Friday, August 8, 2014

LOADED, COLORFUL OUTTAKES

Before the ink had a chance to dry (*) on the first photo stories I prepared for the KefaloniaWorld e-Magazine, the unrelenting dilemma surfaced. What do I include and what do I leave out? Despite the plethora of images available as a result of years' worth of roaming on Kefalonia with a camera strapped around my neck, the problem is not quantitative but qualitative. Take sunsets, for example, as I have hundreds of such images that I could use. Some of my "better" sunset images - photographically wise - do not mean that much to me. There, I've said it! Let me explain. Sometimes I went about it with a purpose in mind, correct settings on the camera, time to spare and after having consciously picked the location and time so it'd be advantageous in terms of light and sky conditions. So, I do have heaps of "semi-correct" (**) sundown images. On the other hand, sometimes I was just impelled to point the camera at the horizon and snap. Without addressing suitability of lens, settings or position. But Kefalonia does that. You may be on the road driving or occupied photographing sea shells and if you lift or divert your glance from the task at hand you are overwhelmed by colors, shapes and light formations that developed while your attention was focused elsewhere. Then you act on feeling and instinct rather than on plan. And although the images that result are not picture-perfect, they are loaded with memories of those moments and stories that are hard to put into words. Like these outtakes... which will probably never make it to be featured on the site as I'll keep them to share here.
Kefalonia sunset, Dias Islet, Avythos
Sunset over Dias Islet, Kefalonia
Photo above was taken from Avythos Beach on an afternoon dedicated to collecting pebbles and sea shells since the approaching sunset and sky seemed to be dull, monochromatic and otherwise uninteresting.
Kefalonia sunset from Gradakia, Paliki Peninsula
Sunset over Paliki Peninsula
Photo above was taken from Gradakia Beach, while in the car listening to music and daydreaming to pass the time till the full moon became visible in the sky.
Sunset over Livatho, Kefalonia
Sunset over Livatho
Eyes on the road! That is the wise thing to do if you're driving on the Poros-Argostoli road, and not just in the afternoon! But as you drive through the villages of Simotata and Vlahata, you always should be prepared - for me that translates into quick recollection of all possible widenings and clearings along the road and camera on the passenger seat - regardless of lens or settings as the Kefalonian light will do all the exposure compensation ever required.

(*)  Although old enough to have actually used plain  paper and ink, I do really mean "before I could save the .doc file on my computer screen" - but it just doesn't look and sound as good as ink drying on the page!
(**) I will never aspire for more than "semi-correct" - lest I fall into the popular trap of shooting or post processing photos to such correctness that they no longer resemble the island. You know what I mean ;)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

HELP ME FIND MY MARBLES!


OR PEBBLES... whichever you prefer.
Fact is, I need to complete the puzzle for the KefaloniaWorld Site.
Although it is pretty much mapped out in terms of content, your input in filling in the blanks is needed and appreciated. Besides, I think it will be much more fun if we complete this project together.
Kefalonia
Putting the KefaloniaWorld site together using authentic materials

The goal is to build an e-magazine for the English speaking world community of "Kefalonians."
The "Kefalonian e-nation" includes all those who have a relationship with the island of Kefalonia by birth, ancestry, heritage, marriage, residence, love, or inclination!
So there you have it.
a cicada in Kefalonia
Kefalonian Cicada

And this is where you come in! In music I've always preferred bands to solo artists. All those lazy afternoons in Kefalonia, I've often found the sound of a single cicada on a tree by my window discordant or even annoying, while the noisy chatter of many of these little critters sounded like the best conducted orchestra in the world.  To get this e-magazine off the ground properly, I need the wings and buzz of many cicadas.
Use the comments section below or e-mail me and tell me your story. Tell me what you do, maybe others want to network with you. Tell me how you spend your time in Kefalonia, why you keep going back, what special memories you have there. And by all means send photos to accompany your story. If you are second, third + generation Kefalonian, share your family history, your experiences and tell me what you do if you wish to be included in the "Kefalonians in Focus" section. (tentative name).
Tell me about "the first time" and about the renewal of your vows of love with the island. Recommend books, videos, etc., or a special experience you or someone you know has had that might be worth writing about to share with others. If you engage in a hobby, art or craft involving or inspired by Kefalonia, please tell me about it. If you are seeking your Kefalonian roots, tell us your story and maybe one of your fellow readers can help you get your eureka! moment. Or, if you have found your island roots, share the experience. Anything you think has a place or should be featured on this e-magazine. (see notes below)
I did try to think of an "incentive plan" for this call for assistance but could not come up with anything viable and with broad appeal. But I cannot resist aiming a small bribe your way: depending on the response, I may be convinced to reveal the exact location of my gestalt rock!
notes
1. Every orchestra needs a conductor. Therefore, I will be making the final decision on the material: what goes into the e-magazine as well as how extensive the coverage of the stories chosen will be. I do believe, though, that my cherished and honest relationship with all of you on this blog entitles me to request that you trust my judgement as the head cicada!
2. Please do not spam my e-mail or comment box below with hidden commercial links, etc
.
3.The cicada connection is fully attributed and credited to my favorite Kefalonian author!



Saturday, July 19, 2014

A TIME FOR HEALING AND RENEWAL

Kefalonia Camomile (chamomile) Tea
Kefalonian Camomile Tea
We've been down this road before. After each hiatus in writing, I renew my intention to keep up with regular posting. But you know what they say about the best intentions....
This blog is not, and never intended to be, a writing venture. It was more like a love child, a celebration of the bond I have with my tiny birthplace. As with every love and every celebration, circumstances, feelings, forces beyond our control do sometimes alter our mood and disposition. Obviously, it hasn't been as easy to maintain the daily pace and momentum since I no longer live in Kefalonia and have to now rely on my accumulated photo collection - extensive as that is - and my memories - vivid as they are. If that wasn't enough, the earthquakes earlier this year devastated my morale on a number of fronts. I am not one to sugarcoat hard facts and I honestly was not sure if it was right to keep posting about the beauty and side sweep the devastation. Last, but far from least, the daily routine, the long New York winter, and involvement in several writing projects left me without much energy to write in the fashion I usually do on this blog. So, I did not.
BUT, with life returning to normal on the island and my other projects falling into place, I've decided that it's time to move on, to heal, and TO RENEW AND EXPAND.
Kefalonia World over the next few weeks will become a full-fledged website on www.kefaloniaworld.com. For all English-speaking "Kefalonians" everywhere. This here blog will remain my personal refuge and place of carefree expression. (More info coming up soon along with my definition of "Kefalonians" Winking Emoticon )
Thank you for keeping up with the blog while I haven't - this has been instrumental in my decision to resume and expand. Check back in!
Note: Why the photo of camomile tea? For those who are not familiar with this perennial herb, here is some basic info that will make you understand. The name camomile (or chamomile) comes from two Greek words ("hamilos" meaning low or close to the ground, and "milo" meaning apple) and describes the herb that grows close to the ground and its infusion smells a lot like apples. It has been used for centuries in Greece as a cure-all remedy due to its calming and healing effects. It tastes pretty good too! So there, now you have the connection...

Monday, January 27, 2014

AND THE EARTH MOVED AGAIN...

Kefalonia Earthquake 2014
Beyond words...
January 26, 2014... the earth moved again, violently and relentlessly...
This is not the way I intended to resume the blog in the new year...
Nor did I ever imagine in August that I'd have to write about it it before the next anniversary...
The "event" is still "in progress" and the information a bit overwhelming to process...
I don't think... I feel...
But, I've touched and I've seen... all of it...
And that's a lot more than could reasonably be expected in a lifetime...

All will be OK again in Kefalonia
 ...if for no other reason than to resume its mission of lending beauty to more lives and defining more lifetimes...


Friday, November 15, 2013

FROM DARTFORD, UK to NEW YORK, USA via KATELIOS, KEFALONIA: MORE THAN A GEOGRAPHIC HYPERBOLE!

WHO WAS IT THAT SAID "ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL?"
It started in August of 2011.
But it didn't start with a kiss, the kisses and hugs came much later! It all started with a message in my FB inbox: 
"Hi Eleni - hope you don't mind me sending you this but I've just been reading your Kefalonia World! My husband and I have been going to Katelios for 20 years now - every summer without fail! We love your island! ... I just wanted to say I enjoyed your May blog after coming home to UK and rain yesterday!"
 
Sunrise over Katelios, Kefalonia
Sunrise over Katelios, Kefalonia

Sunrise over Katelios as seen from Markopoulo, Kefalonia
Sunrise over Katelios as seen from Markopoulo, Kefalonia
 It was a message from Pam, a lady who had stumbled upon this blog and wanted to let me know that she enjoyed it. I accepted that friendship request and the rest, as they say, is history. Eventually, I became FB friends with Graham, her husband, as well. I was still living in Kefalonia at the time and after several virtual exchanges, we were to finally meet in the summer of 2012 when they were to - once again - visit the island. However, I relocated to New York in the spring of that year and the meeting never took place. In October of 2012, Pam and Graham visited New York and we renewed our plans to get together. Well, you know what they say about "the best laid plans of mice and men.." Hurricane Sandy decided to put a damper on those plans (pun intended). They were stranded in Manhattan and I was keeping my head above water out in Long Island. After surviving dangling cranes, submerged subways, and an emergency evacuation from their hotel, my - still - virtual friends finally made their way back to England. Plans postponed once again. October 2013 rolled around. Pam and Graham were to visit again, and we made plans once again. We were determined - but so were the elements of Nature! St. Jude, a long lost cousin of our lady Sandy, made his way to the other side of the big pond this time. Fortunately, Pam and Graham's flight managed to take off before the storm became nasty, and we FINALLY got to meet in Manhattan!
I will stop the story here and let the images speak for themselves. Anything else would be an OXYMORON - but that's an inside joke that I couldn't even start to explain in this limited space.
Suffice it to say that this is the first time I post photos on this blog that were not taken in Kefalonia.
But I think you'll understand...

Finally! Only a red light and the pavement of W 59th St.- Central Park South between us
Pam and Graham - from virtual to real friends
New York this time, Katelios next time?
 P.S. I'm overjoyed and proud of the fact that this blog is about so much more than page views and all those numbers on Google Analytics. It's about views of cherished places, colors, sunrises, sunsets and the feelings they evoke - shared with those who understand.
And Pam 'n Graham understand... just like Emma 'n Neal and Lynn 'n Andy do.
I feel fortunate in knowing each one of them.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

EDITING ACORNS, WATER DROPS, AND PLOWED FIELDS

Making the connection between a water drop quietly slipping off an acorn of a Mediterranean oak, water cascading with disproportionate noise from a small "fall" in Kefalonia, freshly plowed fields at Omala Valley, and assuming the responsibility of creating and editing a new magazine may seem far fetched. But, rather than confusing you further, let me explain.

holm oak in Kefalonia
Mediterranean (Holm) Oak
I just completed the flatplan of a new magazine, a project that was entrusted to me to design, develop, and eventually manage as editor-in-chief. The first part of the project having been completed, I could think of no other way to announce it than through this blog. True, the magazine will be published in the U.S. and will not involve Kefalonia (at least, not directly). But everything I do has the same pivot point of inspiration - so, there you have it, that is the connection.
Ambela Vrysi, Kefalonia
Ambela Vrysi, Kefalonia
 Figuratively speaking, the connection is deeper. A drop (the original idea), millions of drops flowing (the little things coming together), the plowed field (the hours of planning in the hope for reaping the result), I truly cannot but assign and relate every step of the way to an object, a place, or an event of the core and source of any inspiration I'm blessed with. Simply put, it's the river that fills the pool of creativity that I need in order to be able to go anywhere with this ambitious, exciting and - at times - overwhelming project.
Ambela Vrysi, Kefalonia
Ambela Vrysi, Kefalonia
A good two to three months of long hours and hard work is surely in store for me before I can come back and share with you the finished project. But I wanted to share this now and HERE.
Omala Valley, Kefalonia
Omala Valley, Kefalonia
Omala Valley, Kefalonia
Omala Valley, Kefalonia


Of course, things are still kind of "hush-hush" and I cannot divulge as much detail yet as I would like to. Bear with me!
I promise not to disappoint.

As for the this blog, well... I have some news on that front too. By the end of the year, it will have company! But, I don't want to spoil the surprise.
Hope you stay around.....

Speaking of HOPE, when I made the last post, I promised my friend Elpida - her name means Hope in Greek - that the next post would be about a place very special to her. It was a promise I did not keep and I apologize for that. But, I will remedy this very soon :)


P.S. This post includes a previously uploaded image. Couldn't help it, it popped to mind on its own when "connecting the unconnected."

Friday, September 27, 2013

TELLTALE IMAGES OF SEASONAL DOWNSHIFT

Fall in Kefalonia - Avythos Beach
Avythos Beach, Kefalonia
Some are subtle, while others stare you in the face. Some are more colorful than others. Regardless of their discretion, or lack of, the signs of the transition from summer to fall are everywhere. The sunlight has a diffused, slightly orange cast; the sea tries out the deeper shades of the blue palette; the sky is a bit more decisive in color as the temperatures dip, eliminating the summer haze; the beach is reclaimed by its natural inhabitants - pebbles, seaweed, and the white froth of bolder waves; and, sun-scorched rocks get to finally quench their thirst as the first fall springs begin to timidly let their waters flow to meet the sea, forming tiny cascades over green plants in doing so.

It's a natural slowdown, a change of gears - not a reversal. This replenishing and welcome repose for nature signals the beginning of the season that - while introvert in character - has a surprisingly stunning palette of its own. A bit more muted, perhaps, but certainly more varied.

'Tis the time to recompose and bask in the ever present, still warm - but less aggressive - sunlight.

Fall in Kefalonia - Agios Thomas, Karavados
Agios Thomas, Karavados
Fall in Kefalonia - Antisamos Beach
Antisamos Beach, Kefalonia
Fall in Kefalonia - Avythos Beach

And, if the calm sea and deceivingly blue skies lull you into thinking that it's still summer, the chrysanthemums everywhere will certainly remind you that it is not....

Xenopoulo, Kefalonia

Saturday, September 7, 2013

AN ISLAND OF APPLIED GESTALT AND NATURAL INK BLOT TESTS

Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
Somewhere along the southern shores of Kefalonia. Look for it!
Take a quick look at the images and answer the question!
(no cheating, please - just say the very first thing that comes to mind)
What do you see in the first image? Is it a seal, a dog, a dolphin, an eagle, or something else?
What about the second image? Is it a dog's paw, an elephant's foot, or something else?
Do you see a wimpy cloud or an eagle taking off in the third image?

Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
From Myrtos to Assos, or vice versa!

I'm sure that most of us have had these "eureka" kind of flashes. You know, that "cry of joy or satisfaction when one finds or discovers something." I have the most vivid memories of those "splats" of the Rorschach evaluation method that seemed so ridiculous at first, back in college. A person's reaction or response to these ambiguous forms was supposed to reveal significant information for the evaluation of his/her personality and perceptions. On the other hand, Gestalt theory - and all its sub theories of grouping, similarity,proximity, emergence, symmetry, closure e.t.c. - was the hottest topic in management, marketing and behavioral psychology lecture halls. After all, it did make a difference - or so it was claimed - if a person saw an old lady rather than a young girl depicted in the drawing being passed around. Or, seeing a circle in an incomplete arc, or, a square in four incomplete perpendicular lines! Of course, as diligent students, we memorized all the pertinent facts: the human eye "sees and perceives objects in their entirety before perceiving their individual parts" and our senses do have the "form-generating capability" to fill the gaps in information presented. When applied to stimuli in the environment, this simply means that we understand them as a whole rather than the sums of their parts. And this "whole" is greater than the sum of its parts. Sounds very scientific, doesn't it? I'm pretty sure that most of us, at that tender age, wondered how in the name of heavens would all this ever be applicable to anything in the real world. Well, speaking for myself, I finally do see the light! 
Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
Storms and birds of prey over Sissia Monastery
Sometimes, though, all this science comes down to seeing with the eyes of the heart. AND SPEAKING OF HEARTS...

Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
Mt. Aenos' misty heart
Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
Snow-capped Mt. Aenos as seen from Xenopoulo, Kefalonia

Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
Sunrise over Poros from Xenopoulo, Kefalonia

Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
The smooth curves forming Poros Ravine as seen from Xenopoulo, Kefalonia
Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
A grafting cut or a message on this walnut tree?
And, I've learned to decipher the natural ink blots in the Kefalonian sky in a way that would blow my professor's mind: IT ALL DEPENDS!!!
Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
An aging Greek God looking down on Kefalonia, a vagabond heart, or just a cloud?
Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
Is that an old witch with its back to the Livatho skyline, or a black sheep trying to find its way back home?
Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
A happy poodle following a camel, with both flying over Vardiani Islet? Or, do I need to have my head examined?
Gestalt shapes and ink blots in Kefalonia
At last! An ink blot with only one interpretation: Just another majestic sunset at Avythos Beach!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

THE EARTH MOVED... AND THEN, THERE WAS SILENCE

Pre earthquake Kefalonia
Vlahata, Kefalonia
Pre earthquake Kefalonia
Erissos, Kefalonia
It seems inappropriate for someone born after August of 1953 to write about the most devastating time for Kefalonia - not to mention the risk of sounding superficial. I have carefully avoided writing about the massive earthquakes that literally destroyed the island, as I was not around at the time. Not that there haven't been first hand accounts - on the contrary, I've had plenty. My parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, they all have relayed detailed stories of their personal encounter with the force that made the earth roar and heave again and again, until everything was reduced to piles of ruins, clouds of dust, heaps of pain and unending streams of tears. Every single account of the horror begins the same way: "... I remember exactly where I was when the earth started to shake..." And they all end their narrative with a list of names of  loved ones or neighbors who were buried in the rubble, or were rescued from under it as if by miracle. No family was spared, although some suffered losses far greater than the destruction of property. The hundreds of lives lost remain a perpetually open wound for the survivors, long after the homes and buildings and towns were reconstructed.

>>> 60 YEARS LATER <<<

Today, on the anniversary of the huge earthquake that caused more than ceilings to collapse and walls to crumble, I feel compelled to write about it - for the first time. I cannot write about the people who were lost, as my immediate family did not lose any members in the destruction. But I can share with you some representative remnants of the beauty that was wiped out in a few seconds. Remnants of another time and another world, which to this day emerge here and there - defying gravity and the relentless passage of time - as reminders of resistance to hardships, and, triumph in the face of the ultimate adversity. And, of course, as non designated but genuine memorials to all those souls who perished. 

Pre earthquake Kefalonia
St. Spyridon at Kastro, Kefalonia
Pre earthquake Kefalonia
Pessada, Kefalonia
Pre earthquake Kefalonia
Sissia Monastery, Kefalonia
Pre earthquake Kefalonia
Pylaros, Kefalonia
Pre earthquake Kefalonia
The Archangels Church at Old Valsamata Village, Kefalonia
Pre earthquake Kefalonia
Pessada, Kefalonia
Pre earthquake Kefalonia
Ruins of the Dimitratos family cluster of homes at Xenopoulo, Kefalonia
Nowadays, our own DAISY FACTORY

Monday, July 15, 2013

LOSING THE CANDLES

traditional Kefalonian treats
A tray of traditional "treats"
JULY 15th is a milestone for me. It is the date by which I usually review the first half of the year, panic at the realization of all the things I haven't done yet, curse the heat and question my dislike of winter, and do lots of rethinking and reshuffling on my plans for the second half of the year.
It is also MY BIRTHDAY! (which may explain the mid-summer, mind torturing process described above).
All those years in Kefalonia, I usually spent the day in flip-flops, on the beach, among friends. This year I'm celebrating my second birthday since returning to New York, in normal sandals, on land. A couple of other things are different too. In Greece, the custom is to treat your friends on your birthday, in contrast to the New World where friends treat you or take you out on your special day. Thinking that maybe I should stick to the Old World tradition, I've also decided to do away with the candles on the birthday cake (for practical reasons, you understand!)
Today, I feel the need to treat all of you for your loyalty to this blog throughout my less prolific period. But no cake, and certainly no candles!
Instead, the most traditional of Kefalonian treats or kerasma... a cup of Greek coffee, a glass of fresh spring water (necessary to sip while waiting for the coffee grounds to "settle") and some homemade spoon sweets - in this case pitted grapes in syrup.
Thank you for your loyalty and patience!
Returning to regular posting is part of my reshuffling.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I'M BACK... AND SENDING SOME NEW MAGIC YOUR WAY

The Magic in the Receiver
I feel the need to apologize (once again) for the long hiatus in posting. Having relocated to New York over a year ago, it has been a time of adjustment and tremendous workload. Widespread and unauthorized copying of material on this blog caused me to even consider shutting it down. However, the driving force behind my decision to continue (Oh, yes!) has been the over 2000 unique visits per month - for each of the months that I've been off the keyboard! I have made some adjustments to the blog security-wise - just so to keep everybody honest...
Having said that, LET'S GET BACK TO OUR BUSINESS OF ENJOYING KEFALONIA, UNCUT & UNEDITED.

And I see no better way of recapturing the MAGIC than starting with the gorgeous new cover of Paul Dillon's book THE MAGIC IN THE RECEIVER!
It's so... how can I say this? It's so KEFALONIA!


The Magic in the Receiver Kefalonia World
Just to bring you up to date: A lot has happened since I first introduced you to the book.
(previous post: http://kefaloniaworld.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-magic-in-receiver.html)
It went on to become an AMAZON BESTSELLER and just about the best advertising the island could wish for. Suffice it to say that the book was downloaded by over 25000 readers during a 3 day promotion by Amazon in May, shooting up to the #1 position in its category. Nice, Paul!
During this time, Paul also had his guest blog hosted on the official site of The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO).
All great stuff!
Not to mention that I got to brainstorm with Paul a bit - over skype as we are on opposite coasts of the U.S. - and had the chance and the honor of getting to know (virtually, for now) this gentleman of a writer. I take this opportunity to thank him publicly for including my humble but heartfelt words on the back cover of the book edition for Greece.
(and a little note for the suspicious minds out there: no, this is not a work project or a commission for me... It's a labor of love, an honor, and a pleasure - in that order!)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

KEFALONIA'S HOLY LAND

St. Gerasimos Church at Omala, Kefalonia
St. Gerasimos Church at Omala Valley, Kefalonia
October 20th is the most significant religious holiday in Kefalonia as the island honors its patron saint. The commemoration festivities for Saint Gerasimos are held over two days during which the Valley of Omala comes alive with the devout, the curious, the last tourists before the season officially shuts down. Some seek a cure or a miracle, while others use the occasion as a family outing to enjoy the festivities.
Most Kefalonians do have a very peculiar relationship with their patron, sometimes in contrast with their everyday religious beliefs. It is a relationship that borders on familiarity and possession!
And, tradition, of course. And, identity.
Besides, it is hard to find a family in Kefalonia without a member named Gerasimos.
St. Gerasimos Convent, Kefalonia
St. Gerasimos Church, Kefalonia
Litany at St. Gerasimos of Omala, Kefalonia
The Litany at Omala Valley, Kefalonia
Litany at St. Gerasimos of Omala, Kefalonia

Litany at St. Gerasimos of Omala, Kefalonia
Litany at St. Gerasimos of Omala, Kefalonia
St.Gerasimos
The Convent grounds at St. Gerasimos, Kefalonia