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Newsletter Archive > October 2012

21500: Newsletter Archive

submitted by James Victor Prineas on 28.06.2013

October 2012

View a colour version with pictures of this newsletter here:

www.kythera-family.net/download/NLOctober2012.pdf


Dear Friends of Kythera,

this month Kythera-Family.net passed the 18 000 entry mark. So we're are on track to top 20 000 entries in our 10th anniversary year: 2013. Which means that, on average, members of our Kytherian community - people like you - have uploaded 2000 life stories, pictures, recipes and much more to the site. Each year. No other community in the world has managed to do that. Our website would have been an empty shell without your content, and the willingness of many of you to share your family material speaks volumes about the cultural virility of the Kytherian community.

Of course the huge number of entries is only part of the success story. You have also used the site to research and discover your families' histories and, even more importantly, to make contact with others in the community including relatives you had either lost contact with or whom you never knew existed. Connecting and reconnecting the wider Kytherian family with each other is perhaps the most satisfying and valuable goal of all.

Autumn on Kythera
At the beginning of the month we spent two lovely weeks on Kythera. The sun shone almost every day, there was hardly a drop of rain (bad for the olive trees...) and it was warm enough in and out of the sea to go swimming every day. For photographers the autumn (and spring) are the golden months, where the light is softer and richer, and the landscape and vegetation warmer and more verdant. Yes, it's greener even if it hasn't rained, as the dew at night and the regular "prevenza" or fog moistens the whole island and revitalizes the plants after the long dry summer.

Autumn in Greece is a bit like summer in Australia – the temperatures are up and down but never really cold. And it can rain for a week or not at all. So for those of us who cringe under the boiling constant heat of summer, autumn is perfect. For most Greeks though, it is time to get out the jackets and put away the swimming costumes. Strangely, when the schools open again in September, the swimming season is psychologically closed for the Kytherians I know, even if it is still 30º outside. Which leaves Kalathi and the other popular beaches deserted for the "crazy winter swimmers" from the rest of the world.

Monopoly Revisited
How about a Kytherian version of Monopoly? With olive trees and "spitakia" (the little houses in the groves) instead of houses and hotels? The "Chance" and "Community Chest" cards could be replaced with references to Kytherian history and folklore: "Get locked in Agia Sophia Cave, miss a turn!" It would be fun for all and a good way for the "younger" generations to become familiar with our wonderful island. It would make a fun present even for non-kytherians. If you would buy it let the KAA know to improve the chances of it being made! And if you have some ideas for it let me know.

click on the picture to enlarge it


... I've heard back from the monopoly people and they do indeed license the game and create other versions of Monopoly. And, true to their name, they are not only very strict about licensing, they also insist that they produce the game for you themselves, a monopoly in itself, which makes it a bit more expensive than it would be if we just got a Chinese game producer to do it for us. But at least the quality would be good. If we let them produce 2000 boxed games for us they would charge around A$20 a piece = $40 000. Do you think it would be a good present for yourself, or for your Kytherian friends, or as a "gift from the old country" for non-Kytherian friends (or better still, for your Castellorizian friends!)? Is there anyone out there willing to take the challenge? I'd supply the art-work and you could sell a thousand or two at the next Kytherian event… An alternative would be just to print the board and give it away (to hang on walls, or replace the old monopoly board with…). We wouldn't have to pay any licensing fees (you only have to do that if you are going to sell your version) and it would be relatively cheap to print the Kytherian monopoly board on cardboard - maybe A$1 each or less.

Like most things we do, it's all about fun and not about money. So if you want to download a high resolution pdf of the game which you can print out and send to friends for christmas, you can do that here. If you know how to use a graphic program like "Illustrator" you can even open the pdf and make sure that your family village is on the most lucrative square...

James Prineas (james@kythera-family.net)

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Returning to Greece after 30 years
by Heather De Marco

We are back from our Greek Odyssey.
After 30 years, it was great to visit Greece once again. It was our first time to Kythera.

My cousin and his wife from Geneva met us at Piraeus and drove us through the Peloponnese to Kythera. What an adventure!
We spent 5 nights mid September at the Margarita Hotel in Hora which was convenient for us. As it was out of peak season, there were fewer tourists in Kythera than any other island we visited in September. However, the cafes, restaurants and shops were still open and some nights there were many people about. We enjoyed the walk up to the Venetian castle and the view from there was spectacular. The small winding streets and decorative homes and shopfronts added to the character of the place. An even more spectacular sight was from Kapsali beach at night time looking up at the castle under floodlight. It looked magnificent .

We managed to swim at Kapsali Beach, Agia Pelagia Beach and Lykodimos Beach. They all were great with Lykodimos beach being the more out of the way and beautiful, with huge overhanging cliffs and caves. We accidentally came across Chalkos beach while taking a wrong turn while trying to find Agia Sophia cave and church near Kalamos. This beach looked incredible, too, but we weren't dressed for the beach, unfortunately. After 3 wrong turns including a Four Wheel Drive road ( we didn't have a Four Wheel Drive ! ) we finally found Agia Sophia cave with its church built inside, nestled among the stalactites and stalagmites. The Bishop of Kythera was there as it was 17th September ( The feast of Agia Sophia ) and he told me that he will be in Brisbane in November for a Church Service, so I might see him again.
One of the days, we went to the castle in Hora and to the Thimarchio to try to find more Birth certificates or Marriage certificates of our ancestors. In the end, the process was taking so long. We didn't want to miss out on seeing the actually villages etc. and as our great grandfather migrated to Egypt late 1800's is was difficult to go back any further, not knowing his father's name. We were happy to confirm what we already knew.

We managed to go to 5 or 6 cemeteries. We found many names that are interconnected with ours - Lahanas, Vlandis, Moulos, etc.
These were around the villages of Logothetianika, Mylopotamos, Frilingianika, Pitsinianika etc. All these quaint villages have their own charm. Potamos, being a larger town, was interesting too. It was sad to see some grand old buildings rotting away.

We also went to the Sunday Church service at Agia Myrtithiotisa and were lucky enough to visit the crypt underneath the church which held even older Icons and ancient candles.

The food was great and we enjoyed what many restaurants and cafes had to offer.... up on the terrace in Hora was Zorbas; coffee ,ice-cream and wifi at Fos Fanari Bar in Hora - it was pumping some nights; Filio in Kalamos had great food as well as Pieros' Restaurant in Livadi. We can't get over the generosity of the restaurant owners. We received free breads and dips, free dessert sometimes or fruit and a free raki or sweet dessert wine at the end of every dinner.

We felt the warmth of village life and the hospitality of its people, far from the busy capital of Athens. Here, you could slow down and enjoy the beauty of the landscape around you, sit by the beach and drink an Ouzo and just relax....ahhhhh......

I attach some photos....we took hundreds.


Hora from the Castle



View of Logothetianika from the cemetery


Inside the cave Church of Agia Sophia near Kalamos



3 food photos from Kythera



Thanks to kythera-family.net for the information I was able to access before I went on holidays and thanks for your interest and emails.

All the best,

Heather De Marco

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REAL ESTATE: now's the time to buy…

The crisis in Greece has meant that many people - on the island and off - are now looking to sell their family land. So if you don't have your "piece of Kythera" yet, now is a great time to buy. Here are a few websites I've found which offer real-estate on Kythera.

http://www.kytheraproperty.com
www.realestatekythira.gr/en/
www.puraterra.gr/

Here's an example of the great deal available: A small house in Karavas AND a buildable block of land - 1.5 strema - just outside the gates of that town (but with the village limits) with the most perfect olive tree on it you can imagine. All for just €45 000! For more details contact john@johnjacmon.com or langserv@sbcglobal.net.



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Great Kytherian Pictures
by star Australian/Kytherian photographer Stephen Trifyllis. Stephen has submitted hundreds of excellent pictures to the site and has played a pivotal role in helping our community get a visual impression of the island, even if they can't get there themselves. Even for seasoned visitors to Kythera his pictures show a side of the island few of us have seen.
You can see dozens more of his wonderful pictures by clicking here .


'CATCH OF THE DAY '
Theodore Fardoulys lands a large orphour [cod] just off shore from Diakofti. These divers can dive up to 30 meters to spear these fish ...




AGIA ELLESSA

Lovely Agia Ellessa blanketed by dramatic cloud ...



DANCING IN THE STREETS

The 24th September Panayia (festival) dance at Agia Pelagia was a wonderful night. Super violinist Nikos Economidis made his violin hum as the large crowd danced the night away ... to his lovely music.



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My Uncle Nick - a True and Humble Kytherian.
by Maria of Louradianika


Many readers have heard me speak of my much loved Uncle Nick Lourantos. No words can really describe this exceptional man who was in my life from the day I was born, and stayed with me until he finally left to return to Kythera, to care for his aged parents, my grandparents, the Reverend Emmanuel Lourantos, and Maria Lourantos, nee Calligeros.

Please join me, as I speak directly to my dearly departed Uncle Nick, and join with me as I pay tribute to a quiet and humble Kytherian.

Uncle Nick. My darling Uncle Nick. I do not recall a time when you were not in my life. My memory goes back to the age of just three years old, when my father purchased the family home in Ashton Street, Bondi Junction, now known as Queens Park.

You stood so tall, well over 6 foot, and you would pick me up, giving me so much love, yet asking for nothing in return, but who could not love you, and your simple ways?

Do you remember when on a Sunday, when you would arrive always at 11 a.m. for lunch, then take me to Centennial Park, which was at the end of Ashton Street, then take out your pocket knife, and pick rathikia from the hill on the inside of the large entrance gates? You could have had all the rathikia you wished for from my father's garden, yet, you preferred to collect them wild as they grew amongst the grass of the park. I never understood your reasoning, yet I never questioned you either, as you had such different ways, so simple, as you were a man who wished for few material things in life.

We would go together to the pond, where I would throw bread for the ducks, which would gather to be fed. When later on, for a school project, I needed to go to the pond at the park to collect tadpoles, you were beside me.

Our Sunday ritual was so predictable. How you enjoyed your sumptuous meal, prepared by my mother, your younger sister, Photini, who was such a wonderful cook, and the reason you had come to this foreign land, when she married at such a young age, to be close to her, as even though you knew my father would love and care for her, you still felt the need to be there for her, and you were.

Lunch would finish, with my father retiring for an afternoon nap, then the Greek coffee would be made by me, as mum, Koula and I would drink our coffee, down to the last drop, then turn our cups over, waiting a few minutes, then, you would pick up each cup, and read it, telling us our “fortune”. Yes, you were eccentric in some ways, telling me of reading my palm, and of many old customs back in Kythera, although we always referred to it as our "Cerigo".

My education and love of beauty were important to you. The gift of the leather-bound works of William Shakespeare, showed me this, as were the beautiful gifts of imported Italian glassware for my “Glory Box”. Also, when you would put money into my locked money box, which my mother would open at the end of each year, holding the only key, then purchasing some items for the special glory box, which grew over the years. How I wished for a toy or something to play with, but instead, the practical purchases were made for me, and I did not receive much enjoyment from this, yet, your special gifts meant the world to me.

As the years passed, you grew older, your hair thinning, your waistline becoming quite rotund, but your smile never changed. I could always climb onto your lap, oblivious to the rotund stomach, recalling how you would always arrive dressed in your three piece suit, tie and hat. Only when we went fishing together on a Saturday when I was much older, did I see you in your shirt sleeves, no tie, but, still you wore your vest.

We would go to Cremorne by ferry, then walk to the special spot where you would throw your fishing line, and I would lay on the rocks in the sun. We left a few hours later, as I recall, you never having caught a fish.

You were a quiet man with such simple needs. I did not know where you were employed, as this was not a subject you spoke of. One day I overheard you telling my mother of your loneliness, as you worked at the brewery, then would eat your lunch alone, before returning to work, always keeping to yourself, such a private man. You expressed your unhappiness that day, this being the only time I heard you complain about life.

Where you lived was not discussed either. One day, I came to your home. My shock remains with me to this very day. A tiny room, with a small bed, one chair, and against the other wall, a refrigerator, any other furniture on top of it, with no room to move, yet, you never complained. Such a large man, confined to such a small space broke my heart. Yet, as always the humble man you were, you did not complain.

My family home had been extended, and there were extra bedrooms, and when I heard you asking your sister, my mother, if you could possibly come and share the family home, you were refused, and I crept into my room, huddled into the corner, and cried tears for you, wishing that you could share this large home, yet I was not supposed to have heard this, and kept my silence, but never have I forgotten.

When I married, leaving the family home under difficult conditions, expecting my first child, you would visit me, bringing always a large brown paper bag, filled with groceries, olive oil, and long lasting products. One day, you came to me quietly, handing me an envelope, as I lay in bed, having been confined there due to a difficult pregnancy, and you handed me an envelope. You told me never to speak of it to anyone. inside, there was $250.00. A fortune in those days, and it must have been so difficult for you to spare this amount of money. How reluctant I was to accept your gift, but I did with gratitude, and love.

You stood beside me every step of my married life also Uncle Nick. Approving of my Australian husband, and giving us your blessing. You attended each baptism of each of our children, then, you simply vanished from our lives after we left Sydney to move to another part of NSW. This pain is still so raw, and painful, as I did not say goodbye to you before you left Australia, not knowing that being the ever dutiful son, you were returning to Cerigo.

Many years later, a letter arrived from a solicitor. You had returned to Kythera, and Louradianika, to care for your elderly parents, to allow them to live out their remaining days in the own home. The letter stated that you had passed away several years before, and had left the home in Louradianika to my sister and myself jointly.

You had been in a convalescent home, Uncle Nick, alone, your parents having passed years before, but, you belonged in Kythera, where your heart always was.

How it still breaks my heart, thinking of you alone, walking one day, as I was informed you liked to take a daily walk alone, something I fully understand, and passing into Gods care with no one by your side, your giant heart finally failing, but even though I know you were physically alone, I believe spiritually, you were not, but surrounded by your loved ones who had come to take you home with them. You would not suffer loneliness any longer, which brings me some comfort.

I know you are always around me Uncle Nick, watching over me, knowing the time will come when once more we will be together, and you will be the same wonderful man I knew and loved then, and will love forever.

My memory of you I wish to share you with my fellow Kytherians, and the many wonderful people who have entered my life since I started writing my articles. You have been placed to rest behind the church at Louradianika. I searched everywhere for you when I came to Cerigo, but could not find you. Now, I have been informed where your resting place is, and have asked a dear friend to organize for a simple cross with your name on it, to show that here rests the physical body of a truly humble and wonderful Kytherian. It will be a simple cross of wood, as your wishes were always so simple, but one will be erected in your memory, and hopefully, whenever visitors come to this special church, they will see your name and pay their respects.

I will never forget the day when I sat outside the family home, asking where have you been laid to rest, as my searches had been fruitless, and the 12 white doves which appeared in the clear blue sky, flew down to Ayio Georgi, circling near the church, and I, as I made my way down hurriedly, found they vanished as quickly as they had appeared in a blue sky, clear of clouds, just the sun shining brightly. The angels were truly watching over you Uncle Nick.

I have written these words today, in memory of a wonderful man, who I wish to have remembered in the hearts of all, those who were blessed to know him, and those who will come to know him through my words which have come from my heart.

Rest in peace my dearest Uncle Nicholas Lourantos of Louradianika.

Your niece,
Maria of Louradianika.


Maria Marcellos Whyte
4 Trinity Crescent
Sippy Downs
Queensland 4556
maria.whyte@bigpond.com

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