The little house in the desert


.


………The place ^^’
………⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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 ^^’
………⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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 ^^’
………⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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
^^’
………⭐ ⭐ ⭐

.

On the path inside Ranti Forest

On the path inside Ranti Forest

…..

Walking on the ridge and leaving the forest behind

Walking on the ridge and leaving the old forest behind

…..

A typical Ikarian rock house on the way to Rahes

A typical Ikarian rock house on the way to Rahes

…..

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

…..

Unpacking inside the tiny mountain shelter

Unpacking inside the tiny mountain shelter

…..

The fireplace!

The fireplace!

…..

Sunrise on Ammoudia plateau, alt 860 m.

Sunrise on Ammoudia plateau, alt. 860 m.

…..

On the road inside Erifi plateau in the morning

On the road inside Erifi plateau in the morning

…..

In view of forested uplands

In view of forested uplands

…..

Hike across barren wastelands

Hike across barren wastelands

…..

In view of the southern coast at last

In view of the southern coast at last

…..

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

…..

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

…..

Climbing down along a mountain stream near Karkinagri

Climbing down along a mountain stream near Karkinagri

…..

source

…..

…..

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 ❤

…..

Saturday, June 6, 2017


Thick with the eerie awe of the uncanny


.
. . . ⭐ . . . ⭐ . . . ⭐ . . . .
Ikaria 1 by Thomas K. Shor

. .

. Hello readers! .Angelos K.

My name is Angelos K. and since I was nominated contributor I am afraid I have written very few entries in this blog. Let’s say that I was saving my blogging skills for special occasions. And as I hope you can tell from the introductory picture, this is a special occasion. The place is Pezi plateau located on the western part of Ikaria island, Greece. The time is two years ago, between December and January 2013. The photographer is Thomas K. Shor, an American writer, photographer and traveller. He and his wife Barbara appeared out of the blue in Ikaria in the middle of a cloudy and rainy winter. During their stay we hiked (a little), we talked (a lot) and we became good friends. Apparently, they liked the island, because they visited us two times. Between their visits I had the chance to read two of Thomas’s books, «A Step Away from Paradise» and «The Master Director» and although I know very little about the places where the action takes place, I liked both of them very much.

While in Ikaria Thomas often carried a camera but I didn’t pay much attention to the fact. Americans are well-known to carry cameras. Until one day when he came to the house and showed to me a pack of high quality B/W prints. Knowing that I am a hiker and an amateur photographer, and therefore, I was familiar with the locations and the subjects, he asked for my opinion about his work. I was all admiration! As a matter of fact, I couldn’t keep my fingers off those prints! Through the years I have seen a lot of great pictures from the desolate landscapes of our mountains but these ones were special. Moreover, they were 100% «Ikaria» and not, as it so often happens, overprocessed creations which, no matter how beautiful they are, I label them «fiction» and I don’t usually give them a second glance. 😕

I immediately told Eleni about Thomas work and as most of her blog is dedicated to photography, she told me to ask for Thomas’s permission and left the door open for me to get in and post an entry. And so I did.

As is the way of this blog, the pictures below work as clickable «mirrors» reflecting the originals inside Thomas’s website. In spaces between them I have inserted quotes from his presentation which I thought was very to the point. Especially that phrase in the last paragraph which (on Eleni’s suggestion) made the title of this entry: «Thick with the eerie awe of the uncanny«. Because we love ghost stories in Ikaria. How couldn’t we? Just take a look of those shots! Thomas has managed to show that these shapes, these shades, these forms, are alive. More than that, they can talk and tell stories!

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

 

..........Copyright © 2015 Thomas K. Shor. All rights reserved........
.
Ikaria 2 by Thomas K. Shor Ikaria 3 by Thomas K. Shor
. .Ikaria 4 by Thomas K. Shor Ikaria 6 by Thomas K. Shor
. .

«THE ISLAND OF IKARIA is distinctive for various reasons. It remains to this day an untouristed backwater where people are largely self-sufficient and unusually independently minded. It has been labeled one of the “Blue Zones,” with the highest percentage of people in their nineties on the planet.»

. .Ikaria 5 by Thomas K. Shor Ikaria 7 by Thomas K. Shor
. .Ikaria 8 by Thomas K. Shor
. .Ikaria 9 by Thomas K. Shor Ikaria 10 by Thomas K. Shor
. .

«Historically, it was the poorest island in the Aegean. It is also one of the lushest, with numerous springs and rivers and forests of pine and oak.»

Ikaria 12 by Thomas K. Shor

Ikaria 11 by Thomas K. ShorIkaria 13 by Thomas K. ShorIkaria 14 by Thomas K. ShorIkaria 15 by Thomas K. Shor

.
. .
. .Ikaria 16 by Thomas K. ShorIkaria 17 by Thomas K. Shor
. .

«Yet the landscape photographs I have been taking over the course of a couple of extended stays reflect nothing of this lushness and hardly depict any people.»

. .Ikaria 18 by Thomas K. ShorIkaria 19 by Thomas K. Shor
………
.
.
Ikaria 20 by Thomas K. ShorIkaria 21 by Thomas K. Shor
Ikaria 22 by Thomas K. ShorIkaria 23 by Thomas K. Shor
.

«The island is long and thin, a single mountain ridge rising sharply out of the Aegean Sea not far from the coast of Turkey. At the top of this ridge, topped by numerous 3,000 foot (1,000 meter) peaks, is a landscape that haunted and excited me from the moment I set eyes on it.»

.
. .
. .Ikaria 24 by Thomas K. ShorIkaria 26 by Thomas K. Shor
. .
. .Ikaria 25 by Thomas K. Shor
. .
. . .Ikaria 26 by Thomas K. Shor Ikaria 28 by Thomas K. Shor
. .
. .Ikaria 27 by Thomas K. Shor
. .

«It is a desolate and windswept land of exposed granite carved by the elements into bizarre shapes and balancing boulders. The granite has a mysterious propensity to take the form of living beings.»

. .
. .Ikaria 29 by Thomas K. ShorIkaria 30 by Thomas K. Shor
. .Ikaria 24 by Thomas K. ShorIkaria 26 by Thomas K. Shor
. .
. .Ikaria 33 by Thomas K. Shor

«The trees are stunted and the bushes thorny. It can change from bright sun to near impenetrable fog at such a speed as to be entirely disorienting.»

. .
. .Ikaria 34 by Thomas K. ShorIkaria 35 by Thomas K. Shor

«The atmosphere is often reminiscent of the stories of Edgar Allen Poe, thick with the eerie awe of the uncanny. The beauty of the place is raw and the solitude profound. This series of photographs, taken on the mountain’s many moods, reflects both the landscape and what it did to me.»

. .
. . .. ..Ikaria 36 by Thomas K. ShorGallery Index: Landscapes from Ikaria, Greece — Photos by Thomas K. Shor
. .
__
...Blogged with permission of the author © 2015 Thomas K. Shor. All rights reserved...
.

 

Wednesday, December 24, 2015
.

When I am tired of the world


.
.
.

  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

.
.

Woman in Ikaria

(cropped from source)

.

You know, the last thing Ikaria is known for is church life and monasticism. The people are very religious in a natural, casual way, indifferent of formalities, nevertheless always showing a sincere and full respect of higher forces which control our destinies. Whether one believes in the salvation of the soul or not, religion provides consolation because, salvation taken apart, it does speak about the soul while economics do not. And believing in the soul, the existence of a soul, whether this soul is immortal or not, is something very important in the life of the island. Religion also provides occasions for celebration and community gatherings. It also offers an explanation for natural things as well as for «luck» : God’s will. And natural things and lucky or unlucky circumstances are also important elements in the consistence of Ikarian life. To cut this short, we have churches – a lot of big and small churches. They are, so to speak, our guardians, houses of God, houses of the spirit (soul) of the community: «be good and be good to each other» (be good to God).


.
.
Out of the world : Ikaria
.
.

But what about monasteries? Thereupon we are a failure. Although there are a few monasteries, there is no monastic tradition in Ikaria, at least none as strong as in some other islands. In my opinion, besides our natural dislike for discipline and formalities, the most important reason is that the island is poor and cannot sustain monastic communities. The rocky soil produces hardly enough for the population so the Ikarians, even though devout believers, could not afford, so to speak again, professionals in prayer,  experts in salvation. Like everything else in Ikaria, the tending of the soul had to be done by the poeple themselves with the occasional help of an educated priest or solitary monk.


.
.
Mt Atheras, south side
.
.

Yet, there are exeptions. If monasteries didn’t thrive, small hermitages were abundant in the slopes of Mt Atheras. But let’s not think that these retreats were inhabited by anchorites who pursued unification with God like in Mt Athos or Sinai. Though little is known about the lives of these people, it’s obvious to me that they were more or less ordinary men and women who either by some misfortune or simply because of taste, discarded the joys of the marital bed and the comforts of village and family life. They walked away from the world, seeking solitude, entrusting their fate to their labouring hands, to good God and to Mother nature. I am all respect for them. It’s hard to believe that in am island as virgin and wild as Ikaria and in a time when most settlements were of the kind of «lost villages» (see, entry),  there were people who sought even more solitude and peace! Out-of-the-worldness must be some sort of second nature to us. The outer the better, the further the better, the remotest and most inaccessible is the best, ask my friend Nana & co about it!

⇒ 

.
.
My illustrated comment in Nana's blog entry : Cozied UP
.
.

Anyway, this entry was not meant to be a dissertation of the religious ethics of the Aegean. I have come to Ikaria for the winter and recently my friends, the explorers of OPS Ikarias, in the course of a project to create a long-distance trail from one side of the island to the other, have been in love with a wild area under the tops of Mt Atheras where according to local legends various groups of monks lived in different periods of time from the 15th century to the 1800s. I saw the photos and I found these landscapes absolutely enthralling.

.


the cliffs under the plateau
view from the trail
South side: Rocks and land erosion two mt tops 1033 alt Big Boulder Hammer Hammer 2

.


General view of 3/4 of the island Agios Theologos high piles tree  through the cliffs to the river waterfalls
.

What made men and women walk out of the world and settle in places like this? What kind of experiences were they after? Were they looking for God? Did they want be gods themselves? Was it because of a practical reason such as piracy, oppression, social disorder and percecutions? Or is it something inherent to the human nature? Escapism? Some people just drop everything and go?.. Is that it? 🙄



.
tree under the wind rock formations 2 dining room of the monks  view to the sea looking back at the heights   General view landscape Cliffs of Ryakas the entrance to the canyon
.
passage 4 the passage 2 rock formations 2 rock formations 5 Rocks in Erifi Afternoon on Erifi mt plateau
.

I have always been too committed to everything I do and to everybody I love to even think about escaping. But as I am growing older, sometimes I am tired of the world and this makes me wonder. Until I sort this out, you take a good look at those rocky wildernesses. Take a good look at those vast views to the mountains above, the sea straight ahead and the skies all over. I am inviting you to find your answer.

  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  

 

 

.

Wild Shots


Ikaria

.

A lot of word is made in this blog about my friend, Nana, and her doings with me or with own her friends in Ikaria. I feel that though I have said much, I have shown relatively few pictures. So there you are, take these randomly chosen snapshots. Some are totally random and some from a wild ride in the south west of the island last week. 😀

The photos open to the relative entries of her own blog. Drop by and say something.

on stacking stones

on stacking stones

.
kitten boots

kitten boots

.
dreamcatcher

dream catcher

.
daydream stream

daydream tiny stream

.
smooth white rock 3

sea cave

.
smooth white rock 2

climb smooth white rock

.
smooth white rock 1

walk smooth white rock

.
cairn in kourelos

cairn in kourelos

.
Wild coast

Wild coast

.
Elias Kampos

Elias Kampos

.
Elina in Kalou Ikaria

Elina in Kalou Ikaria

.
Kalou little beach

Kalou little beach

.
The usual disproportionate road works

The usual disproportionate road works

.
permaculture garden and basket

permaculture garden and basket

.
Master Bedroom!

Master Bedroom!

.

I shall foot it (TUGTII #2)


The Unofficial Guide to Ikaria Island #2

Rock Litany

Ikaria 224, («Rock Litany») originally uploaded by isl_gr.

Comments

Eleni Ikanou in Ikaria

«I shall foot it
Down the roadway in the dusk,
Where shapes of hunger wander
And the fugitives of pain go by.
I shall foot it
In the silence of the morning,
See the night slur into dawn,
Hear the slow great winds arise
Where tall trees flank the way
And shoulder toward the sky.

Ikaria 303 - Mother carrying baby on her back

The broken boulders by the road
Shall not commemorate my ruin.
Regret shall be the gravel under foot.
I shall watch for
Slim birds swift of wing
That go where wind and ranks of thunder
Drive the wild processionals of rain.

The dust of the traveled road
Shall touch my hands and face.»

~ Carl Sandburg, 1878-1967 ~
Additional photos by Chr. Malachias

 .
http://0.gravatar.com/avatar/a9f7823e81235a78c0403b4be7b53709?s=96&d=identicon&r=G Powered by egotoagrimi

.

Freedom in Xylosirtis
 
 .