October 2011 >> Page 1 2 3
Above - At this time of year there are more sheep and goats on the road than cars. Personally, I prefer this to a traffic jam with cars puffing out smelly exhaust. Below - In Summer these pages dominate with photographs of visitors to the island, now, it's time to get the locals back on. Vathy locals, Ioanna and Nonta with their children.
The ferries are due back tomorrow, with the first run at 7am from Vathy to Patras for Ithaca. Supplies were getting a bit low, so was the petrol. The island without a ferry service makes many feel very insecure, especially the frail and parents with young children. For injury that the Ithacan hospital is not equipped for, the only means is by speed boat to Cephalonia, and if Cephalonia isn't equipped, then it's a nervous time waiting, or taking a speed boat to the mainland. Let's hope that after Wednesday's meeting, the ferry service doesn't go out again. I'm sure there'll be more strike rounds to come.
Right - Vathy Harbour. There are still some yachts docked in the harbours around the island. I believe the yachting season formally finishes at the end of October.
What Greeks need is a site that explains what new laws are now in place. They change every day, and how can anyone run a business when they don't know the laws they're working under. It's a frustrating time. Yes, make money for the country. Yes, clean up the corruption and black market. Yes, Yes, Yes. But... don't let our only means of information be what we hear on the news. I'm not paying for anything that I don't get an invoice for no matter how many times the news healines spout 'Big Fine'. Everyone I ask has no idea what's going on, whether they be professionals or people on the street. All anyone knows is that there is another bill on its way from the tax department to make up for the money that certain government institutions have lost. Those that have never paid tax, still don't pay tax. They're not in the system, so it does feel like money is taken from a productive person (usually by force) to be given to a less productive person. Could whoever is responsible please release their stranglehold from my throat? I'm trying to be a law abiding, tax paying citizen.
October Saturday 15th - There was enough electricity in the sky yesterday to power the world 100 time over. I have never seen anything like it. Lightning coming from every direction, wherever there was a cloud, there was a strike, even if the cloud sat right next to a patch of blue sky. It started in the afternoon and continued right through the night. It was quite eerie at first. There was no wind, no rain, just thunder and lightning. Felt a little 'end of the world-ish'. After a couple of hours of this very strange phenomenon, the real storm arrived with wind and a fair amount of rain, but this time it came from the other direction. How does a front head south and then turn back to head north? My camera battery was dead so I took these shots on the mobile. Unfortunately it doesn't capture the dramatics, but you can believe, it was very dramatic. Before the weather change, the skies were mostly blue with no sign of what was to come.
Left - Lunch. Above - Stavros olive trees. Below - May have to scrub floors for my dinner from here on in.
Sunday 16th - What wild and wet weather we've had these past days! Non stop lightning and rain. The lightning and thunder was coming from every direction. The electricity went off and on, off and on throughout. Luckily it didn't stay off, although Exoghi was left without power last night as another violent wave of lightning hit upon us. Today, we have some patches of sunshine again.
There were some minor casualties from the storm. A few fishing boats didn't quite make it. With the fluctuating electricity, some restaurants also couldn't open for business.
Although the skies seemed to be clearing a little today, the seas were still bulging somewhat. Fisherman took advantage of the weather conditions to fish off the piers.
Ithaca is green again. It hasn't taken long for the rains to wash away the dry scapes to make them lush again.
Above - Stavros is quiet after lunchtime, but there is still some life in it yet during the morning, afternoon and evening. If you're looking for lunch, best call the restaurants before you head out because while driving around through Frikes and Kioni today, they appeared like ghost towns at 4pm. Evenings, it's a different story, especially if there are yachts in the harbour.
Next week is the BIG strike week (although nearly every week there's been a strike of one kind or another) around Greece, everyone that isn't happy with the austerity measures and the t(C)ripple taxes proposed is refusing to work, so if you're traveling to Greece, best to check to see who exactly will be out and how it is likely to effect your travels though Greece. Although we feel protected and secure on ithaca, the cities in Greece, are really feeling the pinch now. Just one question from me, a question which would seem quite reasonable. Why hasn't Greece cut military spending? oh and another question. Why isn't THIS suggested by the EU heads, Troika, IMF??? Huh? There's alot of money in them there army boots! (There's also alot to be gained by keeping them boots filled...i guess. Someone has to buy the subs and arms that are being manufactured)
Wednesday 19th - Greece is almost upside down this week with crippling strikes. Although we don't directly feel them on Ithaca, the island is effected indirectly. Ferries are on strike, which for an island means, no petrol or produce coming in and no one able to leave. Not good news for someone in need . After speaking to the Port authority, we were informed that the ferry servicing Ithaca will be out until at least Thursday, but there are no guarantees. It may be out even longer. Nearly all government bodies are on strike as the strikes roll over. Please check which striking services may effect your holiday if you are coming to Greece, and Ithaca in particular.
Although some of the villages appear like ghost towns during the day, at night they come alive again as Flotillas sail into the harbours.
Left - Frikes harbour side with no yachts moored at lunchtime, but by the afternoon, it was business as usual as the yachts sailed into the bay,
Left - Frikes view from the far side of the bay. After a week of rain, everything is green again. Above - In Stavros they don't keep birds in cages. They keep Buda. In the presence of our turbulent times, it's probably a good idea to keep our spirituality under lock and key. When times like these make everyone a little crazy, we don't want to lose the core of us to greed or desperation. Below Left - With the economy the way it is, some people are taking it on themselves to go back to the basics like growing their own veggies (if you can find seeds that haven't been tampered with) and keeping chickens for fresh, free range eggs.
Saturday 22nd - Strikes continue for the ferry until tomorrow, but then... who knows. The island is already running low on supplies and the petrol is on ration. Let's just look at some pictures.
Monday 24th - The forecast rain for the weekend didn't eventuate. Ithaca is still blue sky and warm sunshine today. There are some clouds forming, but nothing that appears too threatening. Below - Giorgos and Jenny from Spavento celebrated their twins birthdays with another big party in Kioni on Saturday. The party also presented a gesture to Spavento clientelle, as a thank you for their continued business. Hronia Polla to Niko and Theofilo
Left - This building was once a General Store in Kioni. The shelves are still up amongst the ruined interior. A little reminder of 'days of old'.
Wednesday 26th - Left - A baby goat on the side of the road between Lefki and Hani.
Sunday 30th - Last day of daylight savings today. Tonight the clocks go back an hour. We've had some great weather over the past couple of weeks, lots of blue skies and sunshine. Except for this weekend, there aren't many people around. More cats than humans as you can see on photos left. This weekend was the Oxi Day weekend, so it brought many from the mainland to the island to take advantage of the holiday weekend.
As in other areas around Greece, Oxi Day Parade was boycotted with demonstrations. I didn't make it down to Vathy this year due to other committments. I believe that the crisis phsyche has also now hit the island. The state of the government and its debt, is on every one's mind and in everyone's conversations. If we as individuals worked like the government, then we could actually get out a loan and force our neighbours to pay it off considering we squandered the money elsewhere.
Next week the weather is forecast to change, but the weather bureau has said that a few times and the sun is still shining.
It's no secret that today will be the last day of the Season for many of the bayside restaurants around the island, so there are many taking advantage of eating out. Yefuri in Platrithia was full to the rafters on Friday night. Have never seen so many people eating out in late October. Many establishments enjoyed the influx for the long weekend. Ends the Season on a high note. Now it's olive picking time, time to hibernate a little, gather up energy again for the next Season.
Winter on Ithaca
October 2011 >> Page 1 2 3