Hello readers! 🙂
how long has it been since I last wrote a blog review properly speaking – that is, to review something written by someone I don’t know? I think the last one was about Jackie Fox, the Ikarian/American who posted a whole series of wonderful articles about her life in Ikaria during the year 2012-13. Jackie published on WordPress so it was easy for me to spot her and connect to her blog articles. But this time I have in hand a rather unusual case: a facebook blogger! His name is Tolga, he is from Izmir, Turkey and he keeps a blog which he calls: «Tolga’s travels». As I am not on facebook, it wouldn’t be possible to know anything about him, but fortunately and unexpectedly his blog is public! So here I am, hard-working, cool blogger Eleni, I am blogging about his doings in Ikaria!
As I always do, I will let him speak on his own. But before that, just let me say only two things: a) Tolga comes from Izmir, a city geographically and historically associated with our islands. It’s so close and so big that in some winter nights when the clouds are low I can see the glow of the lights of his city in the east! b) Some Turks like Tolga, also like a lot of people who come from the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, incarnate the legendary Oriental Oral Narrator – in simpler words, they know how to tell a story and capture the listener!
Go Tolga, speak about my island – your island of freedom! 😊
As always in my blog reviews, the pictures direct to the full posts in the source -in this case, facebook. There you will find more photos with a few words for each. As you will see, I have borrowed some quotes from Tolga’s posts. Goes without saying that I am solely responsible for my choices.
Tolga’s Ikaria : Foreword
«…but then, there was another island. One that was somehow magical, and for no special reason. One that I picked for myself, my fantasy island, my island. When I told the name, very few people would have heard of it, even though it was so close to where we lived. In my child’s mind, I would be the king of my island and my own civilization. I would declare my independence lying on the floor of my bedroom, lost in the map. It was years later, when I started reading about it, I was surprised to see that my island was of the same mindset, that it had actually declared its independence in 1912, had its own flag, its own anthem, even if it had lasted for only five months. Yes, that was definitely my island…»
Tolga’s Ikaria : Day 1 – Arrival
«Getting to Ikaria is no easy task, I’ll tell you. Despite being one of the largest of the Aegean islands, it seems to be somehow left out of the grid. Although it is clearly visible from the Turkish coast, it is easier to get to Mykonos or Santorini then Ikaria. Well, I hope it will stay that way…»
«The entertaining bit of the trip though was to overhear (ok, not overhear, simply listen, yes I like lis-tening to others’ conversations, shush!) twenty something Istanbulites discussing which beach clubs they should go to in Samos. I’m not going to get into details, but I will tell you this much: some of the Turks really have the wrong idea about the Greek islands. They get on the boat to Samos or Chios thinking they will find the same boom boom – fuck me – boom beach clubs they go to in Cesme or Bodrum, and then they are heavily disappointed. Aegean islands, perhaps with the excep-tion of Mykonos and Santorini, is about peace and tranquillity, and very very good ouzo…»
«.So here I am, sitting on my wooden throne on the beach, adoring my kingdom. I just had the most delicious grilled squid and am on my third glass of white wine. Stars are shining, there’s a gentle Greek tune coming from the back, and the sound of the waves from the front. There’s a brave woman going for a swim. Life is good. So far, I love my kingdom.»
Tolga’s Ikaria : Day 2 – Agios Kirykos
«Mornings of any Aegean trip has the same theme: wake up (preferably not too late), instead of jumping under the shower, jump into the sea, sit at a café, have a bite, have a coffee, and another coffee and another one. Why should today be any different?»
«Ag. Kirykos is a nice island town (town – village – town? whatever), but nothing spectacular. Nice cafés by the coast to enjoy your book. Few pebble beaches around – not very comfy, but the sea is much warmer than in the nearby islands of Samos and Chios. Nice people. Yeah, that’s it. Summary of the day: swim, have coffee, read book, walk around, have more coffee, plan the next day, have another dip in the sea, and another coffee – yeah that’s really it.»
«Although Greece gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1827, East Aegean Islands still remained part of the empire. In July 1912, the Ikarians said that they had enough with that and revolted under the leadership of a chap named Ioannis Malahias. The Ottomans had their own prob-lems like World War I, so as a result, Free State of Ikaria was declared an independent country on July 17th. Of course, it wasn’t the easiest of times. And with no dowry, no money, no family background, Ikarians had to be glad to be annexed by Greece only five months later in November. To this day, Ikarians are extremely proud of those five months and all around the island, you can see more Free State flags than Greek ones. The flag has a dark blue background with a white cross in the middle – basically Swiss flag turned blue. 🙂 »
Tolga’s Ikaria : Day 3 – Chalares Canyon, Nas, Armenistis
«To get from the south to the north of the island, you have to go up and down the high mountains that run like the spine of Ikaria. The view on both sides is simply breath-taking. One has to be care-ful enjoying the view while driving in Ikaria though. The roads are all very narrow – at some points to the degree that two cars cannot pass at the same time. On one side of the road, there are rocks and on the other side, cliffs several hundred meters high and more rocks at the bottom. Not to worry, you are more likely to come across a goat than a car while driving on the island anyway.»
«I arrived at Nas, at the northwest end of the island towards ten o’clock. Nas is a very small village with a few hotels and restaurants that took the healthy-trendy line. Everything here is organic, healthy, super food and stuff. It’s not difficult to imagine people doing yoga on the beach at sun-rise, which I’m sure they do.»
«Ikaria has an unbelievable amount of well-marked and well-kept walking trails – one might say bet-ter marked and kept than the roads themselves. The one I was going to try today was starting at Nas and following the river along the Chalares Canyon. As the trails are never ending, I decided to walk as long as I found reasonable, then return back either using the same route or some alternative path.»
Tolga’s Ikaria : Day 4 – Evdilos, Kampos and around
«The northerly autumn winds begun caressing Ikaria this morning. The sun is still strong, but you know that it is not going to last long. Colors of the season started showing themselves on the trees at higher altitudes. It is the best time of the Aegean.»
«The roads gently ascend the hills passing by farms and vineyards. After a few dead ends, I seem to have found my way. In any case, if you get really lost lost, just walk down till you meet the sea, not that hard.»
«As the altitude increased, bushes and olive trees left the scene to pine forest. At the end, I reached my destination point: Theoktistis Monastery. It is really a small monastery this one, but sitting on top of the mountain, the view is well worth the climb. There is a small church at the very entrance with your typical Greek icons and what not. As you climb a bit more though, you come across an-other tiny church which drops your jaw. Imagine that there’s this big rock on the ground, then they built block walls on it, and then using what mythical creature god knows, they placed a gigantic rock on top of it all to serve as a roof. Walking around the church, you realize that the roof bit is ac-tually a massive rock cantilevering out of the mountain. They just built a block wall in between the two rocks. Okay, now it makes sense. It’s a tiny tiny church by the way, the door is barely a meter high or so, you really need to bend down to get in.»
Tolga’s Ikaria : Day 5 – Manganitis
«The south coast of Ikaria is rugged, harsh, so rocky that in most places depriving the trees of the least bit of soil to hang on to. This makes it very difficult for humans to settle, but it is a playground for the goats. These steep hills also shelter some of the most beautiful, tiny, isolated beaches you can find on the island, of which, Seychelles Beach has unequivocal reputation.»
«Here’s another interesting note about Ikaria: After the Greek Civil War of 1946-1949 between the nationalists and the communists, the Greek government used Ikaria as an exile location for the de-feated commies. Some 13,000 people affiliated with the Greek Communist Party, KKE, were sent to the island. Considering the current population of Ikaria is just 8,500, you can well imagine the impact of this relocation on the island’s political demographics. And which party do you think wins all the elections on the island today? Yes, you guessed it right :). Even today, the island is referred to by many Greeks as the Red Rock. It is funny though, Ikarians are also very devout Orthodox Christians. Nowhere else have I seen communism and religion going so much hand in hand, but then again, Ikaria is not just any place.»
«…the highlight of the whole day, perhaps the trip, was the tiny, beautiful, under-stated Manganitis village. With houses overlooking the vast blueness that is the Aegean and the cutest little harbour, this fishing village offers the real isolated Greek island beauty in one’s imagination. And the deli-cious Ikarian ratatouille cooked from vegetables grown by the owner of the taverna himself in his backyard, accompanied by a glass of Mythos… for some people, there is heaven, eden, paradise to go to; for the likes of me, there is Manganitis.»
Tolga’s Ikaria : Day 6 – Departure
«Today, I will have a few beers and enjoy my book until the Dodekanisos Seaways hydrofoil takes me to Pythagoreio in Samos, from where I will board the boat back to Kusadasi. I have one and a half hours between the two boats, I hope the connection will be less dramatic than the last one.»
«I have to express my gratitude to the amazing island of Ikaria, for treating me like the king that I am and allowing me to reign over it for six long days – much longer than many mighty nations tried to do. It would be unwise though to outstay my welcome, for I know that the spirit of Ikaria is all about freedom. I will surely miss this red little rock of mine and who knows, perhaps one day…»
«Autumn winds increased their strength over Ikaria today. Gone are the long, warm days of the summer. Whether you like it or not, change is on its way. Things are about to get different, and different we will have to embrace.»
Come again Tolga! Maybe your ancestors and my ancestors were related! Maybe they were friends!
Let’s be friends too! 😊
September 20, 2016
Σήμερα Πρωτη του Καλοκαιριου και ενω οι λέξεις-κλειδια που οδηγουν στα μπλογκ μας μαρτυρουν ότι παρα πολλοί ανθρωποι ψαχνουν πληροφοριες για καμπινγκ στην Ικαρία, εφετος η αγαπημενη μου Νανα δεν νοιαζεται για «τις αναγκες του κοινου ενοψη του Αυγουστου» (♦). Φευγει πιο περα, μακρια. Δινει το στιγμα της, δημοσιευοντας το…
. «Εδώ λοιπόν που λέτε είχαμε εκλογές και κυκλοφόρησε κόσμος και αν και δεν δυσαρεστήθηκα με τα αποτελέσματα, δεν την γλύτωσα και μελαγχόλησα όπως πάντα το παθαίνω με την πολλή πολιτικούρα. Ευτυχώς όμως γελάσαμε με το … (διαβαστε περισσοτερα)
Με τετοιο πνευμα, τρελη διαθεση και πολλη δουλεια…
(♦)Παρολα αυτα, αγαπημενοι αναγνωστες, επειδη δεν θελουμε να γινουν ποτε ξανα
αυτα τα πραγματα
η προταση μας για να κανετε καμπινγκ στην Ικαρια βρισκεται στο
recently some of my photos are better because:
-> I’ve decided to add some more pixels and the resolution is higher
-> my friend techno-wise Nana showed me that my camera has «filters». With the time I’ve leaned how to use and adjust them.
-> I have a better control of the four basic functions of the Photoshop (‘levels’, ‘contrast’, ‘colours’, ‘saturation’).
-> When I am about to shoot a photo I close my big mouth and keep it tight shut. Sometimes I grind my teeth. As a result I don’t shake, tremble or do my usual «floating’ mouvements. When I’m *stiff like a broom stick* (as we say in Greece) and I don’t *swallow flies* (as we say in Greece), mypictures are not blurry. It’s exactly like shooting with a g**mn riffle or pistol !
(*** dear blog, remind me to do the same when I cook…)
-> I’m not ashamed anymore to shoot at things that I like.
-> the light in spring is better than in winter.
-> I bought a second memory card for my camera, so now I have more space and I can afford more experiments and failures.
-> I feel ‘feconde’ (can’t remember the English word)
-> Flickr is a big school and all my friends and contacts in there are great teachers.
BUT … my camera is developing a problem: dirty spots, empty spots, less pixels. I’m told that the sensor is dying… Maybe it was the price for those so very succesful sun-eclipse shots which broke records. The spots are in the upper part of the frame where usually (in this dimension of time and space) there is more light, so the spots show more. Until I repair it (which I doubt) or buy a new camera, I must absolutely remember to hold my camera upside down and click the button with my thumb instead of my index. So the nasty spots would appear in the lower part of the frame where it’s usually darker (in this dimension of time and space). They will be there but they won’t show.
However, I think they’ll show on a surface with sand or water. Too bad. I wanted to take some beach shots before I leave Ikaria.
We had a cloudy rather warm Workers Day. This is a big celebration here.
Today it’s like winter. It’s cold and a breeze from the north makes the sea look unfriendly again. I like it. I’m sorry for the very few tourists, but I really like it. I haven’t become a pervert. Spring must have transitions (μεταπτωσεις), draw backs and draw forths like a spring, «poing--poing--poing--poing».
El, like shooting a g**amn gun, try to exhale slowly and relax just before snapping the shutter (pulling the trigger). Works for me, not that my pics are anything to crow about.
Tuesday May 2, 2006 – 02:23pm (PDT)
The woman behind 30.000 euro TV cameras is suffering from a 30 euro sensor fault !?!
We are coming and bringing you a new Sony. Are you feeling better now?
Wednesday May 3, 2006 – 10:23pm (EEST)
are you sure there is no grease left on the lens or the lid?
Tiny drops of resin gum from the pines perhaps?
Thursday May 4, 2006 – 12:54pm (EEST)
This is the cover of a good book about the history of the island. After reading it, I was more determined to spend the winter in Ikaria.
When people ask me for the reason, I say ‘Leave me alone! I’m a Rebel and Radical’!!! Now I have some scholarly arguments to support my position.
Anyway, I’m not watching the big football match between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos on TV tonight. Men go nuts about it, but I’ll stay cool and I’ll blog a little. I’m not very keen on politics and I can’t write an essay about communism in Ikaria. But what I can do is to quote Pr A. Papalas’ book review from the website page of his publisher.
So here it goes:
« … Icaria, a long, craggy and destitute isle in the Aegean Sea is visible from Turkey. The toil and travail of its people symbolizes the journey all Greek People made to achieve a modern society. But unlike other Greeks the Icarians often chose a dead end path. Never in agreement with those around them, the story of the Icariaians shows the best and the worst of Greek society. The Icarians were loyal subjects of the Ottoman Empire who, because of poverty and lack of resources, were not expected to pay heavy taxes while most Ottoman Greeks were dissatisfied with Turkish rule and dreamed of independence. But just before World War I, when the Greek government did not want to annex the island because of international complications, the Icarians expelled the Turks and demanded inclusion in the Greek State. At that time the bulk of the young men were escaping the grinding poverty of the island by immigrating to the United States. Although the majority of these men stayed in America and brought wives from the island to the New World, they maintained local ties. Their influence, both positive and negative, affected many qualities of Icarian life. The Icarians did not find their expectations fulfilled as part of Greece and remained disenchanted with their conditions through the twenties and thirties of the 20th century. The forties brought first, the Italians, then the Germans, and finally the British. After the turmoil, many Icarians supported radical political solutions to their problems, sympathizing with a native a guerrilla movement and rejecting efforts to improve their island, seeing only the great Capitalistic conspiracy at work. In the last decades of the 20th century the Icarians finally entered the modern but at a too rapid rate leaving the people unable to cope with some aspects of modernity.»
«Anthony J. Papalas has assembled a true “peoples» history by bringing together unusual documents such as dowry agreements and Ottoman court records, memoirs, and accounts of Icaria by people who were involved in the events he describes, all interwoven with informative and perceptive descriptions from forty years of interviews with Icarians from all areas and conditions. Here is a history on the social level, not grand politics or great battles, but rather the everyday existence and immediate choices which, once made, shape succeeding events.»
(there is more in the webpage cited above )
Ευχαριστώ για την παρουσίαση αυτού του βιβλίου. Φαίνεται πολύ ενδιαφέρον! Θα το παραγγείλω.
Φιλικά, Κωνσταντίνος 🙂
Sunday January 15, 2006 – 08:46am (EEST)
Bolchazy-Carducci! They’re a local publisher based near Chicago, and I never realized they were so widespread. I have a shelf full of their books because they are the only ones publishing new editions of ancient Roman and Greek texts. They are always marketing their books at Latin teacher conventions, hoping they will order class sets, but I’ve never seen this one.
Sunday January 15, 2006 – 04:55pm (EST)
Hi Ψαλάκανθε! It’s a small world, isn’t it? Bolchazy also sells the same author’s ‘Ancient Icaria’. Just because of your nickname, you win a free copy of it translated in Greek : «Αρχαία Ικαρία» with many illustrations etc., far better than the American original in layout. Only that you ll have to travel to the island to get it 🙂
Monday January 16, 2006 – 10:56pm (EET)
Haha! Thanks.. see you in May, as soon as the semester ends and I can get a plane out of here.
Tuesday January 17, 2006 – 12:18pm (EST)
I think we will not be all dead from bird flu by then.
When you come, there will be a copy with your nickname on it waiting for you in the newsagent’s (in the same time a ‘βιβλιοπωλείο’) in Evdilos, the nearest town.
Wednesday January 18, 2006 – 01:09pm (PST)