Dear readers💗As things are at my work I sometimes have to stay for hours at nerve-racking standbys. To relax tension the trick is always to turn my mind to Ikaria and then to look for something interesting to blog about my island. In most cases things don’t fall in as I wish. Inspiration is a bird in flight, but sometimes there are exceptions.😋Last week during one of those standbys I mentionned above, and while I was surfing fruitlessly in Flickr, I looked for new stuff from friends and a wonderful new set of 29 pictures from Ikaria appeared in front of my eyes: «A Day at an Exhibition» – «Hard hiking, wild swimming and admiring rocks scuptured by nature in Cape Papas, Ikaria». What a brilliant title, description and of course, visual content!These pictures were taken by my friend Angelos, amateur photographer and leading member of the Ikarian hiking club, on a day of March while he and his friends were trying to find a trail through «a jungle of rocks sculptured by nature» (sic) to connect the remote village of Karkinagri with the even remoter westernmost tip of Ikaria and the historical, spectacular lighthouse which stands on it.... ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ...As you could see in this great map above, the trail was found! Therefore, I think we should expect to see more shots from this colorful and naturally artistic, wild coast of Ikaria very soon. But for the time being, these are the best I have seen. I am letting you enjoy them! Move your mouse over the thumbnails to read a few words written by the author about each picture. They are very expressive and enlightening!..
Côte de Naufragés Sauvés
Thank you very much, Angelos!💗
Sunday, March 26, 2017
One’s own country is the country where one does not need a map, even less a Google map with coordinates, to go around. But Ikaria is not your country so maybe you do. As a matter of fact, I think you do. Our little island is very complicated and if you have a doubt just go and browse through my «landscapes of others» set of illustrated entries. I’d rather see people walking these landscapes, instead of those disastrous goats, therefore, besides my explorers, I hold in great esteem the people who make maps and share them with the world, evenmore, when these people go for originality, have good taste and stay away from clichés.
As you have assumed, since my last entry about the «Ikaria Guidebook», I have changed course, and have taken on to the practical side of things. Let’s say, how about hiking safely in the famous but little known, ancient Forest of Radi? How about going in the depths of the upper part of Chalares canyon to find waterfalls and pools to swim naked? 😉
Don’t worry about crowds, ’cause the articles that I will suggest speak about places only for the few. And I would be surprised if you met even few. Take my word, I have been in both these places several times and in spite their breathtaking wild beauty, I never met a living soul!
Although Ikaria has all the assets to become an AAA mountain and outdoor destination, nobody on the island seems
to care to know what to do about it so things are left to chance. Taking everything into account, it doesn’t matter. With the exception of the short tourist boom of August, we are and, as it seems, we will always be an island for the few – the few hunters of adventure in a wild and exciting unknown! 😎
But even hunters of adventure need help sometimes…
The first Google mapped hiking route I would like to present to you today was created by the local Mountain Climbing &’ Hiking Association (OPS Ikarias) and it is about a circular hike in the Forest of Radi which lies between the village of Petropouli in Messaria and the village of Frantato in Perameria. Their blog can be easily translated through Google translate, so here is what they say in the announcement of the completion of this hiking route:
«Hello Readers! After many hiking trips and searches which ended in defining a circular route in Radi Forest, our Hiking Club proudly presents the digital map: «The Round of Radi Forest»!»
They have indeed made many trips and searches and their Google map the best evidence. This document contains 70 pins with coordinates along an intricate trail of more than 12 kilometers, most of them inside a thick forest, as well as 145 photos! If not for anything but only to appreciate the ammount of their work I think it’s worthwhile to zoom in to make a virtual walk from pin to pin and browse through the pictures. What a feat! But as they said when I asked, that magical forest was worth it!
If you click on the image below you will be transported to the OPS Ikarias website where you can read/translate their entry. At the end there is a list of advice and instructions which you may find useful before you do this hike.
And now, after thick mysterious woods, let’s speak about rocks, sun and river water. Do you remember our friend Zdeněk Šenkyřík, the Czech photographer who I praised in my blog last July? Well, Zdeněk recently revisited his material from Ikaria as well as other islands and reorganized everything into something that I would call «Do it like Zdeněk!»
Introducing his chapter about Ikaria Zdeněk says:
«In 2014 while we were planning our trip to Samos, we made a small change to visit Ikaria as well. We wanted to get to know this paradise for lovers of wild nature – canyons, waterfalls, mountain hikes – awesome!»
Indeed, once on the island last June he and his partner Petra were guided by the members of OPS Ikarias and they discovered several places of the kind they were looking for. A list of these spots which are so well shown in Zdeněk’s photos appears in a Google map inside the general page about Ikaria. But the best map and the best photos are included in the subchapter «Chalares Ikaria – swimming in waterfalls». Click on the image below to be transported to that page. We ❤ Zdeněk and Petra!
Still, before closing this, I have to advise everybody who found these hikes appealing to read again my forenote about the situation in Ikaria about hiking. To find and explore safely and succesfully the amazing forest of Radi or the wild and secluded upper part of Chalares canyon the best thing to do is to contact the members of OPS Ikarias, either at their blog which is open to comments or at their facebook page. Like they did with the Czech friends, not only they will be willing to help but they will also have other interesting suggestions according to your likes and the time of the year.
Eleni Ik ❤
Saturday February 28, 2015
I am not sorry to interrupt the series of landscapes of others because this seems to be a good guidebook for Ikaria. Our friend Alexia’s work (1) is out of print and anyway it was only in Greek. On the other hand, the A.K.K. Editions hiking map is out of sale and I know from Angelos himself that it’s not likely to publish anything as good as that about Ikaria in the near future (2). During a visit at his house and having insisted that he should, he showed me a confidential copy of the recent e-book by Charlene Caprio and Lefteris Tsouris on his computer and I liked it. I didn’t have time to read it thoroughly and I couldn’t take it home with me because the copy was code-protected but I trust Angelo’s word. It’s an honest, careful and responsible piece of work based on long field research and that was also my impression after having read the one hundred PDF pages diagonally. The texts are to the point without unneeded literature and the maps are bold, nicely colored, clear and helpful. But the best thing about this Guidebook is the emphasis on hiking. I took a note of how the authors put it:
«We believe that the best way to understand Ikaria is by exploring the island’s footpaths called ‘monopatia‘. Spanning over 150 km in a configuration akin to a giant spider’s web over the island, Ikaria’s footpaths evolved over hundreds of years. Many of them connect remote villages with rivers, watermills, forests, mountain peaks, sea areas, more natural elements and other villages. The footpaths also reach areas inaccessible by vehicles and traverse the mountain’s inner folds. By exploring the footpaths, you will start to discover Ikaria’s unique environment and culture…»
As I couldn’t agree more, I also took note of the titles of the ten hiking routes recommended, mapped and described by the two authors in the last and longest part of the edition. The photos of Peter Wan who contributed in the edition are stunning and you can see some in the webpage of the e-book, however to introduce these hikes I prefered to use photos either from our blogs or the ones taken in the course of time by the members of the Mountain Climbing and Hiking Club of Ikaria. Those people are, after all, the volunteers who explore and discover, design, walk and maintain the mentionned footpaths. The authors duly acknowledge their contribution and by the way, so am I on a more personal level. If not for them and their endless discoveries, perhaps my passion for Ikaria wouldn’t be so strong.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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