Stony Softness 2


It’s not cold December! It’s June and we are going to hike and swim there! I bet you will never find this place!  🙄

Zino looking at the fall by angeloska | Flickr

Ryakas Ikaria by angeloska | Flickr
EGRf033 (Zino tired) Ryakas Ikaria 006 EGRf037 (nap on the side of the 5th pool) Ryakas Ikaria 036 by angelos ka, on Flickr

Copyright © OPS Ikarias

Stony Softness 1


It’s December and though it’s nice in Ikaria in winter we are already missing certain situations which make a difference and hightlight our life on the island all year long 😉

x32 by angeloska | Flickr

x37 by angeloska | Flickr


Copyright © OPS Ikarias

«my own Ikarian» waterfall comes from Tarascon, France !




This is a small waterfall in Tarascon, France. The photo was taken by the son of a friend  in Flickr.

I was surprised when I saw this photo. I thought it was from Ikaria. As you can see, there is a stonewall behind the fall. As if this was man-made or there was a cistern or a small lake behind it. If this was in Ikaria, there would usually be a garden below. The water would jump over the terrace and flush down to water the garden.



I 🙂 like to plant potatoes when I am in Ikaria. I have a weakness for «pommes frites». I got it in the country where I was born and raised. I also like the looks of a potato field. They are very neat and orderly and all the good stuff (the potato) lies underneath inside the earth. I do all the hard work and when I leave, my neighbours keep watering the potato garden and then when it’s time they just unearth the potatoes and store them (easy job). We share the crop. They give me a big bagfull when I return in autumn.
The water for my potatoes comes from a cistern very near «the barn».



It used to fill on its own every 2-3 days in summer but now it is connected with the water network of the village through ugly plastic pipes. Our turn to get water is again every 2-3 days like before, but now with the pipes we get our water from the mountain and we don’t loose the crop even when there is draught and water shortage.

In Ikaria we water our gardens early in the evening. The day when it’s our neighborhood’s turn to get water, I turn on the tap in the morning and the cistern fills slowly until the evening. But one day I forgot myself at the beach and came back home late when there was just enough light to see and to water my potatoes.



Still in my swimsuit I rushed to the garden, opened the «door» of the cistern and let the flow flush. It was a magical moment (very much like in the poem -1st page, beginning) and an evening of a very warm day. So while my potatoes were being watered I stood under the small waterfall and I was also «being watered» : washed the seasalt off my hair and body.

This happened many time during last June. Since then I’ve been thinking to make it a regular habit. People have gossiped about me running around in my garden all wet in my swimsuit and my legs all muddy, but down deep they don’t mind. On the contrary they 🙂 are happy because I «keep the traditions». Gardens in Ikaria is a religion. Anyone who «puts» (as they say) a garden (unless it’s not for :/ hash), no matter what his appearance may be, is a good person on principle.

splashSo I’m going to push this forward. I’m going to improve the site of my private waterfall and turn it into a «shower». What it needs is some flat stones on the floor so that I don’t get all in mud. I’ll also have to plant some flowers around the basin like in sam fin’s photo to improve the privacy of the place. I would have done this already this year, if it wasn’t for this Flickr addiction of mine. At least I didn’t sacrifice my potatoes. There is a limit to the virtual, digital world : 1) my 😛 stomach. And then the thought of how beautiful and delicious my potatoes will be, is one of the things that keep me going and working and spending a summer in a foreign land.


(in case you wonder what I’m talking about, oh passers-by, just read once more and more carefully

the main title of my blog,  «This blog is about…»)



(8 total)

A Doctor writes: Now I Know why you love Erifi so much – it is the thought of that crazy man who tried to fill the place with potatoes. Potatoes are good for the soul.

Monday June 12, 2006 – 03:10am (BST)

I too have potatoes. But I think the moles are eating them. I do know that when I put the hose down the mole hole next to the potatoes it swallows up any amount of water. There is a whole mole kingdom under those potatoes.

Sam Fin hasn’t seen this yet, but he will be happy that his picture is famous!

Monday June 12, 2006 – 08:04am (CEST)

I have put in a garden every year for about 25, but this season decided to take a break so I could hike and fish more. I have only garlic in, and it will come out next month, oh yes and rhubarb. I’ve eaten pomme frites in Amsterdam, almost lived on the damn things for a couple weeks. Also have grown spuds, as we call them here, but quit because they are so cheap in the market and I needed the garden space for my salsa stuff, onions, peppers and tomatoes. Potatoes, by the way, are native to South America, I think the Maya cultivated them.

Monday June 12, 2006 – 07:49am (PDT)

Πανικός ! Κανείς δεν θέλει να σκάβει τη γη ούτε και για χόμπυ. Όλοι προτιμούν να κάνουν τις πιο άθλιες, άχαρες, ακόμα και παράνομες δουλειές παρά αυτό. Είναι έξω από το lifestyle (βλέπε *οικονομία της αγοράς*) Έτσι όμως που τα γράφεις, ξαναβάζεις τα πράγματα στη θέση τους. Το σκάψιμο δεν είναι *βλαχιά*. Είναι θέμα άποψης και στυλ. Για να μην πούμε ότι το ίδιο νερό χρησιμοποιείται δυο φορές και γίνεται οικονομία.
Το τμήμα Modern Sustainable Lifestyle Studies του USDA χειροκροτά. Όμως έχουμε και μια ερώτηση: τα υπολείματα αντηλιακού στο νερό κάνουν καλό ή όχι στις πατάτες;

To all readers, friends, commentators: the one and only dish my friend Eleni can cook and cook well (& w/o burning the house) : «pommes frites» -patates tiganites !

Monday June 12, 2006 – 08:06pm (EEST)

Nana, please tell me, what is your connection with the USDA – as in U.S. Department of Agriculture?

Monday June 12, 2006 – 10:42am (PDT)

@ are you magic? I have a «blog search» on and just found

This Ikarian/American is talking about (ex-french) fries! + a sandwich supposed to be an Ikarian invention ! What’s going on?

@ the USDA (a honoraty staff member myself due to special services) is a joke and it means «University of the Streets of Down Town Athens». So it would better be called USDTA but never mind. Nana is the *dean* because she 1) is a woman, 2) she beats everybody in «ouzo» drinking, 3) she works harder than everybody else, 4) she gives 1/2 of her salary to the poor people and immigrants downtown outside their shop (there are many).

Monday June 12, 2006 – 10:31pm (EEST)

hOw hAPpY I am that we I can share my *weakness* with you.

Yes, potatoes are good for the soul. I think that most edible things that grow under the surface of the earth are good («ψυχοφελή»). Now they import potatoes from Egypt during the summer. Though the best potatoes (in the world?) grow in the neighbour island, Naxos. Ikaria produces a lot of good olive oil and Naxos the best potatoes, so I guess we could put a big frying pan somewhere midway between islands in the middle of the sea.

Potatoes are good for the soul. Other women I know boil spagheti when they are sad. I fry potatoes. The chssss sound and the smell of oil, apeaces me. *good hydrocarbonates* as Nana would say. Some yoghourt to go with them. It should be *tzatziki* ( «white sauce» as the Ikarian/Americans say; loL) but my tzatziki either looks like cement or it is *white (yoghourt+cucumber+garlic) soup*.

Tip: when you they serve you fries in Greece and you see origan on them, there is something wrong, the potatoes or (more often) the oil. Origano has this ability to cover all faults. Take a bad cook’s word. Origan is very suspicious.

The Mayas: yes, potatoes like heights and I think it is correct that they were first *tamed* in Peru. There’s nothing better than potatoes to save an isolated population from hunger. It has been proved in Ikaria where wheat can’t be cultivated succesfully (is this perhaps the reason why Ikarians though very religious, are not exactly «christian»? tend more to the wine than to the bread? )

I call myself a traveller but I’ve never been outside Europe. When I am in Ikaria sometimes (& in some places) I like to think that I am in Peru or New Zealand. Or Africa ! Hey, *da man doctor*, no doubt it was *da man* Angelos who ‘s tipped you off about Erifi, eah?

Blogs: oh man, there have been some really wild blogs about Ikaria on the net recently.

@ Simon G : go on and spot more «Ikarias» for me in this universe. There are so many and I am delighted to follow you.

απομειναρια αντιηλιακου : ρε Νανα, αφου τηγανιζουμε τις πατατες στο λαδι, τι πειραζει να εχουν πιει λιγο αντιηλιακο πριν τις κοψουμε; Αχ, εσεις οι νεαρες επιστημονισες καμια φορα…

My next entry will be about A BIG WATERFALL. Not to water potatoes this time…

Tuesday June 13, 2006 – 12:35pm (PDT)

*2 uUNdrowned Ophelias*

intervening shot by angeloska on Flickr
…ooooImagejjhh… THE rIVer pooLS of MAy & jUne
*Angel pools*
*Fairy pools*
ΖΗΤΩ οι «Αγγελολιβάδες» ΤΗΣ ΙΚΑΡΙΑΣ
.__ Image __.



(12 total)

Homeric Hymn 5 (to Aphrodite) 97ff.
ἤ τις Νυμφάων, αἵτ᾽ ἄλσεα καλὰ νέμονται
ἢ Νυμφῶν, αἳ καλὸν ὄρος τόδε ναιετάουσι
καὶ πηγὰς ποταμῶν, καὶ πίσεα ποιήεντα.

σοὶ δ᾽ ἐγὼ ἐν σκοπιῇ, περιφαινομένῳ ἐνὶ χώρῳ,
βωμὸν ποιήσω, ῥέξω δέ τοι ἱερὰ καλὰ
ὥρῃσιν πάσῃσι.

(my translation)
«Perhaps you are one of the Nymphs who inhabit the beautiful glades,
Or one of those who dwell upon this beautiful mountain or at the sources of rivers or in grassy meadows.

I will build you an altar high on a promontory, in a place easily seen from all around, and I will make beautiful sacrifices upon it every season.»

Perhaps one of those heads belongs to my namesake, Ψαλακανθα, who after all, was one of the Naiads of Ikaria 🙂 (

ps: what does «αγγελολιβάδες» mean? «angel-fairies»?

Tuesday May 9, 2006 – 07:13pm (EDT)

>>cool Schubert’s bums<<

(and because of Ψ who has Homeric stuff like that always handy, I’ll post a short lecture on «angelolivades» tomorrow. It’s basically «women lore» so I may be wrong, but I’ll just say what I know. If I am completely wrong, put the blame on Ψ.)

Wednesday May 10, 2006 – 10:55pm (EEST)

God damn, sounds like a place I will have to visit. Don’t go crazy and kill yourselves Ophelias.

Wednesday May 10, 2006 – 07:17pm (PDT)

Sure, AKK, blame everything on me. Is the pool in the photograph on your excellent list?

Thursday May 11, 2006 – 12:24am (EDT)

In the Ikarian dialect «livada» means «pool» or «pond». A «livada» can be a small rainpool in the street, a large river pool and even a lagoon at the mouth of a river.
All the deep dark pools in the rivers are named «Angel’s pools», Angelo-livades. There were 2 reasons I got interested in them. First, my name is Angelos ! Second, the first time I swam in one of them and I proudly announced it in the village, I was stared at as if I was a ghost and asked : «Did you survive?». That was about 30 years ago. I was thrilled and was determined to find out what lay behind this.
So I pressed and insisted on my father who grew up in Ikaria in the 1920s when «all that» was alive and the myths were facts. Later he became a historian but always kept a great love and good taste for folklore. According to him:
1) An «Angel» is a fairy; not a nereid (which is actually a female spirit dwelling in the springs and sources), but a nymph.
The «Psalakantha» story in Psalakanthos’ link makes sense. There are so many pools in Ikaria, hence as many nymphs.

requiescat in pace

2) The Ikarian mothers invented all sorts of stories to frighten their children away from these pools (not to play, swim or sleep around them). They didn’t want them to drown or catch pneumonia -which was a deadly disease before antibiotics. So the originaly benevolent Angel/Nymphs were calumniated and presented as monsters. They were supposed to mesmerize their victims with reflections and colours and so drag them to the bottom (where there would be palaces and treasures etc. etc.), but in fact they were turned into slaves etc. etc.
3) The Ikarian mothers of the old times were very heavy labourers. But before that they had been young maiden too. By inventing the legend of «evil pools» they were protecting a secret of their own adolescence : they visited these (hardly accesible) places and swam ! If they were seen, well… it was not a teenage neighbour Maria, Eleni, Anna, but NYMPHS = terrible «angels» -stay away, stay away; turn your eyes and leave at once or you don’t survive !

Myths were so practical in the times before plumbing, bath tabs and showers … especially before the invention of SHOWER CURTAINS !

Thursday May 11, 2006 – 01:02pm (EEST)

Hippie Island! ☀ @Ψ : the pool in the photo is one under # 4 in the list of pools of msg 637
( ) This particular «Angelolivada» is very well known. It was the first I ever swam in (and «survived» !) The photo flatters the pool. Now after the contruction of the road above it, it’s left with only 1/3 of its original size. Besides being near the road, it’s too near Nas so it gets crowded in summer. It’s like an annex to the beach. But it’s still ok as an introduction. I suppose this is why Eleni chose to put this photo in this entry. Maybe because it’s the most known pool, so readers would believe her.
Some other shots of pools in «Lower Chalares» (near Nas)are in:
the hikingIkaria group

Thursday May 11, 2006 – 01:09pm (EEST)

yeah, we are nymphs, *Schubert’s bums* (I liked that -lol), fairies with i-pods. This *good machine* is our secret. We walk listening to music. We don’t talk. Do you know how far *no talking* can get you? We talk in the evening.

Eleni is uploading some photos in her Flickr -artistic as usual. Sorry, no *Schubert bums* in them. Our own beauty would defocus the viewers from the beauty and the complicated-ness of the settings. Currently neither of us is looking for mess around with boys and absolutely not on the net.
«Στη λίμνη τη βουνίσια … τραλαλα» hip hop

Υ.Γ. δεν με πειράζει το περπάτημα και το ξέσκισμα στα αγκάθια, μόνο που πιάστηε ο κ**ς μου καβάλα στο παπάκι …

Thursday May 11, 2006 – 10:21pm (EEST)

love Schubert -hate hip-hop. Sorry youngsters…

Thursday May 11, 2006 – 12:52pm (PDT)

This angelo-livada is so known that me too swam in it (and me too survived). No sounds but the whisper of a thousand «cicades». Floating in the water as a turtle, my breath took the same cicades rithm, my lungs did the same sound of the wings of a dragonfly, I moved slowly as one of the big fishes wich live there, naked as an eel.
Naked and naturally happy as all the nimphs who, only then I realized, were there, hidden by shadows and lights, breathing at the same rithm of cicades, doing the same sound of the wings of a dragonfly, silently listening at Schubert with their i-po(n)ds.

Friday May 12, 2006 – 02:07am (CEST)

WHAT A GREAT SCRIPT FOR THE NEW APPLE COMMERCIAL! I’ll purpose it them, but may be I’ll prefer Mendelssohn’s «midsummer night dream» music.

Friday May 12, 2006 – 02:15am (CEST)

I saw your latest uploads («aque dolci») in Flickr. Very difficult takes ! Who am I to admire most, the amateur trekker or the amateur photographer? I can’t decide.

Friday May 12, 2006 – 01:54pm (EEST)

the *invisible* people salute the return of Jimmy. They’ll remain invisible and won’t bite the bait (for an Apple commercial, a Timotei commercial, or an «Ikaria» commercial). We will remain invisible. We have already given too much. Others should come now and populate our landscapes with bodies and faces.
-ooohhh it can be much better…

Loving is Sharing. Loving is also to help

The lost village adventure

lost village 1 in Ikaria lost village 2 in Ikaria

lost village 3 in Ikaria lost village 4 in Ikaria

lost village 5 in Ikaria lost village 6 in Ikaria

lost village 7 in Ikaria lost village 8 in Ikaria

Eleni inside a Theoktisto



(2 total)

A house of stone, a roof a rock, a mysterious place.
Here to hide from the beasts of hell.

Escaping from a boring wedding

Tuesday January 24, 2006 – 06:30am (PST)

It’s more or less like you say…

Wednesday January 25, 2006 – 12:46pm (PST)

Mysterious, deserted stone huts are great, but I have to say that the stream is my favorite of the set. I seem to have a thing for water.. especially running water.

Why post pics here rather than flickr?

Tuesday January 24, 2006 – 02:32pm (EST)

I loaded those pics with the old huts only for the sake of documentation because I was asked to by higher forces. 🙂
I have the same thing for water and I would be an otter if I could.
This blog serves as a test page and a place where I can copy-paste stories from my notebook very easily and fast, like a personal news bulletin. I don’t want to be a bore in Flickr («oh that Eleni again with her fix for Ikaria») 😛

Wednesday January 25, 2006 – 12:33pm (PST)

According to the local tales, people were building the simplest possible houses in the least accesible places in the mountains to escape from pirates, slavetraders and tax collectors. This is what modern-day Ikarians say but I think that the explanation is simpler and more complicated at the same time. They lived with nature, in nature, and upon nature – the only way they knew and trusted. They lived «outside history». It’s something hard to take and hard to understand. 😛 😉

Wednesday January 29, 2006 – 12:46pm (PST)

Eleni in Ikaria -January 19, 2006



Good evening readers!

Though I wasn’t able to take a shot of the full moon the other day, I went for a hike and found many beautiful waters the following morning.

Ikarian Mountain stream

After that I have been very angry and tense during the last 28 hours.
For starters I tried to html my photos into this blog and it didn’t work. I thought I’d blast it, then I changed my mind.

~~~ This is just another blog, that’s what it is after all. Masterpieces aren’t made for free. ~~~~ 😉

Then my cat came back from her all night wild sex orgies and she gave me a blank look («how stupid of you to think that we know each other».) She emptied her bowl though, and I was pleased, so I didn’t kill her.

I’m jealous of my cat.


My cat Felicia is horny


All of a sudden the sky cleared up around noon yesterday and I rushed out to take photos. Some came out all right but I forgot myself out there in the fields and so I burnt my lunch ! Fortunately I hadn’t invited anyone. I met my cat in the fileds («who might you be, misses«?) and she let me take one (1) photo of hers

(«I should have charged you 10 euros for that, but I don’t feel like making money today».)

After eating my (burnt) lunch I worked in the garden for a while until the «sorocco», the mad southeastern wind started blowing from the mountaintops. I don’t mind sorocco much because it’s warm, but this time it was cold. So I got back indoors and spent some time on the computer writing my stuff. I also prepared the photos. There was one with a blooming almond tree loaded with an also blooming parasite plant like an ivy and it was such a success. But when I tried to lower the analysis so that I was able to post it in Flickr, the whole composition blurred and the colors fused into each other. I don’t want to upload photos of a size over 130 KB. In other countries they have fast connections even at home, but in Greece the system and the lines are poor and most internet users go on 30.000 bps. Connections also are very expensive.
So if I want my pictures to be seen by the Greeks I have to keep them small and fast. So I’m not posting my tree pic -just another one of those things of today.

St Athanassios Name day: Greeks celebrate their name days, that is the day the church celebrates the saint whose name they were given when they were baptized. I was baptized and named Eleni in a Greek orthodox church in Brussels Belgium. The priest plunged me naked (I was a baby, ok?) three times in the water in a bronze basin looking like a xxxxl old fashioned wine cup. I cried my lungs out and so I became a Christian. From then on my name day is Sts Constantine and Helen’s day on May the 21st.
That was a parenthesis.
So I visited two friends who are she-Athanassios, that is they are named
Athanassia. (Girls can have names of male saints, but not the opposite. Boys aren’t given the names of female saints. For example, although my name is very common, I never met a Greek man called Elenos. The Greeks are very aware that the male sex is unstable and tends to alter. This is why I think they don’t give their baby-boys female saint names, in case they do not grow up to be men but women.)
In one of the two Athanassias’ house I met some people who were hysteric about the bird flu. I had had a couple of stiff drinks, so I was stupid enough not to just say chk-chk-chk and po-po-po but to engage in the conversation.
I said that there was nothing that we should be afraid of because we do not share our houses with the chickens as in some retarded areas of Anatolia or Indonesia, our children play nintendos and not with ducklings in the pools and we have refrigerators so we don’t have to carry live birds around as presents or to the market. It was stupid of me to say these things. People knew all that already and my speech made them feel I was a know-all foreign bitch.
The real reason for their anxiety wasn’t the bird flu but the fact that the people of Ikaria feel (and are) far away from the government in Athens.

They are always afraid that the government would prove inefficient in an

However I don’t think there will be an emergency. I have traveled to Turkey and I have seen what the situation is like outside tourist resorts…
As I was feeling tense, a clearly good thing happened: I started exchanging
e-mails with a German hobby botanist who is planning a trip to Ikaria. He visited the island many years ago when there were no paths or directions or anything, a time when local people advised the nature lovers to walk on the main roads so that they wouldn’t get lost or tired. I wrote just for the fun of talking about plants as well as to assure him that this time his visit will be successful -the paths of Ikaria and especially the ones in the way they were re-designed in Rahes, were not planned just for sportspeople or as an alternative to the beach on a stormy day. They lead or run across places. I mean real meaningful ‘places’ -interesting sites. I hope my German friend writes to us a short report from his botanical trip to Ikaria. We do not have any in the file «environment» of .
I also received a few nice comments under my photos at Flickr.
Even that old ‘pink’ beach shot of mine



attracted attention, oh my.
Now it’s foggy and raining. There was a short blackout too. We rather suffer
from electric pole flu. I felt like screaming, but the power came back soon after.
I turned on the comp and I’m sending out this blog.

Γεια σας τωρα
Αυριο η μεθαυριο παλι



(4 total)

Go ahead and upload big photos to flickr! They resize them so that nobody downloads the big versions unless they click the «all sizes» button. Some of mine are > 2mb.

Thursday January 19, 2006 – 07:32pm (EST)

to Ψ : I’ll try to do what you say, but you also have to consider that my computer and my phone line is no better than what one would expect to find in a ‘barn’

Saturday January 21, 2006 – 01:24pm (PST)

Στις πηγές του Μύρσωνα είναι τα νερά;
Σε πειράζει να βγάλω ένα μονοπάτι μέχρι εκεί;
Έχει πολλά κατσίκια εκεί γύρω;

Friday January 20, 2006 – 10:50pm (EET)

Μα εχει μονοπατι, σημαδεμενο με σωρους απο πετρες.
Ναι εχει πολλα κατσικια. Λιγο λιγο θα τα φανε ολα και μετα το βουνο θα πεσει κατω ! Ηδη ολα τα ρυακια ειναι γεματα χαλικια και αμμο.
Καλα, δεν υπαρχει αλλη δουλεια να κανει κανεις στην Ικαρια απο το να εξαπολυει ελευθερα κατσικια στα πιο ωραια μερη και να τα τρωνε ! ΤΑ ΤΡΩΝΕ, ΛΕΜΕ!

Overgrazed Ikarian mountain Atheras

Saturday January 21, 2006 – 01:14pm (PST)

Τhere’s great news about this ! Your instinct brought you to a very remarkable place. Somewhere on a hilltop between the three streams which unite to make Myrsonas you must have ran across several old houses, didn’t you?
These houses are of the 17th century or earlier. Stray goats use them for shelter now and destroy their remarkable stone-made walls and roofs (goats can do that all right -everybody knows that). Anyway, this is the long searched for ‘lost village’ (το χαμένο χωριό). As I wrote in my testimonial for you in Flickr (and thank you for accepting it) Ikaria ‘opens inwards’ not outwards and this was a good example. I discovered it by chance while I was trying to draw a possible new long distance trail across this strange area (I shall call it ‘the sources of Myrsonas -as «sources of the Nile» -Livingstone forgives). I found and followed some very old (almost completely erased) red marks on the ground and some stone piles here and there.
Simon (you know who) sent me several BW photos of the houses of the lost village. I suppose you took pictures too when you were there. If so, even if they are not good enough, please post them in your blog. Σε παρακαλώ πολύ. If you don’t feel like, don’t waste time to write anything under each one. You ‘ve done already so much. I’ll make the comments if that’s ok with you.


Monday January 23, 2006 – 11:02pm (EET)

I obey, master
I live to serve

Tuesday January 24, 2006 – 02:46am (PST)