What's Happening on Ithaki 2007
 
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Ithaki General - Summer Lodown 2007
 
 
For all the news and gossip from around the island, check in on Ithaki General to stay up to date with all ... well, at least some, of what's going on from Vathy to Kioni and all the villages inbetween. All the unrelated bits and pieces will end up right here.
 
 
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Over the past couple of weeks, an issue on Ithaki General has been the lighting of open air bbqs at Limenia beach in Frikes during the heatwave. Please read the response from Nielsons below -

Hi Erica

My attention has been drawn to your mention of us on your website on 26 July.  I thought I would just make contact to let you know a little more about our company and our policies.

On Wednesday night (25th July) 2 of our flotillas were rafted in Frikes bay.  A $%* flotilla came in as well (Lead boat &^%, skipper *&%$), rafted up in the same bay and lit a bonfire.  One of our skippers did go and tell him that fires were banned at this time of year.  They proceeded with the bonfire anyway.

Our crews are very conscious of the dangers of fires at this time and never light them.  They give each of the boats a small disposable bbq and ask them to use it on the shore.  All of them are filled with water when they have used them for cooking.  The Ithaca Fire Dept Ok'd this 2 or 3 weeks ago when they came to inspect a previous beach party held by one of our flotillas.  Our flotilla crews have the fire department phone number, the fire dept are happy with our practice and that we have fire points set up on the beach.  They only ask that our crews call them if they have any worries regarding fires and if, when they are sailing, they see any smoke on Ithaca .  One of the crews did in fact call them last Saturday and gave a gps position where they could see what they thought was smoke rising.  Luckily, it turned out to be a quarry but the fire dept were very grateful anyway.

On Wednesday night the port police and the fire dept did come to the beach and again said that what we do is ok and if we call them in advance to let them know when we will be there then they know who is on the beach.  They had had reports of fires being seen on the beach from locals in Kioni and Frikes.  By the time they got there the Sailing Holidays fire was out.  The authorities did remind them that there are to be no open fires on beaches.

Our crews are always careful to remove all rubbish that they produce and as a rule, make a point of taking away more than they have produced.   Often, they collect rubbish before our guests arrive so that the beach is tidier. All of our boats have holding tanks which prevents any grey water being discharged into harbours and near shorelines.  

Our guests are predominantly families, whose focus is more on swimming, water and beach games rather than ‘getting pissed and bbqing'.

As a rule, our guests are well educated and very aware of environmental issues.  The very fact that they return to holiday with us time and again would suggest that they consider our crews to be responsible, aware, and safety conscious.   

If you would like to, have a look at our website, www.neilson.com <http://www.neilson.com/>  where you can read about our work towards responsible tourism.

If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Regards

Candy Dawson
Manager
Neilson, Nidri.

 

Dear Candy,

I really appreciate you writing to me about this issue.  I am extremely relieved that it was not a Nielsons crew who were responsible for the lighting of bbq on Limenia Beach.  The president of Frikes who had advised me, had obviously been misinformed.  I will proceed to publish your letter in the same section of the site for people to read along with my reply to you, unless you prefer me not to.  Nielsons have always had a good reputation, and by no means would anyone think it was your policy to light fires or to encourage your crew to, people just thought it was a couple of rogue leaders, which we are now informed by you, were from the other sailing flotilla.

Flotillas into Frikes bring colour and fun to the island. Everyone wants to keep it that way. They are a big part of ithacas Summer community.

PS - along with water and beach games, there is a little getting pissed, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as it's not over an open fire during a heatwave in Summer.  I guess I would also personally challenge the judgement of any fire on a beach that has no road access. Ithaca has a couple of fire trucks and a bunch of volunteers, and no matter how well organized, they would have difficulty with a fire around Limenia area. 

 
 

Fri 3 Aug - Now that August is here, remember that the main strip in Vathy, from the Council Offices to Alpha Bank, is closed to traffic from 9pm. You'll need to go the back way if you want to get to the other side of the Vathy Bay. Kioni Bayside is also closed to traffic. Please note the sign. You can pass through the top of the bay to head towards Cemetery beach, but don't even think about turning left toward the bayside. The locals will not be too happy.

Since the heatwave has dissipated somewhat, it's left the island quite damp. You can see, as well as feel, the steam coming off the asphalt. Sticky hands, sticky feet, sticky just about everything. A warm sun with refreshing breeze makes the days pretty wonderful though.

Otenet have stated that all of Ithaca will have ADSL by the end of 2007. Some are saying 'I'll believe it when I see it" but ithacagreece.com is forever hopeful.

Sat 4 Aug - Since the breaking of the heatwave, Greece has been experiencing very high humidity. Weather forecast predicts thunderstorms in Greeces' north/east on the weekend, hopefully it won't spread west across the Ionian way. There's the big Stavros Festival that would not benefit from a down-pour.

Businesses around the island seem to be happy with Summer season, and now with August taking the island into full swing, everyone should be very happy, gathering nuts for the winter. A record number of yachts are sailing in each day and together with holidayers and day trippers, the island seems well packed.

Sun 5 Aug - Everyone is feeling a little nervous with the storms forecast around Greece for today. Sunday is traditionally the day of arrivals, with tour groups and independent travelers coming to Ithaca for their holiday in the sun. A few years ago when it rained in august, holidayers packed up and left the island to return to their countries of origin, where they were having unseasonally good weather. As at midday 1.40pm, no storms yet, yesterdays wind died down through the night, and although a little cloudy, the sun is still shining and it's still quite warm. Tonight is of course the first night of the Stavros Panighiri for which everyone and sundry are keeping their fingers crossed that the storms and rain hold off.

Another quaint complaint - A family holidaying in Cephalonia asked to leave their accommodation due to the noise the crickets were making. They were of course moved to a quieter location at which they complained of too many voices laughing and talking.

Tue 7 Aug - Well, the storms never made it to Ithaca. Occasionally the skies became a little black over the mountains, the wind blew and distant thunder could also be heard from the direction of the mainland, but Ithaca remains dry, and summer continues without a hitch. Knock on wood, ithaca has been left unscathed, thus far, by fire or flood. High fire danger is not over yet however, so continued vigilance is required. High winds over the past few days would turn any fire into an inferno.

Sat 11 Aug - The BIG August weekend is coming up with the Anoghi Festival on the 14th and the Platrithia Festival on the 15th. The island will be brimming over with Mainlanders coming to join in. Ferries are predicted to be full and traffic horrendous, as the big escape from the cities merges on little Greek islands like Ithaki.

Today the skies clouded over quite a bit and the wind was blowing again. No one seems to mind too much as long as there's no rain predicted. A cool change is as good as a holiday for the locals who have been working their bottoms off during this, the busiest of months. Restaurants are running out of food each night, and those who are still complaining that there is no tourism this year, are dismissed as 'not quite right'. This is the month Ithacans go a little loopy. So many people in so little time diverge on the island. 1200 people came off the Day Trippers in Kioni in one 3pm session. One Cafe Bar owner, one of the of the friendliest people on the island, admitted she just couldn't take any more orders. For the first time in her life she had to ignore some of the poor buggers drooling at the mouth with only 10 minutes to drink and eat before their Day Tripper took off again. The most common phrase - $%@#$ *&+%. Second most common phrase 'I'ts madness'. What people may not be aware of is that at this time of the year it is quite common for business owners and staff to do 20 - 22 hour shifts. There are thousands of mousaka and souvlaki to get out. All have families they don't get to kiss goodnight and all are in need of sleep, so when an order takes a little longer, you may feel like complaining, but I wouldn't advise it, August is not a very charitable month for these cranky, tired people. In five years I've noticed the psyche of Ithaki change in August. It's not pretty, but necessary. What some of these business owners do is not human. They take on Superman proportions coping with the needs of those who are here to have a good time and a nice break, and even amidst this August mayhem, you'll be surprised just how well they keep smiling, but at the end of their shifts, they are limp with exhaustion, counting down the days to the end of the month.

 
 
 
Right - The rumours are true. Jessica and Spilios from Isalos Cafe in Frikes will not be continuing next Season. This year they leased the business with intent to buy if all went well, but unlike their harmonious cocktail mixes, the landlord and tennant mix just doesn't have the right ingredients. A good motto is "When all else fails, add sugar", but of course that only works on those with a sweet tooth.
 
 

Sun 12 Aug - Left - You can pick up a program of the Summer events on Ithaca from the Council Offices in Vathy. The program is in Greek and English.

The latest on Otenet.gr - Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep!! or 'The number you are dialling does not exist' HUH???? or dead air. Just wonderful! Back to the Free Server that's not so free. What? That number doesn't exist either? Looks like it's not just Otenet, but OTE (Greeces' national telecommunications Server) lines. Bugger. There's no way out now. Beam me up Scotty...please?

Tue 14 Aug - Left - Rien Post is undoubtedly the most unlikely looking Grill Man, at least in Greece, but that's exactly what he is and has been over the past 2 years at Rementzo Restaurant in Frikes. At first no one believed that a skinny blonde guy from the Netherlands could grill fish to perfection and souvlaki like a pro, but now after almost closing off his second season in the hotseat, Rien has had the stamp of approval by Greeks themselves, who are so appreciative of his skill with hot coals as to invite him to share in the fish that he so tenderly grilled for them. Not bad for a ex - Video Editor
The Anoghi Panighiri tonight and the Platrithia Panighiri tomorrow night, mark the zenith of the Summer Season and usually its hectic end. It's predicted that by next weekend the island will be sleepy again, but last year the same was predicted and Ithaca didn't quieten down until around October. This year, Kioni has been inundated with hundreds, upon hundreds of people every day coming off the Day Trippers, so despite its very quiet beginning of Season, the village is completely overrun now. Left - Elena, always smiling despite long shifts on her feet.
 
 

Over the past month getting a phone connection has been frustrating to say the least. An OTE employer in response to another complaint, admitted this morning, that there is a problem with the line between Stavros and Vathy. People can call in, but when placing a call out, there were some major and lengthy interruptions. As of 5 mins ago, still couldn't dial a number, hopefully the problem will be fixed speedily and very, very soon. Time to use the emergency wireless connection if I want to upload any time today.

 
 

Fri 17 Aug - Left - Peter from Fiorendino Bar in Frikes may not have enough time to head to the beach for a swim these days, but thanks to the heavy workload and long shifts, he does at least get to at least swim in his clothes. Yes, he's just a shadow of himself these days. Fiorendinos first Summer season has seen the Fatouros boys shed pound after pound, slogging it out at their very popular, and deservingly so, Bar in Frikes.

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Sun 19 Aug - Below - Looks like this Tom cat missed the varous Vets visits to neuter the cats around the island, organized by 'Argos' Foundation this year, but everything has an upside, the cats' marathon efforts kept Frikes entertained for about 1 hour yesterday afternoon when he decided to put on a show on the roof of Rementzo Restaurant. It's not only superman that can leep buildings in a single bound.

 
 
 
 
 
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Fri 24 Aug - Right - Kentro Cafenion, the cafe with the best view of Polis Bay is experiencing some difficulty this Summer with excavations in progress on the adjacent plot. Not only is the noise deafening and the dust and dirt, annoying, but now a canope to keep the dirt away, is also blocking the view.
Left - Getting ready for the Community. Last night, Exoghi put on an invitation only party in the Village Square to raise money and to discuss issues concerning the village. If this party were held in winter, they may have been able to raise enough money for a cup of coffee, but now in August, when ex-pats and part-time locals raise the Exoghi population 10 fold, the result was a big success.
 
 
Right - The Ithaki Fire Department is on alert again as another heatwave hits the Ionian. Temperatures close to 47 degrees raise the possibility of fire, so the Fire Department volunteers remain vigilant during this time.
Left - Ariadne (miss Rementzo Restaurant) is growing up. We caught up with her in Stavros while taking a walk around town with Christina, her babysitter. Ariadne says 'HI' to all her relatives around the world. At the end of September, she may also get the opportunity to say more than just a Hi to her mum and dad, Poppy and Nektarios, who are busy in Frikes serving up the best of Greek for the multitudes.
It looks like Ithaki Season will continue way into September. The general elections scheduled for next month will bring many living away from the island, back to the island to vote, and will also bring the country to a veritable standstill in regard to daily business with the elections taking priority over all. It also seems that the biggest tourism on Ithaca this year was due to Greeks themselves holidaying on the island. Greeks from all over the country choosing Ithaca as their holiday destination made for a last minute scramble for rooms. Pre-booking by Greeks is rare, at least for a little island like Ithaki, so there was quite a bit of creative accommodating over the past month.
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