Ithaca, Greece

Sep 18, 2018 - Sea Cloud

Early in the morning we arrived on the island of Ithaca, homeland of the legendary King Odysseus. The sunrise found us in the hospitable bay of Vathy. The calmness and serenity of the water, so clear and transparent, were unreal.

Using the ship’s Zodiacs, we made it to the port and from there, our tour to the island began. First, we drove to the biggest monastery on the island, the 17th century Monastery Katharon, where the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary is kept. The monastery is located at high elevation, and views from the bell tower balcony were breathtaking. We could see the bay of Vathy, the isthmus of Ithaca that connects two parts of the island, and the mountains of nearby Cephalonia. Cameras started clicking, capturing as much as we could of what lay before our eyes.

After our visit to the monastery, we drove to the picturesque village of Stavros. In the main square stands a bronze bust of Odysseus, a chart of his adventurous journey from Troy, and a small reconstruction of his palace. It is said that lower on the island, in a cave, some interesting archaeological artifacts of bronze and clay were found. The artifacts are thought to be from Mycenaean times, when the island reached its fame thanks to the powerful and prudent King Odysseus, who helped the Greeks win the Trojan War.

The journey of Odysseus from Troy back to Ithaca lasted very long time, and it was full of adventures, obstacles, and challenges caused by Poseidon, the god of the seas who was angry with Odysseus. Since then, the name of the island has become synonymous with nostalgia and homesickness. Odysseus himself has become the inspiration of intellectuals, novelists, poets, and artists for the challenges he faced in his life.

We returned to Vathy and to Sea Cloud and prepared to set sail on the Adriatic Sea toward the Dalmatian coast, leaving Greece behind. Ithaca, with its beauty and legacy, was the best farewell to Greece.

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About the Author

Gemma Economopoulou

Cultural Specialist

Gemma is a native Greek, born in Athens. She completed three years of study in the Licensed Lecturer Guides School of Athens, and for the last 19 years has been working as a licensed guide in English and Spanish, conducting various types of land tours and cruises all over Greece.

About the Photographer

José Calvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Nicknamed “Indio” (Indian) because of his powers of observation and quiet nature, José has almost two decades of experience working as a naturalist and photography guide; as well as being recognized as an expert birder and nature photographer in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity — over 893 bird species have been recorded in the country. Since very young José spent all of his free time in the outdoors in the forest, where he soon fell in love with the birds. He particularly enjoys listening to their calls, and watching their behavior. Oddly enough, another one of Jose’s passions is science and technology, and because of this, he was among the first in Costa Rica to experiment with digital photography. As the technology quickly improved so did his love for it.  He truly believes that nature photography is the perfect combination of both of his passions.

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