Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ios Island: History, Homer and Easy Hikers

On the island of Ios, with its hilly, rocky landscape, a history that dates back some 500 million years and a population of less than 2,000, is where we find ourselves this week. 

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Tucked away between the more well-known Mykonos and Santorini in the white-washed Cycladic Islands of Greece, this island has an ‘in-season’ reputation of being a rocking, late night party place – a magnet for young travelers. In this off-season time it is quiet here – many stores and restaurants have yet to open  and its narrow streets are relatively empty – making it a delightful place to explore.

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The pathway to Homer's Tomb
Ios (pronounced EE-ohs) holds the distinction of  being Homer’s final resting place. His tomb is atop the wind-swept hill pictured above. He’s the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey back in the 8th Century, in case you’ve forgotten your Ancient Literature teachings. His resting place was documented by 5th Century writer  Heridotus, who traveled these lands and is considered ‘the father of history’. It is a ‘must visit’ on this island!

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From Left: Thomas, Christos, Jackie, Marlys, Michael and Joel

We decided on a whim to come here last week and where pleased to learn that travel’s serendipity was bringing two of our long-time favorite France-based bloggers, Michael and Marlys Schuermann of Easy Hiker to the island at the same time.  As an added bonus we met blogger Thomas Dowson, also from France who writes Archaeology Travel.


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For at least two years I’ve read Easy Hiker and been inspired to take so many of their recommended hikes, but never in a million years did I think I would ever do one with them. . .well, until yesterday when they invited us to join them. They were headed up that hill pictured above to visit those churches. So off we went and what a wonderful hike  climb, it was:

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Ios is known for its churches – there are 365 on this island, one for each day of the year (some speculate there are more). Half of them are open to the public but most are private chapels – as were these four – and are open by invitation only.  As the other three writers were guests of the municipality, the invitation had been extended to look inside. The pathway though is open to the public.

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It was a series of paved steps that led up the hill and not as difficult as it had looked from below.

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So we all did what any travel blogger/tourist would do: snapped photos like crazy and exclaimed over the stunning vistas:

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It was one of those travel days that we’ll file away in the extra special file because it was filled with the best that travel has to offer: new friends, old treasures and great adventures.

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In case you are wondering, we did make it to the top, this photo is of the upper most church. The final portion of the climb was over open grass and dirt. . .

Thanks again to our fellow bloggers for including us on their outing. And thanks too, to Christos, who was the Municipality’s tourism representative who led us up the hill.  (He’s 72 years old, by the way!)
Linking up today with Budget Travelers Sandbox, Travel Photo Thursday.  As always the time you spend with us is most appreciated! Hope you join us this weekend when we will be. . .(check back to find out ;-)!)

24 comments:

  1. Hello Jackie and Joel:

    How spectacular all of this is. We love the idea of these 'private' chapels, something we have always yearned to possess and did get as far as having the foundations put down for one in our Herefordshire garden. Alas, the cost....!!

    Such fun to meet up with people who you have only previously known through the blogosphere. And clearly it was all a huge success.

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    1. What a wonderful tale! I don't know anyone but you two who've even come close to building a 'private' chapel'. . .BRAVO as we say over here!! Thanks for commenting and hope to see you soon . . .we'll be better at visiting blogs again when our travels are done.

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  2. How wonderful to get to explore this beautiful place on the off season. :-) Those churches are stunning.

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    1. We love off-season travel. . .prices are the best as well! Thanks for your visit. See you soon at 'your place'

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  3. It is lovely meeting other bloggers and sharing the day. Off season is our favourite time to visit places too. Looks fantastic.

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    1. We've decided that it is much more rewarding meeting bloggers than counting blog stats! Thanks for the visit Jan.

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  4. I'm so envious Jackie and Joel , hope next time I can meet you too! Never been to IOS, but Cyclades are amazing everywhere you go! Enjoy!

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    1. Yes, I wish our ambles through the Peloponnese had brought us close enough to meet. . .maybe next time!! Hugs. Jackie

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  5. Homer was indeed a very intelligent man to have chosen the island of Ios for his final residence, where panoramic views of the Aegean, its many islands and endless skies, must have inspired him until his final days.

    How wonderful to be able to follow you on your adventures on this magical island, accompanied by new friends and filled with great excitement!

    Have a fun and fabulous week, Jackie and Joel!

    Poppy

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    1. Those rocky, rugged hills on Ios made us think of the stark beauty of the hills of Crete. (And we have heard there are four other places claiming to be the final resting place of Homer. . .but I prefer to think of him atop that hill with the sea and the sky surrounding him.) Thanks for your visit Poppy! Hugs, Jackie

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  6. Good evening to you both. Greatly enjoyed meeting you too. Am envious of your next stop, but won't spoil it for your other readers. But, I look forward to reading your thoughts.

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    1. Well here we are and it is pretty much as you described this place Thomas, we are looking forward to Delos!

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  7. I can see that every day is a new adventure for you, Jackie, and this one sounds like a really great day, meeting up with your fellow bloggers (who I now have bookmarked) and going on that outing together. Lovely views in the photo series.

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    1. We are amazed that our month has already zipped past Andrew and it won't be long before we are home with heads and hearts filled with memories and photo cards filled with shots! Thanks for stopping by today!

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  8. Jackie, Joel, it was a pleasure meeting you in person and even doing an easy hike together. Till we meet again.....

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    1. You keep us inspired! Perhaps our next hike together will be through Menton. . .or,. . .Seattle!?

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  9. When I read your title, I thought Easy Hikers? Then I realized it was those easy hikers. What great timing that you could meet with them and Thomas and hike together. I had to scroll back up to look at Christos' photo, Jackie. He doesn't look 72 at all! Glad you made it to the top. The view is definitely oooh- and ahhh-worthy.

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    1. It is such great fun meeting the real live people behind the blogs. I hope you and I are destined to meet in the not too distant future!

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  10. Hi Jackie! What a great day you had. Your photos are great. There is something about the white and blue that is magical.

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  11. White and blue certainly scream, Greece, don't they. Of course they also spell, travel, sun and fun for me as well. It was a great outing and it was so nice of the blogger trio to invited us to join them.

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  12. That's so wonderful that you were able to meet some bloggers that you follow and that they were able to share their fantastic day with you. As with many other Greek isles, I am struck by the striking contrast between the whites and the blues of the skies, water, and accent paint. We are very familiar with The Iliad as my son has just finished it for school and had to read it aloud in order to stay awake.

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  13. Wow, just knowing this is the island where Homer was buried would c ertainly make me go. But those stunning vistas and all the lovely churches and the hike would definitely make me stay. What a wonderful experience you had meeting fellow bloggers and exploring the island with them. I hope our paths will someday cross, too!

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  14. I am greatly weighed down by your opinions for that specific tale. A additional deeper and staged expertise could well be very fine for me

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Glad you stopped by today and took the time to leave a note. Hope we'll hear from you often!

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