I’m starting to really, really love Ikaria. I have problems moving locations. I can barely go back to school after a break and feel comfortable right away, so imagine my troubles when faced with a foreign country that doesn’t contain my stuffed animals and all my friends (yes, those are two different categories)- it was hard at first, but I just had to adjust a bit.
But here’s the thing that made me have a change of heart. After class in the evening, a bunch of us went to what was being described as a special beach party they have when it’s a full moon. It’s on the south side of the island, across the mountains that divide the mountain into north and south. The ocean on that side is super calm, because the wind comes from the north and the mountains stop it. It was quite possibly the most beautiful sight I’d ever seen. Definitely top 5. And this was only in the nighttime- it’s probably just as amazing, if not better, during the day. We drove all the way up to the tallest part of the island, which is about 3,000 feet tall. We also went through the tunnel, which essentially looks like they used some TNT and were like “k we’re done”- it looks like it can just cave in on itself any second. Really cool though. It was an amazing drive, and the moon was reflecting on the ocean so luminously and JUST like in the last scene Mamma Mia- all that was missing was Amanda Seyfried rowing a tiny little boat out into the abyss singing some classic Abba.
Just the drive alone would have been worth going, but I actually had a really nice time. I was hesitant about going because I was really really tired and didn’t want to have to be alert and social. But it was actually pretty empty, even though it was 11pm. We did find Giselle and Paulo (the Italians) there though! We got a drink and sat at the place, which overlooked the ocean and the moon and was like a classy version of a beach bar. Also, yesterday a 30ish year old from Athens named Maria arrived. She’s staying here to basically help Michalis with excursions and activities and such, which there aren’t really much left of, but just as an extra Greek help, and she was with us.
I talked to her for basically the entire night as to the difference in lifestyle in Ikaria when compared to Athens and other places. She is absolutely in love with the island, and comes for vacation whenever she can (she’s a teacher so she comes on breaks) and hearing about her passion for the island really made me see it in a different light. People here don’t have things to stress about, and they are borderline nocturnal- she said sometimes they go straight from a Panigiri to work, and then sleep afterwards. She said once she went out for a drink at 6am, went to the beach around 8, then came back and slept at noon. And everyone is so nice here- they don’t stare at you when you walk by, they greet you, and are easy to strike up conversation with. The communities and families are all very close-knit. It’s very far-removed from everything going on in Europe which allows you to just relax and enjoy the natural environment and everything. She does love Athens too, but listening to the way she described the island while overlooking the little ocean inlet with its bobbing little parked boats made the place feel as magical to me as it does to her.
I didn’t get a chance to share about yesterday because when I got home I was exhausted and went right to bed, but here are facts! The day time was uneventful- woke up around 9, and by 11am, I was already feeling tired and a bit listless after only eating breakfast and doing the crossword, so I went in to Evdilos with Anna (along with Vilda) because she wanted to bring something home to her husband, and then we went for a swim. Anna can be a little bit crazy at times, but I enjoy spending time with her, especially if I feel like I’ve been sitting around too long. The beach we went to this time was really nice. The water was calm, and actually a bit colder than the other beaches, so it was extra refreshing. I had lunch, did homework, and sat outside for a bit afterwards, before class which was from 5-8:30ish. For some reason I was ridiculously tired afterwards, but I still decided to go along with our original plan to go to the party, and I am very glad that I did.