. . Please forgive my ignorance if I made one or two mistakes in giving the sanskit names of the different yoga postures. I thought the terms of that magical old language connect well to the original spiritual meaning of the exercises. The title of the entry is a tribute to the unforgettable «These Mountains Are For Dancing», a brilliant performance on the mountains of Ikaria by OPS Ikarias in 2014.
Tuesday, September 1, 2014
______[click for Greek]
In this entry I am going to speak about a friend who lives in Ikaria and I am going to tell you about her work.
Those of you who are interested in our small island world can’t but have noticed a young woman who appears in many pictures from Ikaria on the internet, all of which taken in wild natural settings in both summer and winter. This is Xenia Apostolopoulou and it’s about time for you to know who she is and what she does in our island.
Back in 2008 like many young people at that time, Xenia escaped from the chaotic and depressive urban frame of Athens and she moved to Ikaria. She wanted to try to grow roots in a place that seemed unspoilt, a natural place where she could feel at home. We know it, not all of those young people were lucky. After the last tourist is gone the island folds up to itself in autumn and this can be tough for strangers. But Xenia had three big advantages. Those were her love for nature, her patience against odds and her understanding for people. So she has made it! Now she is a full resident and she is very happy about her new life. Everybody who knows her is very happy about it too!
Ikaria also proved good for Xenia in another way. She has found a job, two jobs to be precise, in the two fields that the island boasts of plentiness: bees and mountains. So our friend became a beekeeper and a mountain tour guide. But if almost anybody can learn and keep bees, so to speak, even on the roof of a house, to get to know the secrets of a rough mountainous island, to walk and learn all the footpaths, to catch the spirit of the land, to know the history, understand the traditions, and above everything, to be able to communicate all this to visitors so that they see and feel a portion of what she sees and feels in Ikaria, is not an easy thing that anybody can do. But Xenia has done it, she does it and she does it well. Here is how everything started.
The most important thing is to knock at the right door. 😉 Weeks only after her arrival Xenia joined the newly-founded Mountain Climbing and Hiking Association of Ikaria and because of her love for nature and her experience in hiking, she was elected among the members of the board. Days later their first hike was to the mountain tops on the route we call ‘ridge walk’ or ‘transikarian trail». See the relevant entry in their blog (in Greek) and look at some pictures of her out there, On these rough but spectacular landscapes Xenia proved no green horn! 🙂
Many group hikes followed like the Mushroom Hunt in Myrsonas river and the first OPSikarian hike on my beloved Trail of the Elves where Xenia not only hiked hard with team spirit but showed a talent in photography of nature as well. Until finally, the following spring we discovered her inclination. During the first group hike of the OPS Ikarians in the upper part of Chalares canyon Xenia jumped and swam in the icy-cold river pools like a water nymph all in smiles!
Exploring is part of the job and Xenia, being a learner of Ikaria, was always a volunteer, like for instance in the quest for the forgotten Trail of the Lighthouse Guards at the island’s western end.
But what am I doing? 😮 This entry is badly planned! It will take me ages and pages to deploy Xenia’s story in the mountains of Ikaria! So let the pictures speak. I found them in this gallery at her profile in Flickr. One sees there nearly 100 photos of this amazing woman in rivers, on mountain tops, inside forests, taken while she is hiking, climbing, marking the paths (sometimes with her baby on her back!), laughing with friends, dancing in activist performances, leading groups, taking part in everything that goes on, sharing, making things better. 😀
As I said, today, after the first years of learning and exploring, Xenia works as a mountain guide. Some of you may have heard of her from the hikes and botanical course she does for the dancing and hiking groups of Ursula every spring and autumn. But most probably you have seen her at work in the photos of the hiking tour with the Czech photographer Zdenek Senkyrik last year. Currently, as her son Orfeas has grown up, she takes up more guided hikes as well as other activities in the nature of Ikaria in partnership with KANGA.
Unfortunately there is no space left for me to post their schedule in this entry so you’d better contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or through facebook and ask her to send you a copy. One thing I will say as a conclusion. At last somebody is doing in Ikaria what I have been asked to do so many times by friends and strangers since I started taking photos and writing about my island. I always felt awkard about denying for one more reason. Though it’s true that the island needs guides, I knew nobody who was reliable and professional enough to recommend. But now there is and it’s a very good one! A burden has gone off my back and I am relieved!
Xenia Apostolopoulou was born in 1975. Her father is Greek and her mother is Austrian. She spent her childhood in Austria, Germany and Greece. She was involved in homeopathy, botanical study and therapy, she worked as receptionist in hotels as well as guide in several Greek islands. She also worked for various NGOs in projects related to animal welfare and helping disabled persons. She has travelled a lot and she has lived in many places of Greece. Once in Ikaria she got various temporary jobs, until she decided to dedicate herself to apiculture and mountain guiding. Founding member and partner of KANGA, besides Greek, she speaks German, English and Spanish.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Seen this one as I visited the group pool today. Nothing else to say. I have written too much, edited too much, layed out and formated too much. Let's just look at pictures for a while.
_Blog Review Ikaria 2014 # 11 The Explorers (2a)_
Είμαι η Νανά to agrimi και σήμερα στο μπλογκ της Ελένης που παρουσιάζει διαλεχτά μπλογκς για την Ικαρία, γράφω για τον ΟΠΣ Ικαρίας.
Είναι μια χαοτική παρέα που αλλάζει συνεχώς, άλλοι έρχονται, άλλοι φεύγουν, σημαδεύουν και φτιάχνουν μονοπάτια, παραδοσιακά ή καινούριες διαδρομές, κάνουν πεζοπορίες, ορειβασίες, ψάχνουν, εξερευνούν, φωτογραφίζουν, στις πτυχώσεις των βουνών ανακαλύπτουν κρυμένες ομορφιές που δεν φαίνονται.
Είναι ο Ορειβατικός Πεζοπορικός Σύλλογος Ικαρίας, μια ανεξάρτητη, δημιουργική ομάδα ντόπιων πεζοπόρων και ορειβατών που κι αυτοί δεν καλοφαίνονται, δεν έχουν, ας πούμε, πινακίδα ούτε γραφεία, όμως θα καταλάβεις την παρουσία τους από τη συστηματική δουλειά που έχουν κάνει στα βουνά και την εξίσου συστηματική προβολή της στο ίντερνετ.
Για χάρη τους, επεμβαίνω στη σειρά blog reviews about Ikaria που κανονικά γράφει η Ελένη, και προσθέτω στην κατηγορία «explorers» το ιστολόγιο του ΟΠΣΙ που είναι συνάμα, ημερολόγιο δραστηριοτήτων και εκδρομών, διαδικτυακό βιβλίο πρακτικών και κατάλογος προτάσεων για βόλτες με τα πόδια στο νησί, δύσκολες ή εύκολες, χειμώνα ή καλοκαίρι.
Για όποιον ξέρει τη μορφολογία της Ικαρίας αλλά και τον χαρακτήρα των κατοίκων, ο τίτλος «Κλείνει προς τα έξω, ανοίγει προς τα μέσα» είναι μάλλον κατανοητός και οικείος. Ειπώθηκε πριν πολλά χρόνια σαν ατάκα από την Ελένη σε μια πεζοπορία, καθώς προσπαθούσαμε να περιγράψουμε το νησί: απ’ έξω απότομο, άγριο και κλειστό, αλλά από μέσα μια αγκαλιά.
Αυτό είναι το πρώτο μέρος του αφιερώματος. Κάνοντας κλικ στο μικρό εικονίδιο, ανοίγει θεαματικό fullscreen Slide Show φωτογραφιών στο Flickr. Κάνοντας κλικ στο μεγάλο εικονίδιο, ανοίγει η σχετική καταχώρηση όπου διαβάζει κανείς την περιγραφή της δράσης και των σκηνικών, με πρακτικές πληροφορίες, χάρτες, σχεδιαγράμματα, κτλ. Όπως πάντα, τριγυρίζοντας το ποντίκι πάνω από τα λινκς και τις εικόνες, διαβάζεις τίτλους, αποσπάσματα και περιλήψεις.
Για σχόλια καλά είναι κι εδώ, αλλά καλύτερα πήγαινε στο μπλογκ τους, επίσης και στο facebook group : hikingIkaria
… .Οκτώβρης 2008: Εκδρομή γνωριμίας
This was worked in a team of friends, and a team of friends was accordingly chosen to feature as an introductory image. Now that it’s raining over the island and the frenzy over the gardens and the olives has stopped for a while, we found the time to compose a small gallery of beautiful, meaningful faces from the summer months as well as the winter. It was time we got over the shyness. The wild landscapes are thrilling but let’s show some people too -and from as close as possible. After all, Ikaria is, was and will be *an inhabited land*. In spite of its ruggedness and lack of resources, for reasons that are of the moment to discuss, the island is always and ever
settled and re-settled
colonized and re-colonized
visited and re-visited
beloved and re-loved
acted and re-acted
What do these faces have in common? What do their eyes say? I am afraid I can’t tell you. Perhaps I am too close to the subject to be able to express an opinion. And the others of the team weren’t any help either. While choosing photos we ended up telling stories and gossiping. So no deep cool thoughts; only deep warm eyes; and smiles.
But because I am Eleni and I must absolutely make a pondering statement :), I will quote the words of our friend Nana who always drops the wisest cues. While looking through the material, she said:
This is us. If it is to starve and die, we’d rather starve and die by ourselves than starve and die with someone else’s help.
If you ever visit our island, you may have the chance to understand what she meant.
All images blogged here, open directly on the photographers’ own spaces in Flickr and they are copyrighted. These photographers are © angeloska © andzer © Apollonios © Γκαέλ © egotoagrimi © electron just © Gin Chil © isl_gr © karstalipp © Karl Hauser © 2Lauran © leon_eye © mac13 © manuel’s photos © mountain ash © nicote © Thalia Nouarou © themis_ioanna © ikarianlad
but there are portraits by others as well. I hope that you like the choice. Doesn’t it all, though so different, meet the professional? The material we have browsed was easily found in Flickr, filed in «Ikaria + portrait«, «Ikaria + face«, «Ikaria + girl«, «Ikaria + boy« etc. leaving out, needless to say, souvenir shots taken by tourists and showing tourists. The faces in our collection are endemic or claiming endemicity.
As we were editing, somebody in the team said that we should later also upload a gallery of hands. His motive was two up-to-the point comments in this blog. I also thought it’s a great idea. Hands too have a lot to say about our identity.
How nice and *aerated* it is in the island!
Another winter has started.
p.s. Unless something exceptional appears, there are no blog reviews for the time being. Winter is no good for