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. The same goes with my present blogger. He is in WordPress where he keeps a blog which he calls: «Dorken at large – Outings in search of personal freedom». I like him 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) Dorken 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 Dorken, 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 Dorken, speak about my island – your island of freedom! 😊
As always in my blog reviews, if you click on the pictures you see in this article you will be directed to the full posts in the source. There you will find more photos with a few words for each. As you will see, I have borrowed some quotes from Dorken’s posts. Goes without saying that I am solely responsible for my choices.
Dorken’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…»
Dorken’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.»
Dorken’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. 🙂 »
Dorken’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.»
Dorken’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.»
Dorken’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.»
Dorken’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 Dorken! Maybe your ancestors and my ancestors were related! Maybe they were friends!
Let’s be friends too! 😊
September 20, 2016
it was my name day and I was planning a relaxed, unambitious post about the wonderful things an English couple who live in Ikaria do with pebbles from the beach, when all of a sudden the famous Jamie Oliver, after his visit to the Chiapas last month, landed on the island to look into our cooking and shoot scenes for his next show!!! I am still and always a bad cook (my only improvement has been towards safety but unfortunately not towards taste) so don’t be afraid, I am not going to go crazy about recipes. I do think, however, that the island has a wealth of natural, healthy foods and natural and healthy ways of cooking. But I am not going to go crazy about that either. This was planned to be a relaxed, unambitious post, and a relaxed, unambitious post it is going to be. I’ll just push Nik and Stef’s stones a bit to the side and make room for a few pictures of Ikarian food from Jamie Oliver’s instagram, plus a few shots with heavier stuff taken in Ikarian restaurants by adamansel52, a ‘food tourist’ who toured the island last month. Move your mouse over the photos to read the descriptions. Scroll down to find a surprise. Nothing to do with food! It’s just another Ikarian summer drawing near!!!
(Very simple, quick and easy to make, suitable for any occasion : from name day celebrations to weddings; also available in some kafeneia in mountain villages of Ikaria in the evenings of summer.)
3 cups of bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 to 1 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup honey
Vegetable oil, for frying
1. To prepare dough : In a medium-size bowl, sift together flour and salt to make a well in the center. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and add to flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until a thick batter forms, adding a little more water, if necessary. This should not be a dough, but a thick batter that falls off the tip of the spoon. Cover and let rise for 2 hours, until doubled in bulk.
2. To prepare syrup : About 30 minutes before frying loukoumades, combine water, sugar, and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. In a large heavy pot, heat 4 to 5 inches of oil to 360-365 F. Take 1 heaping teaspoon of the dough at a time and push it into the hot oil with another teaspoon. The loukoumades will expand and puff up and rise to the surface of the oil. Remove with a slotted spoon when light golden brown in color. Drain on paper towels and douse, while still warm, with syrup. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve warm as a snack.Yield: 2 to 3 dozen
(This is Diane Kochilas’ Panhellenic Loukoumades recipe. But …hehehe… there is a much simpler & faster version… Find out about it on your own. Dough explosions in hot oil are to be expected, so I don’t take the responsibility to tell you -hehehe)bon appétit
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Loukoumades for wedding meal, eeh? I hope you didn’t make them the fast way. They become too spongy and give a stomach ache.
I’m trying to joke but I can’t. When is the last post in this blog? All of a sudden I got nervous.
Monday November 20, 2006 – 10:24pm (EET) Remove Comment
Hi buds! It’s me Nana. I’ve taken over and everything will be just fine, round or square as you like it.
Eleni is «brooding». She says hello.
Wednesday November 22, 2006 – 12:43pm (EET) Remove Comment
I like it triangular and rotating Nana, like a hologram. Anyway, she knows our thoughts are sizzling through the atmosphere and round the planet.
Wednesday November 22, 2006 – 06:32am (PST)
SKILLET MEDLEY OF EGGPLANTS AND ZUCCHINI, IKARIAN STYLE-a soul warming country dish-—————————-
3 to 4 long thin eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/8 inch slices
1/2 cup olive oil
4 to 5 medium onions, peeled, halved and sliced
2 to 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
3-4 plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, and sliced (with juice)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1. Douse the eggplant slices generously with salt and let them sit in a colander to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse them thoroughly afterward, drain and pat dry:
2. In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onion slices. Stir to coat and soften, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the eggplant and zucchini to the skillet and stir gently to coat with oil. Add the tomatoes and stir. Season with garlic, salt and pepper. Cover the skillet, lowere heat to low, and let the vegetables cook slowly until they are soft and have almost fallen apart, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the cover, season with oregano, and cook the mixture down until pan juices have almost evaporated, another 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot or cold.
1. No mumbo-jumbo! This genuine Ikarian dish was recorded by Diane Kochilas and published in her book «The Food and Wine of Greece -More than 250 Classic and Modern Dishes from the Mainland and Islands of Greece»,1990, St. Martin Press, New York. The author cites her source, a certain Argyro from Rahes Ikaria, who I assume, is the photographer Christos Malachias‘ wife.
2. Unfortunately we couldn’t have all the ingredients fresh out of an Ikarian garden as Diane suggests. Eggplants and zucchini we bought from the market at a rather high price because their season is past. We were able to find good natural tomatoes though, and Nana is always well provided with excellent olive oil from Crete.
3. The recipe worked! No big deal. It was easy -much easier now for me because I don’t smoke and don’t go absent-minded and talk about this and that and miss the right timing.
4. For a wine to go with Soufiko, Diane suggests an Ikarian muscat or ordinary Retsina. But we said that any good wine is good. I had half a glass of beer and it was fine.
5. We didn’t serve it with rice (pilaf) as the author says. It would be too vegetarian and we have hard-working men in the house. So Nana put half of the Soufiko in a pan and scrambled eggs in it. It was «Soufiko-Scrambled Eggs» and the boys loved it!
6. Bread is essential.bon appétit.
So the boys loved it? Soufiko with eggs was the only Soufiko I knew. We put slices of sausage or lard in it too.
Diane is a friend and Argyro is a relative. Your assumption about her was correct.
Oh yes… Bread is ESSENTIAL.
What’s for next week? What about a pie? What about pork with fennel? This is my favourite Ikarian dish. There is no fennel here now but you may find some in Athens.
Μμμμ… yum… Χοιρινό με Μάραθα : our own fricassée
Saturday November 11, 2006 – 10:20pm (EET)
Does Diane still run her Villa Thanassi? I met her a few years ago and had a lovely meal there – I have her books and the best Greek (some say only!) recipe I do is based on her spanakopitta!
Saturday November 11, 2006 – 11:43pm (GMT)
PS The Soufiko sounds wonderful. I am inspired to try this also. Will let you know how I get on, minus the sausage and lard – sorry Angele, I’m a veggie!
Saturday November 11, 2006 – 11:45pm (GMT)
Hi Jude! I’m happy that you were interested. But it has to be extra-extra good olive oil. All these Greek «ladero» (cooked w «ladi» =olivoil) dishes are based on this.
saucage slices and lard? bliah…
Pork with fennel is a good thing though. Yes it can be like a «fricassée» -the scientist here says…
Sunday November 12, 2006 – 03:50am (PST)
Basically this is a TEST to see how «create a poll» works
In order to do me the honour and vote, I don’t think you need to be «connected» to my blog.
If you have a Yahoo ID, it’s probable that you will be able to vote using only your Yahoo! nickname and password.
Also, you don’t have to be too serious in casting your votes. I’ll tell the Greek PM (who reads my blog) not to take any important desicions about Ikaria judging from the results of this poll. It’s all «off the record» and completely unofficial -just one more of Eleni’s endless tricks & teases…
So let’s see how it goes.
What should we grow on the terasses of Ikaria?
What should we grow on the terasses of Ikaria?
- thorny bushes/cactuses
- nothing -leave them alone and wild
- whatever -just take care that those ancient stonewalls stand in place
- How about STRAWBERRIES?
- Simon G
Sorry PM, I voted ‘flowers‘ – but now that I think about it, perhaps this may not be good for the ikarian economy. Just a whim, really.
Sunday May 28, 2006 – 07:53am (CEST)
no votes for marihuana? Come on now…
Sunday May 28, 2006 – 03:11pm (EEST)
I was tempted.. but the stone walls are tooooo important! They are a trademark of the island.
@AKK: We hiked a trail today from Pigi to Kampos, which Mihalis said you’re «clearing».. However, I must say that in places it was looking a wee bit .. shall we say.. over-natural 🙂
Sunday May 28, 2006 – 02:07pm (EDT)
so you hiked on a part of *the trail of the elves*
I left and the negociations with them were not concluded, hence, the *over-natural*. And to think that in other countries governments pay for this works. Oh, there are times I wish the Greek Pm didn’t read my blog like a comic book …
@Ψ have 2ice a good time in Ikaria ! ((-:I hate you:-))
Sunday May 28, 2006 – 12:43pm (PDT)
I voted for thorns ! Now the PM will be very confused. It was not a whim. I just love wildberries or blackberries or whatever they are called. I also like the «figues de barbarie» (frango-syka) the fruit of the cactus and I have a special (German made !) tool to collect, peel and eat them !
Monday May 29, 2006 – 11:45am (EEST)
They grow with big success in the mountain villages. They adapt so well that once planted, they go on growing wild. I should have told you on time so that you added it in the poll.
EVERYBODY LOVES STRAWBERRIES !
Saturday June 3, 2006 – 10:12pm (EEST)
Of course, I would have voted for them! R has been re-named Fraoula. It all started when she ate your stawberries AKK – she has them every day now!
Saturday June 3, 2006 – 11:11pm (BST)
- Simon G
That might have invalidated the whole survey now, adding strawberries in after we have all responded. You can’t just add strawberries! We might have voted for it! Now it makes it look like they are unpopular…
Then again if there are lots of snails, strawberries could be a ‘high-maintenance’ crop!
Monday June 5, 2006 – 01:11pm (CEST)
No no no … This was a test poll and thank you very much for taking part! Besides my friends, many others see it and I hope they can vote using just their Yahoo IDs.
Ah, by the way, I haven’t told you (you asked me and I didn’t answer in Flickr). I was planting potatoes this year !
I enjoyed it because they look so good (& orderly -this is my small vice) as young plants. Then I left and didn’t eat any. When I return, my good old neighbours will have kept a bagfull for me so that I can add up some weight again.
Monday June 5, 2006 – 05:03am (PDT)
..Hello readers !
The telephones had been out of order and I thought I was never going to post this entry but then …oops the lines came back to life. No matter what people say about the Greek telephone company (OTE), everybody admits that the local technicians are a team of Super Marios!
They can handle this network which really looks like a VG environment -lines hanging over ravines, buried under snow, poles standing over cliffs or dragging along barbed wire fences and through tree branches, not to mention the altitudes, the freezing wind etc. etc.
(Greeks are no good at solving ordinary problems, but if it comes to facing crises -oooh they fly!!! That’s why the Olympic games in Athens were such a success. They were looked at as a “man against fate” or “fate against man” situation and I assume (and hope) that they go on being looked at in the same way, because now we have to pay the bill and it’s an outrageous ammount of money !!)
I don’t really know why I wrote that introduction.
I feel so good after my visit in Rahes and the hospitality that I received from Angelos’ family strengthened my moral. My situation in the ‘barn’ was not dramatic at all really, only that I’m a ‘city-girl’ as far as electricity is concerned and long power failures get me down. There was no power in Rahes either, but that’s a very special village and there people are very independent and self-sufficient.
So there were two stoves in the house, one with wood and the other with oil, the fire-place (which btw is very small and funny because it’s elevated and looks like a TV), there are about 10 oil lamps and many candles, wine and an always ready gas cooker to boil spaghetti. They eat a lot of spaghetti there because they have kids who love them. In other houses they rejoiced on pork chops on the charcoal of their fireplaces. The smell almost made me faint as we entered the village. It was pitch dark and the place looked deserted if not for the smell of pork chops on charcoal …
——————————-I will get back to the subject eventually…..
Also “city girl” but sometimes I wish I could experience something like that. Everything is so much more appreciated.
Wednesday May 13, 2009 – 01:09am (EEST)
I was forced to. They kicked me out of work on a forced break because I was getting sort of that disease the Japanese get from overworking. They even gifted me a camera to pass the time playing with it. BTW, I have just added the photo of a blackouted Christos Rachon.
Wednesday May 13, 2009 – 12:14pm (PDT)
I mean I added it here in this entry.
Wednesday May 13, 2009 – 12:15pm (PDT)