The little house in the desert


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………The place ^^’
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On the wuthering heights of Ikaria 305 by Eleni Ikanou on Flickrmount Atheraς in the center of a sandy plateau surrounded by windswept round boulders lies a tiny cube-like building with a chimney on its flat roof. This is «To Spitaki tis Mamis» (the little house of the midwife), or «Saint Panteleimon Mountain Refuge», as the marble plate in the wall next to the door says. Built by a kind woman in 1960 for the benefit of all mountain walkers, Spitaki tis Mamis, despite its miniature size, is a mountain shelter properly speaking, not associated to a church or mountain chapel, as it is usual in Greece, but built hiking-wise at important crossroads in a location where a hiker cannot possibly miss. This makes Spitaki tis Mamis, if not the oldest, undoubtedly one of the oldest mountain shelters in the Aegean islands. With my own ears I have heard about the lives it has saved through the years. On the chimney there was a fog bell to guide lost souls in the mountain and inside, as if by a magic hand, it was always provided with firewood, cooking pots, lamps and lamp oil, coffee, sugar, rice etc.
It was a place that wrote history.
However and in spite of all that, in the course of events and new road building in the 1990s Spitaki tis Mamis was forgotten and fell in oblivion. As a result, today -57 years after it was built- it’s in very bad shape: cracked walls, no door and window and a roof almost ready to fall in.

………The project ^^’
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Last month, answering Announcement by OPS Ikarias on Google+: 'We are in the pleasant position to announce that our request to the Municipality of Ikaria to grant permission to repair on our own expences and volunteer work the derelict mountain shelter to a request made by several local associations, Spitaki tis Mamis was declared by the Town Council as a cultural monument – standing reminder of the times when there were no roads and cars in Ikaria and the only way to travel from one part of the island to another was by walking long hours across uninhabited, mountainous landscapes in rain, snow or fog. Following this desicion, the Town Council granted permission to the interested parts to repair the old shelter and adapt it to modern needs. As they said, that would be done on the own expences and voluntary work without help from either central or local government…
Volunteers going to work in the wilderness on dream project…?
Oops! I know that! I must help!

………My involvement ^^’
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Dear readers, the purpose Eleni high in ikaria, summer 2005 of this article is to advertise the aforementioned project and call for funding and support. To do so I can’t find a better way than to show you a set of 16 photos taken many years ago on a hike along half the length of the mountain ridge. That great, mind and soul filling, two-day trip would not have been possible if Spitaki tis Mamis didn’t exist.
In the middle of that desert of rocks, sands, ferns and srubs, although abandonned and broken, it was still there marking the way, connecting the present with the past. It still said «Hello, I am here for you». I want it to be repaired. If not for any other reason, because of an experience I will never forget. Many years ago when I was single and young, while lying in my sleeping bag on its old cracked concrete roof, still warm from the sun, Nightsky over the mountain shelter in Ammoudia, IkariaI gazed at the biggest and brightest summer night sky I’ve seen in my life!

……… The pictures
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………⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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On the path inside Ranti Forest

On the path inside Ranti Forest

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Walking on the ridge and leaving the forest behind

Walking on the ridge and leaving the old forest behind

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A typical Ikarian rock house on the way to Rahes

A typical Ikarian rock house on the way to Rahes

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Checking the map in the sunset. Got to reach that mountain shelter before nightfall

Checking the map in the sunset. Got to reach that mountain shelter before nightfall

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Unpacking inside the tiny mountain shelter

Unpacking inside the tiny mountain shelter

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The fireplace!

The fireplace!

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Sunrise on Ammoudia plateau, alt 860 m.

Sunrise on Ammoudia plateau, alt. 860 m.

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On the road inside Erifi plateau in the morning

On the road inside Erifi plateau in the morning

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In view of forested uplands

In view of forested uplands

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Hike across barren wastelands

Hike across barren wastelands

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In view of the southern coast at last

In view of the southern coast at last

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Walking down to Karkinagri on a beautiful stone paved lane for a while

Walking down to Karkinagri on a beautiful stone paved lane for a while

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Old houses built on steep ground in the historical part of the village next to a very violent mountain torrent

Old houses built on steep ground in the historical part of the village next to a very violent mountain torrent

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Climbing down along a mountain stream near Karkinagri

Climbing down along a mountain stream near Karkinagri

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source

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That was all from me for now. I hope there will soon be an account for donations, as well as a call for extra volunteers, if needed. When this happens, I will let you know.
Follow me up! ^^’

Eleni Ik ❤

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Saturday, June 6, 2017


Κεραύνιοι λίθοι


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Post about Ikarian thunderstones on fb
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Χαίρετε, αξιότιμοι αναγνώστες του μπλογκ της Ελένης!
Angelos K. Πριν λίγες μέρες με αφορμή ένα ποστ δικό μου στο facebook όπου διατύπωνα κάποιες σκέψεις σχετικά με την αναπάντεχη, πολύ μεγάλη δημοφιλία που είχε μια φωτογραφία που τράβηξα αμέσως μόλις την ανέβασα στο Φλικρ, προσκλήθηκα εδώ από τη σεβαστή οικοδέσποινα για να γράψω, αν ήθελα, περισσότερα για το θέμα, δηλαδή τη «μαγεία των μικρών μυστηριωδών πραγμάτων», όπως ήταν ο τίτλος του ποστ μου στο FB. Μου ζήτησε επίσης να βάλω μαζί και μια προπέρσινη φωτογραφία ενός κοινού μανιταριού που αναφέρω στο ποστ, η οποία κι αυτή, τότε που την Mushroom course in the forest 02 ανέβασα, γνώρισε την ίδια σχεδόν στιγμιαία δημοφιλία, μάλλον για παρόμοιους, αν και περισσότερο κατανοητούς σε μένα λόγους. Ξέρω ότι υπάρχουν εκατομμύρια μανιταρόφιλοι στον κόσμο και ότι ανάμεσά τους υπάρχουν άνθρωποι που δεν τα βλέπουν μόνο ως φαγητό, αλλά και σαν μαγικά φυτά τόσο από άποψη μορφής, όσο και για τον τρόπο που φύονται -ξαφνικά, κρυφά, ανέλπιστα- λες κι ανήκουν σε μια άλλη διάσταση, σε έναν άλλο τύπο ανάπτυξης της ζωής, πολύ διαφορετικό από των δέντρων, των θάμνων, των λουλουδιών, κτλ. Αντίθετα ωστόσο, δεν έχω ακούσει ποτέ τίποτα για Neolithic adzes «προϊστορικούς πετρόφιλους», πόσο μάλλον όταν η φωτογραφία δεν εικονίζει κάποιο μεγαλόπρεπο ντολμέν ή μενίρ (οπότε η δημοφιλία θα ήταν κάπως δικαιολογημένη), αλλά δυο πετραδάκια που από μακριά αν τα δεις, δεν διαφέρουν από βότσαλα.
Όπως έγραψα και στο ποστ, το ζήτημα με ξεπερνά. Και εξακολουθεί να με ξεπερνά και τώρα που γράφω. Γι’ αυτό, αντί να παραστήσω τον ειδικό στη μαγεία, θεώρησα σωστό να ανατρέξω στις πηγές. Και όχι πηγές ό,τι και ό,τι, αλλά σε μία παλαιά μεν αλλά μεγάλη αυθεντία στο θέμα, τον λαογράφο, καθηγητή του Πανεπιστημίου Αθηνών, Νικόλαο Πολίτη. Από αυτόν λοιπόν τον σπουδαίο πρόδρομο της Ελληνικής λαογραφίας αντιγράφω εδώ (διασκευασμένα στη δημοτική) μερικά αποσπάσματα από την αρχή του κεφαλαίου ΙΓ’ ΚΑΙΡΟΙ (δηλ, περί καιρικών φαινομένων) του έργου του «Μελέται περί του βίου και της γλώσσης του ελληνικού λαού: Παραδόσεις – Μέρος Β΄ (Αθήνα, 1899-1902)»:
 
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Nikos Politis, Meletai 1 «Η λέξη «αστροπελέκι» και σπανιότερα «αστροπελέκιο» ή «αστροπέλεκο» ή «αστροπέλεκας» σημαίνει τον κεραυνό, και ειδικότερα το βλήμα του κεραυνού, που το φαντάζονται σαν πέτρινο τσεκούρι. Είναι δηλαδή, όπως δείχνει η ετυμολογία του, «ο πέλεκυς της αστραπής». Η λέξη ήταν σε χρήση κατά τον μεσαίωνα και μόνο στον Ερωτόκριτο, απ’ όσο γνωρίζω, βρίσκεται η περίφραση «πέτρα τς αστραπής», ενώ μια άλλη περίφραση είναι «του θεού το βόλι».
Όπως έχω επισημάνει και αλλού, ο λαός ξεχωρίζει το φαινόμενο της αστραπής, όπως έκαναν και οι αρχαίοι Έλληνες και οι Ρωμαίοι, σε τρία: την αστραπή, το αστροπελέκι και το μπουμπουνητό, δηλαδή την αστραπή, τον κεραυνό και τη βροντή. Το βλήμα του κεραυνού πιστεύουν ότι πέφτει στη γη ως άμορφος λίθος, και ότι ωριμάζει, δηλαδή παίρνει το σχήμα του, όταν μείνει σαράντα μέρες χωμένος μέσα στη γη.»

Nikos Politis, Meletai 2 «Τότε αποκτά θαυμαστές δυνάμεις και γι’ αυτό το λόγο όσοι βρίσκουν τέτοια πέτρα την έχουν για φυλαχτό, καθώς πιστεύουν ότι φέρνει ευτυχία στον κάτοχό της, ότι λύνει τα μάγια και προστατεύει από κάθε κακό. Κεραύνιοι λίθοι πιστεύουν ότι είναι οι προϊστορικοί πέτρινοι πέλεκεις ή αιχμές βελών της λίθινης εποχής που βρίσκονται σε αφθονία στην Ελλάδα, ενώ μερικές φορές εκλαμβάνονται ως «αστροπελέκια» και τεμάχια χαλαζία (quartz).
Η δοξασία αυτή είναι πάρα πολύ αρχαία. Οι αρχαίοι Έλληνες θεωρούσαν την αστραπή ως πηγή γέννησης και υπέθεταν ότι αυτή παράγει τα μανιτάρια «τρούφες» και τα μαργαριτάρια. Ονόμαζαν τα αστροπελέκια «κεραύνιους λίθους» και ως τέτοιους θεωρούσαν τους προϊστορικούς λίθινους πέλεκεις ή και τους αερόλιθους. Σε αυτούς απέδιδαν τις ίδιες θαυμαστές δυνάμεις που τους αποδίδει και σήμερα ο λαός, και τους χρησιμοποιούσαν σε καθαρμούς ή τους είχαν για φυλαχτά.»

Nikos Politis, Meletai 3 «Αυτά τα φυλαχτά πίστευαν ότι προστατεύουν επίσης από τους κεραυνούς, όπως συνάγεται από κάποιες οδηγίες που διασώθηκαν για την κατασκευή τους, ενώ στους Βυζαντινούς χρόνους τα θεωρούσαν πολύτιμα.
Κάποιοι αρχαίοι συγγραφείς επίσης παρομοίαζαν τους κεραύνιους λίθους με τσεκούρια. Φαίνεται απ’ αυτό ότι ως τέτοιους κυρίως θεωρούσαν τους προϊστορικούς λίθινους πέλεκεις.
Οι Γερμανοί επίσης ονομάζουν τους κεραύνιους λίθους «Donneraxt» (πέλεκυς της βροντής), ενώ στα πιο αρχαία χρόνια θεωρούσαν τον πέλεκυ ως σύμβολο του κεραυνού και όπλο του θεού της βροντής Thunar (Thôrr). Είναι πολύ κοινές στους Γερμανούς αυτές οι δοξασίες, έτσι ώστε, εκτός από τη λέξη Donneraxt, είναι σε χρήση κι άλλες που δηλώνουν τους κεραύνιους λίθους, όπως «Donnerstein» (λίθος βροντής), «Donnerkeil» (σφήνα βροντής) και πλήθος άλλες.
Αλλά και άλλοι λαοί της Ευρώπης, της Ασίας και της Αφρικής τιμούν τους λίθους που πιστεύουν ότι προέρχονται από τους κεραυνούς. Ως τέτοιους, εκτός από τους προϊστορικούς πέλεκεις και τα βέλη, θεωρούν και τους αερόλιθους και τα απολιθωμένα οστά προϊστορικών καλαμαριών («βελεμνίτες») τους οποίους έχουν συνδέσει με πλήθος δεισιδαιμονιών.»

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Φίλη μου Ελένη, δεν έχω να προσθέσω άλλο παρά να ξαναπώ με άλλα λόγια εκείνο που έγραψα στο facebook. Τα αστροπελέκια «δεν ανήκουν σ’ αυτόν τον κόσμο». Είναι λείψανα του τρόπου ζωής της λεγόμενης «Λίθινης Εποχής» που είναι πολύ δύσκολο να κατανοήσουμε όχι μόνο εμείς, αλλά όπως φαίνεται, αφότου διαδόθηκε και επικράτησε η χρήση των μετάλλων, ξεχάστηκε και έγινε ακατανόητος ακόμα και στους αρχαίους. Είναι «αντικείμενα από άλλη διάσταση», τέτοια που ακόμα και σήμερα, παρόλες τις αδιαμφισβήτητες επιστημονικές εξηγήσεις, συνεχίζουν να εξάπτουν την φαντασία, να δημιουργούν απορίες και να κάνουν το νου μας να ταξιδεύει.
Όσον αφορά τώρα την Ικαρία, είναι πασίγνωστη και αξιοσημείωτη η αφθονία τους. Πάρα πολλά βλέπει κανείς να εκτίθενται στις αρχαιολογικές και λαογραφικές συλλογές του νησιού, αλλά και στα σπίτια ακόμα υπάρχουν πολλά. Οι παλιοί Καριώτες τα ανακάλυπταν στα πιο απίθανα σημεία στα βουνά, σε μέρη που δύσκολα μπορεί κανείς να φανταστεί ότι ζούσαν άλλοτε άνθρωποι. Τα μάζευαν και τα φύλαγαν ως μαγικά αντικείμενα, αλλά και σήμερα ακόμα τα τιμούν και τα επιδεικνύουν με σεβασμό, ως ιστορικά αντικείμενα που δηλώνουν το πόσο αρχαία είναι η παρουσία του ανθρώπου στον τόπο μας.
Και θα τελειώσω την αναφορά στα αστροπελέκια της Ικαρίας, Ελένη, με το δικό σου σχόλιο κάτω από τη φωτογραφία στο Φλικρ:


«(τα αστροπελέκια) είναι από μια εποχή που το νησί ήταν καλυμένο με δάση και αυτές οι πέτρες (οι μεγάλες στρογγυλές πέτρες που ονομάζουμε «λούρους») ήταν ακόμα χωμένες βαθιά μέσα στη γη«.

Κεραύνια Εποχή, στ’ αλήθεια, θα ήταν εκείνη!

Άγγελος Κ.

Αρχαιολογία Online: Προϊστορικές τεχνικές και μέθοδοι κατεργασίας του λίθου (Μέρος A´)1) Τα νεώτερα αρχαιολογικά δεδομένα για τα λίθινα εργαλεία που ονομάζουμε «αστροπελέκια» μπορεί κανείς να διαβάσει στο «Αρχαιολογία Online» στο άρθρο: Προϊστορικές τεχνικές και μέθοδοι κατεργασίας του λίθου (Μέρος A´)

Παρουσίαση της Ελληνικής μετάφρασης του βιβλίου 'Αρχαία Ικαρία2) Για την αρχαία ιστορία και αρχαιολογία της Ικαρίας βλέπε το βιβλίο «Αρχαία Ικαρία» του καθηγητή Α. Παπαλά.

 
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A Day at an Exhibition


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Dear readers💗
As things are at my work I sometimes have to stay for hours at nerve-racking standbys. To relax tension the trick is always to turn my mind to Ikaria and then to look for something interesting to blog about my island. In most cases things don’t fall in as I wish. Inspiration is a bird in flight, but sometimes there are exceptions.😋
Parea on Ikaria south coastLast week during one of those standbys I mentionned above, and while I was surfing fruitlessly in Flickr, I looked for new stuff from friends and a wonderful new set of 29 pictures from Ikaria appeared in front of my eyes: «A Day at an Exhibition» – «Hard hiking, wild swimming and admiring rocks scuptured by nature in Cape Papas, Ikaria». What a brilliant title, description and of course, visual content!
These pictures were taken by my friend Angelos, amateur photographer and leading member of the Ikarian hiking club, on a day of March while he and his friends were trying to find a trail through «a jungle of rocks sculptured by nature» (sic) to connect the remote village of Karkinagri with the even remoter westernmost tip of Ikaria and the historical, spectacular lighthouse which stands on it.
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As you could see in this great map above, the trail was found! Therefore, I think we should expect to see more shots from this colorful and naturally artistic, wild coast of Ikaria very soon. But for the time being, these are the best I have seen. I am letting you enjoy them! Move your mouse over the thumbnails to read a few words written by the author about each picture. They are very expressive and enlightening!
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Posing to demonstrate size and proportions of a stone house. In general this is a place as if from neolithic times. Several hollow rocks in this area have served as human shelters through the ages.

All pictures © Mountain Climbing & Hiking Club of Ikaria

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. . .Like 7 years ago, the task of the day was to discover a practicable hiking route across a jungle of naturally sculpted rocks and connect Cape Papas to the village of Karkinagri. The team was great so this time we succeeded! View of the lighthouse from the new hiking trail
. . .Opening out to the vastness of the horizon Colors, reflections, shapes, make the most alive landscape I have ever seen. Hard to adjust the camera and take good pictures though...
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. . .3 pictures to demonstrate how hard it was sometimes for us to go round just one of these rocks! 3 pictures to demonstrate how hard it was sometimes for us to go round just one of these rocks!
. . .3 pictures to demonstrate how hard it was sometimes for us to go round just one of these rocks! If only we had more time to explore, pose and play with these rocks... But the task of the day was to discover a trail which we did! Let the rocks wait for another day.

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'The Scream' by Edvard Munch. It was her idea and that cavity was perfect so we couldn't resist!
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. . .The first one who found the trail is already swimming! Fair prize for good scouting. We are making our way slowly down to the little cove while the scout is sunbathing. The hardest part of the hike is over and the route across that jungle of rocks to connect Cape Papas and the village of Karkinagri is more or less fixed.
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. . .Having done most of the job with the new trail, it was time to try and take one or two good shots of this beautiful wild cove. Naturally sculptured shapes of sandstone make the scenery behind the little wild cove of the previous pictures. The trail runs across these amazing clusters of rocks.

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Having done most of the job with the new trail, it was time to try and take one or two good shots of this beautiful wild cove.
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. . .This round little pool in the rock filled with sea water could be seen from far above. We were very happy to have found a trail that runs through so many natural wonders! Many sea monster shapes sculptured in this rock.
. . .Among the rocks we found this unidentified orchid for Eleni to add to her collection Some of us take time to examine every detail of the sculptured landscape, while the photographer is struggling with the sparkling rocks, the changing light and the saturated color of everything. How happy we were to have found a trail that runs through so many natural wonders!
. . .Everybody insisted on capturing the lines, the texture and especially the shape of this rocky protrusion which by some mystery resists the huge winter waves of the Cape. I don't think it's a success. I should have set the camera differently. I think it's a good tribute though. Everybody insisted on capturing the lines, the texture and especially the shape of this rocky protrusion which by some mystery resists the huge winter waves of the Cape. I don't think it's a success. I should have set the camera differently. I think it's a good tribute though.
. . .Shot taken as were leaving. I like it. Inside this scenery maybe the secret is not to aim at anything special but leave everything to chance. But as I said ... the task of the day was not photography but to discover a trail between a village and a lighthouse. This time we succeeded! The southwesternmost end of Ikaria is generally called
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After taking so many pictures of this unearthly scenery I felt a bit alienated. For a change I took a shot of the warm wet face of one of us. Picture taken somewhere between the lighthouse of Papas and Karkinagri.
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. . .Two of us caught at rest. It's not as thick jungle of sculptured rocks as before but we still had a long way to go untill we reached Karkinagri. It is an exhibition and that's only one of the millions of exhibits! Area highly recommended to photographers, now that the trail is more or less fixed.

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. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ . .A place as if from neolithic times. Several hollow rocks in this area have served as human shelters through the ages. The new trail runs right through this historic neighborhood and of course we are very happy about it!.

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.Besides everything, the photographer kindly cited under each picture two articles from my blog and one article from the blog of my friend Nana, as he thought them related to the material. These articles are:
Côte de Naufragés Sauvés
Wild coves & beaches in southern Ikaria
Thank you very much, Angelos!💗
. . . . .Eleni Ikanou
Sunday, March 26, 2017
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Picture Calendar 2017! 😎


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My Ikarian picture Calendar 2017Dear readers,
in Ikaria almost every village, community or association makes a picture calendar for the new year to raise money for various causes
Ikarian Radio Station Calendar 2017: '12 Ikarian mushrooms, one for every month' and needs. Competition is tough so these calendars are getting better and better in both concept and context every year. Take for example this one by the Ikarian Radio Station on the subject of mushrooms (By the way, do you remember my post about Ikarian mushrooms?)
Anyway, I am not a village, that’s obvious! And my purpose is not to raise money either. I am one of the co-founders and co-administrators of a small photo community about Ikaria on Flickr and there we have the same tradition as on the island itself: every year we produce a Picture Calendar! The idea behind it is not money of course. All I want is to present some pictures which, besides their quality, are worth to be seen by anyone who is interested in our small stripe of land. They are pictures typical of the corresponding months and/or typical of what goes on in Ikaria during these months.
This year too I made a Calendar for the group, but as I said in the forenote, this time the choice of photos would not be mine. They would be either the viewers’ choice through Flickr Flickr Image Searchor merely at random through
Google Image Search Google Image Search. So if you click on a picture below, a new window will open to a Flickr Search or a Google Search page showing all the results, for example, of «Ikaria» and «January«, «Ikaria» and «February» etc.
The only bit of choosing I did was to pick a photo as a sample from the first rows of both websites. The reason was that as we scroll down the pages, the pictures tend to be less and less relevant to the topic, that is «Flickr + location + month».
I hope you will enjoy this. The larger pictures on the left direct to Flickr. The smaller pictures on the right direct to Google. Click and watch our Ikarian monthly panorama!

Happy New Year!

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January

On Flickr: Ikaria + January, sorted by relevance On Google Image Search: Flickr + Ikaria + January, images sorted by date, relevance or in random

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February

On Flickr: Ikaria + February, images sorted by relevance On Google Image Search: Flickr + Ikaria + February, images sorted by date, relevance or in random

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March

On Flickr: Ikaria + March, sorted by relevance On Google Image Search: Flickr + Ikaria + March, images sorted by date, relevance or in random

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April

On Flickr: Ikaria + April, images sorted by relevance On Google Image Search: Flickr + Ikaria + April, images sorted by date, relevance or in random

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May

On Flickr: Ikaria + May, images sorted by relevance On Google Image Search: Flickr + Ikaria + May, images sorted by date, relevance or in random

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June

On Flickr: Ikaria + June, images sorted by relevance On Google Image Search: Flickr + Ikaria + June, images sorted by date, relevance or in random

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July

On Flickr: Ikaria + July, images sorted by relevance On Google Image Search: Flickr + Ikaria + July, images sorted by date, relevance or in random

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August

On Flickr: Ikaria + August, images sorted by relevance On Google Image Search: Flickr + Ikaria + August, images sorted by date, relevance or in random

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September

On Flickr: Ikaria + September, images sorted by relevance On Google Image Search: Flickr + Ikaria + September, images sorted by date, relevance or in random

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October

On Flickr: Ikaria + October, images sorted by relevance On Google Image Search: Flickr + Ikaria + October, images sorted by date, relevance or in random

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November

On Flickr: Ikaria + November, images sorted by relevance On Google Image Search: Flickr + Ikaria + November, images sorted by date, relevance or in random

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December

On Flickr: Ikaria + December, images sorted by relevance On Google Image Search: Flickr + Ikaria + December, images sorted by date, relevance or in random

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Magical things are patient


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“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”~

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Omnia magica Ikaria
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Dear readers,
you are certainly familiar with the aforementioned quote. It’s usually credited to W.B.Yeats, however, that’s not true. The famous sentence was written by someone who was amazed when he saw for the first time through a magnifying lens the astonishing details of a beautiful wild flower! Therefore, let my blog article be for you today that magnifying lens. Through it you will be able to see some tiny beautiful details and short elusive flashes in the monotonous everyday life of our island. I’m talking about the small, rare and hidden picture instead of the big one -the one which tourism lately has turned into cliché. Let’s save ourselves from that by putting out some powerful subjective worldviews! As my friend Nana whose article I am copying here, says, this is about a…

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Afternoon in the desert of ravens 😳 by Nana Agrimi on Flickr
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«A parallel reality: a collection of special moments recorded through the years and stored in our blogs and Flickr streams, from surreal alienation to oddity, from encounters with animals to performances and improvised rituals, from riddles and witchcraft to extravagance, provocation or simple pleasurable moments and postcard-like snapshots, that’s my way to celebrate Dodecaemeron, the Greek 12 festal days of Christmas and New Year, when earth and skies merge, as they say, and daily toilers like us should stop and rest and say to themselves…»

[read more…]In Nana to agrimi's blog: 'omnia magica'

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~~p.s. A friend asked why these pictures aren’t uploaded to Flickr. One answer is that many of them would create unwanted activity. The main reason, however, is aesthetic. As I’m saying in a comment under my snapshot of Nana’s post on Flickr, first and foremost this thing should be seen a whole.
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⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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Wind-bound in Nicaria, circa 1740


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 Old stone shelter near Langada in Ikaria
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Hello readers!
I don’t expect this long article to become too popular. It’s just that several modern-day Ikarians show a lot of interest in knowing as much as they can about the more recent history of the island and they are usually very disappointed. Compared with other islands of the Aegean Sea, there is so little to say about Ikaria! No glorious battles, no illustrious rulers, no forts and fleets, no trading towns, no towers, cathedrals and famous monasteries; only mossy stonewalls and old thrifty houses scattered in the ravines, the valleys and the forests in the hills.
Εxcept one Greek Orthodox clergyman in the 17th century, no other educated person from East or West felt the urge to visit the island and write an account. If I’m not mistaken, the first book about the history of Ikaria appeared in the middle of the 20th century. Until then, there was no big narrative but only countless little stories told by the fireplace; persistent little stories which by force of repetition, became local legends; local legends some of which today, by force of time and culture gap, may sound like wild fairy tales.

Imaginary depiction of Charles Perry's ship wind-bound under Cape Papas in Ikaria
Neverthelss, there were some short descriptions of the life in the island during the Obscurity («Αφάνεια») as we like to call in Ikaria the first hard centuries of the Ottoman occupation. These were written by the very few European travelers who touched at our rough, inhospitable shores, often by chance or accident. In Pr A.J. Papalas’ book «Ancient Icaria» I found a reference to one of these documents, which, although brief and trivial, capticated my imagination. It is by Charles Perry, a wealthy medical doctor from England who travelled in the Levant from 1739 to 1742. After visiting Egypt, Perry sailed from Alexandria to Athens. On his way across the Aegean he visited and described the islands of Cos and Patmos. But after that island, as he was heading for Mykonos, his ship was caught in a storm and was forced to drop anchor in Ikaria.

Old settlement in Karkinagri Ikaria I liked Perry’s account. Reading his one and a half page about his accidental visit to Ikaria, I felt the genuine puzzlement of a man of the Century of Lights for the unwelcoming, extremely mountainous environment of the island and his also genuine astonishment (and contempt) for the attitude and the way of life of its inhabitants. But, most of all, I liked his account for a more personal reason: through the eyes of the good old British doctor, I saw some places of western Ikaria which I know very well, such as Karkinagri, Agios Isidoros and Langada, looking as uncanny and wild, as if we were talking about a remote, unfriendly rock in the middle of the South Pacific!
I found that very exciting! In my mind it fitted in with the other tales of my island and their mixture generated cores for several imaginary storylines! Maybe some day I’ll sit down Drawing of Imaginary Ikarians fiesting in the 18th century and write a similar story, this time not from the side of an enlightened European physician, probably wearing a powdered wig, but from the side of the «wretched, almost naked and savage» Ikarians!

😌
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Wind-bound in Nicaria, p.484 «We spent three days in Patmos, not disagreeably; and the fourth in the morning we set sail for Myconos; but the wind, which was otherwise pretty favorable, grew slack, next to a calm; so that it was with much-ado, with what wind we had, and the help of our oars, that we reached the west end of Nicaria in two days. We much lamented our hard fate, that we should thus long want a wind at such a favourable (for it) crisis of the year, it being near the Autumnal Equinox.
However, that night, about an hour after sunset, even whilst we were reproaching the malice of our stars, a fine gale sprang up. We failed not to embrace it immediately, and we went driving on, Jehu-like, with our sails full of wind and our hearts full of joy: But alas! How frail and transitory are human hopes and happiness, especially upon the sea? Within an hour after, the wind turned against us, and blew a storm; so that we were forced to change our course, and to seek shelter under a rock at the west end of Nicaria, which we did not attain, however, without much difficulty and danger.»

Wind-bound in Nicaria, p.485 «Here we lay wind-bound four nights, and above three days; during which irksome interval we amused ourselves in the best manner we could with fishing: But after we had spent two days without other recreation than fishing, that sport grew dull and tedious; and whilst we were looking out for some sport and divertissement, kind Providence (of its grace and favour) sent us the glad tidings that about a mile off, on the side of a high rocky mountain, there was a spring of excellent water, which was resorted to by great number of partridges. Upon this intelligence, (which we got the third day of our detention there) we immediately got ready arms and ammunition of all sorts, as well for the belly as the barrel -such as bread, butter, cheese, salt, pepper, wine, glasses, etc. We marched on directly, (flushed with the hopes of new game) with uncommon ardour, or rather avidity; and we were well recompensed our pains; for we passed that day very agreeably.
The mountain (though in general very steep) admits a sort of level in that place; and the spring of water issues out of a rock, in a very convenient and delightful spot, where nature or chance has formed a sort of grot, large enough to receive and accommodate a dozen or 15 persons. This natural grot (if we may so call it) is covered over, and secured against the weather, by a large flat stone of about 24 feet in diameter: This rests upon and is supported by other stones on all sides, except to the eastward; where, being open, it presents to view a sort of alcove. Here we passed the whole day (which but for that retreat would have been tedious) very agreeably -reclining upon the bed of our grot, with the water trilling along close by us, whilst our partisans upon the hunt for partridges, wild goats, and the like, of which they brought us in good store.»

Wind-bound in Nicaria, p.486 «There are some few inhabitants on this island, but those almost naked and savage, seldom seeing or conversing with any of the human species, except those of their own isle. The second day after we put in there, we sent out some of the mariners a shooting for us, who pursuing their game to the north side of the mountain, met with some of the natives. These were so affrighted at sight of strangers, that they fled from them with precipitation; but our people calling after them, and telling them they had brought them bread and corn, they at last prevailed on them to stop, and come to a party with them. These poor wretches, being at length persuaded of our good intentions, came to see us aboard our vessel, and afterwards brought us good store of grapes and meat. We were really at a loss to guess where they found those things; for the whole island, so far as we could see of it, is the most miserable, barren rock that ever was seen.
The 4th day, towards noon, the wind changing in our favour, we set sail for Myconos, which is 40 miles distant from the westernmost point of Nicaria. This (as it is to be supposed) is a run of about 7 hours, with a good brisk gale…»

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Pages 484-486 from Charles Perry’s book, «A View of the Levant», which I have arbitrarily named «Wind bound in Nicaria», can be found in Google books

Modern books about the history of Ikaria:

Pr A.J.Papalas 'Ancient Icaria' on Amazon.com A presentation of the Greek translation of Pr A.J.Papalas 'Ancient Icaria' in my blog In my blog a rather personal and enthusiastic presentation of Pr A.J.Papalas 'Rebels and Radicals', a book about the history of Ikaria after 1670

Comments on this article are very welcome!
Ελενη

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I’m back & sea turtles! •·.·´¯`·.·•. •·.·´¯`·.·•☀


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Sea Turtle, ancient Greek silver coin

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Two days ago and I’m back in Ikaria and I am taking part in my own cleansing ritual as always In my blog: A pink woolen baby hood - Ενα ροζ μωρουδίστικο σκουφακι' early in the morning and after that I put something on and lie on the sand and I am tired and I drowse off and although it was cold earlier, now the sun rises higher and I wake up from the heat, and I think I’m dreaming baby sea turtle october ikaria 1‘cause next to my waist, and my left thigh small black creatures emerge from the sand hot babes and they look as if made of rubber and they are six or seven (maybe there were more while I was asleep) and they crawl and paddle towards the sea – because they are newly born baby sea turtles!!! baby sea turtle october ikaria 2
😊 😍
And I jump on my feet and one more baby crawls out of the sand from the spot where I had laid my head and I’m trying to reach my camera while I’n also trying to keep my pareo around my waist and the camera drops on the sand and I am wasting time to clean it and I think that I’m screaming -from baby sea turtle october ikaria 3 impatience, excitement and joy…
😖 😆 😄
And I open the lid of the lens and I finally take three good shots!!!
📷 😤
Bravo, chelonakia!
Bravo, baby sea-turtles!
Thanks for the short crazy momentmy shadow on the sand
I felt you were my own little brats!!!
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Now in case some of you thought I am some kind of animal enchanter ☺ – according to latest records, loggerhead sea turtles are not uncommon in the eastern Aegean islands, including Ikaria, and that in spite the fact that we don’t have many appropriate sandy beaches. Several friends have seen nests and even witnessed mothers laying eggs.

Sea turtles in the surf, from Nana to agrimi's article '∩oso ∩ια Vα?'Turtle tale, a set by angeloska on FlickrCaretta-caretta eggs in Syrtiko beach near Agios Kyrikos, a set by Giorgos Sourtis on FlickrERT: (article in Greek) 'Και οι καρέτα – καρέτα επισκέπτονται την Ικαρία'

But I think I was the first person on the island that baby Sea turtles in the Aegeansea turtles hatched and crawled out of the sand right under my body!
^^’

Ikaria 22/10/2016