A Day at an Exhibition


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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.😋
Parea on Ikaria south coastLast 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.
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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!
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Posing to demonstrate size and proportions of a stone house. In general this is a place as if from neolithic times. Several hollow rocks in this area have served as human shelters through the ages.

All pictures © Mountain Climbing & Hiking Club of Ikaria

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. . .Like 7 years ago, the task of the day was to discover a practicable hiking route across a jungle of naturally sculpted rocks and connect Cape Papas to the village of Karkinagri. The team was great so this time we succeeded! View of the lighthouse from the new hiking trail
. . .Opening out to the vastness of the horizon Colors, reflections, shapes, make the most alive landscape I have ever seen. Hard to adjust the camera and take good pictures though...
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. . .3 pictures to demonstrate how hard it was sometimes for us to go round just one of these rocks! 3 pictures to demonstrate how hard it was sometimes for us to go round just one of these rocks!
. . .3 pictures to demonstrate how hard it was sometimes for us to go round just one of these rocks! If only we had more time to explore, pose and play with these rocks... But the task of the day was to discover a trail which we did! Let the rocks wait for another day.

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'The Scream' by Edvard Munch. It was her idea and that cavity was perfect so we couldn't resist!
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. . .The first one who found the trail is already swimming! Fair prize for good scouting. We are making our way slowly down to the little cove while the scout is sunbathing. The hardest part of the hike is over and the route across that jungle of rocks to connect Cape Papas and the village of Karkinagri is more or less fixed.
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. . .Having done most of the job with the new trail, it was time to try and take one or two good shots of this beautiful wild cove. Naturally sculptured shapes of sandstone make the scenery behind the little wild cove of the previous pictures. The trail runs across these amazing clusters of rocks.

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Having done most of the job with the new trail, it was time to try and take one or two good shots of this beautiful wild cove.
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. . .This round little pool in the rock filled with sea water could be seen from far above. We were very happy to have found a trail that runs through so many natural wonders! Many sea monster shapes sculptured in this rock.
. . .Among the rocks we found this unidentified orchid for Eleni to add to her collection Some of us take time to examine every detail of the sculptured landscape, while the photographer is struggling with the sparkling rocks, the changing light and the saturated color of everything. How happy we were to have found a trail that runs through so many natural wonders!
. . .Everybody insisted on capturing the lines, the texture and especially the shape of this rocky protrusion which by some mystery resists the huge winter waves of the Cape. I don't think it's a success. I should have set the camera differently. I think it's a good tribute though. Everybody insisted on capturing the lines, the texture and especially the shape of this rocky protrusion which by some mystery resists the huge winter waves of the Cape. I don't think it's a success. I should have set the camera differently. I think it's a good tribute though.
. . .Shot taken as were leaving. I like it. Inside this scenery maybe the secret is not to aim at anything special but leave everything to chance. But as I said ... the task of the day was not photography but to discover a trail between a village and a lighthouse. This time we succeeded! The southwesternmost end of Ikaria is generally called
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After taking so many pictures of this unearthly scenery I felt a bit alienated. For a change I took a shot of the warm wet face of one of us. Picture taken somewhere between the lighthouse of Papas and Karkinagri.
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. . .Two of us caught at rest. It's not as thick jungle of sculptured rocks as before but we still had a long way to go untill we reached Karkinagri. It is an exhibition and that's only one of the millions of exhibits! Area highly recommended to photographers, now that the trail is more or less fixed.

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. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ . .A place as if from neolithic times. Several hollow rocks in this area have served as human shelters through the ages. The new trail runs right through this historic neighborhood and of course we are very happy about it!.

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.Besides everything, the photographer kindly cited under each picture two articles from my blog and one article from the blog of my friend Nana, as he thought them related to the material. These articles are:
Côte de Naufragés Sauvés
Wild coves & beaches in southern Ikaria
Thank you very much, Angelos!💗
. . . . .Eleni Ikanou
Sunday, March 26, 2017
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Two big hikes Google mapped!


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airship Ikaria

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…

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 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.

 

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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

Hello to all friends of Greece and to all travelers who like this beautiful country and have not visited us just by chance or entered out of curiosity. My name is Zdeněk and together with my partner Petra  we go on holiday to the Greek islands every year! I first visited Greece in 2003...

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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!»

Xenia, the OPS Ikarian guide, checks the water level in the first poolIndeed, 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!

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Chalares Ikaria - swimming in waterfalls

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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.

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Eleni Ik ❤

Saturday February 28, 2015


Ikaria Guidebook !!!


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This Guidebook serves as a companion for anyone who wants to truly experience why Ikaria Island (Greece) is being praised around the world. Off the beaten path, Ikaria preserved a rich natural environment, crystal blue waters, hidden mountainous folds and a distinct local culture. Why do Ikarians tend to live so long? Come and explore why.
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Hello readers


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:

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«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…»

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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. ^^’
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Posing at the Waterfall (2)

  • Chalares River Canyon (Christos – Nas) walk.

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Enchanted Watermill

  • The Spanaioi Watermill with additional walk to a Reservoirs and the Monastery of Mounte.

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Boys must be brave

  • Pezi, Ryakas Waterfall and Selini pond walk.

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Sharing Radi (B X)

  • Ranti Forest Walk, Herbal and Cave Walk.

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Sharing Radi (B VII)

  • Koskinas Castle and Mt. Atheras Cliff Walk.

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Ikarian Ridge Walk Oct 30 22

  • Mt. Atheras Ridgeline Hike (reaching Ikaria’s highest peak).

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The Lighthouse and the Channel.

  • Ikaria’s Western Edge, Remote Seaside Villages and «Kavo Papas» Lighthouse Walk.

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Thyme and Tower Hike

  • Ikaria’s Eastern Edge – Drakano Tower, Agios Georgios and the WWII Bunker Walk.

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OFF THE RECORD #3

  • Ikaria’s Eastern Edge – Agia Kyriaki Hot Spring / Iero Beach.

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The day we took over the mountains!

  • Ksylosirtis (Papas) Watermill and Lefkada Hot Spring.

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Visit their webpage

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(1) Alexia and her «Unexplored Ikaria & Fournoi»Proud Alexia and her Guidebook about Ikaria

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Trail Network Shutdown

(2) Trail Network Shutdown

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Paper Island


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Why some islands are not just islands?

Why can some islands be both real and fictional?

Why do some islands attain a second life in literature?

What do some islands seem to attract big ideas, illusions and dreams?

Why are some islands, more often than others, chosen as sceneries of tales of escape?

Why do some islands appear in novels, satires, utopias and moral tales, more than other islands?

Why some islands, besides being made of rocks and soil like all islands, can also be, as I am calling them, paper islands?

First pages of Jesuit Johann Bissel's satirical novel of 1637 with engraved allegoric title and engraved utopian map of Icaria with imaginary names of cities, rivers, etc.

I say, the more an island is an island, the more it makes you dream

Because democracy is no good in dreaming, we can say it loudly :

  Some islands are more islands than other islands

«The élan that draws humans toward islands extends the double movement that produces islands in themselves. Dreaming of islands – whether with joy or in fear, it doesn’t matter – is dreaming of pulling away, of being already seperate, far from any continent, of being lost and alone – or it is dreaming of starting from scratch, recreating, beginning anew. Some islands drifted away from the continent, but the island is also that toward which one drifts; other islands originated in the ocean, but the island is also the origin, radical and absolute.»

Gilles Deleuzes 

I have found the words of this contemporary French philosopher through a comment by a learned person in Kristin’s blog or Mararoa’s blog which unfortunately I am unable to spot now. That comment linked to a chapter of the glorious wikispace «Dream Islands» which I think, sustains and explains my humble thoughts herebefore. That chapter is entitled:

Scope of Islands

Island as a ‘catch-all’ concept

After Deleuzes’s quote it goes:

«Islands burn into the minds of children from an early age. They emerge in the first literature where they are prominent in Homer’s Odyssey, and Plato’s island of Atlantis is perhaps the most famous mythical island of all time. The seclusion and autonomy that an island suggests has nourished the literary imagination for millennia, but the island setting as a site for the spiritual, emotional, or psychological transformation of human character has remained a constant in Western literature. The Greeks were the first to develop the island-book as such, but Roman writers showed much less interest in insular themes. On the fringes of Europe, Island stories were generously developed in the ‘imrama’, which were medieval Irish accounts of mythical Atlantic island voyages of chiefs and saints.
From Homer to Charles Kingsley the island narrative..

The other chapters of Dream Islands are very enlightening too. Notably :

An antidote

«Islands are no longer bound up so immediately with a self-sufficient agrarian life, its rituals and the cultivation of social solidarity. They instead begin to function as an antidote to the increasing division of labor and social stratification of the mainland. For modern islanders their environment functions as a vehicle for the display of individual temperament, talent, and interest, which runs against the grain of a standardized mainland global consumer culture. Islands therefore become loci of the impress of distinctive personality, interest, and emotion in sensuous production. In particular, they often function as a font of individual artistic production compared with the old rituals and epics, such as the poems of Homer, primeval biblical history and the Icelandic sagas, which linked everyone to common ways of life.

An important resource for modern islanders is nature. What we seek on islands is what we love in nature. Friedrich Shiller described…»

Classification of islands

«A dream island is a distinctive and desirable place to be, which is defined within a physical, cultural, administrative, biological, mental, or virtual boundary. It is likely that most people’s dream islands would fall within the physical, administrative and biological categories.»

(Don’t miss the link to «Cultural Islands» )

 Islands – poetry and art

«Paradise or Purgatory, Heaven or Hell, islands leave no one indifferent – and least of all the world’s artists, poets and writers, musicians and scholars, as reflected in the sampling the following links : Writings and Art

Unfortunately the link to the last chapter «Islands as Utopias» is no more valid. Instead, I am giving you a link to the standard Wikipedia :

List of fictional islands

That was all on the subject and I think it wasn’t too little. Read about one of the oldest ideas in the world and be inspired. But some day leave the paper behind and follow the dream to find out what truth there is to it. Defy the distance and sail through the shoals and the booming high surf.

A real island may be waiting for you thereafter and therein.

Ikaria, October 26, 2013

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A Story Written in the Mountains


If there is a shutdown,

let’s make it with loud noise! 🙂

We are inviting you to an audiovisual event.
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.


Trail Network Shutdown


(Press for Greek)

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:

Ikarian pathman 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.

Ikaria 324 Posing as cairn and landmark by angeloska Ikaria 305

Brushes at rest by angeloska x2 by angeloska Proud sign makers by egotoagrimi

The project was never supported by the central government and I have come to the end of my financial means and physical strength.

Show me the way- # 9 by angeloska Trail marker by Haydar Show me the way- # 8 by angeloska

pinelo & velaki by angeloska Ikaria 170 ΟΠΣ Ικαρίας 050 by angeloska

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.

Volunteer group photo 1 by angeloska Collective Souvenir Pose at the "Fangs" by angeloska Volunteer Group photo 2 by angeloska

log 2nd, take #1 by angeloska Ku the Volunteer in the rain by angeloska Ξέφωτο με εργάτες και 'κούκο' by angeloska

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.

New sign in canyon by angeloska guidance by simonsterg Studying the map by Lambrini

The New Round of Rahes on Foot by angeloska ...? by kukuvalou  by mualpha

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.

trail Rahes-Manganitis, day 2 by angeloska my assistant by angeloska x3 by angeloska

Sweeping stones by angeloska This kind of shot by angeloska Angelos and Yorgos by angeloska

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

Angelos

(*) 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

Eleni


Όσα έχω προσπαθήσει να γράψω σε 1000 e-mails


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Όσα έχω προσπαθήσει να γράψω σε 1000 e-mails, η Judy και ο Simon, συνόψισαν. Τους χρωστάω ευγνωμοσύνη. Σήκωσαν ένα βάρος από τη ράχη μου. Από δω και πέρα όταν με ρωτάνε, «Τι τρέχει πια με αυτήν την Ικαρία, που βρίσκεται και πώς πηγαίνει κανείς εκεί;» θα τους δίνω αυτό το σύνδεσμο. Ουφ!
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IKAΡIA

 Όταν ακούγεται η έκφραση «παραδοσιακό Ελληνικό νησί», ο μέσος Ελληνόφιλος φέρνει στο μυαλό του εικόνες από κάποιο γραφικό λιμανάκι με γύρω-γύρω ταβέρνες, μερικά γαϊδουράκια και τίποτα άλλο εκτός ίσως από κάποιο ερημικό μοναστήρι μακριά πέρα στους λόφους, κανένα παλιό ερειπωμένο χωριό και αραιά και που κάποιους μικρούς οικισμούς κρυμμένους σε απόμερους όρμους. Φυσικά μπορείς να τα βρεις όλα αυτά στην Ικαρία. Ωστόσο, καθώς -ευτυχώς-υπάρχει πολύ λίγη από τη λεγόμενη «τουριστική ανάπτυξη», πολλοί επισκέπτες παθαίνουν πολιτιστικό σοκ στην πρώτη επαφή τους με το νησί. Κατεβαίνοντας από το καράβι, νιώθουν πως βρίσκονται σε μια εντελώς διαφορετικού τύπου Ελλάδα. Πράγματι, όταν έφτιαξε την Ικαρία, ο κατασκευαστής κατάστρεψε τα σχέδια, πράγμα το οποίο βρήκαν πολύ βολικό οι υπερήφανοι και ανεξάρτητοι Ικαριώτες,που δεν πολυσκοτίζονται για τους τουρίστες, που αν όμως τους δούνε σανκαλεσμένους, τους ανοίγουν διάπλατα την καρδιά τους. Επί αιώνες η Ικαρία ήταν γνωστή ως μια από τις πιο φτωχές περιοχές της Ελλάδας, και, όπως συμβαίνει συχνά σε τέτοιες περιπτώσεις όταν τα υλικά αγαθά είναι ελάχιστα, η κουλτούρα του τόπου περιέχει δυσανάλογα μεγάλη ποσότητα φιλοξενίας –με την έννοια που η Ελληνική γλώσσα δίνει στη λέξη: «αγάπη προς τον ξένο».

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Από το καράβι η Ικαρία εντυπωσιάζει και δείχνει απειλητική με τον όγκο της, ενώ από τα νοτιοανατολικά φαίνεται γυμνή, απόκρημνη και βραχώδης. Αυτή όμως είναι μια συνηθισμένη παρανόηση. Λίγο να ταξιδέψεις πιο μέσα στην ενδοχώρα και βρίσκεσαι ανάμεσα σε δασοσκέπαστους λόφους, που ανεβαίνοντας καταλήγουν στις βραχοκορφές του όρους «Αθέρας», γυμνές, άγριες εκτάσεις, ωστόσο με ανάμεσά τους διάσπαρτες -ιδιαίτερα στο κεντρικό τμήμα της οροσειράς- πανάρχαιες συστάδες από πεύκα και μικρές βελανιδιές.

Γύρω από τα χωριά που είναι σκορπισμένα παντού στα βουνά, υπάρχουν αγροί όπου φυτρώνει ό, τι μπορεί να βάλει ο νους του ανθρώπου από φρούτα, καρπούς και λαχανικά –δέντρα φορτωμένα με καρύδια τον Οκτώβρη, βερίκοκα της ξακουστής τοπικής ποικιλίας τον Ιούνιο, και βέβαια, στο νησί που διεκδικεί τη γέννηση του Διόνυσου, υπάρχουν αμπέλια παντού. Σχεδόν κάθε σπίτι και κάθε ταβέρνα φτιάχνουν το δικό τους κρασί από ποικιλίες σταφυλιών που βρίσκονται μόνο σ’ αυτό το νησί, ενώ παράλληλα υπάρχουν και τρία πιο εξελιγμένα οινοποιεία που εμφιαλώνουν εξαίσια κρασιά, άσπρα και κόκκινα, των οποίων η φήμη όσο πάει και αυξάνει –από σταφύλια που προέρχονται από οργανικούς αμπελώνες.

Είναι ένα αδάμαστο, άγριο νησί κι οι θάλασσές του συχνά είναι το ίδιο, γι’ αυτό χρειάζεται προσοχή στο κολύμπι. Όμως για να παραθέσουμε τα λεγόμενα γνωστού Ικαριώτη, «αν θες να μάθεις αυτό το νησί, πρέπει να κοιτάς από τη θάλασσα προς το εσωτερικό». Έχει δίκιο. Αν και είναι αλήθεια ότι οι παραλίες της Ικαρίας είναι από τις καλύτερες στο Αιγαίο, δεν πρέπει να αμελήσει κανείς να γνωρίσει την ενδοχώρα. Αν σας αρέσει το περπάτημα, υπάρχουν αρκετές πεζοπορικές διαδρομές που ξεκινούν από τα θέρετρα του Να, του Αρμενιστή και του Γιαλισκαριού. Είναι πορείες που θα ικανοποιήσουν τόσο τους κυνηγούς της περιπέτειας, όσο και τους λιγότερο έμπειρους πεζοπόρους. Όσο για τους πραγματικά σοβαρούς ορειβάτες, μπορούν να δοκιμάσουν τις δυνάμεις τους σε κάποια μακρινά μονοπάτια που διασχίζουν οριζόντια και κάθετα από άκρη σε άκρη τα βουνά του νησιού.

Οι παρατηρητές των πουλιών και όσοι αγαπούν τα φυτά και τα βότανα θα ευχαριστηθούν με το παραπάνω –τι θα λέγατε ας πούμε για τον εξαιρετικά σπάνιο Σταυραετό που φωλιάζει στις νότιες ακτές; Ή για το μοναδικό τοπικό είδος Ορχιδέας; Αλλά και οι εραστές της αμμουδιάς θα χαρούν να τεμπελιάζουν στις παραλίες Μεσαχτή και Λιβάδι, μόνο λίγα λεπτά από φιλόξενα, άνετα δωμάτια –ή αν νοικιάσουν αυτοκίνητο, θα αναζητήσουν ερημικές ακρογιαλιές, πολλές από τις οποίες δεν βρίσκει ποτέ ο μέσος επισκέπτης, καθώς είναι κρυμμένες σε άγριες χαράδρες όπου τρέχουν νερά σε όλη τη διάρκεια του καλοκαιριού. Όσοι αγαπούν το καλό φαγητό, το κρασί και τις γιορτές δεν χρειάζεται να ψάξουν αλλού. Αντίθετα με ό, τι συμβαίνει στο μεγαλύτερο μέρος του Αιγαίου, ο τόπος αρχίζει να θυμίζει όλο και περισσότερο «Ελλάδα» καθώς προχωρά το καλοκαίρι και κύματα Αθηναίων εφορμούν για να πραγματοποιήσουν την καθιερωμένη ετήσια εισβολή τους στο νησί. Έρχονται για να βρουν παραδοσιακά εδέσματα με γεύση σπιτίσια, φρέσκα ψάρια, λαχανικά χωρίς χημικά λιπάσματα και φυτοφάρμακα, καθώς και το ευρέως διαδομένο Ικαριώτικο κατσίκι του οποίου το κρέας αποτελεί το κεντρικό πιάτο στο πανηγύρι που οργανώνεται σε κάθε χωριό τη μέρα που γιορτάζει ο τοπικός άγιος. Ένα πανηγύρι μπορεί να αρχίζει οποιαδήποτε ώρα στη διάρκεια της μέρας, αλλά συνεχίζεται πάντοτε μέχρι οι πρώτες ακτίνες φωτός της αυγής να διασπάσουν τους ατελείωτους κύκλους των χορευτών που χορεύουν στους έξαλλους ρυθμούς της τοπικής μουσικής. Αν καταφέρετε να μάθετε λίγο τα βήματα του «Ικαριώτικου», του μοναδικού «σπειροειδούς χορού», το νησί θα έχει αρχίσει να διεκδικεί την καρδιά σας. Αν και για να γίνει αυτό, θα πρέπει να έχετε πιει πάνω από δυο γουλιές κρασί Ικαριώτικο, δυνατό και γλυκόπιοτο, που συχνά το σερβίρουν σε ανακυκλωμένα μπουκάλια της μπύρας.

Είναι ένα νησί που προσκαλεί για εξερεύνηση και την επιβραβεύει. Γεμάτο θαύματα, φτιαγμένα από τη φύση ή από τους ανθρώπους, όπως ο καταπληκτικός Πύργος του 5ου αιώνα π.Χ. που εποπτεύει τις ακτές του Φάρου, ή η μικροσκοπική εκκλησία της Θεοκτίστης που έκτισαν μέσα στο δάσος κάτω από ένα θεόρατο βράχο, όπως τόσα άλλα τέτοια κτίσματα στην Ικαρία, για να την κρύψουν από τις επιδρομές των πειρατών.

Ζώντας επί πολλούς αιώνες κρυμμένοι στην ασφάλεια του εσωτερικού του νησιού, οι Ικαριώτες συχνά περιγράφονται ως συνεσταλμένοι, όμως διαθέτουν μοναδική αίσθηση χιούμορ, ζωντάνια και κέφι. Αν ανοιχτούν και σας δείξουν συμπάθεια, δεν θα είναι γιατί ξοδεύετε χρήματα, αλλά επειδή είναι περήφανοι για το νησί και για τον τρόπο ζωής τους και θέλουν να τα δείξουν, απλά όμως και τίμια, συνεχίζοντας τη ζωή τους κανονικά –ανοίγοντας διακριτικά τον δρόμο στους επισκέπτες να ανακαλύψουν, αν θέλουν, την Ικαρία μονάχοι τους και να μάθουν να κινούνται με άνεση στο παράξενο περιβάλλον της. Ίσως τελικά φεύγοντας, να μην έχετε καταλάβει τι είναι η Ικαρία -λίγοι μπορούν. Όμως, είναι ένα αίνιγμα που θα σας τραβάει και θα ξαναρχόσαστε συχνά και πυκνά.

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(Κείμενο της Judy Meetham και του Simon Corble

– Μετάφραση από τα Αγγλικά: Α.Κ.Κ.)

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Comments

(2 total)

Πλάκα-πλάκα, κι εσύ είσαι «συνεσταλμένη«…

Saturday August 18, 2007 – 06:38pm (EEST)

όου! ευχαριστώ -:))) ξέρεις –

Monday August 20, 2007 – 10:31am (PDT)

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