His island of freedom


Eleni on Mavri rocks

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

Foreword: 'I was one of those kids who loved looking at maps. We didn’t have Google Maps back then, but there were mighty world atlases and we had one of those at home. I would place it on the floor and lose myself in it. I would travel from country to country, mountain to ocean. I was always mesmerized by the map of the Aegean Sea. Perhaps because it was home, perhaps because hundreds of islands scattered across my big blue sea would allow me to create thousands of fantasies in my head, it was a magical map. From his terrace, my grandpa would point out the mountains rising from the sea several miles away and say...'

«…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

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 day started early. At 6:30, I was on the bus to Kusadasi. I was sure I had a solid plan – funny me. As there are no direct boats to Ikaria from Turkey, I first had to reach Samos, from where fer-ries run to Agios Kirykos, the administrative centre of Ikaria, couple of times a week – Yes, you cannot just go to Ikaria whichever day you feel like, you have to plan!'

«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

Day 2: '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? An insight to travelling in Ikaria: public transport on the island is virtually non-existent. There are two buses...'

«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

Day 3 – Chalares Canyon, Nas, Armenistis: 'The alarm started ringing at 7:00 am and I got out of the bed at once. The sun was slowly rising over Fourni putting a big smile on my face. Try to wake me up so early during the work week and God knows what I’ll do to you, but today I have a mission: I’m gonna claim the mountains of my island! I had bought stuff for today’s lunch from yesterday evening. All I needed was bread. At this hour, there are only two places open in Therma: the bakery, and interestingly enough, the thermal baths. As you would guess from the name, Therma is known for its thermal baths and you can see oldies in white bathrobes...'

«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

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 first activity of the day was a leisurely hike. After covering my feet with band-aid – I am kinda starting to see the wisdom in socks with sandals thing, but not in this lifetime – I decided to take the dirt roads going up from Kampos. It was not going to be anything difficult like yesterday’s, just a few hours of sightseeing really. 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.'

«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

Day 5 – Manganitis : there are no words here, just photos. The words are in the description of the 6th day.

«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

Day 6 – Departure: '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...'

«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! 😊

💠 💠 💠

👩 Eleni

September 20, 2016


food, pebbles and headstands

Delicious simple food cooked by a Greek Mum all home made the cheese , bread , herb pie and very very tasty peas and broad beans cooked in a fabulous way slowly with fennel and extra virgin olive oil. I'm even loving the table cloth. It's all good learning lots and being well looked after. The pebbles found at Therma beach here in Ikaria, are a stone collectors dream! The small bay collects and holds these wonderful little gems, so that they can be found when beach combing.


Dear readers,
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!!!

🙄 ^^’


Learning how to make Trahana from this loverly lady Maria. It's a very historical healthy whole grain cracked wheat cooked with goats milk soured and dried in the sun it's something very special and central to there diet. Delicious! A massive thank you to all the wonderful people of Ikaria that I met and worked with. this island has really touched my heart it's so natural and such a special place I can't wait to go back. The colours and textures are something to behold, and the variety of stones found I have not seen anywhere else. Quartz, banded agates, granite, jasper, and many more are found here.

A beautifully simple Greek salad the classic way with juicy tomatoes, olives and crumbly feta! Proper bold flavours and super fresh ingredients. The stones come from the sea of course, and also they get washed down from the mountain range on the island, if you go and look at the cliff faces near the beach you can see these very stones jutting out from the mud and rock; fascinating!

Cooking delicious wild herbs greens and pumpkin to be rolled in filo. Yum! Since I started beachcombing for colourful pebbles, sea glass, terracotta pottery and other surf tumbled delights, I learnt a few techniques that might help a beginner to this wonderful past time; and thought I would share them with you.


Ikaria 288 At Therma Nik and Stef from England have a business beach combing for anything that can be used to make jewellery, selling it online then shipping it all over the world.

Ikaria 200 Here I will be talking about all the wonderful stones, minerals, sea glass and other oddities that I find where I live on the Greek island of Ikaria.

Ikaria 175 Beach combing here is unlike anywhere else in the world, and is a stone collectors paradise! There are many beaches here full to the brim with all different types, colours, and textures of stones; the only limit is how many you can carry!


Taverna in Therma. The fish in sauce with salad and with bread was 8 Euros. I could have eaten spaghetti Bolognese for 5 Euros! The half litre of wine was 3 Euros. But at payment time she only wanted 10 Euros. All fresh, all local produce. With a fantastic sea view. I found these beautiful mustard colour beach pebbles whilst out beach combing on the north coast of Ikaria yesterday. But what type of rock are they...any ideas??

Ikaria 229 A lovely selection of substantial sized beach stones I found whilst out beach combing on the north coast of Ikaria a couple of days ago. The colours are amazing.

Ikaria produce on my kitchen floor. Wine, honey, olive oil, mountain tea, herbs, soaps, cosmetics. About half of it unlabeled, given to me as presents. A mix of wonderful beach finds from Therma beach in Ikaria, sea glass, pebble candy; and a sea shell! If you look along the tidelines, this is what you can find.


Αρέθουσα #here #forever #ikariamylove #daysinikaria #gipsylife by Sofia Pavlides (@so_soso7) on instagram Seychelles Ikarias. I believe in the good things coming ☀ #daydreaming #behappy #headstand #daysinikaria by Sofia Pavlides (@so_soso7) on instagram

Seychelles Ikarias ☀ #happy #grateful #daysinikaria by Sofia Pavlides (@so_soso7) on instagram Κυπαρίσσι #headstand #islandlife #daysinikaria by Sofia Pavlides (@so_soso7) on instagram


Sofia’s headstands in her: «Days in Ikaria» on instagram ^^’ ^^’ ^^’
Nik and Stef’s etsy shop: etsy.com/shop/thermalstonedesign ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


I’m learning to cook …LOUKOUMADES!

Loukoumades close-up by Plakidas Loukoumades by Plakidas Not the best photo but... by Joy23 Loukoumades by psalakanthos

(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
Ground cinnamon

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
Tags: | Edit Tags Sunday November 19, 2006 – 12:28pm (PST) Edit | Delete

Next Post: Dedicated to Angelos & several others from Ikaria Previous Post: Sweet Little Comforts


(4 total) Post a Comment

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

Ditto dat brudda 😦 …

Tuesday November 21, 2006 – 06:45am (PST) 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)

I’m learning to cook …SOUFIKO


-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


(4 total)

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)

«my own Ikarian» waterfall comes from Tarascon, France !




This is a small waterfall in Tarascon, France. The photo was taken by the son of a friend  in Flickr.

I was surprised when I saw this photo. I thought it was from Ikaria. As you can see, there is a stonewall behind the fall. As if this was man-made or there was a cistern or a small lake behind it. If this was in Ikaria, there would usually be a garden below. The water would jump over the terrace and flush down to water the garden.



I 🙂 like to plant potatoes when I am in Ikaria. I have a weakness for «pommes frites». I got it in the country where I was born and raised. I also like the looks of a potato field. They are very neat and orderly and all the good stuff (the potato) lies underneath inside the earth. I do all the hard work and when I leave, my neighbours keep watering the potato garden and then when it’s time they just unearth the potatoes and store them (easy job). We share the crop. They give me a big bagfull when I return in autumn.
The water for my potatoes comes from a cistern very near «the barn».



It used to fill on its own every 2-3 days in summer but now it is connected with the water network of the village through ugly plastic pipes. Our turn to get water is again every 2-3 days like before, but now with the pipes we get our water from the mountain and we don’t loose the crop even when there is draught and water shortage.

In Ikaria we water our gardens early in the evening. The day when it’s our neighborhood’s turn to get water, I turn on the tap in the morning and the cistern fills slowly until the evening. But one day I forgot myself at the beach and came back home late when there was just enough light to see and to water my potatoes.



Still in my swimsuit I rushed to the garden, opened the «door» of the cistern and let the flow flush. It was a magical moment (very much like in the poem -1st page, beginning) and an evening of a very warm day. So while my potatoes were being watered I stood under the small waterfall and I was also «being watered» : washed the seasalt off my hair and body.

This happened many time during last June. Since then I’ve been thinking to make it a regular habit. People have gossiped about me running around in my garden all wet in my swimsuit and my legs all muddy, but down deep they don’t mind. On the contrary they 🙂 are happy because I «keep the traditions». Gardens in Ikaria is a religion. Anyone who «puts» (as they say) a garden (unless it’s not for :/ hash), no matter what his appearance may be, is a good person on principle.

splashSo I’m going to push this forward. I’m going to improve the site of my private waterfall and turn it into a «shower». What it needs is some flat stones on the floor so that I don’t get all in mud. I’ll also have to plant some flowers around the basin like in sam fin’s photo to improve the privacy of the place. I would have done this already this year, if it wasn’t for this Flickr addiction of mine. At least I didn’t sacrifice my potatoes. There is a limit to the virtual, digital world : 1) my 😛 stomach. And then the thought of how beautiful and delicious my potatoes will be, is one of the things that keep me going and working and spending a summer in a foreign land.


(in case you wonder what I’m talking about, oh passers-by, just read once more and more carefully

the main title of my blog,  «This blog is about…»)



(8 total)

A Doctor writes: Now I Know why you love Erifi so much – it is the thought of that crazy man who tried to fill the place with potatoes. Potatoes are good for the soul.

Monday June 12, 2006 – 03:10am (BST)

I too have potatoes. But I think the moles are eating them. I do know that when I put the hose down the mole hole next to the potatoes it swallows up any amount of water. There is a whole mole kingdom under those potatoes.

Sam Fin hasn’t seen this yet, but he will be happy that his picture is famous!

Monday June 12, 2006 – 08:04am (CEST)

I have put in a garden every year for about 25, but this season decided to take a break so I could hike and fish more. I have only garlic in, and it will come out next month, oh yes and rhubarb. I’ve eaten pomme frites in Amsterdam, almost lived on the damn things for a couple weeks. Also have grown spuds, as we call them here, but quit because they are so cheap in the market and I needed the garden space for my salsa stuff, onions, peppers and tomatoes. Potatoes, by the way, are native to South America, I think the Maya cultivated them.

Monday June 12, 2006 – 07:49am (PDT)

Πανικός ! Κανείς δεν θέλει να σκάβει τη γη ούτε και για χόμπυ. Όλοι προτιμούν να κάνουν τις πιο άθλιες, άχαρες, ακόμα και παράνομες δουλειές παρά αυτό. Είναι έξω από το lifestyle (βλέπε *οικονομία της αγοράς*) Έτσι όμως που τα γράφεις, ξαναβάζεις τα πράγματα στη θέση τους. Το σκάψιμο δεν είναι *βλαχιά*. Είναι θέμα άποψης και στυλ. Για να μην πούμε ότι το ίδιο νερό χρησιμοποιείται δυο φορές και γίνεται οικονομία.
Το τμήμα Modern Sustainable Lifestyle Studies του USDA χειροκροτά. Όμως έχουμε και μια ερώτηση: τα υπολείματα αντηλιακού στο νερό κάνουν καλό ή όχι στις πατάτες;

To all readers, friends, commentators: the one and only dish my friend Eleni can cook and cook well (& w/o burning the house) : «pommes frites» -patates tiganites !

Monday June 12, 2006 – 08:06pm (EEST)

Nana, please tell me, what is your connection with the USDA – as in U.S. Department of Agriculture?

Monday June 12, 2006 – 10:42am (PDT)

@ are you magic? I have a «blog search» on and just found

This Ikarian/American is talking about (ex-french) fries! + a sandwich supposed to be an Ikarian invention ! What’s going on?

@ the USDA (a honoraty staff member myself due to special services) is a joke and it means «University of the Streets of Down Town Athens». So it would better be called USDTA but never mind. Nana is the *dean* because she 1) is a woman, 2) she beats everybody in «ouzo» drinking, 3) she works harder than everybody else, 4) she gives 1/2 of her salary to the poor people and immigrants downtown outside their shop (there are many).

Monday June 12, 2006 – 10:31pm (EEST)

hOw hAPpY I am that we I can share my *weakness* with you.

Yes, potatoes are good for the soul. I think that most edible things that grow under the surface of the earth are good («ψυχοφελή»). Now they import potatoes from Egypt during the summer. Though the best potatoes (in the world?) grow in the neighbour island, Naxos. Ikaria produces a lot of good olive oil and Naxos the best potatoes, so I guess we could put a big frying pan somewhere midway between islands in the middle of the sea.

Potatoes are good for the soul. Other women I know boil spagheti when they are sad. I fry potatoes. The chssss sound and the smell of oil, apeaces me. *good hydrocarbonates* as Nana would say. Some yoghourt to go with them. It should be *tzatziki* ( «white sauce» as the Ikarian/Americans say; loL) but my tzatziki either looks like cement or it is *white (yoghourt+cucumber+garlic) soup*.

Tip: when you they serve you fries in Greece and you see origan on them, there is something wrong, the potatoes or (more often) the oil. Origano has this ability to cover all faults. Take a bad cook’s word. Origan is very suspicious.

The Mayas: yes, potatoes like heights and I think it is correct that they were first *tamed* in Peru. There’s nothing better than potatoes to save an isolated population from hunger. It has been proved in Ikaria where wheat can’t be cultivated succesfully (is this perhaps the reason why Ikarians though very religious, are not exactly «christian»? tend more to the wine than to the bread? )

I call myself a traveller but I’ve never been outside Europe. When I am in Ikaria sometimes (& in some places) I like to think that I am in Peru or New Zealand. Or Africa ! Hey, *da man doctor*, no doubt it was *da man* Angelos who ‘s tipped you off about Erifi, eah?

Blogs: oh man, there have been some really wild blogs about Ikaria on the net recently.

@ Simon G : go on and spot more «Ikarias» for me in this universe. There are so many and I am delighted to follow you.

απομειναρια αντιηλιακου : ρε Νανα, αφου τηγανιζουμε τις πατατες στο λαδι, τι πειραζει να εχουν πιει λιγο αντιηλιακο πριν τις κοψουμε; Αχ, εσεις οι νεαρες επιστημονισες καμια φορα…

My next entry will be about A BIG WATERFALL. Not to water potatoes this time…

Tuesday June 13, 2006 – 12:35pm (PDT)

Eleni’s (test) poll about Agriculture

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 Image 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 ImageEleni’s endless tricks & teases…

So let’s see how it goes.

thank you

Eleni Imagehttps://i2.wp.com/farm2.static.flickr.com/1068/542989925_01327c0fe8_m.jpg


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


(9 total)

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)

(…fields forever..)
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.

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)

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)

After the Snow in the Aegean 1st thoughts

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….



(1 total)

I liked that.
Monday January 30, 2006 – 11:20pm (EET)

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)