Friday, September 21, 2012

Kythera: first impressions












As I drove off the ferry and onto Kythera this was the first thing I saw.  An omen?  A portent of further disaster?  A metaphor for Greece and its future?

Fortunately as the road climbed steeply away from the harbour there were better first impressions to savour; vast empty tracts of rocky wilderness edged with mountains between which, here and there, I caught glimpses through gorges of the distant lazuli sea. Kythera is untamed and largely empty.  There is plenty of evidence of the land having been managed in earlier times but the abundance of long abandoned and ruined stone walls, sheepfolds and shelters bear witness to the fact that no agriculture, baring some goat-herding, apiculture and, in wind-sheltered valleys, olive cultivation, has been practiced here for generations.

Architecturally Kythera is as much Italian as Greek; a legacy of hundreds of years of a Venetian presence on the island.  The narrow twisting alleys, vaulted ceilings and arched windows and doorways of Kythera, the town, have more in common with those at Bari, in southern Italy than they do with anywhere I have been on the Greek mainland. 


6 comments:

Don QuiScottie said...

A symbol of the fate of the Euro currency, perhaps? Although I expect that will be refloated and patched up, at great expense for some.

Don QuiScottie said...

We await more words. We like John's words (and photos). And my wife likes your hair (dammit!).

Don QuiScottie said...

Oh, by the way, I blog here now (slight change of address for technical reasons):

donquiscottieblog.blogspot.co.uk

John Foster said...
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John Foster said...
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John Foster said...

Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I too am rather missing the wielding of my pen but my most recent creative mistress is too demanding of my time. I am being tantalised to distraction by her; she is my inability to record that which I see. Occasionally she yields, allowing me to believe I am making some progress but then withdraws leaving me to flounder in misery as I essay to regain her. I have made this affair quite public by, for better or for worse, publishing practically all my hopeless efforts to satisfy her on http://engagingright.blogspot.gr/