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James Prineas

September 2012

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Dear Friends of Kythera,

The summer has been hot this year. July was a scorcher and there were a few 40º days at the beginning of August as well. After 6 weeks holiday my family and I were looking forward to the irregular and mild summer of Northern Europe. A few days after us leaving on August 5th friends on Kythera reported it was raining "cats and dogs" in the north-east while others in Kapsali barely saw a drop of rain. The Kytherian weather-gods obviously work in mysterious ways...

So far two fires have raged on the island this summer. Here is a report from Eirini Veneri Travasarou: "The first one started at Agia Elessa and burnt everything from Agia Elessa to Feloti Bay on the west coast. The second day the fired continued and burnt everything between Elessa and Manitohori. The fire was put out late in the afternoon of the second day by 4 water-planes that came. On about the 12th of August another fire started in Hora at the back of the bank from a discarded cigarette and causing a car to explode and continued to burn everything towards Cape Trachila and "ta Germanika". The planes came again and put the fire out."

One thing many tourists were missing this year was the annual Kythera Summer Edition, apparently also a victim of the current economic difficulties in Greece - let's hope it's back on the news stands next year! Thanks to the economic crisis in Greece the local population are becoming more creative in their endeavours to survive – both financially and psychologically. Ideas range from declaring "debtless independence" from the rest of Greece, cultivating aloe vera, or selling Antikythera and its football team to a Russian billionaire (or north-African slave traders). Perhaps the only positive consequence of the crisis is that builders and tradesmen have less work and so can almost work to schedule, an unknown phenomenon in Greece until recently. Previously builders would be working on five sites simultaneously and have to be "hunted" to get them to work on "your" site. That is perhaps the main reason my family and I were able to build a medium sized house there in just 8 months. (see www.james-prineas.com/kythera/building-a-house-on-kythera/)

Other news? The new hospital still hasn't opened – the last reason I heard was that, because it was such a modern hospital, it required a larger minimum staff than the current hospital, and due to the lack of public funds an increase in staff was currently out of the question. Previous reasons include the fear that the old medical equipment in the Potamos hospital wouldn't survive the move, and that the electricity bill in the new hospital would blow the current budget. Take your pick - I don't know if anyone really knows what the reason for the delay is.

Our museum team and I created a new free map of Kythera this year and printed at total of 4000 which we assumed would be enough for the summer. Within 3 weeks – at the end of July – they were all gone and tourists and locals could be seen at most cafés with a greek coffee and an open map. Our industrious assistant Elena Panagopoulos also sent the maps to dozens of European trekking societies in the hope that they will visit the island in large groups in the autumn and spring to fill the hotels and restaurants at a time when they are usually struggling for customers. Next year we'll print 10 000 - if you'd like to sponsor the map or advertise on the back of the map, please get in touch! If you didn't get a copy of the map and would like one, you can just send $5 to cover postage and handling to the address below and we'll send you one anywhere in the world you happen to be: Kytherian Association of Australia, George Poulos/Kythera Maps, P.O. Box 183, Rockdale NSW 2216. If you prefer to do it online, if you donate €10 to the museum project you automatically get a map sent to you AND you support a great project which will help Kythera enormously: www.kythera-museum.org

Island Independence
In 1917, while Venizelos and the King were vying for power in Greece, Kythera declared itself an autonomous state. The independence only lasted 29 days when 35 Cretan police offices arrived on Kythera to "restore law and order". Yes, never cross a Cretan carrying a knife or a gun! My brilliant/whacky cousin Michele Haniotis in London, gave me a t-shirt with a logo from the period, and I've created an English version of it.

If you'd like to download it to use on a t-shirt or even replace your company logo with it, you can get it for free here:

Alternative Energy does work
Our new house is about 1km from the nearest council electricity connection. To connect us up to it would have required a dozen or more new electricity masts at about €1300 per mast which we would have had to pay for ourselves. Instead we decided to install an independent solar system which charges batteries. The final cost was less than €7000, including high-grade batteries which shouldn't need maintenance for 10 years, 6 solar panels, an mppt "controller" which feeds the electricity from the panels to the batteries, and an "inverter" which converts the battery power into 220 Volts as in a "normal" house. Depending upon your needs, you can have more or less panels and a larger array of batteries. If the current trend continues, within two years the prices will have fallen and a medium sized house on Kythera can be independent of the grid for about €5000. Or even better: feed excess electricity back into the grid if your house is already connected. There are a couple of companies on Kythera who can help you set up your solar system - let me know if you'd like more details.

Book almost ready to publish
After some turbulent summer months I finally have the "Kythera from the Air" book almost ready to send to the publishers. Before I do, I'd like to make sure that I haven't missed any village names, neighbourhoods or churches, which accompanies each village chapter.

If you have "village knowledge" please send me over any information you have regarding those three categories as in the example here:

Surnames: Andronikos, Archontoulis, Batagios, Christiános, , Drapanis, Gavriles, Katsoulis, Kombis, Kouelis, Logothetis, Manolessos, Mavrigiannis, Moulós, Paspalas, Patríkios, Simos, Sofios, Sougiannis, Souris, Vazenios
Neighbourhoods: , Agios Minas, Neohori, Plataras, Priniathiki
Churches: Agios Minas, Panagia Priniathiki, Agios Políkakos

Even if you only have your own (grandparent's) surname to offer just send it over by email!

Best regards from Zurich airport,

James Prineas ([email protected])

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FOS KE XOROS - an Interview.

On the little-traveled road between Aroniathika and Pitsinathes there is a stone road going up to the left with the sign "Fos ke Xoros" at the turnoff. "Light and Space" is the name of the guest house owned an run by the industrious Dutch couple Anita and Albert. Since it's opening in August 2009, the popular retreat has been full of guests from all over the world, even in the early spring and late autumn, which are usually very quiet months for tourists on Kythera. Here Anita and Albert tell us about the origins of their project.

How did you first discover Kythera? By a total coincidence. We were planning a last minute trip to Greece and didn't know where to go. So we took a travel guide of Greece, we closed our eyes and just put our finger on a page. We landed on Kythera, which we had never heard of. We even wondered if there were people living there! Actually a Dutch charter had just started flying to Kythera so we went for a fantastic 2 week holiday.

How many years were there between discovering Kythera and deciding to build a guest house? We visited Kythera for the first time in 2004 and then in 2006 again. After this second visit we made our mind up and choose Kythera as our new home place. A year earlier, in June 2005, we had already already decided to emigrate to Greece and to build a guesthouse. Finally in january 2008 we arrived on Kythira with a busload full of furniture.

What was the hardest part about creating the guest house? The actual building of the guesthouse was not so difficult and went very quickly (in 8 months it was ready). We opened the doors of the guesthouse in August 2009. But the hard part was creating the guesthouse on paper. We are very perfectionistic. When in the past we visited hotels we always noticed that it are the details which make the difference. So we spent a lot of time thinking about these details and doing research. Also we made a scale model of the building. With the model we could easily decide how to organize the rooms in a nice and comfortable way. For instance things like connection for electricity, internet, TV and radio are not easy to change afterwards. When you don’t think about it there is a big change you will regret this later. Although there are still some small things we would now probably do differently, at the end we are very pleased with the result.

The hotel is very traditional - did you know what you wanted it to look like before you started or did you leave the design - interior and exterior - to others? We love the traditional Greek style and we already had a lot of ideas for the design both interior and exterior. The problem however is to find someone who can translate your ideas in to reality. We were lucky to have a local builder, Panayotis Magonezos, who himself loves the traditional style and has a great eye for detail. Together with him we made the plans for the building. For the interior we tried to find a good balance between tradition and luxury. We want our guests to feel at home and the biggest compliment is to see that people even on a rainy day enjoy themselves inside the rooms.

Do you miss living in Holland? Not really. We like to go to Holland to see friends and family once every 1 or 2 years but when we are in Holland we really miss Kythera. So in fact it is the other way around. Luckily a lot of friends come and visit Greece and Kythira. And when they are here we try to spend as much time together as possible.

What is your favourite month on Kythera: This is a difficult question because we find every month on Kythera special. But the freshness and beauty of the spring period makes the months March until May our most favourite. And also because in this period we celebrate the very special Greek Easter.

Your favourite beaches: Because we are very busy we don’t have a lot of time to go to the beach. So when we go we don’t want to travel a long way. That’s why the beaches around Palaiopolis are our favorites. Big beaches which are easy to reach and have clear blue water, a beautiful environment and good restaurants. The whole coastline including the beaches of Limni and Kaladi is breathtaking. In March and April the beach of Kaladi beach is perfect for a swim because it is often protected from the wind. Also we get very happy from driving along the roads towards towards this area.

Your favourite restaurants: it is impossible to name only 1 or 2 restaurants. The island has a lot of great restaurants and a lot have their specialties. We are always surprised about the high quality of the food. The food is fresh, it’s cheap and the people are in general very friendly. In Holland the Greek restaurants are known for their big meat dishes but actually the Greek cuisine has beautiful vegetarian food and great fish of course. We love a table with mezzedes and salates. This is the best and is kissing your tongue because of all the herbs and species. You can taste it all on Kythera.

Does your guest house offer anything special: Outside the summer season people don’t come by themselves to Kythera so we organize some activities to get them to the island and let them enjoy the beauty of Kythera in Spring and Autumn. In fact there is an enormous market in Northern Europe for alternative tourism. These people are just waiting to discover Kythera. So from October until May we organize activities, for groups and individuals, like hiking, olive-picking, Christmas on Kythera etc.
A lot of people on the island maybe don’t realize it but Kythera is a very special place. It is not easy anymore to find an island with such a natural beauty, combined with a lot of traditional villages, historical places, great beaches, no industry, no mass tourism, good food and very friendly people. Our guests tell us every day how extraordinary beautiful Kythera is and that there is ’something in the air’. And these are people who have been traveling all around the world and have also seen a big part of Greece. The nice thing is that no big investments are necessary to attract these guests because they like the island just like it is now.

You have a small guesthouse with only 4 rooms. Can you make a living from that?: Yes, instead of building a big hotel we decided make a small guesthouse because we think a lot of people prefer a smaller accommodation where you are directly in contact with the owner. We do everything ourselves, like the cleaning, the breakfast, the bookings, the website etc. It takes a lot of time but in this way we are sure we can offer our guests a perfect stay. We manage to fill up the guesthouse the major part of the year and earn our living from that. In April this year we won the Zoover award 2012 for the best Bed & Breakfast in the whole of Greece. We are especially proud of this because it is mainly based on the good reviews we get from our guests.
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by Stephen Trifyllis

If you turn left at the hospital at Potamos and proceed down the narrow road, you will arrive at one of the most delightful villages on the island .... TRIFYLLIANIKA .. and in the little square Agios Jannis (St. John Church). If you are on Kythera in late august on the 28th, it has a lovely church service in the morning followed by a morning tea by all the church goers in the square outside the church and everybody is welcomed - greek or tourists. If you visit the village at another time you may ask one of the locals to obtain the key so the church can be opened to maybe light a candle and view the hand painted frescoes on the walls.

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by Maria of Louradianika

Many of my devoted followers, both Kytherian and from other parts of the world, have been privy to my most personal and inner thoughts for the past years that I have had the honour of being published both in Kythera Family net, and The Kytherian.

Once more, I write, sharing with all, my greatest wishes and desires, and ask that you join me in my quest to make my greatest dream come true.

Many will recall that I was told by my doctors that I could not possibly endure a trip to Kythera, as my health would not allow it, but I have chosen to turn to a higher being, and to listen to my heart and not my head.

God willing, next May, when the weather is coming into its best, I pray to make the trip to Kythera with my husband, with whom I wish to share my culture and my love of Kythera, I will attempt to return to where my heart yearns to allow me to return, as I see this as a pilgrimage, returning to Louradianika, where my heart beckons me.

My wish had been to return later this year, but unforeseen medical problems have made this not possible, with plans changed, with a heavy heart I must delay my return.

There will be many changes, and I am willing to overlook these, as I find myself being critical of myself, wishing for the Kythera of old, instead of being happy of the progress I am told has been made.

I will see a sealed road at the door of Ayio Georyi, but this will not matter, as for me, my mind will return to my memories of the old dirt road covered in stones. Progress has come to Kythera.

My paternal home still stands unchanged, and I wish to know if my beloved Uncle Nicks hidden secrets still are within the home, as will the clothes still be in the old wooden couch which I left there purposefully, waiting for my return, still be there?

Ayio Georyi, built over 1000 years ago will hold special meaning for me, as I will feel the presence of my loved ones, my grandfather, my Uncle Nick and my father, may they rest in peace.

Reaching deep within my heart, I realize this is a trip which I must attempt, and defy all odds. My heart belongs to Louradianika, as no words nor warnings can change this, and I must follow my heart, and return to the island which beckons me.

Kythera may have changed, but the same harsh winds will blow, the olive trees where I collected olives, will still bear their fruits, branches heavy with olives, or maybe they have been picked by now, but for me, I will still see what my memories hold so dear to me. The landscape may have changed, but the Kythera of old will never change for me.

To visit the resting places of my loved ones, at Ayio Georyi at Louradianika, Kato Livadi, causes emotions words cannot express.

My husband will finally understand my years of speaking to him of this island, allowing him to finally understand my culture, and he, knowing my deep need to return, supports me fully, looking forward to also embracing the island which I love so much.

I have no doubt that my fellow Kytherians will embrace him, as they did my son when I took him there, as he still carries such a love for an island he spent a relatively short time on, showing him the hospitality we are so famous for, my husband learning the true meaning of being married to a Kytherian.

Will my Marika still disappear into the fields during the day, working so hard to eek out a simple living, and appear as before when least expected? There will be many tears shed as they were so many years ago. My cousins will embrace me with love as they will embrace my husband also, of this I have no doubt.

I will return to Ayio Georyi, where with my beloved father figure, my “Georgi” who had a vision of me sitting in a pew in my grandfathers church, I would once again see my beloved departed father and grandfather.

My Georgi will stand beside me, and I know that we will shed many tears, as no words will need to be spoken, as I live out his vision, and I will be in the presence of my loved ones who will be present in spirit. Georgi will be waiting for me as I once more touch the ground of my beloved Kythera, as we have spoken, and as we both have said, it is in Gods hands, but He is a merciful God, and His will will be done, with me not questioning whatever His decision may be.

The main street in Kythera when I was just 15 years old had few shops, as we were looked upon in wonderment. My Uncle Panayotis shoe shop became an electrical shop, the shed which housed the looms became a bakery, and a simple store sold few groceries, but many cheeses, with a small wooden shed, with a very old fashioned telephone. They will no longer be there, as I am told I will be greeted by a supermarket or large proportions, and the taverna, where the elderly gentlemen would gather late in the afternoon, to enjoy their coffee, their cigarettes and to play cards and generally exchange the latest gossip. All long gone, but still clear in my mind.

Kythera does not begin with my original trip when I was a young girl. Some years ago, when I was asked to interpret some letters by a gentleman of my own name, Marsellos, spelt slightly differently, awoke deep thoughts of how Kythera was back in the 1800’s.

I wrote of this once before, and I would like to share just a small part of one letter from a mother, who later in life had to see her sons estranged after a bitter argument, one leaving for Egypt, as she begged for him to return to reconcile with his brother.

I now write a small section of this mothers letter when she was just a young woman herself.

“Then it was when the mother wanted in a small way to die.
One morning, the employer from the shop came and brought her down to Piraeus for them to leave with the father and go to the area of the island.
During the entire journey, she kept asking “when will we arrive?” “Why do we delay so much?”
But, when she awoke in the morning, and found at the “katasrama” with the land so far away, a deep, large mountain, she was told “There is our island.” Why? Even she could not believe her eyes. That cloud she could see could have been their island (Kythera) but soon began to show trees, houses and people.
It came to her to throw herself, to reach the island an hour more quickly as she saw the boats. In a short time, they held their hands together, one with the other, and finally felt the sand under their feet. The father joining them, the connection being made much later.”

This letter was written in the 18th century, and no matter how our island changes, relationships will stay the same.

The pain felt by this mother has been felt by many, as she was a young woman when she arrived on Kythera, not knowing what the future held for her, as she later on in life, the years having passed, having raised her own family, amongst them 2 sons. How she yearned for her sons to end their bitter argument, as any mother would, and reconcile, but sadly this was not to be. One son had gone to Egypt, as many Kytherians did back in those days, and the other stayed by his mother on the island. She passed with a heavy heart, knowing her sons had not reconciled their differences

Kythera will always stay in our hearts as I found a deeper meaning by reading the letters written centuries ago.

I would like to finish this article, with this saying. It expresses words which can be easily, but with great meaning.

One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of ENCOURAGEMENT.

When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.

With these words, “God willing I will return to my beloved Kythera and light a candle not only for all my loved ones, and the many people I have been blessed to enter my life, faces unknown, but who have enriched my life.”

Maria Marcellos Whyte
4 Trinity Crescent
Sippy Downs
Queensland 4556
[email protected]

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Obituary: Andreas Crononeos

The obit. is of Andreas Coroneos - known to the philatelic world and professionally as Andrew Cronin, B.Sc. M.S,. F.R.P.L.
Who died this past March in Toronto but born in Australia
When you read the Obit (which I co-wrote ) and you Have any questions I will be pleased to share what I know – I knew Andy well for over 25 years…
Bill Liaskas
Delta, B C
A suburb of Vancouver. B .C.
[email protected]

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You can order our map and donate to the Kythera-Aphrodite-Museum project at the same time: follow the links at www.kythera-museum.org

Click here to enlarge
Left: front cover of the folded map. Right: Unfolded the map is 50 x 70cm

Click here to enlarge

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