One of the last, if not the last, traditional coffee shop, Ouzeri, and grocery store in Greece, is still impressively owned and run by 95-year-old Stefanos Gogos of Ano Palaiokarya in Trikala.
Located on an old road that once connected the regions of Thessaly and Epirus, a few metres from the stunning waterfalls, Stefanos says he can not even remember when he began working here but says he was very young at the time.
During that period, this kind of store would be found in most Greek villages and was packed all hours of the day. During the morning, it would be visited by women who would purchase items they needed for their cooking, while local men would be there in the afternoon drinking coffee and playing Tavli (backgammon) or evenings spent drinking Ouzo and whiskey while discussing politics and playing cards.
The shelves in the store are still stocked with food (oil, vinegar, biscuits, drinks, soft drinks, etc.), as well as household items. It once was the only shop that covered the needs of all the locals nearby.
Coffee is still served during the day, while in the evenings, customers are offered alcohol and given nuts and crisps (on the house) to go with their beverage.
“He has a warm heart and is still so hospitable,” historian Vasilis Panagos, who visits him often, told Trikalavoice.gr.
“He may be dragging his feet from the hard work over the years and that is merely from his age but he still has a fantastic memory. He speaks constantly about his life, about important events that took place in the village, about the shop and the patrons, and about his father’s old motel, which had been in operation since 1908,” said Vasilis.
“In front of this hill was the old road that was climbing up the wrecked Gropa. A road that was full of life and adventures. And the Gogos’ Inn was for travellers in the mountain villages, a wonderful place for people to rest,” said Stefanos.