Seeing pictures of those new girls as they went around and posed proudly in the wild nature of Ikaria last summer, I said: «Hey, young ladies! We were there long before you!» Not that -goes without saying- we were the first. We don’t claim a title which righteously belongs to the hippies. But we were the first who took photos and shared them with the world. Retracting my memories, I had even made a drafty webpage in 2004 where I described the magic of one of those places -the best in my opinion in the whole island. «Hike Chalares, canyon of my heart», was the title, if I am not mistaken. I had received critisism for that page, critisism of the kind, «You shouldn’t give out secrets» and so on. But I was sure of my step. Wonders of nature shouldn’t be kept secret. The same goes for «pockets of freedom», they shouldn’t be kept secret either. But this is not the issue today. The issue today is that, twelve years after that day of September when we walked up bravely for almost the whole length of that river, today that I am not as young and posy as I was in 2003, I am sharing again with the world some of the material stored in the poor memory card of our obsolete Casio Exilim which could contain no more than 20 hi-res shots. But first let me review a few stories about the river – the scenery where these shots where taken.
♦ ♦ ♦ As I said, in 2003 we visited the canyon to survey the location and take photos. Besides sport and fun, our purpose was to a evaluate: «Was it as beautiful as they said? And if so, what kind of threats to the environment were there?».
♦ ♦ ♦ Having proven that Chalares was an amazing place, having shown that inspite it was September, there was plenty of water and the vegetation was lush, having warned that the sides of the hills were infested by disastrous free-grazing goats, I suggested that a hiking trail was created in order to put in value the beauty of the canyon and hopefully promote its protection.
♦ ♦ ♦ My appeal was heard and in 2005 a large trail network spread in the area. In addition, the large river pool which appears in the photos below was chosen for a very interesting experiment: the construction of a small environment-friendly semipermeable dam, meant to slow down the flow of the river and give new strengh to the vegetation.
♦ ♦ ♦ But though in the coming years the canyon got to be more and more known, visited and enjoyed, the main threat to its environment was not treated. Unfortunately the goats were always there. As a matter of fact, for reasons that don’t concern this review, there were even more! As a result, exactly five years ago, in October 18, 2010, when a torrential rainfall hit the western part of the island, the overgrazed, barren and unstable sides of the lower part of the canyon collapsed. Tons of earth and rocks were carried by the water smashing the trees and wiping out all vegetation, leveling the lakes, transforming what used to be a detailed natural handiwork into a flat highway of gravel and sand.
Today is the black anniversary of that disaster. For older girls like me it is a bitter reminder that it takes much more things than just good intentions for paradise to happen. For younger girls I hope it is a lesson to be learned, I am afraid, only through experience. I am spreading my winds (which have started to turn grey) over their pretty heads and I am dedicating to them seven pictures from that blissful day of 2003 in the river when it was rich, when it was green, when it was mine. For better or worse it’s their turn now.
The following photos were heavily processed using different methods in different periods of time. In this entry, as they always should, they appear their real «order taken», which is «in order of feelings»: curiosity, worry, happiness, pride, relaxed bliss, anxiety, humility. Their titles in Flickr are different but if you move your mouse over each picture, you will be able to know which is which.
That’s all. Let the old show begin again!
Copyright © Eleni Ikanou
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Not many words needed for these too few snapshots I was allowed to post wishing to celebrate Nana’s first sureal weeks of her new life in Ikaria. Don’t pay too much importance to the title of the enty. It’s only a joke. 🙂 My best friend is no ordinary girl so the whole thing was a success! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
♦ This is the *Angelolivada* (river pool of 😳 angelic // 😄 diabolic fairies) near Nas.
♦ This pool was my first introduction to the sweet waters of Ikaria several years ago. Then I got myself better shoes and found better places. But still when I see it I can’t help taking a picture.
♦ This pool is *heritage* (because it IS haunted and legends about lethal encounters with fairies survive to this day).
♦ This pool is a *sight* (seen from close, the fall is HIGH and the pool is BIG -even though it’s lost almost half its size from stones and earth sliding down from the road above.)
♦ This pool is *sweet water* (rare stuff in the Aegean)
♦ This pool is a *pool* (you can swim in it.)
It shouldn’t be left like this as if it was *nothing*. Yet it is. In spite it’s only 300 m. away from a small tourist resort, Nas. The beach of which is very small and unapproachable in high seas. To say more, it seems that people do their best to destroy it.
Yet the pool resists (because it IS haunted).
And Ikaria will probably always remain *an unspoiled island*, as the hotel & tourist promoter claims.
Unspoiled means perhaps that piles of waste and rubble, abandoned wrecked cars, forever unfinished contructions and weird contraptions everywhere, goats competing with earthmovers to *shave* the best places … for nothing … not for money …just for nothing …because someone had *small idea* and why not after all? All this for me is not *unspoiledt-ness*. It’s just *lack of communication*, *selfishness*, *ignorance* and *confusion*.
I wish we were a little bit *spoilt* into common sense.
Fairies can’t do all the job by themselves (+pay for beds+breakfast too?…)
Or perhaps they can; I wouldn’t know.
What I know is that
NATURE CAN’T BE WITHOUT CULTURE
(What we call *Nature* is a human invention, no?)
*NO CULTURE* or *WRONG CULTURE* = NO NATURE
«Sometimes I feel like a motherless child» again. (I was a motherless child)
Sometimes I feel I can’t return to *the crazy island* because there’s just the craziness and the fun is gone. But then again my heart is strong (unlike my mother’s) and the *good craziness* and the fun is in mE.
I’ll deliver… 🙄
(What we call *Nature* is a human invention, no?)
No I think not. It is what it is, completely indifferent to humanity, and so we destroy it instead of embracing it.
I have faith in you, since embrace it you do.
Friday June 16, 2006 – 07:45am (PDT)
To be honest El, we both chose to fall for a very compicated and difficult island and we suffer the consequences. How many times haven’t I told myself to fall in love with Mykonos/Ibiza instead. They are so easy like Lego and PlayMobil : white cubes laid on dry brown land and lots of (set up) parties with paid brazilian dancers…
But nooo ! Oooh, how deadly boring would that be !…
*Nature* is birth and death, both hardly conceivable. We see nature through culture. We used to have God to help us. Now we have to deal with it by ourselves. So culture becomes very important. But what am I talking about? Wasn’t it you who asked and received this genius answer about the mountains of Sezanne in southern France? His multiple paintings of the same and the same landscape actually saved the landscape. And we don’t have to discuss how heavy the building activity is in the South of France (no? -lol).
So go on being the Sezanne of Ikaria. Who knows? It may work.
As for myself I’ll go on digging and putting back the stones in place. Nail many signs too, so that you find your way and take your pictures.
P.S. good news ! ((: – I found an assistant – :)) It’s my 10 y.o. daughter. I pay her in ice-creams.
See her at work in my Flickr soon.
Friday June 16, 2006 – 08:58pm (EEST)
I knew of only one Cezanne’s «Montagne Sainte Victoire». The landscape could be anywhere in the Mediterranean, ok, but half of the results are Cezanne’s paintings. The rest are contemporary photos and other paintings.
(Any resemblance with Ikaria is purely coincidental)
That aristocratic *tall fat guy* Cezanne has really put a strong mark and actually saved that land -:)) He painted again and again the view from his villa and now the paintings have fused so much with the mountain (and the plain in-between) that nOoNe dAREs to touch this landscape!
See also : Wiki: Cezanne
I think they should teach this case in Fine Arts or Environmental Studies.
The tourist business (type «tourtour» -this is a village) benefited a lot and apparently many people find work. Cezanne has created a «tourist legend» too.
Is this *good machine», Nana?
Saturday June 17, 2006 – 12:44pm (PDT)
Bonjour *Paul(-ine) Cézanne* ! Comment ça va? 🙂
Oui, c’est une *trés bonne machine*. But people have to be informed and educated. And Ikaria is very unspoiled as far as this is concerned… 😦
Sunday June 18, 2006 – 03:14pm (EEST)