You know that my blog likes interviews and this one… well, it’s a good one because it’s like a documentary! I mean that you can just stare at the photos (loads of them) streaming over the questions and answers, only that I thought that the context was interesting too, so I got into the trouble to translate the whole thing in English and then I sent it over to be added as subtitles to the video on youtube. Which video is an illustrated version of an interview to my good Ikarian friend, Angelos K., founding member and representative of the Mountain Climbing and Hiking Association of Ikaria (OPS Ikarias), by Babis Kokosis for «The Hiking Trails of Greece» a regular radio show on «The Voice of Greece», the international Greek state Radio (ERA 5). Unlike what you might have expected, the pictures do not show landscapes and trails and maps and stuff like that but people!
As the introduction goes:
«The photos showing in this video made by OPS Ikarias were taken along our various hiking trips and many other activities in the nature of Ikaria from 2008 to 2016. They are a tribute to our older and newer friends and members of the Club who walk and enjoy the island’s fascinating landscapes and take part in the club’s projects and activities. They are our inspiration and our one and only support. This video is dedicated to them!»
. ***Find button to turn on "subtitles". Seen best in full screen mode! .
You can read my translation of Angelos’s radio interview by opening this link to OPS Ikarias Google docs. The interviewer introduces the show like this:
«Today we will visit Ikaria, an island that has managed, in spite of the growing tourist development, to maintain a big part of its cultural traditions.
The natural particularities of Ikaria are many. They are shaped by the geographical features and the position of the island in the Aegean Sea. Ikaria consists of a long mountainous mass stretching from east to west forming a ridge with heights over 1000 m. and separating the island in two sides: the northern side with mild slopes, forestlands and abundant waters, and the southern side with stony grounds and steep slopes. Therefore, it displays an impressive variety of landscapes and natural sights which the visitor can discover by following its numerous trails while getting in touch with its history and the legendary particular way of life of its inhabitants.
Let’s find out a bit more about the hiking routes of the island as well as what a hiker may encounter in them through our talk with Mr. Angelos Kalokairinos, representative of the local Hiking Club.»
And if you are a Greek reader you can check out the original transcript in this link.
The video, seen best in full screen mode, it goes without saying, includes a selection of pictures from the Flickr Album: «Mountain Climbing and Hiking Club of Ikaria». I have exercised my influence 🙂 and gotten a specially coded link so you can see all the pictures -not only the public ones. So take advantage of this privilege and enjoy an amazing slideshow! But if you just like a quick view, here is the album straight out of Flickr:
Ikaria, May 14 2016 [BIG DAY!]
Seen this one as I visited the group pool today. Nothing else to say. I have written too much, edited too much, layed out and formated too much. Let's just look at pictures for a while.
- νῦν ἀπολύεις τὸν δοῦλήν σου, ἐν εἰρήνῃ·
- ὅτι εἶδον οἱ ὀφθαλμοί μου. …
Why am I chanting the Canticle of Symeon? Why am I feeling so relieved? 😀
Because I who dropped from the sky in the beginning of winter of 2006 and discovered, among many other things, the amazing wealth of the mountainous hinterland of Ikaria and since then never stopped talking about it, insisting against the walls of indifference and ignorance, fighting against the dogma that the mountains are good only for rubbish dumps, free-grazing goats and perhaps several dozens of gigantic turbines on top of them all, I finally lived to witness the revolution. Two years ago when Angelos announced the closing of the trail network because of lack of support, I wished so hard that something happened and things took a different course. And there it was! The people of Ikaria are taking things in their hands! The news appeared in the Ikarian e-magazine ikariamag last week in an article under the title «How Ikaria… takes the mountains!». I found that was worth translating and blogging about it. Though I know it may seem to you a rather dry account of events strewn with place names that make no sense, yet to my ears it was music.
Most of the photos in this entry came to me through my spies in facebook from the groups: a) Ορειβάτες Πεζοπόροι Ικαρίας, b) Καθαρίζω την Ικαρία, and c) Αυτόνομη Συσπείρωση Πολιτών Ικαρίας. The links open to pictures in Flickr.
How Ikaria… takes the mountains!
Eventually, as time goes by, the mountains of Ikaria cease to be considered inaccessible and they reveal their greatness more often. Thanks to the initial longtime effort of a few stubborn dreamers, more and more local people are discovering their beauty, while more experienced hikers do bolder things or create new routes. Finally, last weekend the action came to a peak. The map below shows the trails followed, cleaned or traced by four different groups of people who were active in our mountains during these two days.
In red color we have marked the progress of the first group of local hikers who started from Agios Dimitrios in Pounta on Saturday afternoon. After they crossed Zizokampos and Erifi, they came to Agios Isidoros from where they took the trail to Karkinagri. Once at the shore, they spent the night in the cove of Kalou near Trapalou. On Sunday morning they took the old broken-down dirt road along the coast and finally reached Manganitis.
In pink color you can see the long route from Cape Papas to Cape Drakanon taken by a group of people from Rahes who since long are dedicating their Saturdays to hiking. Most of them aren’t young anymore, yet their physical condition is so good that they decided to perform the crossing of the entire Ikarian ridge within two days. They spent the night in Ai-Stathis and on Sunday afternoon they reached Drakanon where they put out their weariness in the shallow and warm waters of the cove of Ai Giorgis. Another pleasant surprise there.
In the same area, earlier that morning, residents of Faros village and several volunteers had taken up to clean and repair the trail that had been abandoned for years, leading to the church of Ai Giorgis and the beach further below. The operation included picking up and carrying the garbage from the coast. Meanwhile signboards are being prepared for the wider area of Faros which stays without signage for years. These signs will be painted by the students of the elementary school.
In blue color is shown the most difficult part of an ambitious project taken up by the Mountain Climbing and Hiking Club of Ikaria. On Sunday they visited the area of Ryakas searching inside this impressive tubular canyon for a way out on a trail to Selini and Agios Theologos in Geli close to the mountain tops. They had already made their preparation, they achieved what they wanted and in a short while they will be ready to announce the crossing of Ikaria widthwise from south to north. When this is completed, hikers will be able to admire one after the other the two most beautuful canyons of the island, Chalares and Ryakas, on a single hike from Nas to Manganitis.
In green is shown the old traditional lane from Xylosirtis to Kampa which was closed and covered with vegetation for ages. At the initiative of the municipal party «Aftonomi Syspeirossi Politon Ikarias» and the participation of several villagers the difficult job to clean this lane started on Sunday. With other similar projects running at the same time in different parts of the island, baring unforseen, the beautiful lane from Xylosirtis to Kampa will be ready within a month.
The article ends there, but the action keeps on. It seems that there is always a new thing of this kind going on in Ikaria every weekend. If you are interested, get in touch with the right people and get involved. The best is that these actions are not sponsored by coorporates or funded by either the local or the central government. These actions happen and they will go on happening because the people want to take over their mountains! They want to work together to do something, no matter how small this may be, for the good of the island and for their own good as well. As the slogan in one of the pictures says,
«None of us can do everything, yet each of us can do a small thing. All of us put together can do many things.»
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
_Blog Review Ikaria 2014 # 11 The Explorers (2a)_
Είμαι η Νανά to agrimi και σήμερα στο μπλογκ της Ελένης που παρουσιάζει διαλεχτά μπλογκς για την Ικαρία, γράφω για τον ΟΠΣ Ικαρίας.
Είναι μια χαοτική παρέα που αλλάζει συνεχώς, άλλοι έρχονται, άλλοι φεύγουν, σημαδεύουν και φτιάχνουν μονοπάτια, παραδοσιακά ή καινούριες διαδρομές, κάνουν πεζοπορίες, ορειβασίες, ψάχνουν, εξερευνούν, φωτογραφίζουν, στις πτυχώσεις των βουνών ανακαλύπτουν κρυμένες ομορφιές που δεν φαίνονται.
Είναι ο Ορειβατικός Πεζοπορικός Σύλλογος Ικαρίας, μια ανεξάρτητη, δημιουργική ομάδα ντόπιων πεζοπόρων και ορειβατών που κι αυτοί δεν καλοφαίνονται, δεν έχουν, ας πούμε, πινακίδα ούτε γραφεία, όμως θα καταλάβεις την παρουσία τους από τη συστηματική δουλειά που έχουν κάνει στα βουνά και την εξίσου συστηματική προβολή της στο ίντερνετ.
Για χάρη τους, επεμβαίνω στη σειρά blog reviews about Ikaria που κανονικά γράφει η Ελένη, και προσθέτω στην κατηγορία «explorers» το ιστολόγιο του ΟΠΣΙ που είναι συνάμα, ημερολόγιο δραστηριοτήτων και εκδρομών, διαδικτυακό βιβλίο πρακτικών και κατάλογος προτάσεων για βόλτες με τα πόδια στο νησί, δύσκολες ή εύκολες, χειμώνα ή καλοκαίρι.
Για όποιον ξέρει τη μορφολογία της Ικαρίας αλλά και τον χαρακτήρα των κατοίκων, ο τίτλος «Κλείνει προς τα έξω, ανοίγει προς τα μέσα» είναι μάλλον κατανοητός και οικείος. Ειπώθηκε πριν πολλά χρόνια σαν ατάκα από την Ελένη σε μια πεζοπορία, καθώς προσπαθούσαμε να περιγράψουμε το νησί: απ’ έξω απότομο, άγριο και κλειστό, αλλά από μέσα μια αγκαλιά.
Αυτό είναι το πρώτο μέρος του αφιερώματος. Κάνοντας κλικ στο μικρό εικονίδιο, ανοίγει θεαματικό fullscreen Slide Show φωτογραφιών στο Flickr. Κάνοντας κλικ στο μεγάλο εικονίδιο, ανοίγει η σχετική καταχώρηση όπου διαβάζει κανείς την περιγραφή της δράσης και των σκηνικών, με πρακτικές πληροφορίες, χάρτες, σχεδιαγράμματα, κτλ. Όπως πάντα, τριγυρίζοντας το ποντίκι πάνω από τα λινκς και τις εικόνες, διαβάζεις τίτλους, αποσπάσματα και περιλήψεις.
Για σχόλια καλά είναι κι εδώ, αλλά καλύτερα πήγαινε στο μπλογκ τους, επίσης και στο facebook group : hikingIkaria
… .Οκτώβρης 2008: Εκδρομή γνωριμίας
A chronicle of twenty years in the paths and the mountains of Ikaria. What has been done, by who, how and why.
A thrilling true story.
We are opening our hearts and sharing the secrets in the village hall of Agios Dimitrios, Rahes,
on Sunday, March 3 at 5 a. m.
Thanks George for the video.
It’s not a good day today.
This is the mail I received from a dearest friend this morning with the request to post in my blog. I couldn’t help adding some pictures as a tribute to the past and testimony of a great work that has come to an end.
Here it goes:
Hello, my name is Angelos K.
As some of you may know, I have been the designer and administrator of an expanded network of hiking trails in Ikaria for over 15 years. However, today, with mixed feelings of grief and relief I am shutting down the project. Unfortunately I can’t afford to work anymore without recognition and substantial support from the locals and the local authorities. It was my mistake to suppose that such a thing would happen in the course of time. Yet, my initiative, despite it’s success, remained unperceived even by those who drew a direct profit from it every year (hotel and restaurant owners etc.).
I just can’t do it anymore.
The project was never supported by the central government and I have come to the end of my financial means and physical strength.
I am aware the shutdown of planned hiking in Ikaria will make us a poorer island from many points of view. On the other hand, as things as with tourism in Ikaria, it’s likely that only few people will notice the fact and even fewer will know the cause.
Therefore starting from spring the main signs at the beginnings of the trails will be removed and the map will go out of sale (*). It would be the responsible thing to do as, despite the efforts of several friends, the paths haven’t been maintained and the marking hasn’t been refreshed for a long period of time, so in many cases trails have become too difficult or impassable.
The good side, however, of the shutdown is that I and my occasional helpers would be free to work without stress “behind the scenes”, like when a shop closes down but the team stays ans works inside. After all, in either case, open or closed, no-one was paid.
Ikaria is still and as always a beautiful natural island and hiking is by far the best way to know it. In my heart the shutdown will be temporary. The amount of money that is needed for a restart is small. If it is given to the project with with good faith and in some more or less permanent basis, via, for example, the Mountain Climbing and Hiking Club of Ikaria, the signs will be up again and a new hiking map will be published, that will cover, as it is due, the whole of Ikaria and not only a part.
We shall always walk.
Thank you very much
(*) I am not giving up the copyrights of the traced routes and the map.
I have nothing to say or add other than that someone cannot be a volunteer for 17 years!
The Ikarians must read about it so Nana put up this announcement in the original Greek in her blog very soon.
Bye for now