Wind-bound in Nicaria, circa 1740

 Old stone shelter near Langada in Ikaria
Hello readers!
I don’t expect this long article to become too popular. It’s just that several modern-day Ikarians show a lot of interest in knowing as much as they can about the more recent history of the island and they are usually very disappointed. Compared with other islands of the Aegean Sea, there is so little to say about Ikaria! No glorious battles, no illustrious rulers, no forts and fleets, no trading towns, no towers, cathedrals and famous monasteries; only mossy stonewalls and old thrifty houses scattered in the ravines, the valleys and the forests in the hills.
Εxcept one Greek Orthodox clergyman in the 17th century, no other educated person from East or West felt the urge to visit the island and write an account. If I’m not mistaken, the first book about the history of Ikaria appeared in the middle of the 20th century. Until then, there was no big narrative but only countless little stories told by the fireplace; persistent little stories which by force of repetition, became local legends; local legends some of which today, by force of time and culture gap, may sound like wild fairy tales.

Imaginary depiction of Charles Perry's ship wind-bound under Cape Papas in Ikaria
Neverthelss, there were some short descriptions of the life in the island during the Obscurity («Αφάνεια») as we like to call in Ikaria the first hard centuries of the Ottoman occupation. These were written by the very few European travelers who touched at our rough, inhospitable shores, often by chance or accident. In Pr A.J. Papalas’ book «Ancient Icaria» I found a reference to one of these documents, which, although brief and trivial, capticated my imagination. It is by Charles Perry, a wealthy medical doctor from England who travelled in the Levant from 1739 to 1742. After visiting Egypt, Perry sailed from Alexandria to Athens. On his way across the Aegean he visited and described the islands of Cos and Patmos. But after that island, as he was heading for Mykonos, his ship was caught in a storm and was forced to drop anchor in Ikaria.

Old settlement in Karkinagri Ikaria I liked Perry’s account. Reading his one and a half page about his accidental visit to Ikaria, I felt the genuine puzzlement of a man of the Century of Lights for the unwelcoming, extremely mountainous environment of the island and his also genuine astonishment (and contempt) for the attitude and the way of life of its inhabitants. But, most of all, I liked his account for a more personal reason: through the eyes of the good old British doctor, I saw some places of western Ikaria which I know very well, such as Karkinagri, Agios Isidoros and Langada, looking as uncanny and wild, as if we were talking about a remote, unfriendly rock in the middle of the South Pacific!
I found that very exciting! In my mind it fitted in with the other tales of my island and their mixture generated cores for several imaginary storylines! Maybe some day I’ll sit down Drawing of Imaginary Ikarians fiesting in the 18th century and write a similar story, this time not from the side of an enlightened European physician, probably wearing a powdered wig, but from the side of the «wretched, almost naked and savage» Ikarians!

 ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴

Wind-bound in Nicaria, p.484 «We spent three days in Patmos, not disagreeably; and the fourth in the morning we set sail for Myconos; but the wind, which was otherwise pretty favorable, grew slack, next to a calm; so that it was with much-ado, with what wind we had, and the help of our oars, that we reached the west end of Nicaria in two days. We much lamented our hard fate, that we should thus long want a wind at such a favourable (for it) crisis of the year, it being near the Autumnal Equinox.
However, that night, about an hour after sunset, even whilst we were reproaching the malice of our stars, a fine gale sprang up. We failed not to embrace it immediately, and we went driving on, Jehu-like, with our sails full of wind and our hearts full of joy: But alas! How frail and transitory are human hopes and happiness, especially upon the sea? Within an hour after, the wind turned against us, and blew a storm; so that we were forced to change our course, and to seek shelter under a rock at the west end of Nicaria, which we did not attain, however, without much difficulty and danger.»

Wind-bound in Nicaria, p.485 «Here we lay wind-bound four nights, and above three days; during which irksome interval we amused ourselves in the best manner we could with fishing: But after we had spent two days without other recreation than fishing, that sport grew dull and tedious; and whilst we were looking out for some sport and divertissement, kind Providence (of its grace and favour) sent us the glad tidings that about a mile off, on the side of a high rocky mountain, there was a spring of excellent water, which was resorted to by great number of partridges. Upon this intelligence, (which we got the third day of our detention there) we immediately got ready arms and ammunition of all sorts, as well for the belly as the barrel -such as bread, butter, cheese, salt, pepper, wine, glasses, etc. We marched on directly, (flushed with the hopes of new game) with uncommon ardour, or rather avidity; and we were well recompensed our pains; for we passed that day very agreeably.
The mountain (though in general very steep) admits a sort of level in that place; and the spring of water issues out of a rock, in a very convenient and delightful spot, where nature or chance has formed a sort of grot, large enough to receive and accommodate a dozen or 15 persons. This natural grot (if we may so call it) is covered over, and secured against the weather, by a large flat stone of about 24 feet in diameter: This rests upon and is supported by other stones on all sides, except to the eastward; where, being open, it presents to view a sort of alcove. Here we passed the whole day (which but for that retreat would have been tedious) very agreeably -reclining upon the bed of our grot, with the water trilling along close by us, whilst our partisans upon the hunt for partridges, wild goats, and the like, of which they brought us in good store.»

Wind-bound in Nicaria, p.486 «There are some few inhabitants on this island, but those almost naked and savage, seldom seeing or conversing with any of the human species, except those of their own isle. The second day after we put in there, we sent out some of the mariners a shooting for us, who pursuing their game to the north side of the mountain, met with some of the natives. These were so affrighted at sight of strangers, that they fled from them with precipitation; but our people calling after them, and telling them they had brought them bread and corn, they at last prevailed on them to stop, and come to a party with them. These poor wretches, being at length persuaded of our good intentions, came to see us aboard our vessel, and afterwards brought us good store of grapes and meat. We were really at a loss to guess where they found those things; for the whole island, so far as we could see of it, is the most miserable, barren rock that ever was seen.
The 4th day, towards noon, the wind changing in our favour, we set sail for Myconos, which is 40 miles distant from the westernmost point of Nicaria. This (as it is to be supposed) is a run of about 7 hours, with a good brisk gale…»

 ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴  ∴

Pages 484-486 from Charles Perry’s book, «A View of the Levant», which I have arbitrarily named «Wind bound in Nicaria», can be found in Google books

Modern books about the history of Ikaria:

Pr A.J.Papalas 'Ancient Icaria' on A presentation of the Greek translation of Pr A.J.Papalas 'Ancient Icaria' in my blog In my blog a rather personal and enthusiastic presentation of Pr A.J.Papalas 'Rebels and Radicals', a book about the history of Ikaria after 1670

Comments on this article are very welcome!



Back home for Christmas


dream steamer

Γεια σας 🙂
βρισκομαι στην Ικαρια και δεν αντεχω παρα να γραψω στη γλωσσα του τοπου, δηλαδη στα Ελληνικα. Ειναι χειμωνας, εποχη για παλιες ιστοριες. Ομως δεν μου βγαινει να σας πω μια δικη μου γιατι ειμαι πολυ κουρασμενη.
Για την Ικαρία του 1978-80 στο 'Πύραυλος των Υπογείων' του Βασίλη Ηλιακόπουλου με τίτλο: 'Back Home for Christmas'Αντι για μενα λοιπον, καλυτερα να διαβασετε το γραπτο του Βασιλη Ηλιακοπουλου απο το μπλογκ του που λεγεται «Πυραυλος των Υπογειων» και εχει τιτλο: Back home for Christmas. Απο τις πρόσθετες φωτογραφιες μερικες ειναι δικες μου και οι υπολοιπες ανηκουν σε γνωστους και αγνωστους φιλους απο το Flickr. Με αυτες τις προσθηκες προσπαθησα να αποδωσω εικονικα, αν και χωρις να δείξω προσωπα και παλιες καταστασεις, παρα μονο σκηνες του τοπιου, κατι απο την κλειστη και τραχεια, ομως τοσο θερμη και οικεια σε μενα, το περαστικο πουλι, ατμοσφαιρα που περιγραφει ο Ηλιακοπουλος.

Back home for Christmas

Armenistis Ikaria winter wave

«Έχω βρεθεί καταχείμωνο στην Ικαρία, τότε που οι λιγοστοί κάτοικοι λουφάζουν περιμένοντας να περάσουν οι δύσκολες εποχές. Αγριεμένος ο καιρός, τρία μέτρα ψηλή η θάλασσα, ορμάει με πάταγο στην προκυμαία και η νύχτα προμηνύεται όλο βουητό και αντάρα. Ο Αρμενιστής, ένα παλιό ψαροχώρι, εκτεθειμένο στους βορεινούς καιρούς, δεν κρατάει το χειμώνα πάνω από τριάντα ανθρώπους. Όσοι δεν κάθονται γύρω από τη σπιτική φωτιά μαζεύονται στον καφενέ, τραβούν τα παραθυρόφυλλα και τις ξύλινες πόρτες που μαστιγώνονται από θαλασσινές ριπές. Παλιοί ναυτικοί και μετανάστες που γύρισαν ύστερα από χρόνια στην Αμερική, βολεύονται γύρω απ’ τη σόμπα, ψήνουν κάστανα και πίνουν ρακί.»

Armenistis Ikaria winter calm with a bird on a rock

«Ο μπάρμπα-Δημήτρης, ο Κόχυλας, ο καφετζής, άρχοντας της λιτότητας, αράζει σ’ έναν πάγκο στη γωνία, χωμένος σ’ ένα βαρύ δερματόδετο βιβλίο που αν κανείς κάνει τον κόπο και πλησιάσει, θα διαβάσει: “Απομνημονεύματα του Στρατηγού Σαράφη„. Η γυναίκα του, η κυρά-Μαρία, όρθια στην άλλη γωνία, στην κουζίνα, τηγανίζει ψαράκια που τσιτσιρίζουν στο τηγάνι της. Ο καφενές τρίζει από την επίθεση των καιρών και όσοι είναι μαζεμένοι γύρω από τη σόμπα ξαναμμένοι από τη ρακή, το ρίχνουν στη συζήτηση για τα καράβια που έπιαναν παλιά στην Ικαρία.»

Armenistis Ikaria winter storm and rainbow splash by Wim De Weerdt on Flickr

«Το μεγάλο ερώτημα που ρίχτηκε στη κουβέντα, είναι: “Πότε ήρθε για τελευταία φορά το Μιμίκα Λ. στον Αρμενιστή„. Ήταν το ’47 ή το ’49; Για όσους δεν ξέρουν τι λαός είναι οι Ικαριώτες, πρέπει να πω ότι είναι πρωτομάστορες του καλαμπουριού και των ιστοριών. Όταν άρχιζε ο Στρατής ο Αφιανές ερχότανε μια στιγμή που βρισκόσουνα, χωρίς να το καταλάβεις, κυκλωμένος από παντού να τσαλαβουτάς μέσα στο τραγελαφικό και το παράδοξο. Κι όταν σηκωνότανε όρθιος ο Σταμάτης ο Κόχυλας, ο μεγάλος αδελφός του μπάρμπα-Δημήτρη, που ’χε κι αυτός έναν μικρό καφενέ πάνω από την προκυμαία, κοντός, ξερακιανός, αργομίλητος, τότε απλωνότανε νεκρική σιγή. Κι έπειτα, τα καλαμπούρια. Οι Ικαριώτες μπορούν να πειράζουν ο έναν τον άλλον για μια ολόκληρη νύχτα. Το κάνουν σαν ένα παιχνίδι που γυρίζει γύρω-γύρω κι αυτός που αρχίζει θα δεχτεί με τη σειρά του τα πειράγματα των άλλων. Άντρες πλατύστερνοι και βαριοκόκκαλοι, γέρνουν πάνω στην καρέκλα και με μάτια που λάμπουν από περιπαικτική διάθεση αμολάν το καλαμπούρι ενώ με τα χοντροδάχτυλά τους τρίβουν το κάστανο και ταυτόχρονα περιεργάζονται μία το θύμα και μία τις αντιδράσεις της παρέας. Ώρες-ώρες ο καφενές σείεται από τα γέλια. Πότε ήταν λοιπόν, το ’47 ή το ’49; Ήταν πριν από το γάμο του Τάσου του Φραγκούλη ή τότε που ο Τσαντίρης ο γέρος γύρισε από το Σικάγο και είπε ότι θέλει ν’ αφήσει τα κόκαλά του εδώ πέρα στα χώματα τα πατρογονικά.»

Eleni in Ikaria, February 08, 2006, thalassograph 2

«Όποιος δεν καλοθυμάται γίνεται αντικείμενο γενικής θυμηδίας. Μετά η συζήτηση προχωράει στα παλιά καράβια. Το Προπολεμικό «Φρίντο» που έκαιγε κάρβουνο, το «Παντελής», το «Δεσποινάκι» και η «Μαριλένα» πρώην «Κωστάκης Τόγιας». Μετά ερχότανε το «Μυρτιδιώτισσα» η «Μιμίκα Λ» και τα ιταλικά: ο «Κολοκοτρώνης», ο «Καραϊσκάκης» και το «Έλλη». Καράβια, φαντάσματα καραβιών που πέρναγαν σαν παλιές γκραβούρες μέσα απ’ την κουβέντα τους.»

Lighthouse in Armenistís by Ralf Moritz on Flickr

«Αλήθεια, τι απόσταση από το “Μιμίκα Λ.„ μέχρι το “Αιγαίο„! Κι από το Ο/Γ “Αιγαίο„ στις αρχές της δεκαετίας του ’80 ως τα σήμερα, τέλη του ’90. Παλιά σιδερένια βαπόρια με στρογγυλές πρύμνες, μυτερές πλώρες και ξύλινα καταστρώματα. Παστωμένα με άσπρη λαδομπογιά, με δερμάτινους καναπέδες και ξύλινες επενδύσεις. Το “Αιγαίο„ παλιό και ταλαιπωρημένο διέσχιζε το Ικάριο, βυθιζόταν με την πλώρη μέσα στο κύμα κι όταν σηκωνότανε πάνω από την ίσαλο γραμμή έβλεπες τα μίνια και τις ξεφλουδισμένες μπογιές του. Οι Ικαριώτες όμως ήταν βαθιά δεμένοι μ’ αυτό το πλοίο. Τους έφερνε στον Πειραιά μ’ όλους τους καιρούς κι από κει πίσω στο σπίτι τους. Γέρνανε στις κουπαστές και αγναντεύαν το νησί τους καθώς το καράβι έπλεε κατά μήκος του για μια ολόκληρη ώρα γιατί είναι ένα εξαιρετικά μακρόστενο νησί η Ικαρία.»

Hand by Eva Devriendt on Flickr

«Όπως το πλοίο έβγαινε από τον Άγιο Κήρυκο και τράβαγε δυτικά παραπλέοντας όλη τη νότια πλευρά του νησιού που την δέρνει το Ικάριο δείχνανε ο ένας στον άλλο με το δάχτυλο, και ονομάζανε με το όνομά τους, όλα τα χωριά, ένα, ένα. Γέροι με χοντρά τζην και καρρώ πουκάμισα φοράγανε εκείνα τα παλιά αμερικάνικα γυαλιά με τον μαύρο σκελετό που έδιναν οι αμερικάνικες κοινωνικές υπηρεσίες, το αμερικάνικο ΙΚΑ, στη δεκαετία του ’60. Στις πλάτες τους κρεμόταν ο γυλιός φτιαγμένος από δέρμα κατσίκας με το τρίχωμα προς τα έξω. Γυναίκες μαντηλοδεμένες, νύφες, γαμπροί, παιδιά.»

ikarialandscape by Gabriela Sofia Flores Schnaider inside album Ikaria on Flickr

«Διακρίνανε τα χωριά το ένα μετά το άλλο και στο τέλος πια τον Μαγγανίτη και μετά το Καρκινάγρι, που κρέμονταν πάνω στον απόκρημνο βράχο. Ξεχώριζαν το δρόμο που χρόνια τώρα πάσχιζε, με τις μπουλντόζες και τα φουρνέλα, ν’ ανοίξει η ΜΟΜΑ για να ενώσει το νησί. Κι όταν προσπέρναγαν το ακρωτήριο Παππάς, με τον φάρο του, τότε ήσυχοι πια κατέβαιναν στα σαλόνια του καραβιού και παρέες-παρέες άνοιγαν τα φαγητά με τα κεφτεδάκια και το ψωμοτύρι και τραβάγανε κοντά τη νταμιτζάνα με το κόκκινο Ικαριώτικο κρασί.»

« . . . »


Τι ωραιο κειμενο! ^^’
Καλε μου αγνωστε αναγνωστη αν θελεις κι ενα οχι για τη θαλασσα αλλα για το βουνο της ιδιας ή πιο παλιας εποχης, διαβασε στο μπλογκ της Νανας το:

Ήμεσσαν τρεις ψυχεροί ελόου μας…

⭐ ⭐ ⭐



Κι αν θες τη γνωμη μου, πιστευω οτι και σημερα πισω απο το τσιμεντο, τα μηχανηματα και το τουριστικο πασαλειμμα επικαλυμμα, κατι δυνατο απο ολα αυτα υπαρχει ακομα.  ❤

Ελενη Ικ.
Ικαρια, 27 Ιανουαριου 2016


Blog Review Ikaria 2011-12 # 8

.OK everybody knows the concept but I have to keep the tradition so I repeat:

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.

1 2 3

5 6 8

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…

Η Φωτό Μου have a break – or not

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 …  Your Greek Guide!

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.

  Damnit the sun will melt your wings! 
  Agios Kirikos 
  Shopping in Ikaria
  The Claw Machine 
  The One Euro Store
  What was that?! 
  New Airport
  The Lottery 
  Flying to Ikaria
  Beer Run 
  The Garbage Truck  
  What Garbage?? 

and several more… 🙂 from – 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!!!


And with this great blog I am closing this month’s review of entries. Stay tuned for the next harvest.

I love  you, my readers!


Blog Review Ikaria 2008-2011 # 6



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.



My Big Fat Greek Wedding


Friday Photo #7:
 My Island Home, Ikaria, Greece


Friday Photo
The Longing


Friday Photo
Storage Containers


 Who Pays The Ferryman?


 The [Greek] Gods Are Angry


Therma, Ikaria



Images Of Ikaria #1

* I am reblogging only one picture. You should see this in the original!


Kampos, Ikaria




Grecian Blues

* I am reblogging only one picture. You should see this in the original!


Friday Fotos: Nap Time



This is all from Jim Lesses’ blog about Ikaria for now. A learned, comprehensive approach with an unofficially professional touch, won’t you agree? Check out his Blue Set  on Flickr and tell me your opinion.



Recycled Blues by jimlesses Washing Blues by jimlesses Container Blues by jimlesses Storm Blues by jimlesses

All Texts & Photos © 2009-2011 Jim Lesses.
  • Eleni
See you next month!

Days of Meltemi



It’s not a writer’s block; it’s lobotomy. Look at the waves as they go up and down at dusk after the wind has died out. So fully they wash the mind from thoughts. This is the meltemi, the Etesian winds of the ancients. In the morning the mountains are clouded and the tourists wonder, “Is it going to rain?” Of course not. This is only wind, friendly breeze; full of good vapor, makes the land go wet and cool down. Cleans the beach from cigarette buts; provides good sleep as well and sweet dreams –my friend, the northwestern Maistros. Blow on blow on. Bring me news.

***Sorry AKK, I didn’t fulfill your request to broadcast the “Play Safe with Waves -3/1 rule of thumb” in this entry. I wanted to. Because I understand the need for some safety. But as soon as I uploaded the photo, I got carried away. And you know…, a thought crossed my mind; as a sailor’s wife maybe I shouldn’t think or talk about playing with the waves anymore. It’s not for decency’s sake. It’s superstition! Let Nana and the others do that for me from now on. Non?

f i l a k i a  ♥
40 wa cu Slide Shows.S. . .


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«Φύσα Μαϊστρο δροσερέ κι αέρα του πελάγου να πας τα χαιρετίσματα στου Σιδερή τη μάνα…» Sunday July 15, 2007 – 10:27am (EEST)
these days when the wind blows they say «oh it’s gonna catch fire! oh it’s gonna be no ferry! oh it’s gonna be no swim!. Anf when it’s cloudy they say «oh it’s gonna rain!» And when it’s hot, they say etc. But you (and Nana in her own wild funny way) say, WE LOVE IT! To you the wind brings news. To Nana it dries the sweat from under her breasts. How can you fight against MASS PHOBIAS? sO bravely ~ hope-making *machines* Monday July 16, 2007 – 10:09pm (EEST)
Thanks guys. I love you all – I’m sitting here miserable cos I’ve hurt my back, then I switch on this machine and AKK makes me laugh about cyanide in tsipouro, and the girls celebrate the wind…. I feel better already! Monday July 16, 2007 – 10:34pm (BST)
@ AKK = meltemi wind «dries the sweat from under my breasts»? (quoting Eleni) OH LALA! Tuesday July 17, 2007 – 03:24pm (EEST)
@Jude: oh dear Jude, get well soon! Our small circus is here for you to provide distraction for the mind so that the body and soul are left in peace and they heal – x @AKK: go thank somebody else. as you know we don’t have any other choice. we can’t help but being *hope-making-machines*. It’s our kishmet. @Athina: I am not given «dirty compliments» like that anymore. I am considered «respectable» now. @AKK: «Sweat under the breasts»! ha ha ha -:)) oh boys!.. What flavour? Apricot? With cyanide or without? Tuesday July 17, 2007 – 12:57pm (PDT)

speaking of kishmet I remembered our blog friend ‘Can’ who wrote to me the other day and said that «Meltem» is a common female name in Turkey. I suppose it’s something like «Breeze» (the Americans like this name a lot) or the Greek Avra (Αύρα). It is good to know that the name has a positive sense verified by tradition. So when the meltemi spoils your beach days, think of it as a beautiful woman and …take the mountains! Go hiking. By the way, does anybody remember this incredible picture? It’s was a gift by the makers of the play and it features in the hikingIkaria group files. We have talked about it already in the past.

Tuesday July 17, 2007 – 01:06pm (PDT)

page from my notebook (Ikaria, April 9, 2006)



-> the weather broadcast was right; the gale stopped during the night. At dawn the wind changed from south to north; clouds came from the sea and covered the northern part of the island. «Misty mountains» and deep gorges hidden in the fog :- wow -: I like this kind of weather. It makes me imagine I am in New Zealand ! I wish I could fly just for once only to take a panoramic photo of the side of the island: clouds on the mountain tops and stripes of mist in the gorges.

-> its raining; in fact it’s not; it’s spraying. Greek language proves very poor in terms of rain. They call this weather «very wet». I’m sure the English know better and they have a presice word for these crawling curtains of fog and swirling thin raindrops.

-> The gale was like «sandpaper». Now came the «very wet» (fog and spray) and there couldn’t be better weather for the vegetation. I saw my lettuces die yesterday then today I saw them live again. Lush new foliage shines on the trees. I think that the gale was useful («I’m swallowing ‘n swallowing»). There was so much dry dead stuff on the trees and the bushes and the gale removed it. Many old trees broke.

Ikaria 109 Ikaria 194

Sun comes now down through to the lighten and help grow the saplings. -> Felicia aborted; too young to have kitten. If she was human she would be 8 years old.

-> I’m wasting my time trying to take photos of thorny spurges. But I can’t. Spurges absorb the light like sponges. They are like «shadows». I take a photo and then instead of of the small round thorny bush, there is a green blur like a ball. The details disappear. I should have some super pro equipement and special spot lights to take a good photo of a spurge. Photographers who work with complicated hairstyles have that kind of equipement.

Ikaria 221  Ikaria 184  Ikaria 173

-> I have a fix for these plants. I believe they hold the island slopes in place so that they are not washed in the sea. I also love their texture. Outside they have a net of terrible and painful thorns and behind and inside this net there are very fresh tiny green leaves (+ small flowers!). They are usually oval and they look like «vegetable rocks». Under each one of them hide many fragile herbs and small bugs. They are the «poteria» (φρύγανα) and they are an «ecosystem» -one by one and many of them together as groups. I must find out how to transplant them. I’d put them along the sides of the digs and trenches the bulldozers make.

I heard that in Germany they take these as gardens. It’s very fashionable to have a mediterranean «poteria» garden around your villa instead of «gazon» (trop banal). After I retire (or before, why not) I may become a specialist in this: plant «sacropotera spinosa» gardens around villas. (They would give burglars a lot of trouble to cross, btw. I must take a notice of that for my marketing campaign -if & when..)

-> Nana, how much for the «La Fauve» painting? Wow girl ! What’s this? Ladies and Gentlemen, for your sake and pleasure I took the liberty to borrow and upload Nana’s portrait and buste in this entry. I don’t know what it is or how it’s made, but its 100% Nana «to agrimi» (=animal qui vit a l’etat sauvage), Athina, my friend.


** While I was writing this and trying to «swallow», I looked up at the sky (to let out my usual *big sighs* ) and what do I see:




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El, I wondered if those were rocks or plants. Almost looks like moss-covered ruins in the background. The swallows, yes they came back here a couple weeks ago, the hummingbirds earlier and the warblers soon. Favorite swallow: purple martin; hummingbird: Anna’s; warbler: yellowthroat.

Monday April 10, 2006 – 06:08am (PDT)

A Doctor writes: Your «Yak» has had child. See Flickr. This will make you feel even more spring-like.

Tuesday April 11, 2006 – 08:37am (BST)

-> to Greg: I’m surrounded by birds, birds, birds, a couple of earthmovers (~sigh) and many many fresh dug terrasses with vineyards and gardens. There are two kinds of swallows, it seems. I understand now why ornithologists are a bit *nutsy*.

-> the Doctor takes pleasure in turning the knife in the wound.

Tuesday April 11, 2006 – 03:42am (PDT)

to Greg: I think that «my» spurges of Ikaria might look like those throrny srubs we see the wind roll and make fly in old «western» movies. How do you call?

Tuesday April 11, 2006 – 02:04pm (PDT)

Tumbleweed….we don’t have tumbleweed in England but we know all about the rain. Sounds like we would say «sheets of rain» from the conditions you describe…the Scots have a good word…Dreich … it would be ντρειχ in Greek tongue…that describes the kind of miserable soaking cold day. The swallows have come…and they sing…»

άνοιγ΄ άνοιγε ταν θύραν χελιδόνι
ου γαρ γέροντές έσμεν, αλλά παιδία. »

to quote a poet of the 7th century B.C.

«The swallows have come, Berlusconni has gone
Loudly sing «cuckou» »

To paraphrase an old English song.

Tuesday April 11, 2006 – 10:40pm (BST)

Sagebrush Elle, the dead ones rolling and blowing are called tumbleweeds. The desert on the east side of my state is covered with ’em.

Tuesday April 11, 2006 – 02:46pm (PDT)

Sorry to disagree Doc, but I call El’s rain mizzle.

Tuesday April 11, 2006 – 11:13pm (BST)

<<-terrific people->><<-terrific vocabularies->>
In my opinion, both «sagebrush» and «tumbleweed» are El’s thorny srubs, «astivi» (αστιβή) There are many kinds, all valuable in many ways. One of them hosts an edible herb inside it. It’s called «stamna-agathi» (Σταμναγκάθι). This herb makes a very expensive dish in fancy restaurants in Athens. This is the season for it, so El find it and take a photo. I hope it doesn’t «absorb light».

Wednesday April 12, 2006 – 01:05pm (EEST)

«mizzle» ! never heard that before! Another one for my «Derbyshire Dialect» collection. Thanks duck.

Wednesday April 12, 2006 – 07:53pm (BST)

«mizzle» is a nice word; I like «mmm» & «zzzz»s & «ll»s.
Thank you everybody. I’d rather look for the word in NewZealandese because the mizzle is not cold in Ikaria. It’s soaking wet and spooky and it makes you feel like bitting at someone’s throat.

Wednesday April 12, 2006 – 12:41pm (PDT)

I’m sure there are more wonderful words out there….!I would love to know the New Zealand equivalent. Drizzle is another word of similar meaning – but perhaps it sounds colder still, so not ideal. In case you were wondering, ‘duck’ is a Derbyshire endearment. ‘Aye up, me duck’ is a dialect way of saying ‘Hi there, love/ mate / pal» You sometimes hear a woman say it to another woman, but more commonly it is from a man to a woman in a friendly way. I had a boss once, who when he wanted me to do something always started his sentence with «Judy, duck,please could you…» So now, Eleni, you have a goat and a duck reading your blog, and the duck is especially happy that the swallows have arrived.

Wednesday April 12, 2006 – 11:00pm (BST)

«Papia mou» -so funny -:)) In place of «duck» in wet grassy places, I’d call you «kali mou» (=my good one or my pretty one) or cut short «kale». You must have heard that in Greek town streets. «kale Leni, stamata pia tis sahlamares…» =stop acting foolish (that’s for my blog -lol- created for and dedicated to ducks and goats, or I don’t love nobody and my scripts suck.)

Thursday April 13, 2006 – 12:25pm (PDT)

«the rain in Ikariain falls mainly on the mountains»


Ikaria After the storm 1

BAD: the electric network is old and very badly maintained, so lightnings
cause many blackouts.

Ikaria After the storm 2

GOOD: the lightnings show superwow in a blackouted landscape at night.


SO-SO: I tried to take a picture of a lightning and of course I failed. I mean, it didn’t come up as good as I expected. I also captured the rain on the trees and the strange light in the sky.

P.S. I may catch pneumonia with these acrobatics one day. I will not be my fault. It will be yours, oh my readers ! Start collecting money for my hospitalization…



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Μια χαρά είναι η αστραπή σου! «Ρομφαία» όπως την αποκαλείς!!!
Πολύ πετυχημένο!


Wednesday March 15, 2006 – 10:59pm (EET)

the squall photos * το ραγάνι


Το σλάιντ απαιτεί την χρήση JavaScript.


Ήλιε μου στο βασιλεμό θέ να σου παραγγείλω
-ντούρνα, ντούρνα, ντούρνα, μας έπιασε φουρτούνα-
να πάεις να μου χαιρετάς το κόκκινό μου μήλο.
Ντούρνα, ντούρνα, ντούρνα, μας έπιασε φουρτούνα,
ε, γιαλελί κακούργα, μας έπιασε φουρτούνα.


(1st verse tranlated+comments)


Before you set, oh, my sun, I’d like very much to ask you
-durna**, durna, durna, we are caught in the storm-
to go and say hello from me, hello to my red apple.
Durna, durna, durna, we are caught in a storm,
ride on us swift murderess, we are caught in a storm….

* the Greek word for sunset is «helio-vasilema» =when the sun reigns or rules !
I looked it up in all sorts of dictionaries and still this word remains a mystery for me. It’s so common, even used metaphorically. When I stay up late and my eyelids drop, my friends say: «i Eleni vasilepse» =Eleni reigned (where is my realm? the meadows of Morpheus?)
** don’t ask me what «durna» is. It looks like a word similar to «opa», «yasou» or «haide», which are yells of encouragement (to workers, dancers etc.). But it might as well derive from «dur» which is «stop» in Turkish.
So you have: «stop, stop and turn round (sail slower, lower sails -whatever), because we are caught in a storm».

Ήλιε μου ίντα σου ‘κανα και πας να βασιλέψεις
-ντούρνα, ντούρνα, ντούρνα, μας έπιασε φουρτούνα-
κι αφήνεις με στα σκοτεινά και πας αλλού να φέξεις;
Ντούρνα, ντούρνα, ντούρνα, μας έπιασε φουρτούνα,
ε, γιαλελί κακούργα, μας έπιασε φουρτούνα.


(2nd verse tranlated)


Oh, sun, what have I done to you and now you are setting
-durna**, durna, durna, we are caught in the storm-
and you are leaving me in the dark, you go shining on other places.
Durna, durna, durna, we are caught in a storm,
ride on us swift murderess, we are caught in a storm….

** Don’t ask me what «durna» is. It looks like a word similar to «opa», «yasou» or «haide», which are yells of encouragement (to workers, dancers etc.). But it might as well derive from «dur» which is «stop» in Turkish.
So you have: «stop, stop and turn round (sail slower, lower sails -whatever), because we are caught in a storm».

ride on. squalls, swift murderesses…

These photos go with a story I’m making in my mind and writing down. They are a very important part of one of the three projects I’m working on. They were taken with «fast mode» so they are not good for Flickr. This one in particular is a zoom in of «la tromba marina».


άμε και πάλι γύρισε πουλί μ’ αγαπημένο
-ντούρνα, ντούρνα, ντούρνα, μας έπιασε φουρτούνα-
και μη μ’ αφήνεις μοναχό και παραπονεμένο
Ντούρνα, ντούρνα, ντούρνα, μας έπιασε φουρτούνα,
ε, γιαλελί κακούργα, μας έπιασε φουρτούνα.


Go, my beloved bird, make sure you come back to me again
-durna**, durna, durna, we are caught in the storm-
don’t leave me here to whine all lonely,
oh, ride on us swift murderess, we are caught in a storm….

dedicated to ImageNana who sailed away this evening
(ας το καλο .. η Ελενη το γερακι του Αιγαιου κ.τλ., μη χ…, με πηραν τα ζουμια Imageσαν συναχωμενη κοτα -συγνωμη αναγνωστες.)
And let me tell you another thing. I don’t care what ‘durna’ means really. For me right now ‘durna’ is ‘rentres’, ‘retournes’

And I like to think of the ship in these photos that it is the
«‘Je Reviens Toujours»‘ ^^’

..Finally the original version of the song is…




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helio vasilema – interesting! I figured I’d look in the classical dictionaries, but all I found was this:^si^leu/w

So, in ancient days basileuo meant «rule» only. No mention of it ever used with the sun or with eyes. Perhaps someone decided that the end of the day is when the sun conquers the sky, and from that meaning it got the eyes closing idea. (yeah, that’s quite a stretch)

Saturday March 4, 2006 – 01:59am (EST)

Or is the sun returning to its kingdom beyond the West?

Is Dari Dari similar to Dourna Dourna? (In that other sea-song).

Saturday March 4, 2006 – 10:53am (GMT)

(* I use ‘tufts’ too!)
(** «Streched» is a good key to unlock Greece)
(*** semiotics is another good key but it takes skill and wisdom)
(**** no, «dari-dari» is something like «yeah-yeah, shake it baby». «Durna» sounds like a military or marine command. You have to hear a Turkish policeman say «dur» and you know.)
A BRIGHT IDEA ! (confirm AKK, please…): the king was associated with purpple colour in the middle ages. So you had the «purple born ones» for the royal family because they lived in rooms painted in purple . A sunset is purple. The sun goes to bed in his purple room. The sun is a byzantine emperor.
(help!! have I gone too far with «images»?)

Sunday March 5, 2006 – 04:02am (PST)

Confirmation? I’d give you 3 PhDs for that !
No kidding Ele ! you found it ! I can’t believe it !
Have you read about it or is it intuition? Such a long shot, so succesful !
Ο ήλιος βασιλεύει (o ilios vasilevi) =the sun retires in his purple coloured quarters. These rooms were legendary. The walls were covered with silk dyed in the «true purple» colour -extracted from the seashell ‘purpura persica’. Only kings could wear or live in that colour (I mean the ‘true purple’, not just ‘rich’ deep red). But about all that you can read in many books. From this to the point of undestanding the connection between a sunset and the purple imperial rooms of Byzance… it takes a … (I don’t know what it takes…)

Sunday March 5, 2006 – 09:27pm (EET)

Haven’t I said purple is one of my favourite colours? I know a lot about it. Though that was a very long shot and thanks for the confirmation and the 3 PhDs. The original idea came from my old neighbour. Once she said that farmers of the old days in Ikaria went to bed right after the sunset when the sky was purple. They were satisfied and the felt like the kings and queens who were «born in the purple rooms» of the palace in Constantinople.
There are many medieval traditions surviving in the islands of the Aegean sea. Warm human stuff… «true purple» colour like the island’s wine.

Monday March 6, 2006 – 12:26pm (PST)

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Do you know who are these swift killers after these days?
Who get caught in squalls and die at sea after sunset these days? Who beg the sun not to set?

Friday March 3, 2006 – 02:50pm (PST)

powerful stuff Eleni….

Saturday March 4, 2006 – 12:23am (GMT)

  • greg

I think I’m not giving you the answer you seek, but being from a family of sailors, I can say it is fishermen and sailors who fear the storm. As we say here, red sky at night, sailor’s delight, red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning.

Friday March 3, 2006 – 04:48pm (PST)

Of course, the sailors and fishermen -pirates and smugglers too. But I’m thinking of (and weeping over) something else.
That was the reason I fixed and put for an ID that «CD cover» photo with the lighthouse.


Sunday March 5, 2006 – 03:43am (PST)

Έλεος ! θα μας σκάσεις! που το πας; ποιούς σκοτώνουν σήμερα τα ραγάνια όταν βραδιάζει; Πες μας, αν αγαπάς.

Sunday March 5, 2006 – 09:21pm (EET)

μεγαλη επιτυχια, αν καταφερα να σε κανω να κοντευεις να σκασεις… Εχω τωρα τη Ν στο σπιτι και δεν βρισκω ευκαιρια να γραψω τη συνεχεια.

Monday March 6, 2006 – 12:24pm (PST)

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  • Jimmy P

what I love in this blog is his multilingual mode: you are greek and write in english as everibody do as it was obvious.
sometimes you talk in greek, you’re right: it’s your langage… and now you call your story «la tromba marina»: this is my idiom! allegria! viva la multiculturalità, viva i popoli provenienti da paesi diversi che si prendono simbolicamente per mano grazie all’incredibile intervento di internet! maintenant je suis tres curious de connaitre l’histoire de la tromba et je veux tu la conte in francais pourquoi personne parle jamais les mots de Depardieu et je suis secure il nous regarde. A bientot Gerard!

Tuesday March 7, 2006 – 01:57am (CET)

D’ accord, mon fou de la Magna Grecia. Je vais raconter l’ histoire en Francais aussi. Depardieu (j’ai failli ecrire ‘Depart-dieu’) a joue Jean Val Jean aux ‘Miserables’. C’est tres a propos.

Tuesday March 7, 2006 – 12:51pm (PST)

  • Ψαλακ…

Heu Heu! Tot linguae in una loca collectae sunt.

Knew that degree in classics would come in handy one day.

Tuesday March 7, 2006 – 07:59pm (EST)

quite right -I don’t know how I’d survive from my work and my social life without the classics whispering in my ear in 3 different lang. Hip-hop helps a lot too, btw (sorry classics!)

Wednesday March 8, 2006 – 01:03pm (EET)

Eleni I forgot and didn’t tell you in Ikaria that translating ‘gialeli’ as ‘ride on us’ is genius !
Durna or Turna is the Turkish word for «crane», the beautiful migrating bird!!! ^^’
The song is about migration, homesickness and love ❤ ❤ ❤

Wednesday March 8, 2006 – 01:07pm (EET)

The Island


The Island

Does the wind sing in your ears at night, in the town,
Rattling the windows and doors of the cheap-built place?
Do you hear its song as it flies over marsh and down?
Do you feel the kiss that the wind leaves here on my face?
Or, wrapt in a lamplit quiet, do you restrain
Thoughts that would take the wind’s way hither to me,
And bid them rest safe-anchored, nor tempt again
The tumult, and torment, and passion that live in the sea?

I, for my part, when the wind sings loud in its might,
I bid it hush—nor awaken again the storm
That swept my heart out to sea on a moonless night,
And dashed it ashore on an island wondrous and warm
Where all things fair and forbidden for ever flower,
Where the worst of life is a dream, and the best comes true,
Where the harvest of years was reaped in a single hour
And the gods, for once, were honest with me and you.

I will not hear when the wind and the sea cry out,
I will not trust again to the hurrying wind,
I will not swim again in a sea of doubt,
And reach that shore with the world left well behind;
But you,—I would have you listen to every call
Of the changing wind, as it blows over marsh and main,
And heap life’s joys in your hands, and offer them all,
If only your feet might touch that island again!

Edith Nesbit

(There seemed to be someting wrong with my blog
and I couldn't post an entry I had prepared.
Then suddenly I received this as a gift through the net.
So I'm posting this instead of a test entry.
It's so appropriate... Thanks Greg !)


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You don’t have crowds of friends in you blog, but those you have, are worth hundreds !
I know you about to post the «unpublished» squall photos here. If this junk.., oops, sorry, I meant your «pretty orange bicycle» works, I suggest you add some Greek verses to this series of photos.

Thursday March 2, 2006 – 01:16pm (EET)

tonnere detruit -February 21, 2006

during the weekend there was rain and rain and all of a sudden a thunderbolt hit the telephone cables of my lazy quiet valley.

I was not there. I was ‘downtown’ scaring people in the bars.

Next morning my modem was jammed. I called Nana on the mobile and she told me a tip (a crazy, ugly thing to do to your modem, so I’m not telling anyone else) and my modem worked again.

So here I am back. Have I missed anything?



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Yes Elle, the world spun around a few more times and lots happened, some of it beautiful, some of it sad, and some of it both beautiful and sad. But may impose on you a question or two? Athina, is she Nana? And Angelos, do I recall you mentioned he is an editor? If so, may I ask an editor of what? He is also a builder of trails?

Tuesday February 21, 2006 – 10:43am (PST)

iiiiiiii :::::: …I told you to open the lid of the modem, push and hold down a button for 5 «. This is called ‘reset’. It’s not «a crazy and ugly thing» to do to a modem !
It wasn’t in the manual, that’s all. The same with your car, the manual doesn’t say «if it doesn’t start, go out and push» !
Btw, I’m coming down to Ik. I want to go around dressed as the ‘real me’ not the opposite. I’ll be a robot with many hidden lids and hidden buttons and manual !!!

Athina=(Athi) Na-na
(like Emile Zola’s book, though I don’t earn my bread like that ‘Nana’.)
P.S. an Ikarian boy calls me with a heavy «(…th)…n..n..nnaaA»

Tuesday February 21, 2006 – 10:41pm (EET)

Elle, Theodorakis was inspired by Ikaria for his «Carnaval» – did it have the same effect on you? Is that why you went?
PS – Greg, I think Angelos builds many different paths – routes to the heart of Ikaria, but not just hiking trails … tell me I am right El?

Tuesday February 21, 2006 – 10:02pm (GMT)

Ah, of course! Athina, «Nana,» glad to meet the both of you!

Tuesday February 21, 2006 – 03:44pm (PST)

nana, don’t play ‘kraftwerk’ girl to me. I know you have a soul. It may look like one of your little machines, but everybody’s souls have to look like something ::

Wednesday February 22, 2006 – 03:05am (PST)

αααααα»»»»»»»»» νανουλα «»»»αγαπη μου»»»
ερχεσαι Ικαρια :::::::: Καθαρη Δυετερα?
τωρα το καταλαβα

Wednesday February 22, 2006 – 12:44pm (PST)