>Travel Pictures


We headed to the tiny village of Spartia to try to find the Panagoulias family. All we knew was that it was "the next village after Arna." We didn't know how we would even make contact with the family (since we don't speak Greek), but we figured that we had to give it a go, since we were in the area. 

The roads leading up, up, up to the village are a twisty, windy bunch. After a bit, we got caught up in a foggy rain that made the going even tougher. But, after some wrong turns and hurried questions, we finally found ourselves in the village of Spartia. Hooray. Now, how do we find the Panagoulias family?
Well, as YiaYia would say, eveything works out in the end. We pulled into the village square, which was the end of the road, and started gesturing and saying the closest thing to Greek that we knew: mama - Voula Panagoulias. YiaYia - Maria Alikes PaPoo - Georgos Panagoulias New York. It turns out that the first man we met, George Grikoracos, (above) knew of all the aforementioned.  He is the brother of Stella's counsin John's mother. In other words, he is related by marriage to Dave's grandfather (he is the brother of the woman that married George Panagoulias(Dave's grandfather)'s brother. Whew.). His sister Marika (in blue), cousin John's mother,  welcomed us into her home and his wife (in green) stopped by as well. He said that he had a dream the night before of all the family coming to visit and was sure that our stopping by was foretold by that dream.
Stella's cousin John (Iano) was also there with his youngest daughter, Tonia,  who was visiting from Athens.  John's father and Stella's father were brothers.  They had lived in New York and Chicago, and were able to help us translate conversations. We looked through old photographs, ate lunch, listened to Uncle John and Breck play the bouzouki, and just sat and chatted in front of the fire.

As we were leaving we had them show us the "old fig tree" that Yia Yia remembers from her youth. We even got a copy of a picture of my grandfather, wha was the village priest. What a wonderful day of surprises and family for us all.

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