Gianluca Colla’s Ikaria

    Gianluca Colla was the National Geographic photographer who worked in the Bluezones project in Ikaria few years ago. Now that the lights have dimmed and the noise has faded I felt due to have a second look at his excellent photos. The titles and commentation are his. Move the nose of your mouse over each picture to read them. I only added a few words of my own as I divided the 63 photos in rows.
 The amazing centenarians

    Eleftheria Gaglia, 95, lives in Evdilos..Untill a few years ago, she used to put fresh goat milk on her face, as a way to hydrate the skin.





30 40 50 60 70



 The Good Shepherds 
More outdoor activity


Family & community

Please note that this is not a post about longevity. We have talked
about this matter exhaustively elsewhere in April 2009 soon after
the Quest was over. This is a post about photography and certain
aspects of the life in my island which are true and the photographer
succeded to capture in a masterful way.
Thank you, Gianluca!
Please come again!



So this matter has been cleared up. I’m not an enemy of tourism -hahaha Image
Here is a certain Marina Stenos’ blog [*Ikarian Adventures*] who connects to our Flickr photos of Ikaria and calls for visitors.
The strangest thing Image: in Marina’s selection of Ikarian images I saw some of my darkest *unfriendly* landscape shots !!!
Because I ‘ve never (NEVER !) called for visitors in a «come on everybody» way, I was almost upset Image when I discovered Marina’s blog. But then I saw that she names it «adventures«, so it’s ok Image, I guess.
It doesn’t matter that she didn’t send a polite notice to say that she’s linked to our pictures. We even have a club about Ikaria in Flickr and I Image am a moderator of it !
It doesn’t matter. Den pirazi. Δεν πειραζει.
It’s just that I like to communicate. I’m aware that other people don’t. It’s alright.
Funny: how can people who don’t care much about communication, call for visitors?
It doesn’t matter. Den pirazi. Δεν πειραζει. Image
Let’s call this …»ikarian enigma» :-)(-: lol Image

P.S. 1 the irrelevent picture with the rock and the vespa is from the all day long Panigiri of Agios (St.) Isidoros, 14 May 2006
P.S. 2 there are links in this text; I’m not sure whether they appear, so just move your mouse around and you will find them.


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but you ARE PROMOTING TOURISM already through Flickr ! Haven’t you noticed the sponsors flowing in on the left column of the page «Flickr photos tagged Ikaria» ?
Now if someone knows that there is a very scarce boat connection to the island and evenmore, once there, there are very poor bus lines to visit and see all these places…
well… I can’t say what «product» exactly you are promoting. Surely a specialty product only for the few.
@AKK : why don’t YOU get in the game. Put an ad for the hiking thing, the hiking map or about guided tours (are there any ? I mean good ones -> adventure stuff)

>about the photo :- I hadn’t realised that besides the panigiri, we made such an interesting car+moto expo out there -: <

Monday May 29, 2006 – 11:38am (EEST)

Ha.. who needs guides! Do it Ikarian style and walk along the road until some friendly stranger picks you up 😉

Tuesday May 30, 2006 – 09:38am (EDT)

you are very clever; almost like me.
I wish (curse?) you fall on the right friendly stranger as it happened with Eleni and me and adventure started …

Thursday June 1, 2006 – 02:50pm (EEST)

Eleni, I’m working in the paths and feeling old lately. I want to retire. Find me an assistant. Someone who loves misty mountain tops, deep cold pools and nameless coves. Someone who can go torso naked and wrap his/her T-shirt on his/her head when it’s too hot and when it’s cold, freeze like a brave.
Find me one, eevn if he/she is from the plains of H.

Thursday June 1, 2006 – 10:38pm (EEST)

Are you serious? Do you mean it?
Do you like it like this? Shall I shout it out?
(Whatever you say, I will anyway, he he)
Σ’ αρεσει ετσι; Να το βγαλω στη φορα;
(Οτι και να πεις, θα το βγαλω, χε χε)

Friday June 2, 2006 – 03:11am (PDT)

Do whatever you think best. It was you who pointed out that Ikaria is a mini continent in the first place.
A ‘muse’ I have and it is you but now I need something more practical. The article in the Greek «Climbing» magazine made me understand that islands are not supposed to have maountains and a vast inside land. But they do and Ikaria has a lot (go swimming and bar strolling just a bit later, that’s all) and I (we) really need a mountain corps, let this be a corps of one (in the beginning)


Friday June 2, 2006 – 11:42pm (EEST)

a long time ago I joined a Service Civil International team staying in a big tent above the little village of Seix in the Pyrenees. We were clearing, remaking, signing footpaths. We were not paid but we had the tent and the food and met people from all over, as well as being in a beautiful place (that I now go back to far more than I could have dreamt I would). Has this been done? A burst of activity by lots of people can be fun, although to work selflessly whatever the season through good times and hard must be better for the soul…

Saturday June 3, 2006 – 12:11am (CEST)

What a surprise ! We have called for and hosted the SCI in Ikaria twice already. The big sign at the entrance of «Chalares Canyon», one of our best natural sights, writes «The trail was restored by the volunteers of the SCI»

Somewhere in the files of
there is a report by one of those volunteers about the sejourn and their work. I found it and copied it from the SCI site. It’s in Dutch, so I was never able to read what it says !

Saturday June 3, 2006 – 09:19pm (EEST)

illustrated «Ikarian Enigma» -το αίνιγμα της Ικαρίας


Ikarian enigma: The pupils say we should love the water habitats

The Ikarian enigma is subtle. It’s layers.
For example look at the picture above:
1st layer: the river (on the right side -can’t be seen), the plane trees and the straw canes.
2nd layer: a pile of earth, (called ‘mbaza’ in Greek) moved there by an earth mover that cleaned the bed of the river so the river did not flood.
3rd layer: someone thought that this pile of earth was the proper place to get rid of his obsolete Nissan. He hoped that when the earth mover returned, it would take the car too. (Where to?)
4th layer: (years have passed) seeing that the earth mover wasn’t coming, a climbing plant like ivy worked together with a wildberry bush and they covered the pile of earth and the Nissan with their foliage.
5th layer: straw canes seeing that the place was safe, grew there too.
6th layer: someone who has animals, seeing that the place is cool and there is shadow and green leaves in the summer, as well as that there is a road and he can visit it easily by car, he brought and tied his animals (goats? cows? sheep? ostriches?) there. Therefore we have two pots (made of old plastic motor oil containers) in the foreground. There he’d put corn (?) and water.
7th layer: the 4th grade of the primary school visited this place on an educational trip to observe water habitats, report about conditions and also «campaign» about them. They left a sign: «Love the Water Habitats»!
8th layer: the mud in the foreground -obviously the river (the 1st layer) goes on flooding and claims its rights on top of 7 layers.
9th layer: that’s ME who went there and decided to take this picture.
10th layer: YOU …who are reading this blog entry! …you too …are a part of the riddle!!!

. .

the riddler

. .

Solving the Ikarian enigma at the pool of riddles

. .

😘 😘 😘
. .


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This enigma is not peculiar to Ikaria Elle, this struggle is being played out across the world, here all over North America and elsewhere. We fight about it daily. Somebody must speak for the «Water Habitats.» I’m happy you’re shining a light and by the way you look adorable at the pool of riddles

Tuesday February 28, 2006 – 06:06am (PST)

I agree. It is a universal enigma or bet. Ikaria is a good example because it’s a straightforward place.
(Hey, it seems that you lost a «layer» in the process of producing this. Where’s «the stupid side of you»? This looks like the other side.)

Tuesday February 28, 2006 – 10:31pm (EET)

You are a Taurus= a time bomb!.. tik tik tik …boom …ALL LIGHT!!!
(I’d write something more clever, but I’m at work … and you know…) You go on with the enigma, don’t you?

Wednesday March 1, 2006 – 11:42am (EET)

I forgot to say that I liked very much that the kids wrote «Love the…» instead of «Protect/Respect the…»
Love is the big riddle that solves all other riddles.

My shadow on rubble in Armenistis, Ikaria, Greece

(τι έγραψα πάλι; ποιά είμαι τέλος πάντων; ας πάω καλύτερα τώρα να γράψω κανένα τιμολόγιο…)

Wednesday March 1, 2006 – 11:49am (EET)

Eleni’s Carnival in Ikaria


Eleni's Carnival in Ikaria, Decrepit Dance, mocking the myth of longevity


Image Image Image Image

I don’t know if it was out of place and rather ‘un-Greek’ to speak about an investment ‘in green’, but I don’t have to be born and brought up in Greece to understand CARNIVAL !It’s just broke out here and it took me by surprise because I had forgotten about it and now I have to catch up!
In Carnival here they don’t wear costumes. They dress up as their opposites -to their opposite’s grotesque extremes! So kids dress like old (in ugliest, most degenerate, etc.), men dress and behave like women (with as big as possible stress on the weakenesses of the sex), women make like men (the same stress on the weak side) -I repeat: to their grotesque most colorful extremes!
So you see a respectable tradesman appear as a nymphomanian bride, a beautiful young girl be a black hairy gorilla and the carpenter of the village dig out an impossible costume and show up as Lord of Bam-boum-burry 🙂 Obscenity, liberality and wild dance are allowed (even encouraged), on condition (repeat) on condition that the ‘mascarades‘ or (local) ‘moutsounarides‘ are dressed up and covered so well that they can’t be recognized. If the are (repeat) if they are recognized, either they either leave or find very fast a different way to be funny -which is very hard and takes a real actor to do.
I am going to…
Oh no ! I’m not going to tell you what I’ll dress up like !
I’m just saying what I said before; that I am going to be my opposite -to the grotesque extreme!


Carnaval 2009 Carnaval 2008



I’ll be lost- not to be found for 3 days -I hope.
Sorry readers !

(Send me the map next week, will you?)
(By then I may be good girl
Eleni again.)



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Nana’s recipe: buy the least fresh, cheapest fish, one that’s as dead as a fish can be (use Felicia to test -the fish must be really rotten). Boil it in very little water on a very slow fire for about an hour (2 hours is the best but then it’s inhuman – in that case If I were you, I’d use a timer or a remote control or switch off the plugs of the house to turn off the fire. You wouldn’t do that manually.) Now the scum should be unbearable and you know that you have the best all-natural, chemical-free «super-dead-fish-glue»!!!


With a mask or (better) a clip on your nose, take away the fish bones, and add and stir in some flour, if you want your glue to be thicker.


Nana’s super glue can attach hair (like whiskers, moustache, beard, armpit hair and other) just any kind of fiber on your skin. It wouldn’t be torn off or drop off never mind how much you move, grim or perspire. The super fish glue will also grant you a super dead fish smell which will enchant your partners in carnival and it will keep them in a safe distance from you so that they don’t even think of trying to uncover your face. Thus you will be able to act as crazy as you like.


Saturday February 18, 2006 – 12:46am (EET)


Wow! You Greeks are insane! The only costume-appropriate occasion we Americans have is Halloween (Oct. 31) but that doesn’t sound remotely similar (children going door-to-dooor for candy). Even Halloween is routinely a cause of controversy with out more conservative citizens (the ones who elected our president). Each year there are an increasing number of articles in the news about how it’s unchristian devil-worship, authored by folks who wouldn’t know a good time if it bit them on the ass. So, on that note, Happy Carnival!! Wish I was there.

Sunday February 19, 2006 – 12:12am (EST)

I see you are getting prettier and prettier and more romantic with time! Do you also smell of Nana’s ‘super dead fish glue’? Remove that photo, or I may be in love with you!

Sunday February 19, 2006 – 01:04pm (EET)

I won’t remove it! I want you all to fry in the fires of passion for me!

Sunday February 19, 2006 – 04:19am (PST)

We shall have to refer to this phenomenon when we discuss «drama in life» again. It is very therapeutic, Ο γιατρος approves.

Monday February 20, 2006 – 02:51pm (GMT)

After the Snow in the Aegean 2nd thoughts

Hello readers !
I wouldn’t mind writing more about pork chops, or about how well Greeks can deal with contradictions etc. etc. But I can’t share those thoughts in a short blog entry like this. So I’ll just state a few facts:
1) without the terrible surf and devastating winds of the winter, the sea wouldn’t be so blue, the rocks so round and clean and the sand so grainy and warm in the summer.

2) the mountain wouldn’t be so green and the trees so tall, neither would there be so many various herbs, without snow and frost in winter.


3) the poeple wouldn’t be so warm and hospitable
(though reserved at first sight), if (let’s suppose) there was a railway connection to the island in winter.


4) neither ‘tragopodaros’ nor I would find fresh water and falls to bathe
(and chill), if the mountains of Ikaria were lower and didn’t gather clouds and rainfall in winter.


5) finally in the summer the festivals in the villages wouldn’t be so jovial, if the place wasn’t poor and young people needn’t leave.


Here’s a practical example of contradictions :

The facility which I miss a lot in ‘the barn’ is a closet. All my clothes are hanging from nails on a wooden beam fixed on the wall. In my heavy coat now and waiting for the fireplace to heat the room, my eyes fell on my bikinis and they looked like objects from another planet! Yet these pieces of textile act as my usual underwear or onlywear after April ! In the same way in summer my heavy coat looks like a horrible dusty pile of dark hair like the skin of an extinct prehistoric animal. I can’t even remember myself having ever worn such a thing! This is contradictions, or if you wish call them antithesis, or just surprises, according to me.



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Didn’t someone once say beware of Greeks bearing gifts of pork chops and contradictions?

This is a good one Elle.

Φοβού τους Δαναούς και δώρα φέροντας
yeah, the man is right

Monday January 30, 2006 – 11:25pm (EET)

You’ve expressed so much in few lines! Strong!

Wednesday May 13, 2009 – 01:07am (EEST)

Thank you! Here is one for you: what is the name of the bridge that bridges contradictions?

Wednesday May 13, 2009 – 12:00pm (PDT)