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Folegandros Fotos: Metaxi Mas TR pt. 5 finale

Folegandros Fotos: Metaxi Mas TR pt. 5 finale

Old Jan 5th, 2022, 02:53 PM
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Folegandros Fotos: Metaxi Mas TR pt. 5 finale

Kalisis mera fellow travelers (hey Jude). What follows is again lengthy, a mini-Odyssey adventure that serves as the conclusion to our Metaxi Mas Greek TR. The imagery will once more be mixed with music, plus plenty of extra text. In an effort to convey something of the isle of Folegandros, the following foto sections will be used: Hora, Ano Meria, schistoze slate, floral, people, Karavostasis port, Anemomilos, cats and whatever other themes seems to make sense. Hungry readers will find a local recipe near the end.

First, an overview composed of both words then imagery. Friendly Folegandros is a southern Cycladic island with a population of about 800 folks. As a travel destination, it was once the semi-secret haunt of Europeans in the know. Then word began to spread. I visited alone in March '92 and took a number of portrait pictures of 'nisiotis' (islanders) during that off-season visit. Later in 2014, Mrs Z and I returned together, hoping to give those same subjects copies of their photos. This TR combines details about both trips. Trust me, there are some tales about the modern history of the island that will make reading through to the end worth your time.

Folegandros is no longer 'untouched'. The humble isle's growing popularity has been due to a special blend. One half of the isle offers a rough-hewn hinterland of authentic farming traditions. That rural half is matched by one of the most appealing Horas in Greece, a poetic dreamworld whose arty charms enchant visitors both day and night. I use the following phrase in a number of TR's: 'Beautiful' is a tired word. But whatever else it has become, Folegandros is undeniably 'poli rayo' picturesque. No wonder that artists love this place. Diverse offerings await the paintbrush and the camera.

Folegandros fig ('siko). *Clicking on the image may result in better quality.

Folegandros is shaped like a bow-tie. That is, if the wearer has just been drinking the local rakomelo all night (raki heated and mixed with cinnamon, anise and thyme honey).

Lovely sights seem to abound in Hora.


The ravines of Ano Meria grow olive trees.

The whitewashed walls of Stavros Church. Folegandros has a preponderance of churches and chapels, the latter serving as 'praying points' scattered all over the isle.

An old menu poster from bygone times.

Daphne Apostolopolis, Greek feline Chess Champ 2012. We played 2 dozen times and I won every match, except for twenty-four.

Our trip journal containing the names of those folks whose pictures I once took 22 years earlier. We were successful in finding about half of them.

Folegandros has its share of fishermen, but not as many as found elsewhere in the Cyclades.

Some 'fascomilo' (wild sage) tea, the elixir that often saved my butt back in '92. I'd come underdressed and unprepared for the windswept isle's powerful shoulder-season storm.

*Some wit posted a shot of this very same scarecrow from this year---wearing a covid mask!

Margarida was one of the numerous Folegandriotes whose portrait I once took. She ended up marrying the son of the island's Head Priest.

The other reasons why travelers come include pristine beaches, very good hiking (best map--'Terrain') and world-class cliff scenery. One can eat well here and there is a range of accommodations. Note that a 2-fer trip combing laid-back Folegandros with nearby and busier Santorini, is very doable. *I also tape-recorded a wide variety of audio here back in '92 and will try to also post some of those audio highlights here later in 2022 e.g. schoolkids singing the 'Mrs. Vagialo' song.
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Old Jan 5th, 2022, 04:42 PM
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Some Folegandros History before more fotos.

-3000 BC--first settlement (to leave traces) on isle.
-Invasions by Ionians, Minoans, Phoenicians, Macedonians, Athenians (a tax roll relic as evidence), Romans, Venetians, Ottomans.
-the *Roman era signaled the first usage of this remote isle as a place of exile; supposedly Tiberius sent 10,000 enemies here; coins were found depicting portraits plus charging buffalo, as well as bas relief showing riders atop charging horses; a headless torso sculpture remains on the isle.
-grim history: raids by Algerian pirates result in at least two de-populations; some of those kidnapped end up in slave markets in Istanbul plus Cairo; lore has 12 survivors coming back down from the mountains to find their island empty of people.
-the Sea of Crete being just south, Cretans are invited to become part of the re-population efforts; they now make up a significant part of the gene pool.

-1941-43 saw both Nazi and Italian soldiers in the area, with the latter as an occupying force.
-1965 first cement floor in a private home.
-1970: first car delivered by caique from Ios; first hotel opened.
-1973: concrete road up to Ano Meria farm area installed.

-1974: military junta revisits history by once again making Folegandros a place of exile for detainees; leftist opposition members are sent here and immediately, the quality of education in the school improves.
-1976 or 1984 first electricity (depends on whom you ask).
-1986: first sewage system installed.
-1992: first visit by noted Canadian travel writer-photographer.
-2014: despite petitions and fund-raising aimed at preventing his return, that same Canuck comes back and this time, brings his wife.
-*more about the legendary Hrisospilia ('golden') cave later on.

Pounta Square has the first vista that visitors see up in Hora. It is a natural balcony. the view includes Sifnos, Kimilos and Crete. This square also contains the school, the war memorial and a key bus stop.

The square also features the Pounta restaurant, which opened the very week that I visited back in '92. The owners are typical of a number of local couples--the wives are ex-pats. Best caper salad that you'll ever eat!

These young men were in diapers when I previously visited.

Part of the exterior decor in Pounta restaurant's outdoors courtyard, in this case, a 'found thing' likely from the ground. I think.

Another Pounta decor item, an oversized bottle-cap display from the '70s. Back then, Folegandros boasted but one (tiny) grocery store and it too featured this same decor item as promo.

The primary school which may've also once served as the City Hall. Current mayor Eleftheria Papadopoulous was one of three elected officials nation-wide who broke the gender barrier in recent Greek elections.

The old, original sign for the Laoumi ('rabbit warren') cafe-cocktail bar, first on the island. Young owner Dmitrios Venios was one of the friendliest Folegandriotes.

Present-day Laoumi.

We had difficulty connecting with Dmitrios, so we ended up leaving this photo from '92 wedged into a shutter at his business. The shot showed Helena, Lefteris, Anna, Thodoris, a few of the local teachers, plus Fotis and Dmitrios.

The first night of my '92 visit, I 'experienced' (its the only word) one of Folegandros' wild winter windstorms---you have no idea. The following morn after things had calmed down, the entire isle was surrounded by an alien turquoise ring. That'd been caused by the local hillsides of green schistoze slate having been washed down into the Aegean. The above shot barely approximates that special visual.

Divers love Folegandros. Even from the surface, one can see 20' down. They value its underwater world of clear water, war relics, sea-caves and coral. I've yet to see any imagery of local fish---anyone got any to share with us all here?

Mother Nature bats last on Folegandros, providing wonderful views and more besides. *next: Hora
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Old Jan 5th, 2022, 05:08 PM
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Trio Tekke-- 'Rotten Luck'. Enjoy!
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Old Jan 5th, 2022, 08:13 PM
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Hora is a car-free quartet of irregular, interlocking squares clustered around old water wells. This is Piatsa (aka Kontarini). The restaurant on the left is 'O Kritikos' (the Cretan), so-named for the late owner, Christos, son of the original policeman on the isle. He had a distinctive silver moustache and was once very kind to a certain visitor, the sole tourist on the isle in March '92. I enjoyed many meals huddled next to his pot-bellied stove, as nearby elders fingered worry beads.

The Euro Basketball championship was on the taverna's b+w TV. One of the watchers was a local, 10 yr old problem child. The poor, snot-nosed kid wore a filthy, sheepskin vest, and someone had taped a bandage-gauze directly onto the back of his unshorn head. O Kritikos owner Christos, had just turned down a blank check offer to buy from an infatuated Italian scriptwriter. The latter wanted badly to create a Zorba-like play featuring the life of Manolis. *Note the empty Theokepasti bell-tower.

By day or night, Hora is the place to be for family-friendly, quasi-boho, old-school, romantic atmosphere. It is 200m above the sea.

The style that one sees throughout Hora is tasteful, unassuming and innocent. Like this amphora and

this dark grill or

this blue grill.

Some churches are Byzantine.

Lovely hand-made sign.

An orthodox cross. It seems that there are between 50-200 churches across the island.

Some buildings are newer.

Others not so much.

Close-up of carved window lintel.

Same wall on St. Antonios church in Hora. Love the old fire hydrant.

St. Antonios door, with its carved stone lintels. Few are left, due to the mass pillaging done by the Ottomans. Archaeologists think that these lintels were sourced from elsewhere on the isle, by the church builders.

St. Antonios-of-the-tumbleweed-growing-atop.

St. Antonios as it connects to the above Piatsa Square.

Hora by night: one of Europe's Great Travel Moments. One visiting Athenian chef likened the nightly summer atmosphere to that of an old-fashioned wedding reception: laughter, kids roaming safely and all-around good cheer, all under strings of theatrical, naked fairy lights. Throw in the intoxicating smell of 'nixta louloudi', the Greek night flower (jasmine).

This is either Maraki square or its more high-profile neighbour Danouvi (i.e. Danube due to an ancient stream). It is popular with Italians, due to the Italian-speaking taverna owner there. During hot summer afternoons, the shady trees create a pleasant canopy: acacia, plane, tamarisk, pepper and locust.

The Selino peninsula lies far below Hora.

Arty shadow on wall.

Irene has always rented out 'dhomatia' rooms. Back in '92, hers was one of a few that I toured before committing. I returned 30 minutes later, after deciding to go with her after all, only to discover that she'd commenced painting that room. Irene had erroneously assumed that I was not interested, a miscommunication. She nonetheless allowed me to photo her young sons in the living room, as they held antique hunting rifles. *She didn't look like other locals and may've had a different gene pool.

Yellow hibiscus.

Next: the harshlands of Ano Meria. But first, more music. And dancing.
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Old Jan 5th, 2022, 08:18 PM
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Melina Mercouri's iconic 'Ta Pedia tou Pirea' (Piraeus lads). The real version.
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Old Jan 5th, 2022, 08:26 PM
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My fave Greek pop song about love, 'S' Agapo' by Yiannis Kotsiras. Mrs Z and I experienced a wonderful moment of bliss while the studio version of this tune played repeatedly, earlier on this trip one night on Perissa beach (Santorini).
The music then created in us both a sense of 'kefi', or the Greek 'carefree sense of Life'. Much sought after, but not always easy to find.
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Old Jan 5th, 2022, 08:33 PM
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Here is a brief clip that someone shot on Santorini. The handsome young man shown, Nick Drossos, seems to be a North-American tourist with Greek roots. He dances the traditional
Zeibekiko very well indeed. Nick's athletic background serves him well in this dance session, yeah? He and his musician pals are right by the main Fira cathedral fence. Dr. Fauci told Wolf Blitzer on-air tonight, that those who try to do this dance, will definitely-maybe reduce their odds of contracting omicron by 57%.
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Wow, zebec, just what I needed - your incredible photography after a crap day….you transported me somewhere else, thank you.
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Old Jan 5th, 2022, 11:41 PM
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Tawny all over, Ano Meria ('high place') is the NW half of the island. It is an elongated community of sparsely-populated rural hamlets. The landscape is an arid hinterland composed entirely of parched farms and small-scale-agriculture. The most remote corners here call for 4WD or better yet, taking bus #11 (get it? stick legs). Walkers love to ramble along the meandering 'monopaita' trails spread throughout. This is a well-marked wilderness, a hiking haven of barren beauty and undulating hills. I was amused to learn that one isolated valley was nicknamed 'Canada'!
Here one sees 'themonia' ('gather together') or small farm complex units. These are composed of circular grain-threshing floors, olive crushing corners and rainwater cisterns. Once in '74, a naive German hippie drew the ire of his local host after mistaking the cistern for a bathing source and thus, washing his long hair there!

Ano Meria. Folegandros has a public bus, rare for such a small isle. The vehicle travels the single, spinal road from Karavostasis port (the sole harbor) up through hora then onto Ano Meria. In February '92, that bus was shut down for over a week, due to an ongoing windstorm, maybe the Meltemi? The concern then was that the powerful sea-wind gusts could possibly tip the bus over as it traversed the more exposed sections of the road, as shown above top right.

Oxen, mules and donkeys have long made for crucial farming assistants, without whom...

Ancient 'skales', hillside rows of tumbling terraces that have grown wheat and barley (for cattle) for centuries.

In the rugged stoneland of Ano Meria, skales would disappear without their boundary 'louria' fences. The farmers who tend to them are known for riding their mules and donkeys side-saddle. Tough as tanks those survivors with sandpaper palms, who still place a huge premium on retaining precious soil within those louria. Just think of their arduous uphill-downhill toil, long exposed to the ruthless sun and ceaseless wind, year after year.

Rugged and rocky.

A wild beauty pervades here.

The green lid of this container is a slab of the local schistose. Ano Meria is the source for most of that ubiquitous slate.

Lemon trees would be shredded as soon as the first winter storm arrived, so a clever problem-solver created a good remedy.

This newbuilt round structure is a traditional 'limonata', a circular 7' shelter designed to protect lemon trees from the hard winds of winter.

Everything is recycled, nothing is wasted. One older woman created baskets from old plastic bags.

Goat-gate one.

Goat gate blue.

Echevaria aeonium succulent.

Ano Meria got style.

Traditional folk art style.

Hanging garlic wreath--a natural drying process seen all

over Ano Meria.

Farm decor or

something more superstitious? This over-dried beetroot was matched elsewhere in Ano Meria by clumps of drying flowers and herbs. Maybe they were intended as natural barometers, like their counterparts in southern France?

As above.

The graceful folk architecture of Ano Meria's scattered chapels creates a pleasing geometry. I love the artful hard edges and soft edges. Here a detail of one belltower base.

Those places of private worship gave me a welcome respite from the savage winds back in '92: shelter from the storm. I recall the wafts of exotic incense.

I was alone 99% of the time and most of those more isolated chapels cut quite the lonesome figures.

Another example.

Yet-another remote Folegandros church.

The tilted tree of Taxiarchis Church.

Remote Panteleimonas Church has a popular patio for social gatherings. There, Mrs Z and I heard the tinkling of distant cowbells, hawk calls and goat bleats. We also saw some prehistoric fern fossils close by.

Cacti and shrubs sometimes can be found in ravines here.

Prickly pear is more common.

Autumn pomegranates. Off-season produce can be quite rare here and folks await the weekly ship delivery. There is also a water supply ship that delivers to this dry island.

Doo-hickey door 'B'.

Not to forget the farmer's true friend and mouse-catcher. It seems that Folegandros is known as 'the cat isle' by animal lovers (versus Santorini being 'the dog island').

Still life of old objects.

On some of those long footpaths used by hikers, the smell of pig shit is unavoidable.

Well-used machinery on one themonia.

Wild plants and

not so wild ones.

One of the most common motifs here: a circular threshing floor.

A 94 yr old Ano Meria woman died the year before my original visit. She apparently had never ventured down to the Karavostasis port, let alone traveled to Santorini or Athens!

Ano Meria is losing its old demographic, as elderly farmers pass on.

Rural berries, name unknown.

Livestock" Folegandros was the final Cycladic isle to finally give up the sheering of sheep for clothing and blankets. It still exports 2,500 lambs to other parts of Greece each Easter.

Margarida was 9 yrs old when I photographed her, along with a number of classmates, as they were visiting Ano Meria's Folklore museum back in '92. Their teacher Costas, gave me permission. Now she has her own daughter about the same age, Polexeni. It was a wonderful surprise during one of our seemingly endless hikes, to wander into the AKI convenience shop, to show the clerk Margarida's old photo, only to be told, "Of course I know her---she's my sister! Her house is that one over there."

Margariada's hamlet, Analipsi, is at the far end of Ano Meria, past the final bus stop. Margarida's cute classmate, Adriana, lives nearby and has three children.

This is a neighbour's home.

Some of the most authentic tavernas are found in Ano Meria, non moreso than Irini's Kafepantopolea. Her combo cafe cum grocery shop is a place to sample say, 'matsata', a pasta dish combined with rabbit or rooster. Hers is the only eatery open year-round in Ano Meria. We missed her in 2014, a shame. She'd been very friendly to me in '92. I remember her characteristic cackle, the gorse bush piled up outside her shop and the unpretentiousness vibe. Her grand-daughter has taken over. Mixed reviews.

A trio of derelict 'meloi' or windmills. Note the rusted Nazi sea-mine relic in foreground.

Meloi gave a name to our lodgings back in Hora. More about that later.

One farmer with an artistic bent, created an outdoor collage art installment.

I rest my case.

Agali Beach is found at the near edge of Ano Meria. Its one of 20 beaches on the isle. A handful constitute the more popular, but some of the most secluded sandy cove ones are only accessible by boat tour. The bus goes to Agali, which is a fine beach, more 'resort' than the others but still without any sunbeds. The latter are considered the last straw to signal surrender to commercial tourism by many locals!

Be sure to bring a hat, sunblock, good shoes plus plenty of water on your Ano Meria hike. Oh yeah, and a camera.

We were told that vines grew in this small valley.

Ano Meria is the best vantage point from which shutterbugs can take shots of majestic Cape Panagia, with Cape Mistrouli and its green schistose in the foreground. We'll devote a section entirely to that multi-useful slate (such as the building block slabs featured in the below shot) later on in this foto essay.

schistose. green.

A particularly good place to take this image is from the aforementioned Folklore Museum.

The main parish church for Ano Meria is St Giorgios.

Its arch provides a lovely frame.

Little Polexini. *Next: 'Ways of Knowing Folegandros--the Senses'.
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Old Jan 6th, 2022, 12:28 AM
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Ways of Knowing Folegandros--the Senses.

Serene Sights-the stellar sunset view from atop the Panagia summit or themesmerizing colorsof Plaka bay below Hora.

Terrific Tastes-the fresh juices at Pergola Cafe (Anemomilos hotel) or the best 'rakomelo' at Astarti bar (friendly Lefteris plays only the best rebetiko) *do not plan to fly the helicopter back to Santorini after imbibing this powerful local drink.

Invigorating Smells-fresh air and woodsmoke while hiking through Ano Meria in the morn or hanging outside the bakery at opening time in Hora's oldest section, the fortified Castro.

Signature Sounds-the festive nightly noises of Hora or the soft breezes making gentle metallic knocks as they play through docked yacht masts at Karavostasis port (best heard with drink in hand with someone special at Evanggelos bar).

Special Touches- a cold bottle of local Katsika micro-brewery in your hand during a summer heat wave (Endhaksi!) or placing the ring on your loved one's finger while getting married at Ampelos Hotel.

*Bonus taste--Folegandros makes its own thyme honey.
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Old Jan 6th, 2022, 01:09 AM
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Quiz Interlude: a 4 question Folegandros Quiz (circle correct answer)

1) Local hawks are called:
a) talon masters
b) flying death
c) wind-fuckers
d) feathered hunters

2) Posing on steep ridge ledges for selfies is:
a) like, really stupid
b) dumb and narcisistic
c) a terrible way to end a trip to Greece
d) all of the above

3) One may transit around Folegandros by:
a) tour boat
b) vehicle rental: cars and buggies
c) bus and Dmitris taxi
d) all of the above

4) Which adjectives best describe Hora?
a) pure, inviting, Jamaican time and low-stress
b) a hassle with huge crowds
c) a noisy disco den with coked-out partiers
d) none of the above

Check out the pair of idiots preparing for a selfie at the Panagia cliff edge. Dumb all over.

*Next: '15 Folegandros Facts'

Last edited by zebec; Jan 6th, 2022 at 01:12 AM.
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Old Jan 6th, 2022, 01:43 AM
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Fascinating, and beautifully photographed.
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Old Jan 6th, 2022, 07:52 AM
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Stylish door handle, maybe symbolic of Life's exasperating 'circles'.
Merci Ade'. Hopefully crap days are less frequent as 2022 rolls on!

15 Folegandros Facts

1-young teachers and doctors here earn hardship points towards future preferred postings; Folegandros is considered one of the worst, due to its severely windy winters plus off-season shortages. Perhaps this explains why one teacher was notorious for frequently hitting his young students; the young doc whom I met in Petousis village just below Hora back in '92, wore a stylish black leather jacket as though about to go to a disco!

2-July 2021 saw a gruesome murder, in which a young Corinthian couple's argument went terribly wrong; he killed her by pushing her off a 30m cliff into the rocky sea by northerly Ligaria beach, site of the earliest prehistoric settlement. She'd been a young pharmacist who'd never dated before; a more positive story saw numerous mentally ill mainland Greeks benefitting from swimming with a local, wild dolphin who'd been been coming into Karavostasis harbor--many patients had come here after their family had seen coverage of the unique therapy on TV.

3-TV arrived here in the '80s.

4-at the dawn of WWI, one local 9 yr. old was nailed by his impoverished family into an orange crate, then mailed by boat to Athens! There at least, the poor urchin could scrounge a meal. On his deathbed, the now-elderly man who'd often gone barefoot, lost the soles off his feet---they peeled off like so much leather.

5-during WWII, the bodies of downed Nazi and Italian airmen would drift onto the surrounding shores here; their Stukas are still submerged in the nearby surrounding sea.

6-a pair of Danish women capitalized on business ideas that they thought of while visiting this isle; one created a postcard with a pop-up Cycladic church dome, while the other perfected a 'sugaring' technique of removing body hair and took it back to northern Europe.

7-prior to WWII, islanders wanted to determine the extent of the mysterious 'Chrisospilia' ('golden')cave at the base of massive Cape Panagia; so they experimented by blocking a pig inside the cave; unexpectedly, the hog eventually exited all the way up near Hora!

8-that same cave can now be visited only by tour boat; archaeologists have found human remains dating from the 4C BC; the theory is that the ritual site was once some sort of Hellenic or Roman 'rites of passage' chamber--the still-visible names-and-dates etched into the stone walls, are all male.

9-the 80's saw a bizarre occurrence of 'cat cannibalism', wherein vulnerable feline victims were attacked then consumed en masse, right down to their bones, 'like fish fillets' I was told.

10-a San Francisco couple, John and Rick, had done much the same as myself: returned previously-taken portrait copies to islander subjects 30 yrs after the fact on Andros isle; we met the two men on Folegandros.

11-fall 2021 saw a controversy after a boatload of desperate refugees was turned away by the Greek Coast guard just off Folegandros; yachters who'd taken photos of the unseemly event had their cameras immediately confiscated by the Greek authorities; CNN reported that the majority of those people drowned soon after, whereas other news sources showed footage of what appeared to be the same refugees safely returning to Kusadasi, on the Turkish coast.

12-at least one local was sent as a young child to work as an assistant to sponge divers over on Kalymnos isle; his responsibility was to light the cigarettes used to determine whether divers had properly decompressed; after his return home, he grew to become Folegandros' wholesale grocer, a middleman to Athenian suppliers.

13.-celebrities have fallen in love with this isle; Sarah Jessica Parker has become so enthusiastic that some have quipped, 'She should be put on the local Tourism payroll!', while Catherine Zeta-Jones has at times, been a regular shopper in Hora.

14-as always, musical ironies happened during my original visit, call it God's Sense of Humour; once as I peered down at Varina Beach, a vehicle passed with its radio playing Robert Plant's 'Sea of Love' cover, Plant himself having once suffered a serious car accident on Rhodes; another time, Sly Stone's 'Family Affair' came over the radio, just as I was being informed about one family's ongoing difficulties and drama!

15- a Dylan lyric once went, 'And don't go mistaking Paradise for that home across the road.' That applies here. Locals would wax philosophic about just how 'free' they were to live in Folgandros, "I love Life here, away from the pain, troubles, authority, bureaucracy. We all leave our homes, cars and businesses unlocked. If I want to, I say to the mayor, give me the key to City Hall, I need those papers. We could never do that in Athens." Yet the strict local building council also had some cafe owners in tears, after deeming that their new structures were mere inches taller than code and thus, had to have expensive reductive corrections done. In addition, I witnessed locals talk shit behind each other's back, "So you met her at her son's cafe, Zebec?! What? You thought that she was 'nice'? Believe me, she's the biggest bitch on the island!"
In other words, some tourism promo gets carried away and describes Folegandros as some sort of idyllic Paradise, the next 'it' island to take over from chi chi Mykonos and seductive Santorini. Nonsense. Folegandros has its owncharm, its own human culture, warts and all. Just like our home town and yours too. Folegandros faces a dysfunctional national government too (some locals say that they are 'on their own out here, Athens does not care to help us').

*Bonus fact: local bias, despite the bliss.
Though they'd probably not admit it, folks here are unabashedly prejudiced against any non-Greek. The rest of us are seen as markedly inferior. I experienced that fact myself, when a local couple proceeded to mock me when they thought that I'd left the building. Btw, Dutch and German vacationers are preferred by many local cafe owners, due to their greater discipline, whereas Italians and Brits will sometimes put their feet upon tables, move chairs without asking and block aisles. I was not told in '92 which country it was, but apparently one nation's vacationers more than most pisses off those same cafe owners by asking to use the toilet, without even buying a coffee. Water costs, including sewage and anti-pollution requirements, are extra fees that the restauranteurs must deal with in their overhead.

Folegandriotes are especially biased in their attitude towards Santorinians, whom they see as village idiots with the strongest possible local dialect, 'the sleepy dust eyes people' (the accent on Folegandros is strongly Cretan). Hora residents tell jokes about Santorinians, posing them as simpletons:
*You can't ever trust them to share food between 2 donkeys--one of the beasts will starve.
*Fira residents manured their main Cathedral to make its belltower grow taller.
*Oia men once boiled a mule in order to remove its harness etc etc.

Note that as late as the 20C, Ano Meria's farmers who wanted to go down to Karavostasis harbor, would deliberately detour around Hora so as to avoid verbal insults. That is telling, the fact that the 'more civilized' Hora folks regarded those farmers as somehow, 'inferior savages' (their words, not mine).

**Next: the fortified Castro in Hora.

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Gosh, I hope Folegandriotes don't hate solo American travelers like me, who visit just to observe & enjoy. I did feel welcomed, because I was invited by a longtime colleague on 3-4 Greece travel forums, an American graduate student and Graecophile who'd met and married a GREEK grad student & new-fledged Music teacher. He was doing his 3-year stint as head (and only) music instructor in Folegandros Gymnasium. My friend told me, come from your other island for 4 day in early June -- the Gymnasium faculty is celebrating the last day of school. I arrived & was met at dock, they took me up to Chora and there in the square, in front of a taverna you pictured, was a lamb turning on a spit, and 14 rowdy-lively 20-something teachers -- the entire faculty of Gymnasium. We were there the whole afternoon, and totally did away with the lamb, and a lot else. My friend translated most of the hilarity for me -- a great event! I stayed at Hotel ANemousa for about €30/night with amazing "infinity pool" -- went to beaches, took the famous walk up to the church on the peak, was driven all around the island, and had the best stewed goat I'll ever eat. Good Times ... The only UNsuccessful project I set myself was, try to find a rundown, shabby or otherwise unsightly corner somewhere in Chora -- but in an hour's careful search, down every lane, I could find nothing but picturesque perfection. I don't know how they do it!
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Old Jan 6th, 2022, 01:59 PM
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Yo TJ! Sounds like you had a marvelous time there and I'm glad to hear it! Did you stay in touch with your tie-to-the isle? I regarded the Gymnasium staff to be waaaaay more cool than their Primary counterparts. Won't mention the latter by name, but rumour had it that Mario and co. regularly struck the kids in their class---they were despised as educators by some. Btw, the whole middle bunch of folks pictured in that '92 shot seen above (i.e. the old one that I left @Laoumi), were Gymnasium staff, if memory serves. All of course, except for 11 yr old Thodoris, son of Fotis and Anna. Thodoris now manages his parents' Ampelos hotel and has grown to become Hollywood handsome! Think young Viggo Mortensen.

I am done. the isle and its fans
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Old Jan 6th, 2022, 04:35 PM
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The Castro part of Hora occupies the eastern wall. It is the oldest quarter, built in 1212 to defend against invaders. Shown above is the first of a pair of entry arches: Paraporti ('he who takes too many fotos').

Locals drinking morning coffee, at a cafe next to that same entrance.

This is the thick western wall, facing towards Hora. One gets a sense of the 'fortified' intent.

Nowadays, the unpretentious Castro has a number of grannies who are more than happy to rent to 'invading' self-caterers.

One such rental agreement was evident in the pair of suitcases seen at middle-bottom here. St. Nikolaos, with its blue flag signifying 'parish church' status, is seen in background.

Travel writers use phrases like 'a labyrinth of alleys' to describe the tightly-packed Castro. Archway tunnel ceilings here are lined with stringy cypress branches, sometimes covered with lime, earth and seaweed. Some buildings here are 1,000 years old.

Castro got style.

Castro got history A.

Castro got history B.

Castro got kittens that drink Coke and eat sliced ham.

Writer Linda Lancione-Meyer said it best in her Cycladic travel book: "Castro---where are we? Like a theatre set or film stage." This is Kata Roua lane, the cliche foto op for every photographer visiting Castro. Its parallel lane, Piso, was described by another writer a century ago, as being impassable due to piles of pig shit.

alt. shot

Lili Beshraki Square is where one finds the local bakery, 16C Elousa Church , Agia Sofia ('wise lady') Chapel, plus *Pandanassa church, whose courtyard patio has views of Sifnos, Milos, Polyaigos, Kimilos, uninhabited Kardiotissa and the Adelphi Rocks.

*Pandanassa ('full memory card') church.

Same at night.

Same seen at a distance.

This church was built atop the ruins of a temple dedicated to Relentlus, the God of 'obsessive travel reportage'.

Another nearby church at sunrise. Perfect form, like a toy model.

Elaborate Castro item.

Bamboo awning creates shadow pattern on typical blue Castro door.

Castro's eastern wall perches atop a sheer 130m cliff over the edge of the sea. In '92, the sole hotel with an overlooking terrace patio there was the extremely spartan 'Danassis', seen here in the middle. It was the first Folegandros hotel back in 1970. I paid Despo Danassi (5th generation owner lady) 1,500 drachma for a night in a basic room with a single bare bulb. It took 6 blankets to keep warm. *see next foto caption

*I'd not anticipated the storm that was then developing and how my lodgings were to amplify its spooky effects. The 90km winds caused my window storm-shutters to bang against their constraints. Waves raced madly below. Lightning flashes lit the walls. By 2am, winds of surprising force created tornado-like howls. Dogs bayed and babies wept (it was even worse in Ano Meria). It was like a horror movie: I half-expected Frankenstein to suddenly lurch into my cell with an axe, as the roof flew away.

Finally, the storm ceased and the morning commenced. Whew! One child commented to me about the storm's impossibly-bright lightning flashes, "God was taking pictures of us last night!"

The new day promised to be a lot easier to handle. We could all exhale. And send Dracula packing.

In 2012, the Danassis underwent its third major renos in a 40 yr period and renamed itself 'The Castro' hotel.
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Old Jan 6th, 2022, 10:01 PM
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Amazing photos. Thank you! Our memories of Folegandros - beautiful, hot, romantic.
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Old Jan 7th, 2022, 10:41 AM
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Kay has it perfect above--hot, beautiful and romantic.

A smug travel writer recently criticized nocturnal Hora as being 'all chi-chi dresses and fancy sandals.' That's too harsh. And who embarrasses their spouse/mates/partners/landlords by purposely arriving at public socials dressed like a slob?

Folegandros is a great place to engage in fishful thinking. In season its 'Fresh Seafood' all day, every day.

One of the newer *5 hotels offers a cigar bar.

The isle is conducive to creativity and there are courses that one may take. So far, we are aware of yoga and watercolor.

As the ferry approached Karavostasis port back in '92, I tried to convince the young Aussie couple beside me to join in disembarking for what promised to be an adventure. Those two were aimlessly island-hopping. He was a one-armed artist and she held an expensive Nikon. In the end, they chose to remain onboard. Too bad.

Last edited by zebec; Jan 7th, 2022 at 11:02 AM.
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Old Jan 7th, 2022, 10:46 AM
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Answers to the above Quiz:

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Old Jan 7th, 2022, 11:00 AM
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Time for our next musical interlude, George Dalaras. Parakalo enjoy!
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