Two Weeks in the Timeless Ikaria

The blaring juxtaposition of time and technology is evident in Ikaria by the fact one can sit on a beach and download a book to their e-reader but yet there is still no fully paved road connecting the entire island. At a time when America was welcoming the internet into homes, the last few villages in Ikaria were being wired for electricity. Stone walls from 200 AD still stand proudly along the roads while shiny, new Audi’s zip by.

D.H. Lawrence explains it best in his story, “The Man Who Loved Islands”, “…but once isolate yourself on a little island in the sea of space, and the moment begins to heave and expand in great circles, the solid earth is gone, and your slippery, naked dark soul finds herself out in the timeless world, where the chariots of the so- called dead dash down the old streets of centuries, and souls crowd on the footways that we, in the moment, call bygone years.”

Ikaria is an island without chronological time and that is what makes it so special. Stone stables from the 1600’s are standing next to homes powered by solar energy. An electric, wireless violin plays traditional Greek island songs for the throngs of dancers who know the correct folk dance for each song by heart. The dances unify the village, 80- year old women show off intricate steps to their teenage grandchildren who add more athletic jumps and kicks. At a time with modern, cutting edge medicine, a traditional cure still lures Ikarians and tourists to the edge of the island. For backaches, infertility, gout, or arthritis, the hot mineral springs are a part of the treatment plan.

When you are walking through a deserted monastery, that is considered relatively young by the island’s standards, after all it was built in the 1800’s, and your eye catches a candy wrapper, a sense of anachronism washes over you. Ikaria is a place where you can stand on the border of the past and present and lose yourself in the history of the island.

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