Greece, nature, tourism, travel

Alonissos Poem. Song Two (in Ukrainian)

Поема про Алонісос. Пісня друга
Було на острові дуже спекотно й волого,
зовсім не так, як на Евбеї, де дмухають потужні вітри
і де сухість висушила землю в жорсткий сухар
Ми пітніли і одяг приставав до тіл, ми не мились уже пару днів
тільки в морі плавали
ми сиділи в машині, проїжджали кілька кілометрів
і виповзали оглядати місцевість на предмет ночівлі
однак усе зайнято цивілізацією
гірше того: було таке враження, ніби
острів якийсь не такий, як усі, не грецький,
геть приватизований включно із берегом.
Як виявиться згодом, воно так і є по суті.
Дорогою постійно стрічали стежини позначені:
О, кажу, а писали ж, що цей острів для ходіння!
Так от чому, чути у відповідь, ми нічого не знаходимо на березі.
А навколо види непогані. Різні острівці порозкидано
навколо Алонісоса. Але голі-голі, як консервна банка.
Там серед них розкинувся морський заповідник
із тюленями-монахами, їх оберігають і дбають про них, аби вони не вимирали.
Ми ж бачили тюленів лише серед сувенірів іншого дня.
Наш друг стогнав увесь цей час, мовляв, яка ж невдача
спіткала нас, що ми собі тут місця не знаходим,
ох, як же ж не везе! аж мало не у відчай впав
і все надіявсь на “останню спробу” – на цій паралії, на тій,
коли ж ходили ми без нього на розвідку і поверталися ні з чим,
старанно посміхались, старались вигляд мать веселий.
Аж потім рішення прийняли: на північ рухатись, на самий край,
де місце є – чи то село, чи пляж – що зветься Гέракас.
А ми ж давно вже як не їли. А те, що їли, то було
Розчаруванням: на Скопелосі дівчина
нам видала пиріг з солодким сиром. Не те!
Хотіли ми солоний.
Так от, дорога мчить нас в Геракас, і навкруги
ми зчитуємо тільки гарні знаки –
а от машин нема, це означає, що добре-таки там,
а тут дорога так собі, а отже щастя буде нам.
Ми їхали почті натхненні, з останніх сил.
Навколо види схожі були трохи
на південь Скіроса, де камені і кози
і більш нічого.
Аж Гєракас нарешті. Заїжджаєм.
Greece, tourism, travel

Winter holidays

Don’t forget about winter holidays! Choose Greece and do not hesitate to contact me for a quick search of comfortable accomodation for reasonable prices. I could also arrange transfer from Athens airport.

Be free and fly!

20170730_093415
South Euboia cloud. Photo taken in summer 2017
food, Greece, tourism

Anthotyro cheese

If you like soft cheese with minimum of salt, anthotyro is what you have to taste in Greece. It is the secondary product made after the main one – kephalotyri. The best anthotyro however is not sold in the supermarkets. The supermarkets only sell the pale shadows of things.

The best anthotyro is made by those Greeks who have cattle (of sheep milk). It is seasonal because it’s usually produced in May and June, so it’s impossible to find a piece of it already at the beginning of July 😦

During summer 2017, we were offered two BIG, generous pieces of anthotyro by Angeliki, a woman holding one fish shop in K. on the Evia island. Its texture, color and taste were completely different from those of the supermarket “ready-made” anthotyros. More rich, containing small bits of fat, yellowish instead of whitish, and having taste!

Angeliki refused to take money, so the next summer we did not dare ask for anthotyro once again as we would like that the person (Angeliki’s sister) producing cheese was rewarded at least a little bit. I would pay for the home anthotyro three times more than for the industrial one… At the same time, I love Greeks for their simplicity and generosity, for their staying so often so far away from commercializing any bit of any thing, far away from capitalism. Since ancient times, the oldy-wordly barter system is still functioning in this country.

Ανθότυρο (Greek version)

Το καλύτερο είναι να μην το πάρεις στα σουπερμάρκετ αλλά να δοκιμάσεις αυτό που φτιάχνουνε οι άνθρωποι που κρατάνε ζώα, το σπιτικό τυρί.

Η Αγγελική που κρατάει ένα ιχθυοπωλείο στην Κ., μας πουλάει ψάρι μας έφερε δυο φορές ένα μεγάλο κομμάτι, περίπου ένα κιλό ήτανε. Αυτό το ανθότυρο το καλύτερο! Είναι λιπαρό, λίγο πιο σκλήρο αλλά και μαλακό ταυτόχρονα, το χρώμα του δεν είναι τόσο άσπρο όπως στο σουπερμάρκετ αλλά υποκίτρινο, και η γεύση του εντελώς διαφορετική δηλαδή έχει γεύση. Σαν να ‘ταν λίπος ή βούτυρο το τυρί αυτό λιώνει επί το μαχαίρι, περιέχει και μικρά κομματάκια του κεφαλοτυριού. Δεν πήρε λεφτά η κυρία αλλά εγώ θα πλήρωσα για αυτήν την délice δυο και τρεις φορές παραπάνω.

Ακόμα και μια κυρία που μένει κοντά μας στην Κ. έχει κρεοπωλείο με τον άνδρα της, μας έφερε ένα κομμτάκι ανθότυρο.
Τότε καταλάβαμε για ακόμι μια φορά, ότι τα σουπερμάρκετ είναι ένα μεγάλο λάθος.
tourism, travel

Starting point

How did I start my everlasting discovery of Greece? By chance.

In 2003, I came to Athens for one year as a scholarship holder (thank you, IKY!) and as a doctorate candidate in order to work in the libraries and to gather material for my thesis that I was writing in Ukraine. The monthly amount was 500 euros, and most people told me that was a very good money. At the beginning, I had no studio, no hotel room reservation, of course. Such things were unthinkable that time for me, who was going to visit Europe for the first time and who only had 50 euros which my mother gave me in case I need money if my scholarship is not paid quickly by the IKY.

I only had come contacts, and, thanks to them, one Athenian family offered me shelter for a couple of weeks until the moment I find something to rent. But in one or in two weeks, Sophia, her husband Sakis, and the rest of her family proposed me not to leave their house but to stay as long as I need. The whole year. For free. And they would feed me. I asked but could I pay at least for water or electricity. – No, that’s too little money. And we need millions, – answered Sophia, then working at the National Bank of Greece.

Here’s my benefactors’ portraits made 5 years later, in 2009. We went together to the village Loukas on Peloponnese, place where Sakis grew up.

This unexpected confidence, friendliness and generosity of the Greek people that I did not know at all and who did not know me became the source and the possibility of my escapades from Athens, of my discoveries of the Greek islands, like Crete, for example, and all those lands that I saw not only during my stay in 2003-2004, but also afterwards, because when one throws the ball, it never stops.

Crete, nature, tourism

First time on Crete

Winter, 2004.

We took two ferry tickets to Rethymnon just before the departure from Piraeus and spent the whole night on the ship, me trying to sleep in my sleeping bag, he not feeling at ease to do the same. The moment of arrival was almost mystic: that was our very first trip not only to Crete, but also to Greece and to… Europe. It was still very dark, and the dark land of the Minoans was slightly approaching, it was hard to distinguish it from the dark sea. There were only the port lights and very intense aromas, a mixture of the ground, rain, sea salt, and sophisticated odors of the Cretan winter flora. We touched the land of Ariadne, inhaling this fantastic air. Slowly, step by step, we reached the center of Rethymnon and found one open fournos, where we took two Greek coffees and two tyropitas.

At dawn, life of this small town started to move slowly. We did not have any hotel or room for rent reservation. We arrived just like this, unprepared. Me, who by this moment could already link a couple of Greek words; he, speaking funny English. We bought a local newspaper with the local accommodation announcements, studied it for a while and started to call the owners. I felt very nervous and very unsure about our success, about my newly born Greek language, but we managed to find an apartment right in the old center of Rethymnon.

The owner’s name was Chrisoula, she told us on the phone that she would pick us up (we were at the telephone box at the old port). If you’ve ever been to Rethymnon, you probably know its traditional architecture, so we rented an apartment in a traditional house for 15 euros per night. However, it was freezing cold inside, so Chrisoula proposed us to occupy also another room, the one with heating, no additional fees. So we slept in the warm one and ate and watched TV in the cold one.

Chrisoula brought us a precious present: home-made tsikoudia. And after our supper, we drank some of this hot drink and went out for a walk, into – already and again – the dark town with its narrow romantic streets… And that was the best moment… we were laughing, we felt warm, happy like two lost, a little drunk souls, anonyms in an unknown town, on the land – huge island – breathing a powerful mythical aura.

nature, tourism

At the end of the world: Geraistos

Here, on the south-eastern Euboean coast near the Kastri village, you can find the harbour and the sanctuary of Poseidon Gerastios where the Achaeans stopped on their way back home after the Troyan war.

There is no sign at the place like “archaeological site…” and almost no human-made traces of the presence of the god. The traces are only natural.

Attention : those who do not love to cover great distances on foot, get prepared for the 40km trail or rent an off-road vehicle.