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Grace loves writing travel articles. Read her article about Greece.

Grace A. Clark
                           KAMENA VOURLA, GREECE
                           From Athens, rent a car or take a bus tour to Kamena Vourala.  Youll arrive
                           in east central Greece on the Gulf of Evia - here lies Kamena Vourla were lush
                           green mountains meet the gulf.  The region is called Fthiotis.  
                           It is famous for its therapeutic hot-springs (radioactive) recommended for
                           chronic rheumatism, osteoarthritis, hormonal complaints and gout.  Call the
                           Axe-Astir Spa-Hotel (Tel: 02350-2245, 02350 80501-6).
                           The best times to visit are June-Sept. It has a warm, dry climate.   The major
                           religion: Greek Orthodox (there are many monasteries to visit) and the minority
                           religion is Muslim.  Other ethnic influences are immigrant workers from
                           Albanian, Russia, Poland, and Bulgaria.  The Euro and the dollar are about par. 
                           On a mountain hike you may spy wolves, fox, and wild boar.  Flowers include:
                           jasmine, violet, bougainvillea and begonia.  If you snorkel, you will encounter
                           many starfish and shellfish varieties.  You will view storks as well.  The
                           mountains are oak, pine, plane, cypress and beech forests.  Lamb and goat
                           raising, fishing and tourism are the mainstays of the economy.
                           Many beautiful pictures of the region can be found here: 
                           Things to Do:
                           Mountain hiking, complete with trails and maps
                           Public beaches
                           Horseback riding facilities
                           Speed boat rentals
                           Hunting  a special license is required
                           Water-sports of all kinds are plentiful on the islands (breathing apparatus is
                           prohibited in many places)
                           Fishing (good times: summer-autumn)
                           Take a ferry boat ride to one of the islands (see descriptions below)
                           Many festivals (religious/natural/sporting)
                           Greek Bouzouki (folk music using a mandolin-like instrument) is popular although
                           you can find any type of music in Kamena Vourla.
                           When shopping, look for these specialties of the region: lace, jewelry,
                           metalwork, pottery, knitwear, fur, rugs, leather. (Skelos Island specialty 
                           pottery, Skiros Island specialty  embroidery). Non-EU purchasers can have
                           taxes refunded at airports - look for the Member of the Tax Free Club signs in
                           stores  ask for details of the program.
                           Privately owned Hotels, villas (some equipped with kitchens)  best
                           value/quality for the money (avoid B&Bs  Villas are abundant and offer better
                           Dining Accommodations: Taverns (popular for rotisserie cooking and fresh fish
                           dishes), Bars, Confectioneries, Cafeterias, fast-food shops.
                           Try these favorites:
                           Yogurt, fresh fish dishes, and olives are plentiful
                           Meze (appetizers); Keftedes (hot spicy meatballs); tzatziki (yogurt dip with
                           garlic, cucumber and dill)
                           Gigantes (large white bean dishes); Dolmades (stuffed vine leaves); Moussaka
                           (eggplant casserole with lamb); kebabs and Avgolemomo (chicken broth with rice,
                           eggs, lemon, salt)
                           Baklavas & Loukoumades (honey-drenched pastry puffs)
                           Popular drinks:  Retsina wine (made with pine needle resin); Ouzo (aniseed-based
                           & clear to which water is added; local brandies; greek coffee is strong and
                           thick; beer is a light pilsner (pay for each drink as you go if you are seated
                           somewhat away from the bar area.
                           Other Popular Therapeutic Spas in nearby regions are:
                           * Loutra Ipatis: The chemical composition of this water is rare and contains a
                           great amount of carbonic acid. Baths at these springs are advised for vascular
                           diseases, hypertension, coronary insufficiency, heart ailments, endocarditis,
                           dermatological disorders, ailments of the peripheral nerves and muscles. 
                           Information: tel.: (02310) 59.526.
                           * Platistomo: The waters of these springs are recommended for stomach and skin
                           ailments. Information: tel.: (02360) 22.513.
                           * Thermopiles: Sulfurous hot springs recommended for rheumatic ailments,
                           gynecological problems, and rheumatoid arthritis.   Information: tel.: (02310)
                           From Kamena Vourla you can also visit:
                           Mainland  Thermopiles
                           Ancient sites, stadiums, Spartan architectures
                           Evia Island  - (second largest in Greece  Crete is the largest)
                               Aegean Sea; Evripos Straits; Gulf of Euboea
                               The north beaches are most beautiful
                                   Scenic variety: valleys, woodland mountains; quiet villages;
                                   populated towns; coves
                               Best place to take in local customs; country fairs
                               Byzantine Churches & frescoes; monasteries
                               Mt. Dirfi (1,745 m)
                                   Kimi cliff (250 m above sea level) & Folklore Museum
                               Architecture:  traditional; neo-classic
                               Legendary Sites
                           Agios Kionstantiou:
                               Lots of tourists  prepare for crowds
                           Lichada Island   (small island 1 mile from mainland by boat)
                                   Beautiful Beaches.  The Cantina here is owned by a man named Yananni who
                           serves fresh fish char-broiled to order as you dine under umbrella tables and
                           enjoy the tanning lounge chairs.  There is an olive tree plantation on the
                           island and snorkeling (bring your own equipment).
                           Lautra Island:
                           Hot springs
                           Skaithos Island:
                           Rent motorbikes and bicycles
                           Idyllic sea port
                           Skyros Island
                               Smooth mirror-like lake, ideal for water-skiing
                               Sailboat rentals
                           Throwing back of the head is a negative gesture.
                           Illegal to export anything of true antiquity.
                           Dress is mostly casual.
                           Smoking prohibited in public transportation and buildings.
                           Tipping 12-15%


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