September 2011 >> Page 1 2 3 4
Fine days this month. You can slightly feel that the season has changed, but the days have been so glorious, that no one is taking much notice. The seas are warm and the nights are mild. For all anyone knows, it's still high Summer.
Above - A new Ithacan, taking note of the sign language of Greece. This little boy will be christened in Exoghi next Saturday. Congratulations to proud parents, Angelique and Thanasi. Below - Andreas is here from Patras, visiting with daughter, Poppy.
Above - Alexander is here from Melbourne. He is off to Italy next, before heading back to Australia.
Above and Right - Vathy at dawn. Still lots of people coming off the ferry from Patras yesterday, but the island does feel a whole lot quieter. All looking very relaxed now. September is a beautiful time of year. Today feels like it will be a hot day. The horizon is obscurred by a heat mist and at 9am, the tiles were steaming. Definitely a beach day for those still on holiday.
September Thursday 1st - If you thought of starting a business on Ithaca, there's a good chance that umbrellas will be the GO. The Pergolas and tents are coming down. Frikes and Kioni have so far escaped the deconstruction, but who knows for how long. Where will visitors eat on windy days, rainy days... No cover in this period of our existence is a health hazard with skin cancer so rife. This law, that the higher powers seem to have turned a blind eye to for years, seems ridiculous. Why allow these pergolas and tents to go up in the first place. they are all over Greece, not just Ithaki. Couldn't the Council, Port Authority etc., have a logical look at the law, maybe update it, modify it, and see how it fits into Greece as THE tourism mecca? Seems like the people that could, don't, so now let's just pull down what businesses (remember we are in a period of economic crisis) have spent thousands of euros on, because the higher powers have somehow regained their eyesight and decided that today we will all abide by the law. I'm not on anyone's side here. Actually the horizon without the tents is far more romantic, but what really sticks in my throat is the way this is being enforced. Greece is financially fragile and you would think that because of this, the people who are contributing to making money for the country, would not be so thoughtlessly impeded. If this law remains, then couldn't the pergolas and tents be gradually phased out to give the businesses an opportunity and time to adjust? Does this really have to happen immediately? Can't think of anything else in Greece that could happen that fast. Maybe this fervor should be applied to the public service. Better stop now, the sarcasm could easily roll off the tongue.
Friday 2nd - Left - Early morning light across Stavros and Exoghi. The clouds will dissipate. It feels like it's going to be a weather perfect day. Above - The day gets underway in Vathy.
News on the bayside front in the north of Ithaca is that Frikes and Kioni have band together to take legal action against taking down their tents and pergolas. The villages were given until Saturday to abide by the directive. The answer was a clear 'NO'. Unfortunately the fines are so high that some may be persuaded to tow the line. We'll see soon enough I guess. I just want to state again, just for those Ithacans who like the bayside without the tents, that I too think it looks better, but I don't agree to the way it's being done. There isn't a single business on this island that wouldn't do its best to attract customers, surely as a community, someone should have gathered them up and said "Let's work on this together." If you remember the big fuss with the Cafe bars and Music Bars a few years ago, that was solved in just that way. Reasonable ideas gave way to reasonable results, making everyone happy. Come on Ithaca! You've got greatness in your belly. It's time to pull it out and show that there is reason behind the madness.
Saturday 3rd - Left - O Nikos Taverna in Vathy. Niko takes a breather before the evening rush.
Vathy has changed its face over the past couple of days. Many of the tents that were taken down, had been put up by the Council over the years, although there were some paid for by individual business owners too. The views are much more open and the town is looking very picturesque. I don't think anyone will argue how good it looks without the tents, but today when the temperature hits 33C, I won't be sitting in the midday sun having lunch on the bayside and I would hazard a guess, that nor will you. This look is fine at night, but during the day, visitors to Ithaca will need some shade. It will be interesting to see how we all adapt and what the impact of it will be on the businesses that count on a lunchtime trade. Interesting days ahead. News on the northern front is that the deadline to deconstruct the pergolas and tents has been postoned until next Wednesday. Below - Vathy Square.
Sunday 4th - Fine days ahead. The long term forecast has mostly blue skies and calm seas to report. That's good for the visitors who chose September to come to Ithaca.
Left - Stavros. Some of you may remember him from the Frikes Supermarket that ran for many years before it was sold. Below - Gerry Maroudas isn't just a hard worker, but he's also the president of Stavros. A title doesn't make him sit back and watch others work. Good work Gerry!
Below - Poppy from Rementzo with Angelique and Thanasis. Now this is a conversation...
Saturday 10th - ithacagreece has been in silence over the past few days because it went on holiday, but I'm back now and things are hotting up, even though the summer season is almost over. While I was away, tents came down in Kioni, Frikes is still holding out, but with hefty fines about to descend, who knows for how long. For those travelling, things are also up in the air with the smaller ferry services halted due to paperwork and safety issues. This is not a bad thing in the long run, but for now it's impact has affected businesses and tourism. There is no ferry service from Lefkada, there are no Day Trippers, no ferry service from Astakos etc etc. Until these vessels get their paperwork and licenses in order, they are staying docked. This is a national issue, not just Ithaki. The issue was brought to attention after a disasterous accident in Russia a couple of months ago. From a Russian investigation, a list of possible unseaworthy vessels ended up on the desks of the Greek government. The enforced docking has effected many travelers and the tourism industry in general, but I would rather know the boat I am taking my family on will stay afloat. It's worth mentioning that the ferry service from Patras - Cephalonia - Ithaca is NOT effected. Service running as normal.
Sunday 11th - It feels a little strange on the island at the moment. There should be more people around, but with some of the ferry services not running, the only means to get here is by yacht or from Patras. We get to have our own private paradise in September. It's still very warm and the beaches are almost our own. Left - Robyn, Melissa and Helga take their first swim at Krouvoulia 2 beach near Frikes. They are here from Leongatha in Australia.
Above - Passionate discussions errupted in Frikes yesterday when the Mayor came in on his boat to talk to some of the business locals. Of course the primary subject was the taking down of the Pergolas and tents. Now can someone ask why Sami in Cephalonia, amongst the many other bayside villages in Greece with Pergolas and tents, don't need to take down their tents? Apparently by next April, new Tents will be erected, and although there is no written guarrantee qualifying this, the Mayor has given his word. For now Frikes still has its tents up and are hoping to avoid the big fines that have buckled the rest of the island.
Left & Below - Angelique and Thanasis baptised their son Alexis yesterday at Ag. Marina church in Exoghi. This was the first time I had personally witnessed a baby smiling and enjoying the actual christening. The only time he cried was when he was dressed, but the dunking and oiling, pleased the little one very, very much. Congratulations to the family.
Stavros now has a Wireless Hotspot and it's free. This is good news for the visitors to the north of the island, also for those living in the radius who won't have to pay for ADSL.
Monday 12th - If you want cigarettes in the north, you will now have to go to Frikes. Margarita Cafe, no longer sells them. Below - Everyone wants a photo with Odysseas. The bust of Ithakis icon can be found in the Stavros park, across from Sortiros church in the village square. Below Left - Cemetery Beach in Kioni. It go a little windy yesterday afternoon around the beaches, but it was still better to be in the water than under the hot sun.
Now that things are quietening down a bit, locals get to begin their summer holidays with brunches and swims.
September 2011 >> Page 1 2 3 4