The south coast of Ikaria is rugged, harsh, so rocky that in most places depriving the trees of the least bit of soil to hang on to. This makes it very difficult for humans to settle, but it is a playground for the goats. These steep hills also shelter some of the most beautiful, tiny, isolated beaches you can find on the island, of which, Seychelles Beach has an unequivocal reputation.
Here’s another interesting note about Ikaria: After the Greek Civil War of 1946-1949 between the nationalists and the communists, the Greek government used Ikaria as an exile location for the defeated commies. Some 13,000 people affiliated with the Greek Communist Party, KKE, were sent to the island. Considering the current population of Ikaria is just 8,500, you can well imagine the impact of this relocation on the island’s political demographics. And which party do you think wins all the elections on the island today? Yes, you guessed it right 🙂. Even today, the island is referred to by many Greeks as the Red Rock. It is funny though, Ikarians are also very devout Orthodox Christians. Nowhere else have I seen communism and religion going so much hand in hand, but then again, Ikaria is not just any place.
Yesterday’s itinerary was the south coast, Seychelles Beach to be precise. You get to the beach after an hour of driving from Agios Kirykos. The roads are considerably narrower than those on the north side, winding up and down and back and forth. There is no way of getting all the way to the beach by car. One may either park the car by the road and climb down the cliff or take a small fishing boat from the nearby village of Magganitis. I wasn’t going to opt for the easy option, so I parked Mr. Riodopopoulos above the clouds and started hiking down.
There is no point on talking about the amazing aquamarine waters of Seychelles Beach – the photos are self-explanatory enough. But the highlight of the whole day, perhaps the trip, was the tiny, beautiful, under-stated Magganitis village. With houses overlooking the vast blueness that is the Aegean and the cutest little harbour, this fishing village offers the real isolated Greek island beauty in one’s imagination. And the delicious Ikarian ratatouille cooked from vegetables grown by the owner of the taverna himself in his backyard, accompanied by a glass of Mythos… for some people, there is heaven, eden, paradise to go to; for the likes of me, there is Magganitis.
I returned back to Agios Kirykos in the afternoon to give the keys of Mr. Riodopopoulos back to Christos and for another leisurely pint. After a gentle walk back to Therma, I went back to my room, and lied down on the bed. I had to gather back my energy a bit before going out for dinner. The sun was setting slowly. I closed my eyes.
When I opened them back, the same sun was this time rising over Fourni. That was unplanned for 🙂. I washed my face in the sea and had a long breakfast in the next door café. I packed my bag again and said my good-byes to Margarita, the lovely young lady who runs the rooms I was staying at, and the old couple living next door. I slowly walked the scenic road to Agios Kirykos and installed myself at a café on the coast. Today, I will have a few beers and enjoy my book until the Dodekanisos Seaways hydrofoil takes me to Pythagoreio in Samos, from where I will board the boat back to Kusadasi. I have one and a half hours between the two boats, I hope the connection will be less dramatic than the last one.
I have to express my gratitude to the amazing island of Ikaria, for treating me like the king that I am and allowing me to reign over it for six long days – much longer than many mighty nations tried to do. It would be unwise though to outstay my welcome, for I know that the spirit of Ikaria is all about freedom. I will surely miss this red little rock of mine and who knows, perhaps one day…
Autumn winds increased their strength over Ikaria today. Gone are the long, warm days of the summer. Whether you like it or not, change is on its way. Things are about get different, and different we will have to embrace.