His island of freedom


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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. 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.

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Tolga’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…»

Tolga’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.»

Tolga’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.  🙂 »

Tolga’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.»

Tolga’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.»

Tolga’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.»

Tolga’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.»

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Come again Tolga! Maybe your ancestors and my ancestors were related! Maybe they were friends!
Let’s be friends too! 😊

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💠 💠 💠
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👩 Eleni

September 20, 2016

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The Two Sides


Panigiria :: Kirchweihfeste in Griechenland Maison Ikaria 01

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Dear readers, hoping that you are familiar with my idea of presenting selected material about Ikaria loaded on the internet by bloggers, photographers and writers, I am proudly presenting to you today in an interesting collation the works of two women photographers, Kerstin Hehmann from Germany and Isabelle Gressier from France. Unlike Zdeněk Senkyrik from my previous entry, whose photos are carefully set with an emphasis on landscapes, Kerstin and Isabelle come with ‘snapshots‘, the one of happy people who dance in various summer festivals and the other of silent buildings, isolated or deserted houses in wintry landscapes. It was my fancy to put Kerstin and Isabelle’s very dissimilar photos side by side in this entry. I wanted to make a point and I am very satisfied of the result. I hope that you too, my dear readers, after a little bit of thought, will be able to see the connection.

Panigiri Gialiskari 02 Maison Ikaria 02

raches 04 Maison Ikaria 03

Raches 07 Maison Ikaria 04

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Raches 08 Maison Ikaria 05

Piperi Ikaria 01 Maison Ikaria 06

Tsifteteli 11 Maison Ikaria 07

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Langada 17 Maison Ikaria 08

Langada 20 Maison Ikaria 09

Langada 21 Maison Ikaria 10

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Langada 24 Maison Ikaria 11

Langada 25 Maison Ikaria 12

Langada 26 Maison Ikaria 13

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Agios Dimitrios 06 Maison Ikaria 14

Raches 09 Maison Ikaria 15

Raches 12 Maison Ikaria 16

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Langada 27 Maison Ikaria 17

Raches 03 Maison Ikaria 18

Ladies 05 Maison Ikaria 19

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Dear readers, you haven’t grasped the connection yet? Here’s another dozen of collated shots 😳

Raches 15 Maison Ikaria 22

Langada 18 Maison Ikaria 23

Langada 22 Maison Ikaria 24

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Sitting lady Maison Ikaria 26

Gialiskari 06 Maison Ikaria 27

Langada 29 Maison Ikaria 28

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Does this picture by Kerstin of a valley lost in the mountains which doesn’t see a living soul for months and suddenly it’s stuffed with cars and people for no apparent reason, help you understand? I suppose not 😳

Langada 01

Dear readers, this is stuff to talk about for hours and maybe also make a book of. It’s our beloved ikarian enigma and I won’t bother you with it anymore.  But before I let off, allow me to suggest to you to read the following parts of an interview by Nikos Dayandas, the maker of  «Little Land», about his experiences in Ikaria. Our friend Elina found it, chose the best parts and added them in a comment under my entry about this great documentary. Here they are translated in English. This interview does not solve the riddle of «The Two Sides», yet it’s a few steps to the right direction. It’s one of the best and shortest descriptions that I have ever heard or read about life on our island.

That’s all from me for now, goodbye. The micro goes to Nikos ^^’

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Τι ν’ αυτό που το λεν’ Ικαρία;

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«Going there I realized that the island was full of young people who were indeed non-Ikarians or they were Ikarians who hadn’t been born or lived in Ikaria.»

«There is no local who doesn’t do two or three jobs at the same time; from a little garden near his or her house to the beehives at some distant hillside; from a sour cherry orchard in a field to the sheepfold in some place near.»

«It’s given that they work very hard. They just have this particularity that they do everything in their own time, everyone in his own clearly personal understanding of when is the right moment to do something.»

«When you are there, you do get the feeling that things really are a bit slower. You are surrounded by a strange calmness, everything is peaceful, the people are mild too. In Crete, for example, Cretans are intense characters. Cretan music is fast, their drinks are very strong. The Ikarian culture on the other hand is different, milder. It’s the sound of the little violin, their dance is a slow circular dance, they add water to their wine…»

«When you arrive there, your first impression is, first of all, the nature and its wildness. You see right away that the place hasn’t been developed

«You, know, because I have studied archeology, the Ikarians in many aspects remind to me of the Ionian civilization, they have almost ancient Greek tendencies. Everything they do, their pace and their activities are «all in good measure«. Or like a granny says in the film, life goes like a circle from good to bad and back again. This is, let’s say, the Heraclitean «everything flows«. The way they see things is founded on some basic ideas which are deeply rooted in Greek philosophy, even though they aren’t themselves necessarily aware of the fact.»

and the best (according to Elina and of course I agree!)

« … Ikarians also had another particularity in their society. The island has always had a liking to Communism and because the local communists had a very hard time with persecussions and exiles, after democracy was restored in 1974 the people started to reward them with mayoral posts. This is the political dimension of the mysticism of the place. So for several decades you had KKE partisans fixed in public posts through which European Union funding came and every time they said: «Leave it. We won’t take it!» They wrote all that on their balls, something that may have seemed criminal at that time, however today you can say that they may have been saved exactly because of that. Because it’s a place that hasn’t changed

 

😛


nακεd & unemployed


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Hello readers!
Not many words needed for these too few snapshots I was allowed to post wishing to celebrate Nana’s first sureal weeks of her new life in Ikaria. Don’t pay too much importance to the title of the enty. It’s only a joke. 🙂 My best friend is no ordinary girl so the whole thing was a success! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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Hot Summer Day Dusk Ikaria

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nακεd & unemployed by Nana to agrimi in Flickr

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Moonlight Ravine Ikaria: A picture by Nana for her radical blog entry: Why can’t we do it in Ikaria?
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Trahilas, a secret beach in Ikaria: Picture from Nana's 1st weeks of life in Ikaria

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Whirl Pool Ikaria: Nana's picture from her revealing blog entry: Wild coves & beaches in northern Ikaria

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Visit her blog to read stories and see photos. And for more quality visit her photostream in (no instagram!) … in Flickr of course!!! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

code name egotoagrimi

egotoagrimi's old buddy icon in FLickr: Nana in Ikaria with Olianders

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❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀

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φree αssoσiation


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Little LandHeroica, outdoors, Walden Pond, to the limit, border line, risque, manual labor, white trash, love, underdevelopment, exodus, yokel, immigration, resettlement, crisis, herbs, loneliness, roots, land, doom, grunge, economic warfare, Yasnaya Polyana, recession, countryside, burst bubble, low profile, wasted, frugal, hillbilly, community, stranger, mellow, lost, hardships, diexodus, booze, urban, rural, pick-up van, person, stake, hippy, individualism, gossip, solidarity, reset, farm, panic management, armpits, bet, freedom, jobs, insecurity, fiction, soul, experiment, partnership, danger, Leo Tolstoy, garden, myths, nature, exile, mice, culture, backyard, junk, dreams, adventure, wastes, bicycle, stubborn, hands, limited ressources, tradition, macchia, man, pay, nakedness, crops, untidy, tourism, happiness, eyes, self-relience, legend, investments, woman, new life, idea, spirit of discovery, firewood, Ithaca, break up, boots, valley, Robinson, degraded, discipline, generation, dirty, festivals, futilism, hair, economic rebel, expression, wrong, hope, unattachement, D.H. Lawrence, tribal, work, debate, cigarettes, machinery, winter, night swims, strong legs, all year long, Henry David Thoreau, cistern, hi-tec proletariat, sex, destiny, ecological, beard, fringe, new model, escape, Robert Lewis Stevenson, utopia, fortune, heartbreak.

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LITTLE LAND – trailer from Anemon on Vimeo.

A documentary by Nikos Dayandas

Listed in «Habitats«

Thessaloniki Doc Film Fest 15, ID:616 Thursday 21, 2013, 20:30 at OΛYMΠION

Thessaloniki Doc Film Fest 15, ID:835 Saturday 23, 2013, 17:30 at Τ. MAPKETAKH

ERT tv and ARTE tv on dates yet undefined.

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τα γυμνα των αλλων


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On the Harmful Effects of Wine☺


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☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺

to young blood>>
>>> if combined with mountain air,
goat boil, violin music, plane leaves,
herbs, stones and dust. Langada Festival,
August 15 2007. All photos © Spiros Staveris,
starring some of my friends. I am almost never
in Ikaria in August and I hope that you can see the reason!

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☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺

Το σλάιντ απαιτεί την χρήση JavaScript.


Days of Meltemi


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It’s not a writer’s block; it’s lobotomy. Look at the waves as they go up and down at dusk after the wind has died out. So fully they wash the mind from thoughts. This is the meltemi, the Etesian winds of the ancients. In the morning the mountains are clouded and the tourists wonder, “Is it going to rain?” Of course not. This is only wind, friendly breeze; full of good vapor, makes the land go wet and cool down. Cleans the beach from cigarette buts; provides good sleep as well and sweet dreams –my friend, the northwestern Maistros. Blow on blow on. Bring me news.

***Sorry AKK, I didn’t fulfill your request to broadcast the “Play Safe with Waves -3/1 rule of thumb” in this entry. I wanted to. Because I understand the need for some safety. But as soon as I uploaded the photo, I got carried away. And you know…, a thought crossed my mind; as a sailor’s wife maybe I shouldn’t think or talk about playing with the waves anymore. It’s not for decency’s sake. It’s superstition! Let Nana and the others do that for me from now on. Non?

f i l a k i a  ♥
40 wa cu Slide Shows.S. . .

   

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Comments

(6 total)

«Φύσα Μαϊστρο δροσερέ κι αέρα του πελάγου να πας τα χαιρετίσματα στου Σιδερή τη μάνα…» Sunday July 15, 2007 – 10:27am (EEST)
these days when the wind blows they say «oh it’s gonna catch fire! oh it’s gonna be no ferry! oh it’s gonna be no swim!. Anf when it’s cloudy they say «oh it’s gonna rain!» And when it’s hot, they say etc. But you (and Nana in her own wild funny way) say, WE LOVE IT! To you the wind brings news. To Nana it dries the sweat from under her breasts. How can you fight against MASS PHOBIAS? sO bravely ~ hope-making *machines* Monday July 16, 2007 – 10:09pm (EEST)
Thanks guys. I love you all – I’m sitting here miserable cos I’ve hurt my back, then I switch on this machine and AKK makes me laugh about cyanide in tsipouro, and the girls celebrate the wind…. I feel better already! Monday July 16, 2007 – 10:34pm (BST)
@ AKK = meltemi wind «dries the sweat from under my breasts»? (quoting Eleni) OH LALA! Tuesday July 17, 2007 – 03:24pm (EEST)
@Jude: oh dear Jude, get well soon! Our small circus is here for you to provide distraction for the mind so that the body and soul are left in peace and they heal – x @AKK: go thank somebody else. as you know we don’t have any other choice. we can’t help but being *hope-making-machines*. It’s our kishmet. @Athina: I am not given «dirty compliments» like that anymore. I am considered «respectable» now. @AKK: «Sweat under the breasts»! ha ha ha -:)) oh boys!.. What flavour? Apricot? With cyanide or without? Tuesday July 17, 2007 – 12:57pm (PDT)

speaking of kishmet I remembered our blog friend ‘Can’ who wrote to me the other day and said that «Meltem» is a common female name in Turkey. I suppose it’s something like «Breeze» (the Americans like this name a lot) or the Greek Avra (Αύρα). It is good to know that the name has a positive sense verified by tradition. So when the meltemi spoils your beach days, think of it as a beautiful woman and …take the mountains! Go hiking. By the way, does anybody remember this incredible picture? It’s was a gift by the makers of the play and it features in the hikingIkaria group files. We have talked about it already in the past.

Tuesday July 17, 2007 – 01:06pm (PDT)