The Scents of Ikaria

Today, we had no class, so we had the day to do whatever we wanted. In the morning, I typed up a Sweetly Musing blog post, and then we went in to Evdilos for a bit. Our project for the day was to talk to locals about life in Ikaria, so we talked to the lady at the car rental place, since she was so nice to us last time. Then, we went a little further down the road to a taverna right on the beach. It’s owned by the mother of our teacher, so she was of course glad to talk to us. Everyone would be though, because people here are so nice. We shared a (greek) salad, and our parting fruit gift was an apricot- SO. GOOD. Apricots are a specialty on Ikaria, and they were absolutely wonderful. Talking to her was fascinating, and she even showed us a book of stories she had written.

Afterwards, I embarked on what I thought was an impossible feat- going for a run. I was right. Mostly. Ikaria is a lot more hilly than I expected, as in, real live mountains (the hillllllls are aliiiiiiive), so running= not a thing. I tried though! Went all of 0.1 miles, was all “hayylll no,” and walked. This sounds lamer than it was, I’ll call it more “incremental training,” and I did turn around and go a significant distance downhill. It was also ridiculous, I was running alongside a cliff that on one side I saw a huge mountain range, and on the other I saw a beautiful valley ending at the Aegean sea. It keeps striking me as a fact that people LIVE here.

Anyway, on my walking stints, I decided I hadn’t smelled enough of Ikaria. We’ve been basically driving everywhere, so I haven’t been super close to the nature aspect for a long period of time. Here’s a list of some things I discovered-

• Basil! It’s a thing here apparently. A lot of things are things here. Like every fruit you can imagine and lots of vegetables and potatoes. And goats.

• Along those lines, goats. It smelled a lil bit like horse poop. But was probably in reality goat poop. Although I think I heard a horse down in the valley earlier, too.

• For a brief moment, lye! The stuff in soap that makes you smell clean, or like a suited man coming home from a busy office building on a train. But they have neither of those in Ikaria. Office buildings and trains, that is, there are indeed men.

• Lots of flowers- the big orange ones are the best smelling. There are little white ones that don’t smell too much like anything, but are pretty. There are also these wispy pink ones that grow on some trees, and those smell very florally, like what a perfume might smell like.

• Hay. Again, goats. Donkeys. The works.

• Myself- was not enjoyable.

• Some people drove by in a car. They were heavily cologned. (If you say that fast it sounds like cloned but as far as I could tell they hadn’t individually come up with that technology yet)

• Earth. That’s the only way I can think to put it- just a general smell of ocean, grass, a bit of humidity, and thousands of different kinds of plants. It’s a pervasive smell around the entire island; I’ve noticed it in tavernas and while we’re driving and down at the beach. The kind of smell that makes you take a deep breath and makes you just a little bit more relaxed than you were a minute ago.

Oh, and on my way back up towards the school, I heard something to my right- turned around and there was a donkey 2 feet away from me. First donkey sighting! He was silly and cute.

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