IF *I am tourist promoter*, so …


So now that *I am tourist promoter*
let me get busy ! The island’s economy is at stake (Ω Θεέ μου !)
Ikaria is mostly known for and associated with the myth of Icarus and to some extent for its medicinal (just *warm* if you like) springs most of them located in the village of Therma very near Agios Kirikos, the capital of the island.

But …  «Life is What is Happening, While We are Thinking of Something Else.»

(J. Lennon)

Here is an extract from Pr A. Papalas «Rebels and Radicals» -Icaria 1600-2000″ (Chapter 7, Widening Horizons, Tourism, pp.317, 318). It is about the very first beginning of tourism in Ikaria in the mid-1970s.

«The class and the number of visitors to Therma did not produce the revenues that other islands were enjoying from tourism in the 1970s. Icarians continued to promote Therma and began to consider ways to attract visitors to other parts of the island. There were proposals to spruce up the interior villages for sightseeing tours, to advertise the forests or what was left of them and to renovate the monuments of the island.
While Icarians were devising various inept schemes to cash in on the obsession that well-heeled Europeans were displaying for the Aegean, backpackers were discovering Livadi beach between Armenistis and Gialiskari. The locals never held this area in high esteem for they did not regard sunbathing or swimming as a leisure activity. The sandy shore was deserted except for the occasional native following a doctor’s advice to take the sun or sea fro therapy. Bohemian typesbegan to infiltrate a region without hotels or restaurants. They put up tents on the seaside …



…Gradually cafe owners, who had hitherto catered to fishermen, began to build small family-operated pensions. Nudists established a summer community on the Livadi beaches much to the opposition of the locals. In the summer of 1982, an alliance of farmers, Orthodox priests, and Communist officials attacked the nudists with anti-American slogans and threats. There were no casualties, and a compromise was eventually reached. The nudists retreated to the less visible beach of Nas, and the more conventional tourists settled in the Armenisti-Gialiskari where small lodgings by the late 1980s grew into modern hotels… «

Nas Ikaria in DPGR

You will say that was a typical story. Since the 1970s «a lot of water ran in the ditch» or to be more accurate «a lot of waves crashed on the sand»… 😀

Nas Ikaria 1 2010 Nas Ikaria 2 2010 Nas Ikaria 3 2010 Nas Ikaria 4 2010 Nas Ikaria 5 2010 Nas Ikaria 6 2010



Ikaria is being rediscovered.

This time not about the beach ^^’

c13c08f12d15f12 d03c01a14

To say more: the island is being *retrieved*, rediscovered by hikers! Still clubing and panigiria are on and will be on with rough loud music as usual, because we are Greeks, that’s all… Image


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Hey, «tourist promoter» !
How can you inter-connect all that? I wonder how? *good weaver*
Where did you find the link to the photo behind «infiltrated a region» ? That was very good. There is no other to explain what a «grouvalos» is. And I don’t think it’s something bad necessarily. The flower pot in the foreground says it all …

Monday June 5, 2006 – 09:31pm (EEST)

-> thank you for quoting from that book !
It’s so sober, so well grounded, well tuned and well tempered. At the same time it is a very «crazy Ikarian» book : so much hard and good work for a place with a lot of history and drama but which hardly anyone knows. . .
Do you get what I mean?
-> when «all that» happened in the mid-1970s, I was there and saw it. We spend our summers in Armenistis. It was a clash of cultures and one of my best memories of youth is that I took part in it. My future wife, her sisters and her brothers were among those «Bohemians». They were very respectful though. They made a difference, so I chose the prettiest and I believe I made a difference too, so she chose me as well, etc. etc.

Tuesday June 6, 2006 – 10:15pm (EEST)


Eleni in Ikaria, February 06, 2006


I got tired of having ‘the stupid side of my face’ welcome me every time I want to write in my blog.

So I replaced it with something ‘red hot’.

sunset lighthouse 3

I am still there, of course, included somewhere in the picture
-all in blue, purple and red.
-these are my favourite colours.
Is it serious, doctor?.. ————————————-

The rainstorm of last night took my headache away. There was thunder outside and in my dreams too.

I dreamt I was in Livadi beach and there was a sudden rainstorm. I was a ‘grouvalina’ (!) and I was fighting against ‘the bourgeois’ (ordinary holiday makers) who wanted to take over my camping place (which was under the trees) to protect themselves from the rain. Many things happened simultaneously and I haven’t decided which came first, second, third, so I can’t put them down as story yet.



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A doctor writes…..hmmm you have identified with the κρινα της θαλασσας, which is emblematic of the vulnerable yet wild (true) side of your nature and there is a conflict with your more public persona – the bourgeoisie, (also represented by the literal «public face» you have grown tired of and deleted), which in turn is seeking shelter from the rain under the darkness of the trees; ironically the rain has been brought down to nourish the lilly part of your inner self, newly discovered in the dry, arid sand. Lots of conflict, symbolised by thunder, all is happening at once, but the lighthouse, a kind of creative dream extension, is there to help illuminate a path to resolution while at the same time keeping you hidden and protected , yet still «within the frame» of the picture; orange purple and red are energy, conflict and anger, but purple promises peace.. So yes, we like the lighthouse….Next…

Monday February 6, 2006 – 10:45pm (GMT)

wow doctor ! what a diagnosis! I’m afraid that my social security will not accept to cover the expence. May I pay you in cash little by little every month?

Tuesday February 7, 2006 – 03:19am (PST)

I understand that barter was always the Ikarian fallback when times were hard…so some wine and honey would be acceptable..

Tuesday February 7, 2006 – 04:47pm (GMT)

Εγώ, Ελένη μου, νομίζω πως είσαι εντάξει και δεν χρειάζεται να πληρώσεις τον γιατρό. Μάλλον φταίει που κάθεσαι για πολλή ώρα πολύ κοντά στο αναμμένο τζάκι.

Tuesday February 7, 2006 – 10:25pm (EET)

lilies in wasted sand


So here are Angelos’ photos from Livadi beach.
They were taken this morning ! He has also added arrows and labels. He is a very φιλότιμο παιδί.
He thought he would be digging for bulbs but he found grown plants. They’ ve got to be the sea-lilies. The colors do not show well, but A says that the leaves, though they look alike most other lily species, have a slightly different lighter shade, -‘pale’ or salty (this is the word he used). The series starts with a photo (taken from the outside) of the door of the shameful, so-called ‘camping site’ , which in fact is a wasteland full of sights for the fans of the weirdo culture …


…..never mind about it now and let’s go and see the lilies which grow on both sides of this door.



This is first sea-lily Angelos encountered. Nothing very spectacular, you’d think and you’d be right.

Everybody has smelt lilies. Could this ‘almost a seaweed’ give the best scent of all its magnificent relatives?

The answer is SALT. What food would be like without it? The same seems to be true with the perfumes of flowers (according to me, but I think not only me).



1, 2, 3, 4, … many lilies…

Illegal beach bum campers sleep on them in July and August.

I am an occasional beach bum but I have never camped, though I did sit and had a couple of interesting discussions with the inhabitants of that shade in the summer.



no comments…



Several lilies growing under that pile of dry sea weed.

They will burn them in May I suppose. But lilies are bulbs living a secret life inside the earth. The earth? No, the sand!


This is a lily and around it there is just sand -you know, sand, tiny crystals, whatever… sand like in Sahara the desert. The beeds are juniper acorns!


a stong tall loner apart from the others



This is exactly the spot where the first real tourists set a tent in Ikaria a looong ago in the mid-70s. They were young Germans, most of them students, most of them from Frankfurt, and they read the philosophy of Marcuse. (according to old local chronicles)
It is believed that in spite of the Weirdo cult, there are still pheromones and echoes and good vibrations there.
I can’t tell you. I hardly ever go to Livadi beach anymore.


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the hippies discovered Ikaria?

Saturday February 4, 2006 – 11:10pm (EET)

Ναι αυτοί ήταν. Το Λιβάδι τότε ήταν ένα δάσος από κέδρους και καλαμιές. Εμείς μέναμε στον Αρμενιστή κι αναρωτιόμασταν τι ήταν που τους άρεσε και έμεναν εκεί ‘στην ξερή άμμο’. Οι πιο γέροι τους λυπόντουσαν λίγο.
‘o tempora, o mores’

Sunday February 5, 2006 – 03:09pm (EET)

The place is not just innocent ‘Weirdo parade’. When I visited last summer, it looked very ‘fascist’… I don’t mean the beach. I mean the old camping-site behind the fence. Whoever made all those crazy contructions and piled all that garbidge in there, must have hated the hip, no doubt.

Let’s squat it, eh?
Να κάνουμε κατάληψη?

Sunday February 5, 2006 – 08:25pm (EET)

Eleni in Ikaria with flowers, (Feb 03, 2006)

(correct) Θαλασσόκρινος

So it wasn’t the Lady but the Lord with the Lilies.
Nana «la fauve», my living library walking (on a perfect pair of legs btw) sent me this picture. Noone knows who he was, so they call him conventionaly «the King-Priest with the Lilies». This is from the palace of Knossos in Crete. Professeur Nana La Fauve says it’s from the 15-16th c. BC and adds that the lilies are ‘sea-lilies’ (θαλασσόκρινοι) and the ‘King-Priest» (tarara-tourouroum) is depicted on the seashore. The funniest thing is that in the begining scholars could not tell if these flowers were sea-lilies because they look much taller than sea-lilies. There was a big controversy that these were not actual flowers of the Cretan flora (even of 17000 y. ago), but oversized artistic depictions of imaginary plants. This meant that the Minoan school of art was not naturalistic but rather symbolic. Thus what we see on the frescoes were not images from real life but subjective exagerations in order to serve certain purposes …the state …the grandeur …blablabla …you know, all that…
It took years for scholars to realize that it was not the lilies that were oversized, but it was the «King-Priest» who was too short. He was just a kid !
Taken in consideration that the so-called ‘peoples of the sea’ (e.g. the Cycladeans and the Minoans) who lived in Greece before the Greeks, were no more than 1.60 m tall, the «Prince-Kid with the Lilies» should have only been less than 0.90m tall . Then came the Greeks who were much taller and could ride horses and they mixed with the ‘peoples of the sea’ and the average height of the population increased. But the lilies stayed the same -max.height 40 cm.
That’s all what Professeur Nana La Fauve from the university of the streets of downtown Athens (USDA) had to say about it.
My moral:
there are times when people need to see Kings and high Priests and there are times that people need to see kids and lilies.
My opinion on the painting:
I’d hate to see in him a king or a priest even at young age. He is so cute that I would have to stop being a democrat and become a royalist just for him. So I say he is an actor -a young apprentice who rehearses the words and the gests of his part on the beach. If I were a cool, wealthy Minoan that’s exactly what I’d want to look at on a wall of my palace.


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«tres bien, presque excellent !»
Prof Nana La Fauve (USDA)

Saturday February 4, 2006 – 11:21pm (EET)

Eleni in Ikaria, February 02, 2006


Ikarian sea lilies

Ο Θαλασσόκρινος

‘Στη στεριά δεν ζει το ψάρι
ούτε ο ανθός στην αμμουδιά,
κι οι Σουλιώτισσες δεν ζούνε
δίχως την ελευθεριά.’

This is from ‘The Dance of Zalogo’, one of my best favourites in Greek folk verse and music.The words say : «a fish can’t live on the land, neither can a flower live on sand, neither can the women of Souli live without freedom.»
(After a battle was lost, the women of Souli ran to the brow of a cliff where they sang and danced this merry-go-round ‘syrtos’ . As they danced, one after the other jumped over the cliff and got killed . The women of Souli were something else -believe me.)


I started like this because I wanted to connect this entry with ‘contradictions’, remember? Because in Greece there is a flower (ανθός =a real flower with a nice smell and pretty looks) which lives on sand. It’s name is Thalassokrinos (=the lilly of the sea, θάλασσα). I first saw it on Livadi beach, near Armenistis about 12 years ago. There are some dwarf cedar trees there (juniperus?) and people often camp under them in the summer. Then they go away and they leave many ordinary or extraordinary items half-buried in the sand. So when that smell struck my nose I thought it was from a bottle of sun-cream and my first thought was to find the make because I had never smelled anything like it before and I liked it very much. I expected to find some exotic (e.g. American, Australian) brand. But there was nothing like it in the deserted camping site under the cedar tree -only sand and several cigarette butts. The smell was stronger then so I squated and searched with my hands in the sand. Among cigarette butts and odd debris I touched several hard protrusions. They were whitish beige -about the same colour as the sand, and at first I thought they were small peebles or seashells. But they were soft under my touch and of course they smelt divine! I was wirling round the tree like a mad dog then and I went to the other side of it which campers do not use because there are many spurges there. Among them I saw my first fully grown Sea Lilly, a flower I believed it was mythical. Much humbler and modest than the ones depicted in the Minoan frescoes (one called, if I’m not mistaken, Η Κυρία με τα Κρίνα, The Lady with the Lillies) but as proud and princely in odor.
I had discovered a ‘habitat‘.
I came back after a few days and had the luck to see the whole colony in bloom. It was a very windy day though so there was no smell. I didn’t squat nor did I came back on another day, because I didn’t want to attract public attention. I only spoke about my discovery to the woman who owns ‘Atsahas’ taverna (that’s on the side of the hill on the eastern side of the beach). She is an amateur in plants and she knows Livadi beach like the palm of her hand, but she had never heard or seen the sea lillies. Perhaps this is because they come out of bulbs and they bloom for too short. Then, if you don’t know about them, you wouldn’t look under a tree in the sand (washed by the surf in winter too) to find such a flower, when there so many places to look for interesting plants on the dry land.

Soso's Lilies Soso's lilies Soso's lilies Aegean Sea lily

Why don’t those flowers behave right? Well, I think that if they did they wouldn’t smell so divine.
They are the Alkyon sea bird. Why doesn’t it nest on safer ground than those rocks right over the killer surf of the sea in winter? If they did, they would be plain birds (white, brown or black) and they wouldn’t have that shiny electric blue-green-yellow colour. They wouldn’t set an example, there would be no myth connected to them and we wouldn’t be so happy to see them -we, lonely swimmers of lonely rocky coves.

Have I filled a computer screen? I think I have. So I’ll write no more in my blog tonight. There will be another full computer screen tomorrow.

καληνύχτα σας
εδώ ψιχαλίζει απόψε
και είναι πολύ ωραία.
Εύχομαι και σε σας να είναι
το ίδιο καλά και καλύτερα.




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Yes, sometimes beauty emerges only through hardship and grief; sometimes through tears comes a clarity of vision. What does not kill me makes me stronger, so they say Eleni.

Wednesday February 1, 2006 – 02:45pm (PST)

I know the spot. What do I win if I find the bulbs and send you a photo?

Thursday February 2, 2006 – 12:51pm (EET)

Do I have to tell you? I thought you were cleverer.
To find the bulbs is the prize, of course, what else?

Thursday February 2, 2006 – 12:41pm (PST)

You have the North of England branch of Hiking Ikaria utterly intrigued by these sea-lilies….And how often have I been bowled over by extraordinary scents on Ikaria and not traced the source..

Thursday February 2, 2006 – 08:42pm (GMT)