Ithaca Greece - Winter 2005 - 2006. Greek Island Holidays in the Ionian. Ithaca Ithaki, the home of Ulysses and Homer
Winter on Ithaca 2005 - 2006
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Winter ails are beginning to pass through the community with flues and colds, jumpers are in, T-Shirts are out, heaters are firing up and most locals are home and cosey by 10pm.
The Winter blues begin
Tue 18 Oct - Left and below - Aphales. Over the past few days the drop in temperature has been quite noticeable. The beaches are left to nature and the skies, to passing cloud. Mornings are still and quiet. Some Tour companies left the island last weekend and the rest will be gone by the end of this month. End of October will also see the closing of some of the restaurants around the island, others will have a Winter timetable, closing a few days a week and some ignore the lack of customers completely to stay open as if it were still Summer.
Wed 19 Oct - Above - The expertise of Ithakis' excavators. This crew in Vathy dig into the mountainside to ready the land for building. Workmen with nerves of steel.
Winter? Not quite, but almost.
Thu 20 Oct - Above - From the top of Vathy, Ithakis' capital shines under the afternoon glow while a glassy sea leads into the bay. For many traveling to Ithaca over the past years, the colourful view of Vathy town approaching as the Kefalonia ferry nears the harbour, is a view they now miss with the afternoon ferry docking at Piso Aetos. It was the romantic arrival. Tears of joy would flow as the anchor dropped in the bay. The Piso Aetos arrival, even when the port is fixed up to receive the influx of travelers, will probably never be the romantic port Vathy is, but it is less time consuming for that last leg of Sami to Ithaki. That counts for something when it's a regular trip. The locals, now shed their tears of joy that the trip is only 20 mins instead of an hour and they can get back to Ithaca in time for their afternoon nap.
The heaters are on and the coats and scarves are out. The nights on the island have been icy to say the least. Steam blowing from the mouth. The days have been sunny and fine, quite warm in the sun, but as we head closer to the end of October, the sun has less and less energy to cut through the cold. There's been little rain to speak of, but still the fields are greening up. More and more locals are now in their Olive Groves, collecting this years' harvest, and the pre-winter work cycle has begun. There's building work taking place all over the island. Hammers echo through the valleys, machinery rumbles across the hillsides. Trucks rally dirt and concrete from one end of the island to the other in the quest to get as much done before the rains.
Fri 21 Oct - Above - Cultivated fish at Aetos, southern Ithaki. Right - Cultivated olives at Kravoulia, northern Ithaki.

Sat 22 Oct - Left - Paul and Mel Bowden from Wales. I want to thank this lovely and generous couple for sending me an external modem. These regular Sailors to Ithaki, read about the trouble I was having in finding this type of modem and offered to send me one from Wales, which they now have, and for which I am very grateful. Thanks Paul and Mel!

Generosity abounds with news that the Society of Ithacans Everywhere, has donated funds to Denis Sikiotis, Ithakis' self-appointed Walking Tracks Pioneer, responsible for opening and maintaining the tracks around the island, so that this important and worthwhile work can continue. Up until now, with some help from the Ithaca Council in the past, Denis Sikiotis has mostly done this for no money and in his own time, so it's about time someone recognized Mr. Sikiotis' endeavours as beneficial to Ithaki and its' tourism trade. From this year, walking track maintenance and opening can be undertaken in earnest, with a budget to hire helpers. Those who make their living from the tracks around the island, may want to consider donating to this fund to preserve the future of this project...well I think it's a good idea. Some walking guides already donate their time to help Mr. Sikiotis in the clearing of the paths.
Jessica Bell (Vlassopoulou) plays her debut gig in Athens
Sun 23 Oct - Left - Jessica Bell, aka ash11, one of Ithakis artists and former waitress at Spavento Bar in Kioni, plays her debut gig in Athens on Saturday 29th October at the Micro Mousico Theatro in Koukaki (Beikou 33) in support of Sharp Ties. Doors open 10pm, Jessica on stage 10.30pm. If you're wondering what this has to do with Ithaca, let me set you straight. Tolli, leader of Sharp Tiess is Ithacan and so is the owner of the club...oh and a few Ithacans will be heading to Athens to watch the gig.
Above - Denis Sikiotis (pic by Rien Post)
Below - Dancer Eder Cardoso has given his last dance lesson to the children of Ithaki and says goodbye, at least for a little while, as he heads to Brazil for performance commitments. There were lots of tears, followed by alot of fun at La La Bar afterwards when Eders friends gave him a send off till the early hours of the morn.
Above - Eder Cardoso with friend and Producer, Dimitris Danis (pic by Nicholas Levi)
Mon 24 Oct - The blue Ionian turned grey yesterday. Storms rumbled in the distance most of the day and at night lightning lit up the skies, intermittently cutting power to Ithaki. Although waves crashed outside the bays of Ithaca, inside the bays, the waters were calm and the temperature, very mild, quite warm in fact. It's no secret that Frikes and Kioni, have all but closed down at night. Locals squeeze out what social life is left on the island, but there's no point in fighting the inevitable. The season is over and it's time to tune up the TV and settle back for a quieter time. The new restaurant in Platrithia, Gefyri, opened its' doors last night for the last time this year. A little disappointing for the locals who were hoping to have the restaurant put some life into their winter, but after a busy Summer, even restaurant owners need some time off. For the winter months, Stavros in northern Ithaki, will accommodate the bulk of the locals wishing to socially enhance their lives, and of course Vathy, is always open for business more or less.
Left - Frikes. Lights are on, but nobodys home...well at least the lights are on, on this rainy night.
One wouldn't have been wrong in mistaking Ithaca for an island in the tropics yesterday, with the unseasonably warm weather, that had people stripping back to their t-shirts and planning an afternoon swim. Sundays' storms had no impact on the Sun, which had the pavements steaming for Monday. A nice Autumn surprise for those visiting the island, and those locals who had missed out on the Summer, by working ungodly hours though the Holiday Season. If the weather continues like this, Ithaki will be harvesting coconuts instead of olives.
Tue 25 Oct - Yesterday on Ithaki, everyone heads to the main town of Vathy to take care of business. In amongst the locals, running from KEP to the bank to the lawyer to the accountant to the lawyer to the tax department to the Cafenion to the accountant to, to, to....were a few scattered tourists, making the most of October in Greece. Le Leventi, a huge yacht, settled itself in the Kefalonia ferrys' parking spot, showed a decadent side to the Greek holiday.
It needs to be said that there are many happy and smiling faces walking the streets now. The 'Summer workers' finally get their chance to enjoy Ithaki.
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