Holidays in Greece: Ikaria and the North Aegean sea
January 1, 1970
Experiencing the “no time” zone!
Having already spent a week or so in Samos (Greece), we decided to fill in our holidays by heading it to the island across. So the next morning we took the first boat to Ikaria.
It was 09.30 on the 14th of August. We didn’t have any reservation but couldn’t ignore the recommendations coming from multiple sources not to miss the traditional festive days taking place on the island of longevity!
The main port of the island was the village we arrived. We knew that this part of the island (south) is supposed to be quiet while the other one is to be really busy…
We looked at the map and noticed that on our way to the north, there was one interesting beach to go swimming! And so… there we are… at the Seychelles of the Aegean Sea!
Speechless of the clean water and the fantastic hidden spot, we wished the beach was not that crowded so we could admire more of the magical landscape. The sun went away early in the evening, as the beach was also located on the east side of the island. The weak sunlight combined with the slight fresh air touching our wet bodies reminded us that we should continue our journey, reach a destination and find a place to stay.
Even though people kept coming, we left the Hawaiian beach of Ikaria and after 1 hour of a maze, “far west” type of route, we arrived at the other port!
Amazed by the beautiful small village, we took a moment to enjoy the panoramic view of the exciting scenery coming into sight in front of us…
Little blue and white stores, colorful wooden chairs, and tables setting a circle of special coffeehouses…
We couldn’t resist the temptation; hence we decided to have a quick coffee at Rififi! Before we knew it and without exaggerating, we found ourselves staying at the same place for over 6 hours having absolutely no sense of the time passing…
I remember telling Theodora that we should maybe start looking for a room and her restating the need to find a place to stay, us having the same discussion twice and triple… but none of us getting into actually doing something about it!
Switching it from coffee to homemade lemonade… and fresh salads to beer and wine… it was not until 22.30 when we started calling at hotels and rooms to let…
But our chances were proved haze as we were just being adjusted to the big fact that the next day was a festive one (15th August) and everything on the island was fully booked!
Having admitted that we were entirely inconsistent and before jumping to the ultimate scenario, which we had already thought about, i.e. spend the night in our car… we found ourselves left with one last choice: phone the guys we had met on the ship when traveling to Samos a week ago altogether from Kavala.
That’s what we did. And yes! They… gave us the solution. We drove to Nas, where Alexis and George introduced us to Anna, a kind lady, owner of the best fresh-fish Taverna of the island, who granted us the absolute dream room!
And the day was not over. Or rather… our night was just about to start!
The guys having already spent a week in Ikaria got us directly into the spirit of the island’s life. After eating our dinner at Anna’s place, we were “instructed” to get ready for the night’s traditional fest: the “Panigiri in Karavostamo“.
The four of us arrived at the fest. Really soon another four people joined us and we all sat at a table. During the night we split tables with others and each of us kept meeting new people around… everyone was drinking wine, eating goat meat while having small talks and fun. The free feeling to exchange smiles predominated and there were hugs and traditional circle dances everywhere!
At around 04.30, the traditional “party” was closing down. Everyone was “secretly supposed” to head it off and meet up at Christos’ (or Raches) village, where the bars were waiting to open up and get alive. Whoever had the energy, the courage, and the mood was welcome to have another drink at “Metehmio” or “Sknipa”. We did make it!
Our first night began at 01.30 and really lasted about 6 hours! A typical one, as I now recall. We came back and rest early in the morning, right after we enjoyed the sunrise from our perfect view room. Breathtaking indeed!
It was around 2 in the afternoon that we woke up the next day. We stopped by Armenistis to have our “breakfast”, like everyone else who followed the program described…
We went for swimming to Mesakti-the absolute beach! Only a few words to describe: awesome waters, activities, and gatherings everywhere… Revival through the picture…
Getting back to the room at around 21.00, we agreed and arranged our schedule: 3-hour sleep until we start preparing for the night’s fest-it was ‘Akamatra’s turn!
One of the following days we went hiking in the canyon. The path led to the beautiful beach, where we enjoyed an imaginable sunset!
When the waves appeared, surfers threw their own “party”!
We eventually stayed double the days we intended in the first place. The truth is that if we weren’t aware of the fact that someday we would run out of money we would have quit any plan of leaving Ikaria from the beginning!
If you actually decide to go to Ikaria, make sure you are willing to leave your watch behind and have in mind that there is no rush about anything on the island; otherwise you will feel alone and everything could and should be difficult for you! And remember… Don’t depend on the locals to support you; they are used in a stress-free life which is probably one of the reasons they live so long!