheron River and is surrounded by a small delta where fresh water meets the salty sea.

My father always had an appreciation for good food and in this photo, he is eating at one of the cafes that existed in Amoudia at that time. 

Fish in Greece is usually served whole, bones and all, but that is not something that we New Yorkers had been accustomed to, especially back then. So, at first it took some adjustment in attitude, but eventually we figured it out. We were always sure of its freshness when we saw it pulled from the river and brought to the frying pan. I haven’t yet found fish quite as tasty. And to that list of tasty food, you can add the fresh fruit and vegetables that reached our plates hours (sometimes minutes) after they’d been picked.

At that time, the tables were arranged beside the river and we could sit with our feet in the soft sandy dirt. The branches of the river trees above, sheltered us from the sun as we enjoyed the quiet splash of the water that drifted by. After we had eaten, we would wade into the river and wash our hands.

Nowadays, in that same space, you will find rows of cafes with cement walkways that go right up to the water's edge and drop off into the river, creating docks for the small boats that will take you for a tour of the river or of the surrounding coastline. Or if you'd prefer, a day trip to one of the nearby islands

And there is also the opportunity to walk to the end of the man-made jetty, stand atop the boulders and experience the incredible view of the mountains, the Ionian Sea and the Acheron River, all in one glance. 

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