Last Days in Agios Kirykos

Hyundai
Though this may look like the beginning of a commercial for a four-wheel-drive vehicle, it is actually a picture of the Hyundai Matrix that we’ve been driving around Ikaria for almost a month. Due to the expense of gas and the dangerousness of the local roads, we’ll be returning it to the rental car company in less than a week.
Agios Kirykos Port
We drive to Agios Kirykos several days in a row, since soon we will no longer have access to things like grocery stores and banks.

Agios Kirykos Streets

Agios Kirykos Streets

Agios Kirykos Christmas ornaments
Christmas decorations are starting to go up.

Christmas Santa

Agios Kirykos ChristmasTree
In the main square in Agios Kirykos, children play around the Christmas tree, which has been created with a synthetic fabric of some kind.
Christmas Shopping
Christmas shopping with baby, outside the Agios Kirykos floral and plant shop.
Painted Succulents
These succulents have been coated with paint for the holidays.
Chocolate Santas
The sweet shops sell chocolate Santas. However, we have learned that, although the Greeks make some delicious products, chocolate is definitely not their forte.
Christmas display
Christmas displays line the shop windows.
Mistletoe doves
Even the doves are getting into the holiday spirit under the “mistletoe.”
Collared doves
There are no domestic pigeons in Ikaria. These collared doves seem to fill the same niche, pecking for crumbs in areas with a lot of human activity, such as the larger towns of the island.
Fish market in Agios Kirykos
Fresh fish have arrived at the Agios Kirykos fish and meat market.
Balades
The fish at the back of this bin are called “Balades” in Greek and are a form of sea bream. They are a deep-sea fish, which is why their eyes are so large.
Oregano Chips
The Greeks love oregano so much that in some shops, the only potato chips available are “Rigani” flavored.
Oregano chips
I only purchased these chips once, out of curiosity. They did not taste like oregano to me -more like celery salt or poultry seasoning.

We eventually locate some plain potato-chips, which are labeled as “Salt-flavored.”

Feta Container
The smallest size of feta available in most stores is a 2-kilo container, which equals about 4 and a half pounds of cheese.

Given the amount of feta most Greeks eat in one sitting, this container will likely yield only four or five servings!

Stormy Day
On our second day in Agios Kirykos, there is a windstorm starting, and a flight from the island’s one airport has been cancelled.

The area next to the port, which is visible in the photograph above, is usually full of vehicles. Due to the high winds and water, they have almost all been moved away in order to prevent damage.

Agios Kirykos back alleys
The back alleys of Agios Kirykos.

Graffiti

KKE
Ikaria’s communist organization has a large sign hanging near the main square.
Christmas Cats
The many cats of Agios Kirykos have claimed every possible surface as nap space. These two are resting on an olive harvesting net, which is for sale at the nursery in town.

Motorcycle Cat

Cat in dumpster

Many of the feral cats in Greece are Aegean cats, a breed that has developed naturally, without selective breeding by humans, and is therefore resistant to many usual genetic diseases. Aegean cats originate from the Cyclades – a group of islands that lies directly to the southwest of Ikaria. The cats are usually bi-colored or tri-colored, with white being the most dominant color.

Agios Kirykos
Later in the day, a single boat decides to brave the rough waters in the port.

Late afternoon sun

Agios Kirykos boat

Agios Kirykos Jetty
We decide to walk out to the end of the jetty in order to see a tall metal statue honoring Icarus, for whom Ikaria is named.

The large letters on the side of the wall spell out “Welcome to the island of Ikaria” in Greek.

Icarus Statue

According to Greek mythology, Icarus – son of Daedalus – carelessly flew too close to the sun, melted his wax wings, and plunged into the sea just off the southern coast of Ikaria.

Sunlit spray on the jetty
Looking back toward town, the late afternoon sun illuminates the sea spray coming over the edge of the jetty.
Agios Kirykos
The sun shines on the hillside, lighting up Agios Kirykos church.
Icarus Rock
On our way home, we can see Icarus rock from the road. This is where Icarus is said to have fallen when he lost his wings.

This rock can be reached by boat from our village, but most people have taken their boats out of the dock for the winter, so we are unlikely to go on any excursions.

Kitty Diner
Back at our room in Magganitis, the kitty diner is open for business.
Lambros Cats
Up the street, Lambros has the same situation.

Lambros’s sister, Athina, will be staying in Athens until next year. He doesn’t miss her nagging him to put on extra sweaters all the time, but he does miss her cooking. He’s finally solved the food issue by paying one of the women in the village to cook him a daily meal for 150 Euros a month, which equals about $180. He spends the rest of his time feeding stray cats, watching television, taking walks, watering plants, and enjoying general peace and quiet.

Kathoura
Lambros gives us some “kathoura” cheese to try. It is homemade by one of his relatives. Kathoura is a special local cheese that isn’t sold in stores at all, but instead is found in homes and restaurants all over the island. It has a flavor much like fresh mozzarella, and can either be salted or unsalted.
Alekos
Alekos, who is Lambros’s cousin and also the owner of the rooms where we’re staying, has come back to Ikaria for several days.
Balades
He’s bought some sea bream from Agios Kirykos!
De-scaling balades
He de-scales the fish in his garage while one of the neighborhood cats waits patiently at the window for a scrap.
Balades final rinse
Time to give the sea bream a final rinse.
Flouring Balades
Within several minutes, they are floured and ready to go in the frying pan.

Frying Balades

Balades Dinner
Complete with a Greek salad, bread and wine.
Lambros
Lambros joins us for dinner as well.
Aleko's ship
Alekos comes from a line of seamen, and has worked as a ship engineer his entire life. This is a photo of his ship from years ago.
Aleko's father's ship
This picture, from 1933, shows Aleko’s father’s ship.
Ship Compass
Old ship compass
Oil Lamp
Anyone born here before the 1980s remembers growing up in Magganitis without electricity. This is an old oil lamp that was used during that time.
Dusk
There are advantages to being on a mountainous island with very few lights. After nightfall, we are able to see the spectacular Geminid meteor showers from the hill above our room.

2 Replies to “Last Days in Agios Kirykos”

  1. Hannah, I love the cat photos! And that you are feeding them =) Actually, this whole blog is amazing! Although I have to admit that I needed to skip over the dead fish photos. Feel free to make fun of me, Matt.

  2. Hannah and Matt,
    I’m loving the blog, both the pictures and your observations or recording of the days.

    What a amazing adventure! Sounds like you are being treated well and have enjoyed the Greek rhythms of time.

    Enjoy the Happy New Years celebrations Greek style!

    Carol K

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