GREVENA'S CARVINAL - ANAKATOSARIA
Carnival 2007. This year we decided to be part of a different Greek carnival way. A long time ago we had discussed the possibility to see the Grevena carnival, named: “Anakatosaria”.
This specific stature has been revived from the past during the last 7 years, due to the valuable efforts of the local motorcyclist club (MOG) but also due to the interest of the locals – and mainly the younger ones – of the city. The show lasts for about a week and reaches a peak at the last three days of the carnival season. Its main characteristics are; the music generated from copper musical instruments, dancing and of course the never ending cheerfulness. A black hat and a small bit of soot are enough for somebody to be disguise.
On Friday (16/2)night, we started our trip with Lamia as our destination. Vangelis offered us a room to stay for the night. We warmly thank him. Unfortunately, the bad climate changes of the last days wasn’t what we expected. Even though it was raining continuously and the temperature didn’t exceed 10 degrees Celsius, they were not a suspending factor for us.
On Saturday (17/2)we started for Grevena. Up to Lamia we had already covered half of the route (215 kilometers). We followed the route Domokos – Karditsa – Trikala – Kalampaka. The distance is about 205 kilometers. The landscape was astonishing, starting with Thessalia’s flat land then changing to the mountainous volumes of Domokos, while later on suddenly appeared in front of us the tight rocky formations of Meteora. The thing that really amazed us most was the part between Kalambaka – Grevena (70 kilometers). It’s an area of divine natural landscape that made the driving a real joy! While we were enjoying the scenery –even though it was raining continuously and the temperature was decreasing- we reached Grevena.
From even the first sight, the city brought us many warm impressions. I could say that the city reminds a little bit of Karpenisi or even Ioannina. We headed to the Municipal Gym Center, which the organizers had given to the public as an accommodation for whoever wanted to stay there. When we reached there, we discovered that there was an ongoing basketball game. Until the end of the game, we found the chance to visit the center of the town and see the preparations that were taking place for that day, but also taste the local kitchen recipes. As for the food, we would recommend you that when you reach the city, ask the locals on where you should eat. On every other case, your choice might end up unsuccessful.
Near noon we returned to the gym where we set up our tents. Up to that time, the only motorcycles at the parking were ours. Later on, some more motorcyclists came from Corfu. Around 9pm we started heading by foot for the city’s center, which was also the center of all the events.
At the pedestrian centre of the city a wild celebration was taking place. Crowds of people, rapturous by the music produced by the 20 small copper orchestras, were dancing along with the Greek but also Balkan rhythms that the bands were playing. The small numbers of bands were mainly composed of trumpets, clarinets and drums. There were no singers, only music. Every band had its own public, which was always shifting places, following the rhythms of their choices… Inside that loss, girls were walking around, dressing with soot the faces of every participant that was there. This ecstatic fair was not affected by the cold, even though the thermometer was displaying maximum 5-6 degrees!
Around 11pm we watched the phantasmagorical show “A start like a fairytale”. Impressive visual effects, lights, smoke, music from violin and drums were only a part of the ingredients of this astonishing show. At the same time, we were given a chance to watch a small historical flashback of “Anakatosaria”. Once the show finished, endless cheerfulness continued up to the first morning hours…
Sunday (18/2)was a day of rest. The organizers, knowing the tiredness from the last night’s show, programmed the happenings of this day at 9o clock in the night. So, we had enough time to wander around the town and taste the local cuisine. Grevena city is well known for its mushrooms. In fact, there’s also a Mushroom Friends club. At the end of each August there are events that are taking place where the visitors can be informed but also taste mushrooms. We tried them on a remarkable local tavern which resides near the central square of the city.
Around 8pm we headed to the centre of the city, in order to watch a local custom which is called “haska” and the concerts of Mode Plagal and “Lozios & Anakatosaria”.
Before that, we were looking for posters and advertisements – like a souvenir – from the premise of MOG. We accidentally met there the presidents of MOG and MOTOE (co-organizer of “Anakatosaria”). So we were given a chance to discuss various matters concerning motorcycle nature, but mainly to be informed about the historical course of “Anakatosaria”. As they told us, it all began from the wildness of 12 people. Up to the decade of ’50-’60 there were carnival shows with music and revelry similar to the ones that were happening to the rest of Greece. Year by year, these kinds of events were degrading, up to the point that they almost stopped. On Carnival of 2000 a bunch of people, while they were getting entertained on a local club, took the musical instruments and setup a crazy feast. The feedback they received, but also their passion formed the main cause for the following years to organize something better. Year by year the interest was getting bigger from the local society but also from the visitors and tourists of the town. With the assistance of pioneers and organizers of MOG and MOTOE, the show “Anakatosaria” gained national but also international concept! Every year better and better. Every year with more joy and bigger participation.
After our interesting discussion, we followed the happenings of that night. The events finished by a small band in the place where the vegetable market of the city exists, which lasted up to the first morning hours…
Monday of Lent was the day of our return. Even though the fact that the weather forecast was mentioning a good weather, cloudiness and cold were the main characteristics of the weather. Luckily enough we didn’t met any rain, a fact that helped us to enjoy the route. We returned to Athens, by making 2 intermediate stops in Kalambaka and Ag. Kontastino, driving for 410 kilometres.
Finally, we would like to thank the organizers of “Anakatosaria” for giving us the Municipal Gym Centre as a hosting place and also for their hospitality. We wish them success and courage on their future event. Let’s hope that their passion will be taken as an example for the rest… More info about "Anakatosaria":
GREVENA'S CARVINAL - ANAKATOSARIA