This is my very first post on "My Trending Stories". I am very excited to share with you the experience of visiting a beautiful island, Ithaca. For  this I want to thank Nikos and Hara, two friends my wife and I met during our trip to Constantinople back on 2012. They live in Ithaca. They have two beautiful sons, Spyros and Sotiris. They kept inviting us to spend our summer vacations in the island, and finally this summer we did it. Thanks to these guys my wife, my son and me, had the chance to meet a really seductive place. Homer’s decision to place there Odysseus’ Palace is 100% justified. 

Southern Ithaca view from Moni Katharon (Monastery).

The moment we arrived, we were enchanted. Ithaca’s natural vegetation is impressive.

View of Vathi from Perachori.

The beautiful little traditional houses do not in any way disturb the balanced combination of trees and sea.

Crystal clear water!

There is Filiatro beach, my personal favourite.

Filiatro beach.

Here I get splashed by Christos (my son) and Spyros.

There is Shinos beach, a remote one, where you can approach on foot, via a small walk path.

Shinos beach.

There is Polis beach, which I didn’t enjoy that much, though I got some interesting captions.

Out of order!

There is St. Ioannis beach, which is practically a small piece of land between the mountain and the sea.

St. Ioannis beach.

 

There is Kourvoulia beach, which in fact consists of three small bays in a short distance from each other.

Kourvoulia beach.

And of course there is Gidaki, the most popular Ithaca’s beach.

 

Gidaki beach.

 

There are two ways to get there. Either you take a difficult walk path from Shinos, or you can sail there with a small boat you take from Vathi.

We chose the second way.

Our transportation to the beach.

Just arrived!

 

Beautiful beaches. Aren’t they?

But Ithaca has many other beauties you can explore except from that.

It has marvellous architecture, and pretty decent roads, for a Greek island.

Old house just outside Kioni.

The island’s history goes really back in time. It was chosen by Homer as king’s Odysseus home land. There are several archaeological sites, from the Early Helladic and Mycenaean  to post-Byzantine Era.

The truth is that I didn’t have sufficient time to visit all the sites. All though, I did visit two post-Byzantines monuments.

Moni Katharon is an orthodox monastery(it is mentioned for the first time in 1696 AD), on the mountain Niriton of Ithaca, at 600 m. height. It is a very significant place of worship for the locals, and the view from the belfry is spectacular.

Moni Katharon. Monastery, Katholikon. Dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin.

But I was really surprised by a church dedicated to Virgin’s Dormition in the village Anogi(which means: upper land), at 500 m. height.

It was built in 12th century AD. It is decorated with marvellous frescoes by Antonios from Agrafa(a region of central Greece) at 1680 AD, as it is written on the church’s stone built iconostasis.

Saints on the temple's walls.

The iconostasis.

We stayed at Vathi, the island’s capital. It has about 2000 permanent residents and in 1982 it was declared as “preserved settlement”.  There are many other beautiful villages, Exogi, Anogi, Peragi, Kioni, Frikes, you can visit. I will never forget a local folk festival at Exogi: music, happy dancing people, “souvlakia” and lots of beer.

There are several dining and entertainment options. But in the closure of this post I suggest you should eat at “Sirines”. My friend’s Nikos restaurant at Vathi. If you like to check it out try this link: http://sirines.eu/.

Chef Nikos Kostopoulos will sure do his best!

Cheers Niko!

 

 

Originally posted on my blog: https://vasileiosavramidis.wordpress.com.