29 May Retreating Into the Remote Stone Villages of Northwest Greece, by Condé Nast
“Every day we look at these mountains,” Spiros Tsoumanis tells me from the terrace of Astra Inn, his restaurant and guesthouse in Papingo, a tiny village in the Epirus region of northwestern Greece. “And it’s like looking at them for the first time.”
It’s dusk, and behind him the ridge of the range looms skyward, its jagged peaks catching and reflecting the light. Bundled up against the cold, thin air, we watch as the rock face turns a brilliant purple-red and then deepens to a velvety black.
I first discovered this pocket of the country seven years ago, while traveling around with my then partner, who is Greek. We ventured into Zagorohoria, a rugged part of Epirus in the Pindus Mountains known for its cluster of 46 traditional stone villages, and wandered among them, hiking over vaulted stone bridges and snacking on lamb chops in modest tavernas. The relationship ended, but my love affair with the area continued. Last December, I decided to return to Epirus—on my own this time…