The newer port cities in Ikaria, such as Evdilos and Agios Kirykos, were built after the mid-1800s when piracy was finally eradicated on the island.
People regularly fish in this harbor. Surprisingly, the water is very clear, and dozens of medium-sized fish can be seen swimming in the shallow waters here.
Evdilos is a gateway for many of the locations in the North. There are other smaller roads that bypass Evdilos and seem closer to certain destinations, but generally the decision comes down to the following: “One-lane paved road with blind corners or scarier one-lane dirt road with blind corners?”
The herb pictured above is a type of sage that is native to Ikaria. The flavor is reminiscent of North American sage, but with a more complex and pungent flavor.
People in Ikaria drink tea from herbs they have gathered themselves. Many people who live here have a deep connection to the natural world, and recognize the edible and medicinal plants that grow around them. Several times, I have walked into the cafe holding a strange herb I’ve gathered in the mountains, and most people know the name of it and can tell me how to prepare it.
On our second day passing through Evdilos, every single business in town is closed. We are told by a Greek, in English, that it is due to a strike regarding “taxis.” We set off for home, perplexed as to why everything else was closed if it was only the taxis that were on strike. Later someone else explained that it all had to do with “taxes.”
Strikes occur very frequently in Greece. There is no reliable way of finding out about them ahead of time. As a result, we have three different back-up plans for getting off the island in January in case of transportation strikes.
Ikaria has several ancient castle ruins and a unique landscape that caught the eye of the major series “Game of Thrones,” which approached the government of Ikaria several years ago with the intention of filming the location of “Dorne” here. The official story is that “Greek bureaucracy” impeded the process. The local story is that the mayor of Ikaria said no. Regardless, “Game of Thrones” was forced to find another filming location and moved on to Spain instead.
There is evidence that most of Ikaria was once covered in forest. In recent years, due to EU subsidies, goats have increased three-fold. Overgrazing and associated issues have rendered many parts of the island barren, and are contributing to erosion and decrease in plant species.
There is really not much left of Koskina Castle – one must use the imagination. Though we hear from a friend that the 360 degree view from the top is spectacular, and also a perfect place to watch meteor showers.