Another Treasure(s)

Just when I begin to think that the island has nothing else new to offer, we find something else! With less than three weeks left in Ikaria for the year, we discovered a little known hidden treasure.  Last Sunday my friend Efthimia invited us to go with her and her daughters, Avgi and Sotiria, to the other side of the island to visit Drakano Castle (which we visited last summer), to swim at the beach in Faros (where the children had their field trip), and to visit a monastery in the town of Xilositri.

The monastery, which I hadn’t known about, had been active until 2012, when the last nun living there passed away.  We arrived, expecting to find it closed and planned on walking around the perimeter to just view the property, but when the kids were sitting in the shade, leaning against the gate, it popped open and a man was standing there.  He is here from Athens cleaning the property with a few other nuns, and it just so happened he was at the monastery when we stopped by.  He was kind enough to show us around.

The property isn’t that large, but it has amazing views of the sea and the mountains.  A number of the buildings had crumbled or had been destroyed in the fires on the island in 1993.  During the fires the residents worked hard to protect the church, and it wasn’t damaged at all.  As with all churches we have seen in Greece it has its own unique beauty, including a hand crafted, painted wooden alter.  Many of the rooms and buildings haven’t been used for years, and the kids had fun discovering things that were “quite old”–including a rotary phone which I had to explain to them how to work.

I didn’t learn a lot about the history of the monastery, but I do believe that it was built in the 1700’s.  I really hope that they are able to preserve it and do something with the property.  It was such an amazing place, and I felt very fortunate that a caretaker was there and we were able to see inside.  It would be a shame if other’s aren’t able to enjoy it.

The remainder of the day we explored Drakano again, and the kids enjoyed running around the ruins.  However, I think that they enjoyed the two-hour swim that followed the most.  Later in the evening we stopped by a wedding of a friend of Etfhimia. Sofia and the boys and I returned to Karavostamo after the ceremony, but Rea stayed on with her friends to enjoy the celebration.

This week Sofia and Stella’s brother, Chris, returned with his son Zach (who was here last summer as well).  We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to show them the hidden cave, which Sofia and I think is one of the best finds of the island.  Sofia brought along gloves and a rope so that we could travel further into the cave.  After sliding down a slippery and muddy slope we entered a larger, open area with more amazing rock stalactite and stalagmites.  Some of them were much crystalized and some reminded us of ocean coral.  We also saw a rope hanging from the roof and couldn’t figure out how it got there until Zach R. figured out it was a long root.  The closer we looked, we saw roots everywhere.

And while I share treasures, I will share these two photos.  My father swimming with the kids, and the “Super Moon” of 2013 rising of Ikaria.

Elias, Papou, Rea, and Zach

Elias, Papou, Rea, and Zach

Super Moon, June 2013

Super Moon, June 2013

18 comments on “Another Treasure(s)

  1. sue mikolajczyk says:

    🙂 !!!!

  2. Aunt Stella says:

    I bet seeing the super moon rising over the waters in person was awesome. The Monastery’s
    Icons were beautiful. It is amazing that you have found so many amazing things on one little
    island! Here is hoping that your trip home doesn’t become another “amazing adventure” and
    all goes well. You all will be in my prayers for a safe return. Enjoy all you can in the time you
    have left. Love and kisses

  3. Aunt Stella says:

    Happy Birthday Rea..have a wonderful day

  4. penny bouris says:

    Great photos

  5. renie beidleman says:

    How wonderful! You have provided for a life experience for your kids that they will remember always. What a gift! Looking forward to welcoming you all back home soon. Enjoy the last bits of your great adventure!!

  6. Maddie Ouellette says:

    Beautiful Jackie, bet you can’t believe you leave in 3 weeks! Enjoy your last few weeks!!!

  7. Nina Laliberte says:

    As always, Jackie, you have enlightened all who read your accounts and adventures. So memorable. Thanks for sharing! Enjoy your last weeks and looking forward to seeing you soon! Love Nina

  8. Nancy Buckwalter says:

    Hard to believe your time is coming to end in Ikaria. I have enjoyed your blog so much. You have done an awesome job of having us be a part of your experience. Can’t wait to see you in a month of so.

    • jandcfox says:

      I am so glad you have enjoyed in Nancy. It has been a labor of love. I will love having the memories and photos all organized and detailed….I hated the hours it took me to write each blog!

  9. roula cochran says:

    Jackie, i will be honest and say that i have learned so much from you about Ikaria than i have when i lived there.Although i knew of the places you have visited, i haven’t visited them.
    My sister Sofia has been to Agios Georgios many a times because it was her Husband’s George, favourite place.
    i will definately visit it in the summer.
    Today reading your latest blog i am feeling sad that you will be gone in 11 days and i won’t see you when i arrive in August.
    Not only i will miss you all, but i will miss reading your blogs as i got ‘hooked ‘on them.
    Hope you will all come back next summer.
    where is this cave?

    • jandcfox says:

      As I spend time with Sofia, I am reminded daily of how I won’t be here when you arrive; however, I am glad that all five of your siblings will be together for some time this summer. How wonderful!
      I will come back…hopefully next summer when you are here!!!
      The cave is in Petropouli…..reread the blog on The Big Round Green Tree, and I am sure you will be able to find it! Ha ha!
      We’ll just have to take you next summer. You would love it…so would Peter!

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