Compare highlights of neighbour islands (according to me)



  Have you ever bought or given one of those series of postcards that are attached to each other. It’s a small packet like a pocket book and it opens like an accordeon. There you have the ‘standard’ monuments and sights and nice views from a place, all in one. My father’s favourites, mine too. You can also find them in many houses in Ikaria. Accordeon series of postcards from Japan, Brazil, USA, Venice and Bilbao, in short, from where ever a cargo ship with Ikarian sailors in it catches port. From these postcards I understood the meaning of the word ‘highlights’ which there’s no exact equivalent for either in French, or in Greek.
So here I’m presenting an accordeon of highlights from three neighbour islands:

Delos, Ikaria and Patmos
(I’ll ignore Mykonos. Mykonos is a state apart. Looking for highlights for Mykonos will lead you to ‘tits’, ‘crowded beaches’, «stone drunk college girls dancing on tables» and it’s the same for Ibiza, Faliraki in Rhodes island and so many similar places -even in the Crimean peninsula recently- so they are not highlights anymore.)
(I’ll also ignore Samos. It’s too big and too close to the continent -Asia. Though I like it (don’t tell that to my Ikarians), it doesn’t feel like an island for me. Except perhaps for mt. Kerkis which rises over the waves of the Aegean (see that photo of mine in Flickr) and it’s so island-ish and superwow. But I’m a hiker, so perhaps my tastes are doubtful and «off-the-beaten-path» -to use the term I found in )

I’ll start with Delos. I had two photos and I couldn’t choose so I put them both in. I found these two photos in Flickr.

The first one shows a part of the row of the ‘Lions of Delos’ along some sort of monumental boulevard. It’s a wonder that these statues were not stolen from Greece by the Venitians or later by the British. I suppose they appeared too ‘abstract’ for their taste. These lions not just shine in sunlight -they multiply and reflect the sun light -they are light amplifiers and it’s very difficult to take good photographs of. They are ‘highlights’ !

The second one shows something that is supposed to be an ‘altar of Dionyssus’ though it’s obvious it’s not a wine taverna. This is actually the sign at the gate of one of the dozens of whorehouses of Delos ! What could they have written to describe it? «House of the rising….»? Anyway, it’s funny. Because of its strategic position, the temple of Apollo and some major tax deductions, Delos had been the most important port in the eastern Mediterranean for about 300 years from Hellenistic to Roman times. Hence the whorehouses and their marble signs (which can be seen from very far away and the sailors would cheer). However, for obvious reasons there are very few (if any) postcards of the (all mutilated) phalluses of Delos in the souvenir market today. But tourists love to take pictures of them. They are sooo photogenic ! So it’s a ‘highlight’ !

After the proliferate, here’s the ascetic. The next picture is from Ikaria. This is Theoskepasti (Θεοσκέπαστη =roofed by God’s own hands) an old chapel as well as a hermitage. This picture was taken by X.M. the local photographer who I think was the first to make this monument known to the public though his pictures, so by now it decorates the frontpage of the good old . Natural, human and divine connect and there are some typical Ikarian concepts involved too, such as balance (the rock), poverty (obvious), economy (obvious too), integration and harmony with nature (though it’s by no means small, you can’t see it until you are actually there). So I’d call this a «lowlight» -an Ikarian highlight !

Then it’s Patmos of course! This is the bells of the monastery of St. John (10th cent. AD) from a ‘standard’ postcard. Are you sonic? These bells can be heard from an unbelievably long distance. The secret of it lies in the Russian bronze of which they were made centuries ago. When you hear them in the morning mist covering the Aegean it makes you think of the quest for the Holly Graal, the knights and the monks, the Saracin pirates and the slave virgins, all that which still haunts our imagination (and made St. Spielberg a rich man, among many others). This is a ‘highlight’ !

That’s all folks ! (who was saying that? Buggs Bunny, wasn’t it?)

P.S. I’m so proud ! Did you know? My photo with the sunset in Flickr which I had also tagged ‘Delos’ figured first in the «most interesting photos tagged Delos» in Flickr last week ! It seems that I’ve beaten the phalluses and the lions for a while at least. It’s so funny.

A photo about Delos without the actual island in it ! What does this mean Doctor S.?



(7 total)

Porky Pig actually 😉

Saturday February 11, 2006 – 03:06pm (PST)

A doctor writes: Hmmmm…probably a simple unconcious play on words is involved here; Delos has suggested δειλινο and hence sunset, together with δειλος bringing into play those feelings of shyness and withdrawl once more; we have once more stumbled upon the central conflict at work within the Psyche: the brave lion-like public persona (masculine principle)and the shy creature which seeks to withdraw from the light (feminine)(NB these terms have nothing to do with the subject’s actual gender). This does indeed make your Delos «most interesting» and for you there is no need for a real island with its overtly masculine imagery of Lions and Phalluses «shining in the sunlight» as I think you put it. This island you have «beaten» or overcome (i.e. this aspect of your nature is, for now, submissive)- you are pulled instead towards the darkness (feminine/unconcious principle)evident in the sunset photo and by empowering this side of your psyche you have tapped into the collective unconcious so powerfully at work in the flikr site, with the result that your photo «wins» – or I would say is most representative of the collective feeling around «Delos.» More wine please.

Sunday February 12, 2006 – 01:05am (GMT)

you should drown in wine that doctor of yours. Have him have a long sweet death that will last for 100 years…

Sunday February 12, 2006 – 03:16pm (EET)

((:-biu-:)) Το καινούριο σου avatar είναι σαν εξώφυλλο από CD με νησιώτικα !

Sunday February 12, 2006 – 07:30pm (EET)

-I know… the doctor is trying to make me crazier than I am already.
– Is my avatar really like a CD cover? Would it make you think there is good music inside?

Sunday February 12, 2006 – 12:13pm (PST)

I think the music would be very dreamy.

Sunday February 12, 2006 – 10:17pm (GMT)

ρεμβώδης (wow -thanks dictionary)

Monday February 13, 2006 – 12:29pm (PST)

7 Σχόλια on “Compare highlights of neighbour islands (according to me)”

  1. […] Lidi I followed the road to the 2nd monastery (Theoktistis Monastery, see Eleni’s blog entry:  “highlights»), which is very near the village of Pigi (ΠΗΓΗ). From there I walked to the main road […]

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  2. […] στo “πρέπει να τα δούμε όλα”. Άλλωστε, τι να δούμε; Στην Ικαρία όλα είναι απλά, ωστόσο υπάρχει παντού μια μαγεία την οποία […]

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  3. Ο/Η simonsterg λέει:

    I like those lions. I’ve never really noticed them before (I haven’t been to Delos). They’re streamlined like sea-lions. I wonder what they looked like new?

    (These old posts are coming up on my blog reader. I guess you’re editing them.)


    Μου αρέσει!

    • Ο/Η Eleni λέει:

      They are ornamental shapes. In the 2nd cent AD the island was like Manhattan : a city of 60.000 inhabitants covering the entire square footage. Buy a good guide book and visit the place! Notice that all the photos on the net are bad. Too much light!

      (Yes, I am editing entries from old Yahoo!360 because the photos are gone. I have noticed that a somebody was following through Blogger. I am glad it was you and I hope it’s not a nuissance. It’s a quiet spring and I am stuck somewhere with nothing better to do.)

      🙂 x x

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  4. Ο/Η simonsterg λέει:

    What a good thing to do in a quiet spring, when the world is busy preparing to replenish itself.

    I never knew that about Delos! The island as a city! That conjures up a picture of arriving over the sea and being greeting with something like Venice or Minas Tirith in Lord of the Rings!

    Just investigating,.. I didn’t know there was an omphalos stone there either – though I knew it was the belly button of the world.

    Wikipedia – almost as shocking in its gaping lacunas as me – doesn’t mention this wonder at all – it skips from 454 BC to 1872 without taking a breath:

    «…The League’s common treasury was kept here as well until 454 BC when Pericles removed it to Athens.[4]

    Since 1872 the École française d’Athènes («French School of Athens») has been excavating the island…»

    (As for visiting, this summer we are intending to drive to Turkey – Didim. An opportunity that came up with good friends. We did think of going via Italy – Bari – Patras – Piraeus – Cos, but getting the ferries looked complicated.)

    I like seeing these old posts popping up! I hope you don’t mind being «followed»!

    Μου αρέσει!

    • Ο/Η Eleni λέει:

      My work is in a team so often things fall apart and there are gaping lagunas 🙂
      Then all of a sudden it’s meyhem 😮
      About Delos now I was as lucky as to have an expert friend for a guide who even managed for us to spend the night on the island: lots of vipers everywhere but on the other hand -thanks to Apollo- one of the best sunsets and one of the best sunrises of my life. I am not sure if anybody would get the experience in a standard 2 hour guided tour along with the Japanese and the American college students.
      Take a look of the city:

      It wasn’t marble white of course. Marble white is a convention. The city was as colorful as any modern Italian town and more.
      DIDIM! I have been there! Get on a bus and visit Ephesus too – my most favorite archeological site in the Med in the same line with Carthage in Tunis.

      I love being followed again. It makes me feel 6 years younger!

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  5. […] bones were kept (until they disappeared and probably hidden somewhere for safety) Eleni has written a few lines in her blog long ago but they are still valid: (At Theoskepasti, the old mushroom shaped chapel of […]

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