I am very interested in reading personal accounts about my island… blah blah blah… STOP! What am I talking about? This time I don’t need to keep in touch with the place from far away because I have moved to Ikaria for my usual winter holidays at last! Still in the course of time I have grown an interest and a curiosity about people’s stories and photos from Ikaria shared in a blog or similar personal page.
To be honest with you, it was difficult to choose entries that satisfied the term «personal». The business of longevity and the noise in the media got on top of everything last year, so I assume several writers felt obliged to add their own ideas about the matter, a matter which is as big and fleeting as life itself, therefore we may have had important contributions towards a better understanding of our existence, maybe also towards a new, better and more sustainable model of economic development for the world but allow me, I am unable to follow this track. I have missed entries like, just to sample, the one by Australian photographer Adam Monk, Theo, the German writer about Greece and Jim Lesses, the Ikarian Australian traveller of the globe.
But don’t get dissappointed because there still has been material to present.
As I said in the forenote of the first part, my ambition was to review, not just blogroll, so I wrote a few words about each blog entry and I picked out pictures and quotes. These quotes I sometimes hid “behind the pictures”. Move your mouse over to read them.
The first selected entry is by Paul Zamenopoulos, a Greek photo blogger
and I like it very much because with his photos he is offering evidence about how wild and dangerous our peaceful island can be from one moment to the other. So, behold the arrival of high speed F/B NISSOS MYKONOS in Agios Kirikos port on August 11, 2011. Thanks God, nobody was hurt and the brave ship wasn’t damaged.
It’s worth to click and open these photos to see them large, LARGE!
But Paul is not all for sea drama. By clicking on the pebbles you can look at the usual peaceful side of Ikaria in his archives of that August of 2011.
Thank you very much, Paul! To the next time!
And now forward to one of my favorites…
and there I wish you could read Greek, or Cypriot Greek to be presice. Evlampia who is a young doctor assigned at the hospital of Agios Kirikos, the capital of the island pays honor to the blog-o-sphere because her blog is a diary of her life and work in Ikaria, like mine had been years ago, hurray!
Such enjoyable, spontaneously written entries, I so much love her when she often switches into dialect and on top of it, sometimes typed in Greeklish! Overall, Evlampia’s blog proves a diamond (for those who can access it, that is), moreover because she holds an important position as a physician in the health care system so she has seen and experienced a lot!
As to whether she has liked and understood Ikaria or not, I am just letting a few of her photos scattered as they are among her blog entries to speak. See and judge for yourselves. Read translated quotes from the relevant pages hidden behind the photos.
This is the kind of doctors we need in the island! Out of my heart I wish her the best!
And now welcoming …
the writer of Yiasou Ikaria! (eng. «Cheers Ikaria«!), a blog in English in the same line as the previous one, that is, like a diary, which promises «True stories from this remote and exotic Aegean island (Ikaria), full of charming and eccentric characters will be updated every week.» and as a matter of fact the anonymous blogger has kept his promise. He has been posting various humorous and truthful entries about life on the island at least twice a month since October 2011. He is indeed Your Greek Guide, or rather Your Ikarian Guide! Because many visitors, even the travelled ones, once they land in Ikaria so often feel as they have fallen from the sky, this is the blog for them to read and learn how to let things come as they come. 🙂
All posts are… well… informative 🙂 so I can’t but list them all with as best descriptions as I can. There are very few photos in this blog but as I hope you will found out, they are completely uncessary.
Here it goes. A few lines out of the entries are hidden behind the links and/or the pictures.
and several more… 🙂 from Your Greek Guide – so well written and by all means, well meant. The most striking is that, if I am not mistaken, there is not a single word about Longevity!!!
Can anybody of you count for me the blog entries about Ikaria that I have reviewed so far? I think they are about 16 and getting more every year. The harvest of 2011 was very rich as you may have noticed. A lot of travellers scheduled to visit Ikaria and as a lot of those travellers are bloggers as well, they wrote one thing or two about the island. Most of them seemed to have known beforehand what to expect. I was glad not to read again anything like «guys it’s all but a mountain!» or «there is no nightlife!». Instead, their reports talk about the rains, the weather, the waves, the gardens, the people, the way of life, the difficulties and the pleasures… In one word, the core of the experience.
Today’s review is dedicated to only one blog and blogger. I think you will agree that Jim Lesses, the multi-talented Ikarian/Australian from Adelaide, deserves all the space in my humble blogging room.
In between several outstanding entries about many places of the world The Compleat Traveller has blogged about Ikaria since 2009. Going through his blog it’s a funny feeling for me to see my island feature amongst famous spots in Paris and Manhattan! But Jim has a way to put everything together. Does this ability come from his Ikarian or from his Australian side? Neither, in my opinion. Speaking of experience from my own days of travelling, there is no big place and small place, famous place, obscure place, but only special, significant places where we feel good; places that make us we want to tell our friends about them.
Dear readers, this is Jim’s Ikaria. I am recommending to you to read all his entries!
* Move your mouse over the titles and the photos to get a glimpse of some paragraphs
© 2009-2011 Jim Lesses All Rights Reserved.
* I am reblogging only one picture. You should see this in the original!
10) Grecian Blues
* I am reblogging only one picture. You should see this in the original!
This is all from Jim Lesses’ blog about Ikaria for now. A learned, comprehensive approach with an unofficially professional touch, won’t you agree? For his sake I have coloured this entry in his favorite shade of *Grecian Blue*. It’s very near the general shade of my gravatar icon so I hope I have succeeded to get the code right. Check out his Blue Set in Flickr and tell me your opinion.
The last of the series of reviews of blog entries about my island was rather dramatic, or if you prefer, heroic. Let’s not forget, it was dedicated to the modern Greek for strength and inspiration in our difficult times. But I am now getting back to course to again review entries written by visitors of today; not ‘forced tourists‘ like the exiles but people who came to Ikaria of their own will.
As I said in the forenote of the first part, my ambition was to review, not just blogroll, so I wrote a few words about each blog entry and I picked out pictures and quotes. These quotes I usually hid “behind the pictures”. Move your mouse over to read them.
The first selected entry in this part is by the very interesting Mr Swampert2000 who travels a lot with his family. He follows the suggestions of Lonely Planet but in his blog he adds so much more to the guide book. As he says in the beginning of his blog, ‘there sure is a lot of computer stuff u need to do when u r traveling these days. Thankfully the water is blue, the sky is blue and i am not.’
In September 2010 the family were on their way to Turkey. They stopped in Ikaria and…
QUEST FOR LONGEVITY IN IKARIA, GREECE The amazing centenarians
More outdoor activity
Thank you, Gianluca!
This is Adam Monk. He is a professional photographer from Australia who specializes in wide wild landscapes of the type that Australians call “outback”. Adam who is an artist, calls them “Naked Landscapes”. They are, as he says, «places far from the influence of man«. Last June he visited Greece and took photos of our «outback», our Wild Nature (“Άγρια Φύση”) or “Virginal Nature”. Naked Landscapes, Virginal Nature, one metaphor for another. Metaphors is tricky stuff. To use them one has to know well what he or she is talking about. Undoubtedly Adam does. See here some great photos from Fournoi isles and four well chosen Naked Landscapes from Ikaria. On his permission I have connected them into this entry. I couldn’t also help copying the stories that go with them as well, which he was so generous to share with the viewers.
Last year in June/July i had the opportunity to go to Greece with my girlfriend Electra, who is Greek. Greece is one of the places i’d always wanted to go but had never made it to… it’s a long list! We stayed only 4 weeks, which is not long enough to really explore Greece, but seeing all of it wasn’t the objective, but to experience the life and culture of Greece a little, hear the language and eat the food… and eat more of the food… Greek food is great, usually quite simple, but really good!
One of the places we visited was the Island of Ikaria, not one of the main tourist islands, and right over near the coast of Turkey. Ikaria was quite different to what i expected Greece to look like, and very different to the other Greek Island we visited on that journey, more on the other island later.
I had always thought Greek Islands would be more like Rottnest, the island off the coast of Fremantle, and many of them are, very rocky, dry and windswept with low scrubby vegetation and small white painted houses. In contrast to this Ikaria is green, forested and has beautiful gorges with rivers and waterfalls, and the houses are not painted white!
One thing that was as i expected it to be was the crystal clear water of the Aegean Sea with it’s amazing deep aquamarine blue colour that just invites you to jump in, which i did on many occasions, including just after making this image here, which is the bay of a tiny fishing village at the end of a long rough dusty dirt road (it was a hire car…). I cant remember the name of the place, but when we finally arrived it was around midday and the whole town (all 15 houses) was asleep for the afternoon, so it was quite eerie, like a ghost town, we had the whole place to ourselves. So, we went down to the bay and swam around naked! It was lovely.
The Greek Island of Ikaria is a haven for bushwalkers and nature lovers. Unlike many Greek Islands that tend to be dry and windswept (though still beautiful), Ikaria is thickly forested and covered in gorges, rivers and waterfalls… i’m starting to sound like a travel agent or a travel documentary! Way too formal.
Well, as much as i love beaches, freshwater rivers and waterfalls amongst shady forests are really my favourites, there is something more surreal and almost imaginary about them. Its probably something left over from my childhood when i would ride off on my bicycle into the bush and spend the day wading around in creeks and rivers catching little freshwater crayfish and turtles (then letting them go again), only to turn up at home again hours later wet and smelling of the swamp!
Whatever the reason, for me Ikaria was a paradise of rivers, waterfalls and freshwater crayfish (i tend to eat those now…), with lots of long lovely walking trails through shady forests and rocky gorges, that would take you down to places like this one…
This magical little spot was just a short walk from the room we rented just outside of Nas on the Greek Island of Ikaria. It is a small pool in the Chalares Gorge which cut right through the landscape below the balcony of the room and ended at the beach shown in the previous post. This spot is cool, shady and tranquil, perfect spot to lean on a tree and read a book or just do nothing…
The reason Adam chose Ikaria is obvious. He speaks about it in the descriptions and, most of all, through his photos. The reason now I chose Adam was of a different nature. It had to do with destiny. Only few months after his visit, torrential rainfalls hit the island and violent landslides altered the looks of the sites where he took photos.
This is Trapalou (site of Adam’s 1st photo and story) in October 2010.
This is Nas (site of Adam’s 3rd photo and story) in October and the riverbed of Chalares (site of 2nd and 4th photo and story) in December 2010.
Who can say if it’s better or worse? Who can judge the course of the planets?
Someone would love the new beach (for as long as it stays). Someone else lost an ancestral old house and property. Someone loves the new clean stony bed of the river. Someone else weeps over the loss of the pools, the plane trees and the waterfalls. A romantic is shocked. A stoic is not.
Yet there is a thing we can do. We can eliminate the influence of man in what so ever aggravates the consequences of nature’s changes on man. Only rain can’t break down a mountain. That mountain had been eroded and broken already. Not by mining or excavations but by… goats! Who on earth would believe?
An extravagance for another, first thing I do when I am back in Ikaria will be to bathe in the goat-made new beach and hike in the goat-made new river! I am more than sure they will still be beautiful, though different, Naked Landscapes. And when some day people realize that too many goats is a disaster and get rid of them, the new Naked Landscapes of Ikaria will stop breaking down They will be very green and that day I will call Adam back!
Note: Adam Monk’s photos © Adam Monk, see technical details inside the original entries. Photo of Trapalou and Nas © Christos Malachias. Photo of Chalares riverbed © «angeloska».