June 30, 2011

STARBOARD DAYDREAMING

Argostoli Bay, Kefalonia
Argostoli Bay, Kefalonia
Argostoli Bay Kefalonia
Argostoli Bay, Kefalonia
Lixouri, Kefalonia
Waterbreakers at Lixouri Harbor, Kefalonia

The short ride by ferry from Argostoli to Lixouri is usually totally uneventful. Almost like taking a shuttle bus to get from one part of town to the other. Most people who make the crossing with a car on-board, don't even bother to get out of their vehicles. It is the frequency of the crossing, and the familiarity of the view, that are responsible for this indifference.

I always see it as a small adventure and make sure I'm equipped with camera, long zoom lens, etc. You never know, after all, when you may just catch a seagull doing unusual acrobatics, a sea turtle following the boat, or an interesting scene unfolding at the Lighthouse (here's where the long zoom lens comes in!)
There are, however, times that a pocket camera is all that is needed. Just to get a couple of quick snaps for recording purposes.
The remaining twenty or so minutes are best spent leaning over the railing and star gazing - even in broad daylight!

June 29, 2011

FOOT MASSAGE A LA CARTE

beach time on Kefalonia
Skala Beach, Kefalonia
Skala Beach, Kefalonia

It's  time to trade the practical but boring under desk foot stool for a more refreshing one.
One with built-in foot massage.
With tickling accessories like sand and pebbles...
With an open top...
With alternating bursts of cool sea breeze and soft white foam...
Possibly, with another pair of feet to mingle with...
It's time to take those tired feet from under the desk and place them under the sun....




This "apparatus" is readily available in several places.


But Skala - in my humble opinion* - has the best accessories...


* based on repeated on location trials!

June 28, 2011

YUMMY PICKINGS!

tastes and aromas of Kefalonia
Wild plum tree, Kefalonia
Wild plums @ Xenopoulo, Kefalonia
Spent a bittersweet weekend at the village. Bitter because every little thing there is reminder of my dad who passed away a few months ago.  Sweet because the wild plum tree he planted some years ago, had its best yield ever. Nice, round, ripe too! It has been decades since I indulged in just picking fruit off a tree and devouring it on the spot.
It is ironic how often I've described the tastes and aromas of Kefalonia on brochures and websites, without having enjoyed them in this most simple manner for so long.
Faith reconfirmed...
Filled up several bags to carry back to my friend Katerina; she knows how to make this taste last longer. Over the next few days, she will pit them, cut them, and do her secret magic until they show up again in vases as marmalade or jam. (I'm trying to convince her to go commercial with this God given talent)
Meanwhile, go ahead - pick one!
Even the ones captured out of focus are yummy.......

June 27, 2011

STEP BY STEP

Kefalonia Sunrise
Sunrise observed from Xenopoulo, Kefalonia
All things new need patience, observation, nurturing, and sacrifice...
Like the sun's daily rebirth....
You have to have patience and be observant to catch every phase....
You really have to lose some sleep to catch a sunrise, but it's worth every single breathtaking second........



June 23, 2011

THE SUN ALSO RISES

sunset at Avythos Beach, Kefalonia
Sunset at Avythos Beach, Kefalonia


It's a wonder how even a mediocre day can end gloriously and in bursts of shape and color. 

Sunsets, as beautiful as they are, do have an element of melancholy, of regret, of endings...
Of Bittersweet Closure...
But also of hope, expectation, relief, renewal...
Because as certain as the sun goes down, the sun also rises.....

June 21, 2011

LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION....

Argostoli,Kefalonia
Midday swim at Maistrato, Kefalonia
There's a misconception that people who live on an island year round are on permanent vacation. Though there is some truth in that, it is a misconception nonetheless.
Perhaps it's a misconception we, ourselves promote. I mean, how can I tell Grace, my best friend back in NY, that I haven't been to the beach yet???  She is coming out here to visit in August and warns me by email "not to be too obscenely tanned."
Strolled down to the pier today to get a few shots of the "Queen Elizabeth" that docked in Argostoli this morning. Then on to Maistrato to get a different angle. The scorching sun put strange ideas into my head: abandon the pc on my desk, let the screensaver keep it company, put the camera away, dive in............cool down, be on permanent vacation!
Oh well, there's always the weekend...
I will look like a happy islander by the time Grace gets here...
cruise ship, Argostoli Kefalonia
CS Queen Elizabeth in Argostoli, Kefalonia



June 20, 2011

I POSED, NOW WHERE'S THE CHEESE???

seagull flying, Kefalonia
Seagull in flight over Argostoli, Kefalonia
I said, Hey! You! Get off of my cloud

Hey! You! Get off of my cloud

Hey! You! Get off of my cloud

Don't hang around 'cause two's a crowd
On my cloud baby ...

June 19, 2011

BREAKFAST AT SEA

Caretta Caretta, Argostoli Kefalonia
Caretta Caretta Turtles, Argostoli Waterfront
caretta caretta, Argostoli Kefalonia
caretta caretta turtle

Not one, not two, but three beautiful creatures frolicking around and giving a show for the small crowd that always gathers on the waterfront on lazy Sunday mornings. A mixed crowd of locals and tourists. The former looking to buy fresh fish off the boats and caiques docked there, and the latter - camera in hand - looking for a unique moment to record on their digital memory gadgets.

It has been 3 years since turtles, myself, and camera availability coincided. So, while the objects of everyone's attention were securing their breakfast, I snapped mercilessly. Almost as if they, I, and the camera would never be in the same place at the same time ever again.

Once this "mandate" was out of the way, I stood there among the crowd and just watched. And marveled. And wondered whether or not the turtles can sense the attention, the admiration, the commotion they cause.



also see previous post  RED MULLETS FOR THE LADY!

ON A MOONLIT NIGHT

Moonlit Argostoli Kefalonia
Moon roving over Argostoli, Kefalonia


She rules emotions, that has always been understood.
But tonight she has outdone herself, pouring out tons of gold over calm waters...
In an effort to bribe the senses of anyone daring to do anything but stare in awe.
There are times when silence is definitely indicated.
Yes, this is one of those occasions.

June 17, 2011

FILLING IN THE BLANK

Fisherman at Sami, Kefalonia
Sami, Kefalonia


 I've always wondered about those blank "Fish of Day" columns in tavern menus, haven't you? How can you order a blank entry?  A natural question, if you are a tavern patron sitting at a waterside table and trying to guess how many coats of bright blue paint have  piled up over the years on those old fashioned, straw matted chairs.
As it often happens, the answer lies within your field of vision. The fishing boat approaches the tavern and the owner - usually the family patriarch - inspects the catch of day, haggles with the fisherman over the price, and voila!  One day it may be humble marine peasants like sardines, the other day royalty like lobster.
Regardless of the entry that fills in the menu blank, rest assured that both parties to the transaction are happy in their private thoughts that they put one over on the other - attested to by the smug look on their faces. In all probability they are childhood friends who've been at this for ages...
Some traditions are hard to part with....



June 16, 2011

A SLIPPERy CHARACTER IN FISKARDO

Fiskardo Kefalonia
Fiskardo, Kefalonia (in October)

I will not succumb to temptation...
I will not succumb to temptation...
I will not!
No pictures of Fiskardo with wall to wall beautiful people, celebrities, yachts etc...
It's a personal bias and a ton of selfishness...
I just happen to adore the place from October to May when I don't have to share it. When only the most "clued-in" visitors are still around, and its sovereignty returns to its rightful owners - the fishermen and the cats waiting for the net to be unloaded to reveal their next meal!
When I can observe in peace a most interesting "ritual": the tabby eyeing the robust Mediterranean slipper lobster roll out of the net, licking her lips and moving in for the kill - only to be scared out of her skin by his well timed movement.  Oh well, a few sardines or whitebait will have to do....
Lovely, lovely Fiskardo, be your usual gracious self for the next few months and I'll see you in October...
Unless, I cave in sooner!

OF POETS AND VISIONS

Petani Bay Kefalonia
Petani Bay, Kefalonia
It was a bright and cheerful afternoon,
Towards the end of the sunny
month of June,
When the north wind
congregates in crowds
The floating mountains
of the silver clouds
From the horizon--
and the stainless sky
Opens beyond them like eternity. 

("Summer and Winter"
Percy Bysshe Shelley)



Of course Shelley had never visited this little corner of the world - unlike his contemporary and friend Lord Byron. What more proof do we need that creativity is an intuitive rather than a visual process?
How terribly fortunate was I to have discovered and espoused the eternal words of these literary giants in Dr. Raskin's "Age of Romanticism" class as a graduate student back at Pace U. Worth every minute*, despite the brutality of the 3 hour long classes of Summer Session!
I can't imagine having to google quotations to accompany my megapixels, when my own words don't suffice!!!

(*Well, not every minute. I never got as "cozy" with Coleridge and cut class on the occasion of "The Lady of Shalott"!)



OH, LUNA MIA!

lunar eclipse

Lunar Eclipse 

June 15th, 2011 9:47pm
Though it rained all day and the sky was cloudy, the Princess of the Galaxy managed to shine through.
lunar eclipse

Dedicated to all
fellow Moon Children everywhere....


June 15, 2011

PHOTOSHOP, EAT YOUR HEART OUT!

Kefalonia sea colors
Agia Kyriaki Bay, Kefalonia
Vouti Beach, Kefalonia
Vouti Beach, Kefalonia


Sure, you've got dozens of buttons, commands, filters, palettes, brushes, masks, tones, textures, layers, levels, curves, etc....
You've got hundreds of ways for color toning, contrasting, sharpening, saturating, fixing, enhancing, turning the mediocre into wow!


But a limestone seabed - you just ain't got!
Sorry!
Myrtos Bay Kefalonia
Agia Kyriaki Bay, Kefalonia (Myrtos)

KITTY'S CHOICE

Kipouria, Kefalonia
Kipouria Monastery, Kefalonia

The edge of my emotional universe, that's what this place is. Sitting on the ledge of the monastery's yard and overlooking the sheer drop of the cliff into the sea, only a stretch of railing separating me from the blue abyss below and  the horizon to the west. It is always soothing and regenerating.
The only living creature to turn its back to this view is one of the old monk's spoiled companions.
It turned out that kitty was much more interested in my camera bag, left carelessly on the ledge. And this time curiosity did not kill the cat but some of the contents of the bag as they went tumbling down the cliff.
Oh, well! Who needs an extra pair of prescription sunglasses anyway? Or a lens cap.... Or a battery charger..... Nice Kitty!

June 14, 2011

CREATIVE SIMPLICITY

Minies Beach,Kefalonia
Sandcastling at Minies Beach

The rising temperature always makes me a bit restless. My laptop screen stares back at me in astonishment; I'm letting it go into sleep mode with increasing frequency. The brain seems to go into idle without warning. 
I may be due for a career change.
Even if it's only for the next four months ....

Hmmm...
Construction looks like an interesting proposition.

What do you think?

PASTEL DUSK


Argostoli, Kefalonia
Argostoli at sundown

Sometimes the sky gets a bit lazy. No gold explosions, no dramatics.
Only reflections in pastel.
But that's OK too.
Sometimes, I regret this attachment with the camera.
It deprives me the pleasure of truly enjoying the event I'm capturing as I'm too caught up in the process...
Fortunately, sometimes these things happen when the camera is resting in its case at home.

June 13, 2011

RINGING ON HEAVEN'S DOOR

Dias Islet, Kefalonia
The Chapel Bells on Dias Islet
Dias Islet, Kefalonia
On Dias Islet

Some places are just that...AWE INSPIRING
So "uncommon," so self-defined...
A strangely formed floating rock, just offshore, with only a small chapel atop and hundreds of seagulls keeping vigil till the summer visitors arrive.
Most come on a pilgrimage in the beginning of July to participate in the centuries-old religious event. Among them, the curious who join in to experience the climb, the view, the exhilaration of being just a little bit closer to the heavens.
The climb is steep and exhausting - I lost count at the 100th step! But conquering Dias is well worth it.




June 7, 2011

THE COLOR PURPLE

Kefalonia Sunset
Kefalonia Sunset - Lourdas Bay

(From Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple, released 1985) *

Shug:
More than anything God love admiration.
Celie: You saying God is vain?
Shug: No, not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off when you walk by the colour purple in a field and don't notice it.
Celie: You saying it just wanna be loved like it say in the bible?
Shug: Yeah, Celie. Everything wanna be loved. Us sing and dance, and holla just wanting to be loved. Look at them trees. Notice how the trees do everything people do to get attention... except walk?
Shug: Oh Miss Celie, I feels like singing!

Oh, yes!
Some sunsets are that way, they make you feel like singing.....

* one of my favorite motion pictures

Kefalonia sunset, Ammes Beach
Kefalonia Sunset - Ammes Beach

June 6, 2011

STAIRWAY TO THE BLUE HEAVENS....

Kefalonia Island



On a clear June day everything seems a bit brighter, a bit more optimistic ....

I could go into the reasons why but, given the verbosity of previous posts, I think silence is indicated...

"Oh! `darkly, deeply, beautifully blue',
 As someone somewhere sings about the sky."

Lord Byron
Don Juan (canto IV, st. 110)

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A BETTER PLACE!

Platia Ammos, Kefalonia
Platia Ammos Beach, Paliki Peninsula

There are places I've never been to, at least not as close as I would have wanted. One of these days, though, I will climb down those hundreds of steps carved into the steep rock...
Maybe...
Till that day comes, I'll just let my zoom lens take me there and join those more brave than myself. Meanwhile, I suspect that they haven't wasted one precious minute looking up at me. Too busy enjoying themselves!
%$#&^*(!!!!!

June 5, 2011

SUNDAY BLUES

Kefalonia beaches
The house is a mess, my hard disk is in urgent need of some serious refiling, the cat is showing signs of neglect, the plants need watering, nothing to wear tomorrow unless I hit the ironing board...
And on top of that, it's Sunday........
Impossible to get all that done today.
I think the wisest thing to do is to just jump in the car and go out in search of a place where I can mope in peace.
Just sit there and be absolutely blue....





June 4, 2011

...AND WATCH 'EM ROLL AWAY AGAIN!

cruise ship pier Kefalonia
flagSHIP arrivals!
When the first big boat rolled in two years ago, docking on the new cruise ship pier, I filled up 3 memory cards with photographs. It seemed so immense, so intimidating, that I had to get it down to laptop screen size! Last summer I upgraded the memory card because once I had the ships' size into manageable dimensions, there were the passengers to deal with! Thousands of them. The  nationalities vary and the demographics are astonishing: students, elderly couples, newlyweds, families with small children, groups of friends etc. Interested, bored, curious, indifferent, inquisitive, reluctant, impressed, disappointed, quiet, lively, animated, expressionless - there are as many dispositions as cabins on a ship.
fishing boat, cruise ship, Kefalonia
Size is a matter of perspective!
cruise ship in Argostoli KefaloniaEach nationality lives up to its stereotype to an extent: the British are discreet and enjoy walking along the waterfront, the Italians roll into town - in groups - like a thunderstorm, the Germans already know where to go and what to see, the Canadians could pass for Americans if their smoother accent didn't give them away, the French would rather circle a town block for hours than ask for directions in English, the Dutch are just happy to find a ledge to bask in the sun, and the few Americans - taking a break from their usual Caribbean cruises - are always searching for someone to take a group shot of them doing all kinds of acrobatics in front of landmarks!
The locals also live up to the stereotype of a nation that hasn't made up its mind yet whether it should roll out the renowned Greek hospitality or continue its midday siesta! 
The curiosity of that first year, when dozens of locals would pass by the pier to see "the monsters," is now replaced by a familiarity evidenced in the ease with which the cruise ships are recognized from afar and referred to by name. From time to time, there's an older fisherman, or two, sitting by the pier and exercising austere criticism at how the captain is mooring the ship. "All that fancy equipment and it still takes him 10 minutes. I could do it blindfolded!" (I doubt it, but keep my opinion to myself when I hear this).

Kefalonia cruise ships

Impressive as these vessels are, it's hard to lose your head over their size when they can actually fit into your side view mirror!  It's their "load" that matters....
cruise ship Argostoli Kefalonia

And, though I'm almost certain that this old timer has probably never heard of Otis Redding, I'll dedicate the verse to him anyway!

Sittin' in the mornin' sun
I'll be sittin' when the evenin' come
Watching the ships roll in
And then I watch 'em roll away again....

THE BRIDE WORE FLIP-FLOPS!

wedding on Kefalonia
To have Joy one must share it. Happiness is a twin."
 Lord Byron
 
As the boat sheared through the emerald waters of Skala to the impromptu dock at the hotel resort, Captain Vangelis and the crew made the last "systems check." Uniform on, pink rose petals evenly spread out amid rice and koufeta - the small white confectionery traditional to Greek weddings - a jar of walnuts immersed in honey, champagne in place, music on.
Leaning on the deck rail, I too was doing my last systems check - lens in place, memory card inserted, battery charged. This was not my first time on this magnificent glass bottom boat; I happen to be its "house stowaway." Today, however, was not to be another scheduled island tour. We were to pick up a couple who had just tied the knot at their hotel chapel, and take them, and their party, to Koutsoupia Beach for their wedding reception.
Yes, the day had possibilities!
Little did I know at the time that this was to be a truly memorable day for all, something that became evident as soon as the boat rounded the tip of the small cape and the chapel high up on the hill came into view. A row of hands, raised against the bright afternoon sun, was waving at the boat and the crew reciprocated by sending waves of sound their way.
Once moored, I climbed out and claimed a spot on a rock to leisurely photograph the boarding. Still no clue as to how this would unfold...
And then, they started coming down the steps of the hill.
Emma and Neal, that's the proper way of saying it, I guess, but that isn't really honest. It took a while to figure out who the groom was (forgive me Neal?) because my viewfinder was exploding with the image of a lovely lady in a dreamy off shoulder, Grecian style, bright white gown. And flip-flops!
wedding party boards boat, Kefalonia
I do however deem it wiser to end the narrative here and let the images tell the rest of the story as no words of mine could.
Just this...
Emma and Neal,
Today, on your 1st ANNIVERSARY
Kefalonia sends lots of sunshine your way.
Thank You for sharing your joy with us!
May the rest of your life be an endless zeimbekiko dance with your family and friends alongside to cheer you on and your steps leading you back here....
Kefalonia wedding celebration

captain Vangelis Kefalonia

June 2, 2011

DANCE BREAK

Let's make a deal...
On days that my body is too tired and my spirit is too weak,
allow me to upload small videos instead of normal posts.
Enjoy!
Note: Ballos is a popular island dance in Greece with almost as many variations as there are island clusters. The music is cheerful and the steps and moves are flirtatious, with loads of improvisations.

June 1, 2011

OFFICIALLY SUMMER!

Emblissi Beach KefaloniaWhat a difference a day makes! Yesterday it was still Spring. Came around a bit late this year and compensated by being especially colorful. But all good things must pass, if only to make place for better things to come.
For some reason, no matter how warm the temperature, I could never get myself into beach gear unless the calendar hit the "right month." Perhaps out of respect for all the yellow and red and pink covering every inch of the land and making it almost impossible to focus on the sea.

But June puts an end to any lingering hesitation ...

Summer is here...
BLUE RULES!

(Photo:  Emblissi Beach near Fiskardo)