A folklore museum cafe - "Platanos" in Kato Poria will take you back in time

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Anna's cafe has delicious spoon sweets, traditional Greek coffees, and unique items.

Some days when I'm in the car in the centre of Athens, and it's raining, I think how nice it would be to be in a small village, in a cafe. Usually, the convention says it's cold, and we're sitting next to a wood-burning stove.

We ordered Greek coffee and some spoon sweet. We hear stories about the village, and I never miss an opportunity to join the conversation.

In Kato Poria,

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I was with my friend Despina in Kato Poria a few days ago—almost an hour from Thessaloniki and a breath from the Greek-Bulgarian border. We went shopping in neighbouring Rodopoli, and upon returning to Ano Poroia, we stopped at Kato Poria.

In the village square, a small bazaar is underway with 2-3 producers selling vegetables: Christos with his fresh eggs and a fisherman. Opposite, in the courtyard of the "Platanos" cafe, a dozen or so customers are sitting, drinking their coffee. The truth is that it is cold, but they prefer, as they tell me, to "get some sun" since the yard is bathed in its rays at that time.

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Inside the cafe

We greet them and enter the inner space—a surprise. A cafe "folklore museum", with Anna, the hostess, leaving no stone unturned. Dozens of objects from the daily life of another era, decorations, and a stage set.

You need a few minutes to figure out where you are. It could be an exemplary living folklore museum. We sit at a small table next to the stove.

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Each table has a different tablecloth. Everything in there is different and, at the same time, in a mysterious way, balanced. It's like it's always been there.

We talked to Anna, who opened the cafe in 2009.

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"I open every day. We start in the morning, with coffee. I also have ouzo and tsipouro. I rest for about two hours at noon and open again at 4."

Sweets of the spoon

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She talks to us in a very good mood about her beautiful cafe and the delicious spoon sweets. We taste sweet lemon and fig. All sweet, alive and fragrant. She also has watermelon, cherry, strawberry and many more.

Anna comes from the village. She grew up in Thessaloniki but quickly realised that life in her village was what she wanted. Today, she has two children and three grandchildren.

She loves, as she tells us, this everyday life and is very happy every time she sees the patrons of the cafe renewing itself.

Anna disappears into her tiny kitchen to make two more coffees, and we enjoy the time travel offered by this surprise cafe here in the North, a breath away from the border with Bulgaria.

Dimitris Stathopoulos is a columnist for Travel.

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