Livadi is hanging on a slope of Olympus Mountain at an altitude of 1160 meters and it is inhabited by Vlachs, members of a tribe of highlander Greeks, who were latinised by the Romans and speak a language similar to Latin. At their majority they are breeders, mule drivers and woodcutters, who live an authentic life on the mountain and into the forest. Even the children's toys have to do with trunks and animals there. At the same time when other villages are in decline, Livadi keeps its people at it and preserves its rare customs.
"Gkini vinish, tsi phatsi?" (welcome, how do you do?). This is the Vlach greeting Stella Kratsiotis used as she welcomed us into her home. "Gkini, voi hits gkini?" (fine, how are you?), answered my Vlach friend, who set up the interview with Stella.
After the wildfires of 2007 in the Peloponnese, Greeks anxiously awaited the forest workers who barricaded the slopes of the burnt mountains with tree trunks. They were viewed as saviours. But how many people wondered where they came from and how they learned this job?
"I make raki* of 19 degrees by boiling it twice. It is strong and doesn't get white like ouzo when you mix it with water. Raki with anise is also very tasty. I serve these drinks to my few customers along with roasted chickpeas, boiled cabbage and canned fish".
"My name is Chris Zampouras, but people here in Plastiras Lake know me as Zampetas. I decided to live here when I saw an advertising leaflet with pictures of the lake. I started a farm with horses, cows, semi-wild bunnies, sheep and other animals. I have Thessalian horses, which is the best race after the Arabian horses".