Scientists spent 75 years studying happiness and this is what they learned



It’s hard to measure happiness – it means different things to different people and it can’t be seen. However the brave scientists at Harvard University decided to measure it anyway – and they might have conquered it!

The study they conducted though was no ordinary study because happiness changes and evolves, sometimes on a daily basis, so simply monitoring people over a few days or weeks wouldn’t do.

Harvard Medical School instead began a 75 year study, known as the Grant Study, and it is the longest running study on happiness ever.

The scientists looking into happiness in adult development wanted to analyse what enhanced the wellbeing of an individual rather than what deteriorated it.

So, over 75 years they tracked the lives of 724 men, asking on a yearly basis how they were coping in every area of their lives, of which 60 are still alive and still participating.

The participants were from two groups: the first were sophomore students at Harvard in 1938, when the study first began and the second were children from one of the poorest areas of Boston, who came from poverty-stricken backgrounds.

Researchers closely monitored the lives of those involved over the course of the study using interviews, questionnaires, brain scans, blood tests, medical records and talking to their loved ones. As the study evolved alongside their lives, the experts also began to talk to their wives and children.

The revolutionary research was the first of its kind in the world and it has produced some surprising – but lovely – results.

The biggest discovery of all was that ‘good relationships keep us happier and healthier.’

Those that were in unhappy relationships or were lonely were more likely to suffer from pain, discontent and lead unhealthy lifestyles.

It turns out that The Beatles were right, love is all you need.

Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger who is the current director of the study detailed the findings of the study in a fascinating TED Talk in January 2016. You can watch the full talk here:


Πηγή: http://www.redonline.co.uk/


Gianni Rodari. The poetics of imagination.

“In a country of lies, truth is a disease.”” Gianni Rodari, 1920-1980

Writer, journalist, educator. First a catholic seminarian, then a communist. The life of Gianni Rodari reveals much about him, but very little about his educational and literary genius. A genius that hops about like one of the sprites from his books that even today are reference points of children’s literature.
“Il Libro degli Errori”, “Favole al Telefono”, “La Grammatica della Fantasia”: these books that are the stronghold of his output and his method. When read as adults they act as the fuse that ignites imagination. A simplicity of style that is never superficial. Using rhyming couplets that are never banal, the language is precise, communicating narrative and laying an ethical foundation and a sense of justice without preaching or patronizing its audience.
If you think that this author is just for kids then you are doing him the greatest disservice. Gianni Rodari speaks to the child in all of us, regardless of the date on your birth certificate. And, to those of you who have not come across his work, don’t waste time. In his writing is the wisdom of great thinkers and an appreciation of the power of the imagination as an essential tool for understanding and loving life… no matter how old you are.

Πηγή: http://www.ariles.it/en/gianni-rodari/


The island of Hera and Pythagoras

Samos is an island ruled by legend and beauty. It is the island of the father of mathematics, Pythagoras, the astronomer Aristarchus and the philosopher Epicurus. It is the home of Hera and the land that hosted Herodotus and Aesop. An important center of trade in the Aegean and a major naval force in antiquity, it came into contact with important Mediterranean cultures.

It is no accident that the great historian Herodotus considered Samos first among all Greek and barbarian cities. Centre of the Ionian civilization, the island saw times of indescribable splendour, which still remains. Even today, its proximity to the coast of Asia Minor makes the island a ‘bridge’ between the two cultures, a difference that did not hinder the co-existence, cooperation and friendship of the two peoples living across the water from each other.

The mythical birthplace of Hera, Samos is home to the largest temple in Greece (according to Herodotus) at the seaside settlement of Heraion, dedicated exclusively to the goddess of marriage and women. Of its 155 gigantic columns, only one still stands and is indicative of the scale of this place of religious worship that includes ruins of at least three earlier temples.

Something new to explore at every step

Samos is a place of overwhelming vegetation. Everything around the virgin landscape is made of colour and light. Each step one takes is a revelation. Whether in the imposing mountains, such as Mt. Kerkis and Mt. Ambelos – with alpine winter temperatures and endless rain – or in caves and canyons, the environment of Samos reminds one of the Greek hinterland in miniature.

Walk along Mt. Kerkis, from Votsalakia in Marathocampos, to its peak, Mt. Vigla, at an altitude of 1,400m. Along your hike you will see over 1,400 species of rare plants, many of which are endemic to the island, as well as dozens of species of birds of prey.

Wander around the settlements, along old cobble streets, and see Sarakini Tower, a magnificent structure of the 16th century, a true fort of its era.

Visit the convents of Zoodochos Pigi Aliotissa, Agia Zoni, with its splendid library, and Timios Stavros, with is impressive throne.

Climb the steps to the church of Panagia Sarandaskaliotissa, built at the entrance of Pythagoras’ Cave, where the ancient Greek mathematician found refuge when being persecuted by tyrant Polycrates.

The terrain of Samos is a challenge to those who choose to ride mountain bikes on their travels. Each summer, an increasing number of cyclists, fully equipped for their adventures, visit the island’s trails. Local cyclists meet at the architecturally innovative chapel of Agios Ioannis, at Potami, above the pebble beach of Potamos, and ride towards Karlovassi, Konstantinos and Kokkari. Birdwatchers set up near the Alyki habitat or Glyfada Lake to photograph herons, Dalmatian pelicans and pink flamingos that rest here before continuing their migration. When the flamingos ascend into the sky at dusk, their colour mingles with the red sunset, creating a visual extravagance that visitors can’t forget!

When the heat covers the island like a blanket, those in the know start their journey to Karlovassi waterfalls early in the day. The larger of the two waterfalls is five metres high and one has to climb 60 wooden steps to reach the clearing offering a panoramic view of the waterfall.

Bearing witness to a century-old culture

Pythagoreion, built on the ruins of the ancient city of Samos, is home to what many call the eighth wonder of antiquity – and engineers agree. In 550 BC, the architect Eupalinos undertook the task of constructing a 1,036m tunnel, at the order of tyrant Polycrates, to connect the two sides of the mountain and supply water to the ancient capital of Samos. This innovative aqueduct had to be invisible to enemies, so as not to be destroyed in case of attack to the island. Eupalinos was such a great engineer that, through mathematical calculations alone, he began digging this two-way tunnel on both sides of the mountain simultaneously. A decade later, the two crews met in the middle of the mountain with no deviation whatsoever! In fact, to give the slave workers an incentive, Eupalinos made a promise, which he kept: upon completion of the work, he set the slaves free. This is indeed the work of a true engineering genius.

• According to tradition, the Goddess Hera was born and raised here. For this reason her Temple in Heraion is the biggest in the whole ancient world. The most significant archaeological site of the island includes the enormous (109m long, 55m wide and 25m high) Ionian style Temple of Hera (commonly known as Kolona = “column”, due to the one and only surviving column still standing), the big Altar and the Sacred Road (the road leading from the city of Pythagorio, to the Temple). Both Pythagoreion and Heraion were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1992.

• In the Archaeological Museum, amongst other things are exhibited finds from Heraion and the Colossal Kouros by Lefkias (5m high), 580BC.

Mytilinioi, 14km SW of the capital, is one of the largest and most active villages on Samos. It was named after the residents of Mytilini, who settled here in 1700, following the devastating earthquake on Lesvos. It used to have many significant tobacco plantations, but Mytilinioi is known worldwide for the significant palaeontology finds in the area. During prehistoric times, the island was inhabited by Megatherions, Samotherions (enormous giraffes probably coming from Asia Minor) and by rare animal species. Their bones were found here and are exhibited in the showcases of palaeontology museums in Europe and the US. Some of them are exhibited on the island, in the Mytilinioi Palaeontology Museum.

A multi-faceted island

Samos does not only feature important monuments and historical tales, nor just mountains and hiking trails. Above all else, Samos is a modern island, with immaculately organized beaches, such as Tsamados and Lemonakia, Votsalakia in Marathocampos, Chryssi Ammos (= “golden sand”), which more than lives up to its name, and Psili Ammos (= “fine sand”), where, according to the people of Samos, one can hear the roosters across the sea in Turkey crow at dawn.

But Samos is also cosmopolitan if you stay at Vathy, Kokkari or Pythagoreion. It is isolated if you prefer Marathocampos, Kerveli or Mykali. It is a place of late-night revels, as well as a place of peace, ideal for rest, relaxation and contemplation.

If you are of the athletic persuasion, you can enjoy the beach volley tournaments organized every year at Livadaki beach and Potokaki at Pythagoreion. If you prefer relaxation and unobstructed contact with nature, Mikri Tsambou, Kerveli and Saitania should be your top choices.

Wine culture and…culture

If you wish to please your palate, the best opportunity to taste all varietes of Samos Muscat is the wine festival organized during the first ten days of August at Vathy, where you only buy one glass and refill it as many times as you like – or can handle. Samos wine has its own history.

The Vatican once kept its own winery on the island and today, the Catholic Church has conceded the privilege of producing church wine for Holy Communion to the island. Samos Muscat holds a special place in the French wine market, one of the most demanding in the world, and has won numerous international accolades, while its rich, fruity aroma continues to win over an increasing number of fans.One can only cheat on Muscat with local ouzo or souma, a beverage made of the same grape variety as the renowned wine. However, no one should leave Samos without a bottle of virgin olive oil and a jar of thyme honey.

Samos is a fertile, hospitable island that knows how to follow a natural pace, but also how to satisfy the desire of people for genuine entertainment. Especially in August, during ‘Manolis Kalomoiris’ Music Festival or ‘Heraia-Pythagoreia’ Festival, one can attend numerous drama performances at the ancient theatre of Pythagoreion. There is also a rock music festival usually organized at Heraion for a weekend each summer and, of course, the feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus, held at Pythagoreion in August, where residents and visitors enjoy the resplendent firework show over the harbour.

Πηγή: http://www.visitgreece.gr

The Greek islands and mainland Greece invite you to experience an unforgettable summer

Every day of Greek summer feels like a celebration – and that’s because it is! Greece celebrates summer from May until October. Hospitable, bright and colourful, it offers incredible treasures to all. Welcome to summer in Greece!

Historic treasures
Summer in Greece: ancient temples gaze out at the Aegean Sea. Portara in Naxos, Delos, Skarkos in Ios, Faistos in Heraklion, Crete. Famous summer destinations where Greece’s past is illuminated by the Mediterranean sun. Ancient Olympia, Knossos and the Ancient Valley of Gortyna, the monasteries of Mt Athos, Akrotiri in Santorini: all are just a stone’s throw from the sea, and should be high priority on your summer holiday itinerary. As should the archaeological museums, Byzantine monasteries, castles, towers, and ancient trails. In Greece, even the smallest sight has a big history. Discover it.

Authentic moments in the Greek islands
Discover authentic Greece when you travel to the islands of the Aegean and the Ionian. Donoussa, Schinoussa, Anafi, Kimolos, Halki, Kastelorizo. From Symi to Ikaria and Amorgos, Tilos, Kalymnos, Alonissos, Samothraki, Ithaca, Paxi, exotic Antipaxi, and the lush, green island of Lefkada. You’ll share meze, ouzo and local wine with fishermen, village leaders, and housewives who bake bread in wood-burning ovens.

Over treats and delicacies like amygdalota (crushed almond shortbread), soumada (almond syrup), mastiha, homemade lemonade, and aromatic Greek coffee, the locals will share the stories of their land. Myths, customs and traditions are still alive today, passed along from generation to generation through word of mouth. They’ll share improvised poems and songs, and you’ll want to hum along. Summer in Greece is generous and pure.

Water sports and boundless energy
For water sports enthusiasts, the Greek summer provided the perfect backdrop: Perivolos in Santorini. Psarou, Paradise and Paranga in Mykonos. Punda Beach in Paros. Mylopotas in Ios.

You’ll knock back shots at the fun-filled beach bars all day long. Multicoloured kiteboards and windsurf sails play in the waves and in the wind. Vouliagmeni in the Athenian Riviera. Paros. Mili and Vassiliki Beaches in Lefkada. Prasonisi in Rhodes, Sigri in Lesvos, Sarti in Halkidiki. Everyone is one under the sun. Beach volleyball and paddle ball. Scrabble and backgammon under the shade of your umbrella. Diving from the dock, tubing and water skiing. Beautiful bathing suits, colourful sarongs, tanned bodies and smiling faces. Greece’s beaches always emit a positive and vibrant vibe, thanks to young people from all over the world.

A taste of Greece and the Mediterranean
Day after day your palate will be pleased. The Greek summer is overflowing with flavours and aromas: wild greens, fragrant fruits, legumes, vegetables, cheese, warm bread, extra virgin olive oil, fresh fish and seafood, homemade wine. Every place in Greece has its own microclimate. Every village, island and city has its own recipes. Whether you are walking with a slice of juicy watermelon along the beach, or indulging in a gourmet meal made with local produce, whether you’re dipping a slice of bread into pure olive oil or eating an oyster straight from the sea, the delicious flavours will overwhelm you.

Wind in your sails
Sea routes in the Greek islands: Santorini. Mykonos. Milos. Crete. Lefkada. Corfu. Zakynthos. Paxi. Award-winning marinas, picturesque fishing ports, hidden beaches, and bays with emerald water. More than 6,000 islands and islets, on a coastline more than 14,500 kilometres long – what more could yachting and sailing enthusiasts ask for! The summer winds in the Aegean are perfect for competitive sailing, while the calmer waters of the Ionian are ideal for smooth sailing.

Dive into the fun
Bonfires on the beach. Conversations, music, night swimming in a peaceful sea, under the moon.

The barman concocts a new cocktail recipe, and treats you to shots with exotic flavours. The music pulses and the dancing begins. The same happens in the bars of Hora, where the Djs let the beat lift the lively crowd. Greek summer is synonymous with nightlife, that lasts until the sunrise. You’ll go straight from the club to the beach, and with that first dip in the sea your mind and body will be revived. It’s romantic and emotional, without a schedule or obligation. Just live it!

You are all invited…
To the fairs and festivals of August 15th throughout Greece, with their rituals, lutes and treats. To the traditional weddings, and the bridal procession through the island’s cobblestone streets. At the Saints Day fairs, where the locals serve you homemade food, raki and wine. To the big parties. To the cultural events and concerts at the open-air theatres overlooking the sea, or in the mediaeval fortresses.

To the gastronomy festivals and ouzo celebrations. Hospitable, open-hearted, always ready to treat you, Greeks will welcome you with open arms. Because they want you to get to know Greece as it is – pure and authentic. And you will invite them into your heart forever.

The hinterland
No matter what beach in Greece you may find yourself on, it’s worth taking a trip into the hinterland. Nearby you’ll find traditional villages with shady squares lined with coffee shops. An archaeological site. A significant museum. Trails and parks. Lakes and wetlands. Popular destinations that offer unforgettable summer experiences are: Pelion, Crete, Messinia, Mani, Nafplio, Katerini, Preveza and Parga, Ilia and of course the Athenian Riviera with Sounion are just some of the places that will impress you, without ever having to leave the sea breeze. 

Πηγή: http://www.discovergreece.com/

Adventures of Perseus

It wasn’t long, though, that her angry father found out about the baby. He refused to believe that Zeus had anything to do with it, so he condemned Danae‘s nurse to death, as he believed that she orchestrated this affair. He thought about killing his grandson himself, but his guilt would not let him. Desperately seeking a solution that would pose no danger to his life, he made up his mind. He had a wooden ark built for his daughter and his grandson, and he immediately ordered the two of them to be placed in it and to be set adrift at sea.

Days and nights passed, Danae and her baby barely alive. Eventually, the wooden ark washed up on the island of Seriphos. There, a fisherman named Dictes, who was the brother of Polydectes, the ruler of the island, found it. He kindly took in young Perseus and his mother and shared his home with them. During this time, Perseus grew into a strong and brave man blessed with many talents, undoubtedly the result of a god’s grace. However, Polydectes fell in love with Danae, and Perseus, wanting to protect her, kept his mother under guard at all times. So, Polydectes devised a plan; he invited some friends for dinner, and asked them what gift they would bring him if he was ever to ask for one. Perseus answered that if it was necessary, he would bring the head of Medusa, the Gorgon, to him; Medusa was a fearsome monster, who turned to stone anyone who would be unlucky to stare her in the eyes. The King agreed and asked Perseus to bring him the head of the Medusa, otherwise, he would take his mother by force.

Perseus set forth on his adventure to get Medusa‘s head. The Gods, of course, who loved to intervene in the affairs of mortals, would not leave Perseus helpless. Both Athena and Hermes set out to help Perseus with this challenge. With his intelligence and wit, Perseus managed to trick the nymphs. They gave him winged sandals, so he could fly above the ground; a bag, so he could carry the head of the Medusa; and the helmet of Hades, which would make him invisible. Using the winged sandals, Perseus flew above Medusa, looking only at her reflection using the shiny shield that Athena had given him. Invisible thanks to Hades‘ helmet, Perseus cut Medusa‘s head off, placed it in the bag and set for home.

On his way home, he met Andromeda whom he rescued from a sea monster. They quickly fell in love and decided to get married. However, Andromeda‘s uncle, who wanted her for himself, disagreed and plotted to murder Perseus. Having Medusa‘s head gave Perseus a great advantage. He took out the head and as soon as Andromeda‘s uncle look at it, he turned into stone. When Perseus arrived home, he did the same with Polydectes, who was harassing Perseus‘ mother.

What happened to Arcisius, Perseus‘ grandfather, though? Upon hearing of Perseus‘ achievements, he fled far away, but that wasn’t enough to escape his fate. Much, he attended at a games ceremony in the city of Larissa, which was arranged by King Tentamides. Perseus participated in the event; when it was his turn to throw the discus, it slipped from his hand and hit his grandfather on the head, killing him. When Perseus found out he had killed his grandfather, he was deeply saddened and he buried him with honour.

Πηγή: https://www.greekmythology.com/

Beef stifado red wine, garlic, spices & herbs

Beef stifado


  • 1.5 kg stewing beef, such as chuck or top rump , trimmed, cut into 7cm pieces
  • 24 baby onions
  • 4 ripe tomatoes , or 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons allspice berries
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1-2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 125 ml dry red wine
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Tap For Ingredients


  1. Place the beef in a large non-reactive bowl. Add the marinade ingredients, peeling and finely slicing the garlic first, then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight.
  2. Peel the baby onions. If using fresh, peel and roughly chop the tomatoes.
  3. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan and sauté the onions for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Sauté the beef, reserving the marinade, for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned on all sides.
  5. Return the onions to the saucepan, add the marinade, tomatoes and tomato purée and enough water to just cover the stew.
  6. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil then simmer for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened.
  7. Serve with pasta and grated hard cheese, such as kefalotiri, pecorino or Parmesan.

Πηγή: http://www.jamieoliver.com

10 Top Tourist Attractions in Greece

Greece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With over sixty inhabited islands, historic sites that span four millennia, idyllic beaches and towering mountain ranges there is a wide variety of tourist attractions in Greece to explore. And despite the debt crisis with credit downgrades and protest by day, Greece as a travel destination is as popular as it has ever been.

10. Mount Athos
Mount Athos

Mount Athos is a mountain and a peninsula in northern Greece. The peninsula, the easternmost “leg” of the larger Halkidiki peninsula houses some 1,400 monks in 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries. An autonomous state under Greek sovereignty, entry into Mount Athos is strictly controlled and only males are allowed entrance.

9. Mystras

Situated near ancient Sparta, Mystras served as the capital of the Peloponnesus in the 14th and 15th centuries, ruled by relatives of the Byzantine emperor. The site remained inhabited throughout the Ottoman period but was abandoned in 1832, leaving only the breathtaking medieval ruins, standing in a beautiful landscape.

8. Lindos (Where to Stay)

Lindos is a medieval village on the island of Rhodes that is made up of a network of cobbled streets amid whitewashed houses. Above the town rises the acropolis of Lindos, offering spectacular views of the surrounding harbors and coastline. Lindos beach and Saint Pauls beach are only a short distance from the town center.

7. Samaria Gorge (Where to Stay)
Samaria Gorge

The Samariá Gorge is a 16 km (10 miles) long canyon in southwest Crete. Walking the Samariá Gorge is extremely popular and more than a quarter million tourists do so each year. The walk takes 4 to 7 hours and passes through forests of ancient cypresses and pines, then cuts between vertical cliffs through the mountains to emerge at Agia Roumeli on the Libyan sea.

6. Myrtos Beach (Where to Stay)
Myrtos Beach

Located in the north-west of Kefalonia, Myrtos Beach is world-famous for the magical colors of the water. The blue and turquoise colors of the sea contrast sharply with the bright white of the smooth marble pebbles of the beach. The steep mountains and tall cliffs behind Myrtos beach only add to its beauty. For all these reasons Myrtos has previously been voted 12 times as the best beach in Greece.

5. Delphi Theatre
Delphi Theatreflickr/Josh Clark

In ancient times Delphi was the most important site in ancient Greek religion, home to the sanctuary and oracle of Apollo. The ancient theatre of Delphi was built on a hill giving spectators a view of the entire sanctuary and the spectacular landscape below. It was originally built in the 4th and could seat 5,000 spectators. Today it is one of the top tourist attractions in Greece.

4. Meteora (Where to Stay)

Metéora (“suspended in the air”) in central Greece is a collection of six monasteries spectacular situated on top of several rock pillars. The first monastery in Metéora was founded in the 14th century. Access to the monasteries was deliberately difficult, requiring either long ladders or large nets used to haul up both goods and people. This required quite a leap of faith – the ropes were replaced only “when the Lord let them break”.


3. Mykonos (Where to Stay)

Mykonos is famed as a cosmopolitan destination amongst the Greek islands and widely recognized as one of the best tourist attractions in Greece. Mykonos Town (Chora) is a stunningly picturesque Cycladic town with a maze of tiny streets and whitewashed steps lanes. It is also known for its sandy beaches and diverse and intense nightlife as evidenced by a vast number of bars and nightclubs.

See: Top Attractions in Mykonos

2. Parthenon, Acropolis (Where to Stay)
Parthenon, Acropoliswikipedia/A.Savin

The Parthenon on top of the Acropolis is one of the most famous Greece tourist attractions and a visit to Athens is not complete without visiting this temple. The construction of the Parthenon started in 447 BC, replacing and older temple that was destroyed by the Persians, and completed in 432 BC. During its long life the Parthenon has served as a temple, fortress, a church, a mosque and even as a powder magazine.

1. Santorini (Where to Stay)
#1 of Tourist Attractions In Greece

Santorini is a volcanic island in the Cyclades group of the Greek islands. It is famous for its dramatic views, stunning sunsets, the white-washed houses, and its very own active volcano. Fira, the capital of Santorini, is a marriage of Venetian and Cycladic architecture, whose white cobblestone streets bustle with shops, tavernas, hotels and cafes, while clinging on the edge of the 400 meter (1,300 ft) high cliffs.

Πηγή: http://www.touropia.com/