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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A clear sign of the approaching Summer is Ice-cream in the fridge. At Margarita the ice creams are ready and waiting for big kids and small to enjoy after a Winter without.
Sun 2 Apr - Left - Dimos, Taxi Driver and Lahos local and Panos, builder and Kioni local, take a break at Margarita Cafe in Stavros. Note the t-shirt and rolled up sleeves. Yes, it's a warm and sunny Spring day on Ithaca. Now you don't need to guess why there are bright-eyed, smiling faces in the streets.
Right - Ariadne, dynamite girl in a size 1 sneaker, enjoying a morning at the swings in Stavros after taking her mum, Poppy, for her daily workout. Next it will be somersaults off the high trapeze.
Above - Ester van zuylen gets on her bike to enjoy an inspiring Spring day.

Mon 3 Apr - Right - It's hard to believe that yesterday at 7pm, the evening could resemble an evening in the midst of Summer. The sea, like glass, a sweeping blue sky and golden warmth from the late setting sun. Many coves around Ithaki were already darkened by the evening shade, but this corner, just outside Raxi, was still bathing in glorious sunshine.

Today the weather decided to change with rain over night and during the afternoon, when the previously blue skies, turned black and opened up. As if that wasn't enough, there was a power out from 9am until nearly 4pm. No accident, no unforeseen problem. No, the power out was due to the new restaurant at Xania getting powered up. and for that, the entire north island was without electricity and unable to do business for most of the working day. No warning from DEH. Nice one
Tue 4 Apr - Left - Kioni bay looking a little lonely. A chilly wind and a rainy sky closed in on the day, leaving everyone to wonder if the past week of warm days and mild nights had been a reality. The streets were of course empty, but at Spavento Bar, there was plenty of action as a football match broadcast on Alpha, attracted all the boys in town to mark their territory around the bar for a good TV viewing position. Don't ask me who was playing, all I can tell you is they wore 'red' and had the guys around the bar very excited.
While north Ithaca was draped in a gloomy sky, the skies over Vathy were blue and clear. A great day to parachute into the Square.

Below - This is the time of year when creativity seems to dominate the thoughts of locals. Below - Katrina Parsey from Creative Ithaki Holidays, gets some Spring inspiration from a perfect day.

Above - The quaint bayside of Vathy. Part of the Ithacas capital that where little has changed in years. Here you'll see fisherman fixing up their boats and making them seaworthy again. Below - Yiorgos Karantzis, not a fisherman, but Spavento Bar owner from Kioni, is fixing his boat the 'Evagelistria'. She's been stripped down to her skeleton to be rebuilt with love.
If you're looking for something creative to do during your holiday on Ithaca, you can contact Katrina through her website Ask about this years' creative program at Homers School.
Fri 7 Apr - A walk towards Homers School was a nice interlude in the day. Green fields everywhere. Last night the wind howled just a little through Ithaki, the power went off and on, off and on all night. DEH really needs to do something if a little wind can cut the power so easily. Like good little followers of the law, we pay our bills, even though we don't get what we pay for, and they laugh all the way to the bank, secure in the knowledge that their method of doing business is too powerful for little ithacans to do anything about. Really wish someone had the guts and the power to get Ithacas' electricity securely online and to make DEH accountable. God knows they run a strict ship should someone not pay their bill. More often than not, it's the north of the island that suffers. If Vathy suffered a little more, maybe there would be some louder voices shouting opposition to the power dilemma. Anyway, don't get me started on this. Been grinding my axe too long now. So what news of Ithaca over the past few day? Well, we've had an earthquake. 5.4 at Zakynthos. No aftershocks, so some are wondering what may happen next. Those not afraid of the big bad quake, quickly ease others' minds by reminding them that even during the big one of '53, only 1 person died, and he, of a heart attack. In the house in which I live, I didn't feel the quake at all. The rumble stopped at the door. The Kefalonia ferry didn't arrive one day. There was a problem of course, but try getting an explanation from anyone. Almost impossible. It's back on the seas now though. The weather has been very mild for this time of year. Some locals are already contemplating swimming. The sea has been as smooth as glass and very tempting...until today. The skies have been very eerie and now, at 8pm, they are looking a quite foreboding with low cloud covering the mountain tops looking ready to dump alot of water over us. Our little taste of summer seems to have passed and the darkness of winter is back. Let's hope it's just for today.
The far side of the bay was lit up like a Hollywood Gala. Liberty will shine from this night on. It offers something on Ithaca, that has not been offered in the past and gives locals and visitors to the island a choice in how they wish to dine. The kitchen is slick and stainless steel, the restrooms are luxurious and the space is streamline and classy.
Sat 8 Apr - A glamorous night in Vathy last night with the Grand opening of Liberty Restaurant on the bay. Chef, Nikos Kostopoulos and Omiros Kostopoulos have taken restaurants on the island up a notch with Liberty. Gone are the plastic table covers and whicker chairs as they introduce a new standard of cuisine, decor and service to Ithaca. No doubt alot of money and careful thought went into Liberty. Walking through the doors into the foyer, one wonders whether you have walked through a door that opens up in London or New York. Liberty will no doubt attract the tourists, but also locals who want to dress for dinner and experience the new direction of dining on Ithaca. Very impressive.
Above - Chef, Nikos Kostopoulos. Right - Omiros Kostopoulos. Nikos and Omiros take dining on Ithaca in a new direction.
I was personally very impressed with Liberty and my only criticism would be that the lighting was a bit bright. Don't expect your order to be shouted across the room here. Everything is done with ease and even though on an opening night, you would expect nerves to be frayed with anxiety, the staff and owners were very relaxed. The waiters and waitresses have uniforms and are ready to please. It doesn't hurt that some of them are pleasing individuals to begin with, like Dimos, hard candy drummer and brother to the chef, and Hara, architectural student from M. Lefteraios office. There was alot of attention to detail and a conspicuous lack of clutter and kitchen noise. The choice blend of cigars at the bar give Liberty an international feel and will no doubt start a new trend on the island. Congratulations to the Kostopoulos cousins on an impressive achievement.
A great day yesterday. Lots of sunshine and warmth all around. By early evening a few clouds started rolling in, but they didn't look too threatening. We'll see today.
Mon 10 Apr - Here's a little treat for Mike and Sue in the UK. They're building a house in Kioni and leaving it in the hands of the locals to erect. The least we can do is give them a peak into how it's going.
Tue 11 Apr - Below - Boys 'Outta da hood' Unfortunately hair replacement therapy hasn't worked too well for Vago and Stavro from Vathy. The hoods won't stay on their heads now that their glossy tops are slippery even when dry. Yo ho ho
Below - 8am - Thought we'd seen the last of this darkness.
Wed 12 Apr - Left - Something nice - Maria from Margarita Cafe gets ready for the upcoming season as more and more visitors to Ithaca arrive on the island. It's mid morning and a sweet and coffee tempt many at this time of the day.
Right - Something not so nice. Amazing what you can find in a canvas chair folded up over the winter. Alot of bugs around now Spring is here. Today the temp is set to drop to 18C with some rain expected. Two more substantial tremors hit Zakynthos and the Ionian. One at 3am and the other at 8pm yesterday.
Thu 13 Apr - It's a bit of a shock to go back to this cooler weather after the Summer-like days we've been experiencing, but it is only mid April and it should still be cool and rainy at this time of year. The word is out that we've had quite a few earth tremors over the past days. 9 in the last 48 hours or so in fact. No one here seems particularly worried about them. Tremors are a way of life here, and it's believed, the more tremors the less chance of a big quake, so bring them on. office in Stavros hasn't even heard the rumble, so I guess the newer building have been well protected against this phenomenon. Now for thelatest around the island. Well, there's not much to tell. Easter is around the corner so more and more people are beginning to come to the island. Tour reps are arriving and accommodation preparations begin. New hygiene laws for the food industry has meant some stores have had some major renovations to do. This is most evident in Vathy, the capital of Ithaki, where work is in progress around the Square to get everything ship shape for inspection. There are of course the annual shopfront facelifts going on too. Painting new colours, erecting new canvas etc. There have even been yachts in the harbour.
There are some things that don't seem to get fixed and one of those things seems to be the amount of roadside dumping of broken and unused stuff around the island, especially broken down cars. Seems wherever there's a clearing, someone dumps something in it. This is a big problem for this small island. Where do you put an old car or a broken down fridge. It's not easy to get things off the island, it's expensive and time consuming and Ithaca may well need some help in this matter because continued dumping may leave little room to build those mansions everyone wants to build here.
Some good news for ithaca is that after speaking with Fimio organizer, Alexandros Taflambas, Ithaca north and south, will have outdoor cinema this Summer. It's a great idea and will make everyone feel fuzzy and warm inside. Watching a film under the stars with a few sticks of souvlaki and beer in hand, isn't a bad way to spend a Summers night. As every year, Fimio organizes concerts and shows around the island too, so keep your eyes on Events Calendar for updates and upcoming presentations.
Summer Lodown starts 1 May so before we head into the new season on take a trip back over this winter and others by visiting Winter Specials 2006 etc. So here we go. The next page, page 20, will be the last page of Winter on Ithaca 2005 - 2006 as we end the chilly season with Easter.
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