submitted by James Victor Prineas on 01.02.2008
Dear Friends of Kythera,
I am writing this newsletter from a sheltered cafe balcony in Platia Ammos, the quiet beach and port at the northern tip of Kythera. Clouds swirl over the rest of the island – as if favoured by the gods only Agia Pelagia and Platia Ammos are spared from the raucous weather, the clouds dissipating as soon as they pass the heights of the island. The rippling water is the deep hue of blue ink; the setting sun making even the modern yet imperfect concrete jetty seem photogenic.
Platia Ammos Connection
Via the Kythera-Family.net website I received an email from Bob Gritharis in Canada, urging me to visit his aunt here in Platia Ammos who had, locked away behind her house, a boat of historical importance: it had once ferried allied troops from Crete to Kythera to escape the Germans, as well as being a link to the mainland after the war. The cafe owner has told me that Bob's aunt is sick and being treated in Sparti on the Peloponnese, so no boat could be seen, but I've met a few friendly locals who have told me their stories and the beach is beautiful so it was worth the drive.
Treasures on the island
As we get older and wiser, we realise that the real treasures are not buried in pirate chests but are the relationships we have with our families and friends, and the richness of lives they have led. After 2 weeks on our island of Kythera I have seen treasures in every home I have visited there. Not just the collections of vintage photos or tapestries, but in the hospitality of the people and the wisdom of their words. If our website can capture and reflect even a hint of that culture it may serve as an inspiration to us all.
Many other interesting connections have resulted from contacts through the website. Parties of Kytherian-Australians and Kytherian-Californians, having discovered each other via the message board, will be hosting each other in the coming years; the Kytherian Cultural Association has acquired a home on our website; not-so-distant relations have found each other after a generation of separation; and I have had many emails from visitors to the site who have found out why their parents were so proud of Kythera. On a personal level I have discovered the diversity of the natural world on the island with the new Kythera Museum of Natural History on the website, some of which I had the privilege of photographing. The current posting of the museum collection on our website is its first public appearance – in the form of 220 colour photographs! At the moment the collection is privately housed, but its curator, Robin Tzannes, is seeking a more public venue in order to share these natural wonders with the community. Even a short on-line visit should delight and astound you.
Not everyone in the Kytherian community has access to a computer, so we have created a team in Sydney and in the village of Aloizianika to help collect entries. Collections of stories or documents or photographs can be sent to our team in Sydney for scanning and submission to the site. If you know of interesting private collections on the island just mail us.
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