Local Heart, Global Soul

September 17, 2014

Relaxed Travelling With A Little Insider Knowledge Goes A Long Long Way…

Filed under: GREECE,Greek Cuisine,PHOTOGRAPHY,Platania,Volos — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This post follows my post of yesterday, where even though it was early autumn the temperature were more than warm enough for a refreshing swim in the sea for my brother in law, his son and our kids.

The place in question was the Greek city of Volos and the date was the last week of October in 2012 so it was rather a surprise that the squeals from the swimmers were of delight rather than of a cold water shock.

Large natural bodies of water heat up very slowly, but they also cool as slowly so there is still the heat of summer “in storage” long after the temperatures have dipped from the sweltering forty degree heat of the hight of summer to the mid twenties centigrade of this time of year.

After those taking a dip are out of the water and changed, they are all ravenous and well and truly ready for an early evening dinner.

Luckily there are a series of restaurants just a few meters away on the beach front, and since the weather is mild we opt  for one where we can sit outside under a canopy close to the sand.

Once again I try the fried little fish, once again it’s tasty but nothing like the divine morsels I found on Palio Tikeri Island.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Everyone else finds their own favourite on the menu, well almost everyone: Little Mr and Kiwi Daughter find that there are no toasted sandwiches on the menu so after a little grumble that there’s nothing else on offer that they fancy, polish off bread, fries and cucumber instead.

I’m not too concerned, they  don’t know it at the time but they would hit with a mountain of veggies as soon as we are back to make up with the deficiency.

The meal is nice enough and no one had any complaints at all but at the same time  no one rated it outstanding either, it certainly filled the right gaps before our flight home.

(Ryan air have little snacks available to buy on the flight but no warm meal) and it would be around 10:30 or 11:00 pm before we landed at Charleroi in Belgium, and well after midnight before we were home in the Netherlands so this was an excellent time and place to have our evening meal. It’s brilliant that our in laws have done this trip so many times before in the last twenty years, they know all about the airport food, the quality or the lack of it, they know how to plan going to the airport so that the day still feels like a holiday day with relaxed local eating and a swim instead of just packing, driving and flying. They also know the best places to go, has we been on our own we would have driven past the side street to get here without even realising that this place was here. Relaxed travelling with a little insider knowledge goes a long long way…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 13, 2014

Stashed All Ready …And Waiting To Be Inspired

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Regular readers will know that I love patterns, and not only that, that I love patterns in the strangest of places: street stones, drain covers and tiles to name just a few.

This post is pure indulgence for myself: it’s also a reference “inspiration”  file for my future drawing efforts because I used to be able to draw trees really well and now that I’ve not been drawing for years and years I’m struggling with a subject I once found easy.

Olive trees are amazing, there are so many shapes and so much texture to their trunks, some are truly bent and twisted, contorted with age and they are a pattern lovers dream.

I used to be able to draw leaves better too, so there are a few inspiration photographs of those too.

That the  moment the strong morphine based pain relief I’m on for my foot injury affects my  concentration levels badly, so of course does pain so I rarely draw now, but I  live in hope that better times are ahead in my recovery and when that moment arrives my inspiration files will be ready and waiting here on my blog and all I will have to do is open these posts and pick up my pens. On Greece’s the Pelion peninsular in the village of Platania the oranges and olives are already starting to ripen and some are already for picking. All the colours and textures are recorded … so in the meantime I am building up my inspiration files,  need a photograph of gnarled tree bark? Plenty here to choose from…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

September 12, 2014

Instant Artworks, … Just Add Water!

Filed under: ART,GREECE,Pelion Peninsular,PHOTOGRAPHY,Platania — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At our dinner at Spiros’s  restaurant in Platania Greece, back when we visited in 2012, I mentioned that our party were offered extra Ouzo on the house after our meal and we made a slow walk back to our accommodation so that Himself could partake for once without worrying about driving us back.

I needed to have a few little rests along the way so took my time and attempted a little night-time photography.

I’m certainly no professional photographer and previous attempts have been rather hit and miss to say the least.

It’s not to say that this wasn’t any easier: I took roughly one hundred photos and got only about a quarter of them in focus (the biggest reason digital photography is brilliant).

Tomorrow evening we will be busy packing and getting ready to go to the airport, so tonight is my opportunity to try and catch the lights on the water from the fishing boats and from the built up are around the bay. I like that although the lights look white at first glance, their reflections in the water come out multi-hued.  Instant artworks: just add water!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 11, 2014

A Greek Spread And Lots Of Fun Near The End Of Our Stay…

Filed under: GREECE,Greek Cuisine,Pelion Peninsular,PHOTOGRAPHY,Platania — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags:
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are back again, joining our in-laws for dinner at Spiro’s restaurant in Platania on the Pelion peninsular in Greece.

The usual medley of Greek favourites are there and it’s relaxing sitting in the balmy warmth that has a surreal feeling because you can’t imagine that this is still a part of Europe at the end of October.

But in 201 it was, the kids are getting away with the bare minimum of vegetables as usual, sharing out the only favourite available which was the cucumber  (but ha ha …unbeknownst to them all the parents present are vowing to remedy that upon immediate return to the Netherlands)… children, your broccoli, carrots and peas await you yet.

Our holiday is nearing it’s end, just one more full day and then it’s back to the crueler climes of  the beginning of a Northern Europe again. Once again Himself scores my dessert, how he and my brother in law can polish off so much of this teeth wrenchingly sweet stuff I’ll never know, but they both love it as much as I detest it. More power to them!

My brother in law takes a break from dessert to help Spiros  fix a computer problem and in return Spiros joins us from the kitchen for a Greek chin wag with out in-laws and an impromptu photo shoot  with us, some teasing about having to go home and some extra little bottles of Ouzo as an after dinner aperitif.  We end up walking slowly back to the holiday accommodation so that Himself can enjoy the gifts without having to step behind the wheel. I’d still prefer the little fish as cooked on Palio Trikeri Island with the  pickled walnut dessert from Promiri but this meal is the best we’ve had outside those, and with the added chatter and laughter we enjoy our meal a lot.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

 

September 6, 2014

Come On… Could YOU Resist Faces Like These?

Filed under: GREECE,Greek Cuisine,PHOTOGRAPHY,Platania — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags:
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We’ve  just arrived back in Platania after having been out since very early this morning on our long drive up the coast.

Everyone is tired and looking for an early night, but first our stomachs are rumbling and it’s time to turn our attention to quelling the hunger pangs.

Logic says that we should cook the pasta that Himself thought he would indulge in back at our rented accommodation, but Himself  and I look at each other and each confess to feeling too tired and lazy to cook, let alone wash up afterwards and quick agreement is reached that we should revisit Spiro’s restaurant, where we had eaten previously with out in-laws when the meal had been Oma’s treat.

Within a few minutes the car is parked on the beach front by the restaurant and Himself is sipping the little shot-sized glass of complimentary Ouzo that is customary before each meal here.  Himself also gets to polish off my glass too because alcohol is a big no no with my strong pain medication. We order the favourites discovered on our previous visit and are so hungry that the salad gets a good deal polished off before I remember to take a photograph. If we had needed any recommendation as to the quality of the food, we had it in the form of two young cats who joined us and made it more than clear that they would be happy to help out with the eating.

Their big eyes tried to bore the message into our brains, they were patient and after a while their patience was rewarded, I mean who could resist faces like these? The last of the daylight was about to disappear as I took the photographs and it was well and truly dark once we finished. Himself drove us back to the holiday house and I think that we were all probably all asleep minutes after our heads hit the pillows. It had been a long day but wow… an excellent one.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 15, 2014

Restaurant in Promiri: Fabulous Menu, AMAZING Desert…

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

We’ve arrived in the Greek hilltop village of Promiri,  It’s dark but this is Greece in October and it was still a balmy twenty five degrees.

Our in-laws have warned us that this is no tourist restaurant, the menu will be made up of whatever meats, fish or vegetables are available on the day, so the favourite dish you had last week or even yesterday might not be on the menu  and it’s the most “local” in style of all the restaurants they have found in their twenty one years of visiting this region.

Himself and I love this idea but we worry a bit about our fussy children.

We decide to have a wait-and-see attitude and if push comes to shove they may well be dining on bread, fries or rice, but who knows, a small miracle might happen and they might also be hungry enough to try something new. (Well, I live in hope). The restaurant is on a small square and outside is the massive tree that is one of many local landmarks. I’m assuming it must be at least one hundred years old.

Inside the restaurant is full and almost completely with locals, but wither that’s because this is a well kept local secret or because  it’s the last week of the official tourist season I don’t know. I’m not sure of the name of the restaurant  (I think it’s “Ortas”) so I took a photo of the serviette with the details.

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

There is a sign on the wall that I ask about, our in-laws don’t know either so we ask the friendly waiter who explains that it’s a left over from the “old days” when every commercial establishment was required to show what sort of category it was in, this sign therefore declares (because this is a restaurant) that this is “Establishment type number four”.

There is also an old style cabinet that houses a set of  wine taps, an old painting done in the Greek Orthodox style of  the Last Supper and in complete contrast, a new beer bottle that’s been heated and stretched so that the neck has both been decapitated from the rest of the bottle but is still at the same attached.  Later in the evening, whilst we are having desert, the chef comes out from the kitchen and joins some of the locals at a nearby table for a drink and a chat.

The meal here is “unconventional” compared with the menu’s we have experienced so far in Greece, but fabulous all the same. The waiter is a young man who speaks good English so he explains the menu and we all take pot luck and choose something different. The meal was amazing: I will keep the fried fish on Palio Trikeri Island in first place as the best meal I’ve had in years, but this is a close second.

It must be said though that although the island had the main course beaten, the same could not be said for the desert. The desert here was brilliant, fabulous and amazing all rolled into one… the desert we had was the  “Pièce de résistance” of the meal and consisted of marinated walnuts in sweet syrup on yogurt with whole cloves inside … and this was beyond FABULOUS!  (and finally I find a Greek desert that is not cloyingly sweet!).

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

Buttery toast ready for spreads …

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

Fabulous aubergine in smoky cheese sauce…

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

Kid fries…

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

Establishment Number four…

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

Fabulous pork in lemon and white wine sauce…

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

Lentils…

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

Little fried fish…

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

Tasty grilled pork fillet…

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

Spicy sausage in eggy omelette style…

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

The Chef comes out…

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

Desert: marinated walnuts in sweet syrup on yoghurt with whole cloves inside … drool-worthy!

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

 

 

August 13, 2014

Time For Another Competition: Don’t Get Yourself In A Lather (Or Maybe Do!)…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s time for another Kiwidutch Competition/Give-away…

After all if I have been spending days raving on about the natural ingredients of Nikos’s organic soap from Platania on the Pelion peninsula in Greece, then surely it’s only fair that I share a little of it with my readers too?

All you have to do is to write a comment on one of my recent posts about soap and you could win some of this beautiful soap for yourself !

So…. To the important bits…

What to do:  To be in with a chance to win you need to make a comment on one of Soap blog posts of the last few days.

When to do it: Comments should be made between the time of reading of this post and latest before the end of Monday 18th August 2014.

When will you know who has won?  I will be announcing the lucky winners on Wednesday 20th August 2014.

Did I hear you say “winners” ? Yes, I will be drawing two names from a hat  baking bowl at random, so who knows, My lucky winner could be You!!!

 

 

 

 

August 12, 2014

The Results are a Result! … But A Kid Hears “Cake” And Has Other Ideas…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The final photographs from my first and only “photo-shoot” (payment being a small gift of soap) came out rather well, at least Nikos was delighted with them and that’s what matters.

He’s used them on his website too and slotted in some of the photographs of the soap making process into the gallery of  photos about the hotel and things to do too.

There are not just the bars soaps on offer though, Nikos also has some novelty soaps that he makes in the shapes of flowers, hearts , little figures and cakes.

Actually this last item caused a stir in the Kiwidutch  family: You will all no doubt be familiar with the situation where several adults are talking and children are in the background, both playing and selectively eavesdropping at the same time. Himself had collected me from Nikos’s hotel in the car and bought me back to our in-law’s place. I was sitting sorting and showing them photographs on the laptop, and the adults in the group were chatting about how it all went, asking questions about the demonstration (surprisingly my in-laws had never seen the soap making demonstration before) and how the first photographs in this post had been made.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then we came across the photographs of  the soaps in the form of cakes, not just “cakes of soap” in the regular sense of the word but like actual “slices” of cake.

My darling Kiwi Daughter has a finely turned alert button in her brain that appears to activate in nanoseconds when certain words in either the Dutch or English language enter any conversation, of hers, or of others.

Experience concludes that these words include “sweets, chips, ice-cream, biscuits (cookies), popcorn…” you’ll quickly be getting the idea of a general theme that runs through these “alert words”.

Therefore it was no surprise that upon the mention of the word “cake” the kid who appeared to be doing her own thing with the other kids, gave a start like she had been hit by a bolt of lightening and exclaimed excitedly:  “Cake?, Mama ! You didn’t tell me that you have cake???!” Needless to say that she was rather miffed that it wasn’t the cake she had been hoping for and she bore the brunt of some rather merciless teasing for a little while after that.

She and Little Mr.  accompanied me when I went back to Nikos’s hotel the next day to drop off the memory stick of sorted photographs and they were each allowed to choose some of these novelty soaps to bring home. Kiwi Daughter opted for the little pink figures so that she could give some to her friends and Little Mr. chose a blue and white coloured soap in a flower form.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Both sets of soaps had been freshly made so we had to let them dry for a month before using them, but the last laugh was on Little Mr. when he was finally able to use his soap.

Laughter and a lot of squealing brought me to the bathroom where stood a skinny little Little Mr. was standing up in the tub, doing an excellent  impression of a Smurf  because every part of him that was soaped was the colour blue.

All the colour from the soap was coming off on his skin, Himself helped him soap up all the bits Little Mr. couldn’t reach so that he was totally blue and I took a photograph for the private family album. Naturally you will understand that that photo can not be posted here.

After scrubbing the kid back to his normal colour (actually his normal colour usually includes shades of dirt, so I mean his temporarily clean colour) the bath water and tub also took on a violent blue hue and it took ages for Himself to scrub off. I have very sensitive skin so I knew as soon as I saw the colours in these that these soaps weren’t for me, we will warn Nikos about the unexpected side effects of this novelty soap.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Mint and Rosemary Soap…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Myrrh Soap…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Goat’s Milk Soap…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Poppyseed Soap…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Lavender Soap…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Rose Soap, (various compositions, I liked them all)…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.greecepelion.com/desroses/

http://www.peliondesroses.gr/desrosessoapactivities-en.pdf

August 11, 2014

Reminders Of The Dutch Masters Bring Inspiration…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is a post that if  I’m brutally honest is more for me than you, I adore the paintings of the old Dutch masters and so when I saw these quinces on a table under the verandah at Hotel Des Roses it sparked off inspiration for the next “project” that Nikos asked me if I might be able to help him with.

He has a brochure for his soaps and still has to use up the old printed supply, but doesn’t really like the starkness of the photographs that were made then they started out.

The soaps were photographed on a plain white background and Nikos now feels that he wants to somehow enhance the photographs so that they better portray the heart and soul of the eco businesses they are trying to build up here, but he’s not sure how to achieve that.

Upon spying the quinces on the table I have an idea about how to convey the feeling of the natural ingredients that are in the soaps so ask Nikos if I may raid his stash of drying herbs, fresh roses from his garden and soaps … and I also need a large flat dinner plate please. He looks puzzled but agrees and soon I am busy on the first arrangement. After the first one he is hooked and excitedly brings me ingredients for the “shoot” faster than I can keep up photographing them.

My idea is to showcase the soaps as much as possible with their own main ingredients, (and ok for the donkey and goats milk soaps I didn’t go so far as a ask him to catch a local goat) but to emphasise the natural organic ingredients that make these soaps special. Today’s post is all about the inspiration, tomorrows post is all about the results…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.greecepelion.com/desroses/

http://www.peliondesroses.gr/desrosessoapactivities-en.pdf

August 10, 2014

Patterns Woven Into Soap And Threads…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During my visit to Hotel Des Roses in Platania, Greece, I not only get to see a soap making demonstration, I also get a look behind the scenes, or more accurately a smell behind the scenes with the ingredients.

Nikos grows his own organic ingredients and inside the workshop part of his soap making area are jars and jars of lavender, myrrh, poppyseed, bay-leaves etc.

The poppy seeds are a natural scrub agent and even shavings from the soap bars are kept and used for their infused perfume in little bags as wardrobe and drawer fresheners.

I also like the patterns that the clean lines and shadows made from the cut, stacked bars of soap that are waiting out their month drying time before they can be used. I find them to be rather photogenic and like the shapes.

These however are not the only eco-friendly activity on offer at the hotel, Nikos and his wife Yianna also offer their visitors the opportunity to try out their weaving skills on their loom. (Yes Lulu, I know you will love these photographs). I didn’t try it out myself but judging by the work in progress, someone else has been.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.greecepelion.com/desroses/

http://www.peliondesroses.gr/desrosessoapactivities-en.pdf

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