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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Thu 15 Dec - Below - Vathy Hairdresser to the Stars (Ithaki Stars at least) Eleni, with her son Vagelis. If you think Vagelis looks familiar, it's probably due to his likeness to his father Fanni, Mr. Ena. The family head off for an Australian holiday in January. It's been 5 years since Australian born Eleni has visited her family and friends there. Happy Holidays!!
Above - Views across to the mainland from outside Aetos towards Lefki. The mountain peaks were dusted with snow early in the day, but melted again by midday. The grey skies colour the horizon blue on a cold (ish) December day. Christmas is just around the corner and thus Vathy is experiencing its' annual shopping boom as the community goes into purchase mode for the holidays.
Left - During the Summer months it's a little hard to catch Pagona Vlisma from Paliocaravo Restaurant, also known as Gregorys Tavern, but with Winter biting at our heels, it's amazing who you can catch in the streets of Vathy on an ordinary day. Pagona and her father Gregory, are well known faces to many of the tourists who have passed through Ithaki.
Right - A face not so well known to tourists, but extremely well known to the Spavento twins, is the face of Zaharate, the twins' grandmother on their mothers' side. Zaharate takes the opportunity to get out and about while the twins and their parents are on a trip to the big smoke, Athens. For those of you who visit The Locals, you may also have seen Zaharate in the Lahos community. She and her husband Niko, returned to Ithaki on a holiday over 20 years ago, after many years living in Australia, but once here, decided to stay.
Left - A Room with a View. Actually this is my room with a view. Mid afternoon the horizon clears and the sky slowly begins to turn blue again, at least in the distance. Here on Ithaki, it's still grey and miserable, but it's not so bad when we have a window to the outside.
In the words of Gomer Pyle 'surprise surprise!' After weeks of complaining, writing emails, ringing the help desk, faults and tech help etc etc at Ote, this morning I dialled in, along with all the others on the island who use the net regularly, and to all our delight, we got a connection first time. WOW! We're all hoping this isn't just a glitch in the usual ote disarray, but a fully functional telephony service, finally delivered to the island. Congratulations Ote! You have made our day...Online community of Ithaki
A popular Winter past time on the island is gossip. There must be a rumour about every single person on this island going around. Some are funny, others are hurtful. Ithaca turns into the 'Dallas" of the Ionian with gossip mongers carrying on the tradition of Town Criers by spreading the word. And the word is - didyouhearabout...
Fri 16 Dec - You'd think that with Christmas around the corner, there wouldn't be much time for boredom, but in news just to hand, a Lefki resident, Mr. Lefki Cam also known as Rien the Tattooist, is suffering from this dreaded affliction so much so, that he has taken to tattooing himself. Oh no! Shock. Horror. Mouth agape, look of completel disbelief, eyes wrinkled at the corners. His first winter on the island and it's beginning to get to him. One wonders if his loved one will recognize him when she returns from her Australian holiday. On the bright side, Rien could be Ithakis' first Moving Art Exhibition. For those of you lacking creativity, I suggest you spend a Winter on Ithaca to get your creative juices flowing. There's nothing like boredom to kickstart creatiion, or in my case, kickstart exaggeration. Don't expect the painted man from the circus, I'm just having a little fun doing some creating of my own here. What is not an exaggeration is that Rien Post has managed, where others have failed, to get a response from Ote in regards to failing internet connections. An employee from Ote wrote him an email apologizing for the disruption in service. WOW!!!!! There WAS a problem in Keflalonia. It's admitted. It's official. Not just a figment of our imagination. Now if they could, in future, convey any problems to their staff manning the help desks, we'd all be a little better off. No mention of reimbursement for the hundreds of extra connection charges made for nothing however. Can't have everything I guess.
Makis Andrianatos and friends seem to be putting a little excitement into Friday and Saturday nights in Frikes, with music nights at Rementzo. Plate breaking has been replaced with throwing flowers and rose petals, along with torn up serviettes. Still as messy, but not as dangerous. In Kioni Ouzo Sundays are also bringing people out of their cosy, warm homes and into Spavento Bar. Rumours have it that The Chapries will be playing another gig soon at Mylos Creperie. Ask Niko behind the bar for the details. Everyone tries to do their bit to make Winter pass a little quicker, and those of us left on the island, appreciate the efforts.
Sat 17 Dec - From the above photo, there is no sense that it hasn't stopped raining all day. The sun shone on this north Ithacan valley to illuminate this cluster of Cypress trees for 2 minutes and then proceeded to rain again. No dramatic downpours, just a fine, drenching blanket of rain that refuses to let up.
Sun 18 Dec - Above - Kioni on the bay at Christmas. View towards Avra Restaurant. The past days have been spectacularly miserable with continuous rain, wind, and today, cold. A chilly 12 degrees C with the smell of snow in the air. Most of Northern Greece is already under the white fluffy stuff, which is causing havoc on the roads. Fortunately Christmas brings some colour and light to the island of Ithaca, but one knows it's only a matter of time before snow falls on Kathara.
Mon 19 Dec - It's freezing, there's snow all around on the mainland, high on Lefkada and even a little on the peaks of Cephalonia, but there's not a cloud in the sky and we have great views.
Today, even the shepherd takes it easy, opting for the car to heard his goats instead of by foot.
Above - A suspicious looking white froth, that at first glance looks like surf, but on closer inspection, is just laying on top of the water. It appears something has been washing up again Ithaki shorelines. No one seems to know what it is, or seems to care.
The winter mayhem begins, at least in Northern Ithaki. Last night the phone lines went down with a crack of thunder and a flash of lightning, and stayed down until around 10.30 this morning, the power cut a few times, but not for too long, until this afternoon. On the coldest day we've had on Ithaca, the power goes out for over an hour, no warning, no notice, as usual. But why?? the skies are clear, it's a brilliant day... Northern Ithacans expect this, no questions asked, and a good thing too, because there are No answers.
Wed 21 Dec - Above - This picture is taken from Kalkanis Restaurant in Vathy and depicts the town square in the early 20th Century. What a lovely Square it was in those days.
Above right - Every time Illia comes to Ithaki, he's caught talking on the phone to his girlfriend Maria in the UK. Illia is here to spend Christmas with his family in Stavros. In the early 90's Illia was a dj in some of the clubs on the island, he now makes his living in the Uk as a sound engineer to some popular bands. Music is in the blood. Illia is son to Makis Andrianatos, Ithaks Accordionist, who is currently wowing the island with his music nights at Rementzo Restaurant in Frikes. Below - Getting out of the cold and into Kalkanis Restaurant, where Dina and Vasilis cook up some tasty treats for the starving locals.
Below - Christmas Lights in Vathy Square
After dinner it's off in search of a nightcap. Karamela Cafe Bar, opposite the ferry was pumping, so the locals head inside to join the crowd. Spyro sets up the drinks.
Below - Today the clouds are beginning to form again, even looked like a storm this morning, but it soon cleared to leave a fine, but cold day. No rain expected until the weekend.
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