August 31, 1956 Savas Georgiou arrives on Ithaka after sailing 6000 miles from New York
there's something about the island of ithaka that brings out the soul of adventure in a person. at least, for the past 20 odd years, it has done that for me.
once the excavation was over in pylos, my son and i got in our rental car, drove to the coast, boarded a ferry and crossed the wine dark ionian sea. i'm never sure how people i bring with me to ithaka are going to react to this remote corner of the world - after all, the island is not on most people's itinerary when they come to greece. for starters, it's way off the beaten path - the only way to access it is by ferry as there is not enough flat land for an air strip. as homer said about ithaka, it is a place 'good for goats.'
but my son told me it was one of the best places we visited on our trip. and why not?
here is one of my favorite views in the world by day....
and before dawn, when the cuckoos are still calling, the sky is creeping between shades of violet and pink
a different view of the main harbor - accessed via a very scary road with a steep drop off that gives me the willies - but is worth the drive because when you get there you feel like you're flying
a happy place
we stopped at a village in the north to eat some good fish complete with lots of latholemono (oil and lemon sauce - poured over virtually anything makes it taste good)
followed by a trip to the beach. ithaka's beaches - as most in greece - are not sandy but consist of smooth egg shaped pebbles. call it foot therapy.
one evening we had dinner out in town with an old friend.
they say beware of greeks bearing gifts? not in this case....costis is a consummate host and possibly one of the most generous souls in the world
a grand time was had by all
the last day i took my son to ithaka's small museum to see the coins i excavated when i worked with an archaeological project on the island.as you can see, he was mightily impressed
(museums are not his favorite thing ;-)
6:45 a.m. day of departure. the ferry is ithaka's only lifeline to the outside world.
if you're not on board by 7 a.m. the gangplank goes up without you.
over the years i've had repeated dreams of missing the boat to ithaka...
not to mention a fear of driving a stick shift onto greek ferries
i've had to overcome it in the intervening years
but sometimes i still get that queasy feeling in my stomach....
....at this very point, when i'm headed at an obscene angle on the gangplank, hoping the clutch doesn't give out
every time i leave ithaka i wonder, like odysseus, if i will return.
my son snapped this photo as the ferry pulled away this summer.
two decades ago, my mother took this shot of me as i stood in this same spot.
like odysseus, i will always want to return to ithaka...
so i guess some things never change.