Some time ago I was re-reading Don Quixote. And in my mind I thought of all the people that fight windmills and why they do it. 
I thought long and hard to find out whether I have come across a Don Quixote in my life and in the end it hit me that indeed I have met one!

A man that chased his dream or his chimera. A man who started off slowly but he saw that he had to step up his game if he wanted to make it, climb to the top of the mountain only to see the other higher summit "beaconing" to him and climbing down the first mountain to find the road for the taller one. 
A man that some may say that he is a tad crazy chasing his dreams but, as we all know, in divinity there is almost always some craziness lurking so they can say what ever they like... The "driven" know it or if they do not know it they know that they cannot stop. And they pay the price.

This man is Martik. Martik Manikian. Of Armenian descent, a force of nature, whose grandparents followed the rest of the Greeks moving back to the mother country during the exchange of population between the Greeks and Turks in the 1920's. They set up their new house in the suburb of New Ionia very close to our house as my grandfather was one of the people as well who came to Greece then as well. 

I met Martik through my friend Andonis. You know, the one with the beautiful garden in the village by the river I wrote to you about a few weeks ago
Martik was the person who actually brought Andonis to the village of Sinevro. But Martik has been there for many years. And he has really fallen in love with that village. He started off with a little house there and ended up creating a whole theme park there that he named "Area Synest"

But let's start from the beginning. Martik is highly creative. A real magician. One of the most talented indoor designers that I have ever met. He can take your house, shop, hotel and to the people that live, work or visit these places and he provides them with a dream if they do not have it themselves. 
Like an ancient God he gives life to the empty rooms and creates a history. Imagine what he does to his own place. 

I remember the first time I visited that village many Christmas's ago. He had a big enough house at the time and he had invited around ten people to spend the holidays together. The decoration of the house was sublime. But where I just bowed to his talent was when I saw a huge table decorated with fruit and vegetables outside on the terrace. I asked him about him and he replied: " the village here is so tiny that there is no shop to buy things. So all the things I will need to cater for 10 people I brought from Athens. And for so many days you can understand the quantities needed. All these things cannot fit in the fridges. So he put them out on the table in huge baskets and he decorated it all with lights and candles and bows. So even the veggies and fruit became an ephemeral work of art.

And as he started off his career in decorating from decorating shops where the ephemeral and cheap are kings it is sooo easy for him after all these years to do wonders with the cheapest material. Give him wire, hessian bags and newspapers and he will create from a lighting fixture to a whole table of art for your dinner setting etc.
During those holidays I had taken lot's of pictures that I believe you have to see one day. As Christmas approaches I think I will write a post about this old beautiful Christmas time... 

So one day he comes out and tells us that he plans to turn his house in the village into a theme park. And when we asked him what is it going to be about, he did not know exactly. What he knew was that all the creativity he has he needed to channel it to a huge project that demands a change of the theme with the passing of the seasons. A place of magic he said.
So I wondered what is magic and what is not and whether it is now lost in our modern world as most people say. And for someone to say that I will bring the magic back was almost a blasphemy. Tough call I thought at the time.

And he did bring it.. When no-one thought that he could. Area Synest park opened to the public about 2 years ago. And it's success was immediate. Because people love and seek magic and are drawn to beauty... 
Of course it was really hard. The amount of money the project required was enormous and the work involved as well so I am not sure if he had an idea about how hard it would be.
He has a friend who believed in him and the project and he took Martik's vision and put it on paper. Because true artists like Martik or Demetris (one of the best photographers I know and who I met at Area Synest a week ago) need someone to ground them to the real world. Or just take care of them. Martik has his friend Dimitris has Evi. But for Evi and Demitris we will talk another time. 

So, what is Area Synest all about? First of all it is the unique location. It is situated on the side of a gorge in the mountains at the northern end of the Peloponnese. Easily accessible in two hours from Athens. In the bottom of the gorge lays the Krios river. The gardens of the theme park are wonderful with a vast majority of plants in bloom almost all year round. There is always something different and beautiful to admire and enjoy. 

Since there is a lot of water in the area there are many huge plane trees and also many fruit trees. From persimmons and pomegranates to cherries, apples and pears. In general your eyes get a lot of "green" there.. :-) 

As you go to enter the park there is this huge wooden beautiful door... These days it is dotted with butterflies as the theme this summer are butterflies. 

 And then you reach the greenhouse or the fantasy  house as I like to call it... 

Moving through the path you get to the small folklore museum. You have never seen a more beautiful thing. How on earth he found all these wonderful things that he displayed in there just amazes me!! 

The place used to be an old chicken coop. At least this is what I remember it was when I first went to the village. Oh... there were a few goats as well. But in the past this building used to be the coffee house of the village and on top was the house for the family who owned the coffee house. 
So Martik took this dump and he turned it into a most beautiful petit museum where on the ground floor you get an idea about the everyday life of the people in the village and upstairs he turned the house back to its original glory. All the rooms are as they were in a very functional house of the beginning of the 20th century. 

There is a balcony where he has put all the tools for the harvesting of wheat, olives and grapes.. The staple of Greek food. On the ground floor he has made room for a tiny coffee shop and market. And all of it looks old. Even the new things. I remember one day while he was setting the place up I saw him banging the newly installed hardwood floor with a thick stick pierced with nails. You will ruin the floor I yelled! But this is exactly what I want he replied! I do not want it to look new! 

I also remember when he was showing me the place when it was still a pile of rubble, he said that here will be this, there the other etc... and I asked him where can you see all these things? I can only see some walls there... But I guess this is why he does what he does... 

As you walk away from the museum you see the entrance to the reception hall for the rooms that he rents out and also the coffee shop. And you stare at a wall of books. But not in bookcases. The books are actually on the walls... 


and if you continue walking through the tunnel you end up at the coffee shop which also serves as the breakfast place for the people staying in one of the rooms. The attention to detail is phenomenal.... 

Unfortunately I was not able to take photos of the rooms as the guesthouse was open and people were staying there. At another time I will and update this post. But I guess you can imagine how opulent they are... 

Going further down the path you come to the souvenir shop to your right and to the restaurant on your left.. The shop is stunning and full of things I would love to have. Especially the birdhouses made from old teapots which were stunning!!! 
As for the restaurant there are no words... 

You sit down to eat and you are blown away by the food... the Chef rocks and the food he prepares is beautiful comfort food that you just die for... 

And I know as I am in the industry... 

After lunch you move down to the place with the day beds shaded by the old tablecloths and then to the chicken village, the vegetable patch, the bunnies, the lake with the ducks, playgrounds and so many more beautiful things! If you are more adventurous a nice stroll takes you to the river and a beautiful walk there will bring you to the place where there is a small waterfall.. If not you can just go and see the beautiful church... 

The park is open on special occasions around the year. It will open next I think around Christmas and as usual the decor will be incredible and then it will reopen for Easter and all summer weekends.. 

More info you will find at 

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