|2022-06-12||Europe: 2023-01-17 23:15 (UTC)|
More adventurous day than yesterday, Kythera provided a day of fun ride and educative history.
The morning spent a nice ride on the western part of the islands. On the way I passed through Kato Chora/Κάτω Χώρα, without any intention of being sarcastic, only presenting the historical values you can find mostly the very same buildings nowadays which stood five or six hundred years ago. The heydays were around the 15th century, during momentary Venetian occupation the village built the fortress. Then arrived the Byzantine, then the Ottomans.
Headed toward the Agia Sophia Cave and Limnionas, no proper pictures. Well, I can admit, riding those single car wide, chicane corners, without barrier, strong windy steep slopes have been the most adrenaline-pumped motorcycling moments I've partaken ever so far.
It's pretty simple: if you don't squeeze the petrol tank not to push your weight onto the front suspension=manoeuvrability, if your upper body, feet, arms, grips, fingers don't remain relaxed meanwhile to ride the bike and freely turn back for focusing on the inside of the hairpin curves, if you don't follow the rule ofa motorcycle goes to the direction you look— but let's say you peep the down below and the rippling blue sea captures your eyes like a magnet — you're dead. Much scarier than Kaunertal even in sunny dry weather, and you won't have any luxurious six seconds to correct.
Instructive too, a few kilometers later to north and now with less intense palpitation descended again to visit Paralia Likodimou:
Seemed like a cosy, somewhat hidden and yet unspoiled beach, but didn't have any swimsuit and towels or intention to drop the motorcycle clothings.
But then the latter part of the day headed for a nice excursion to the top of Palaiokastro. The approximate 2.5 hours long hike to the top of the 325 mts hill isn't very demanding, although it's an offroad experience since there are no real paths, you'll more have to wade through the thick bushes and trees with thorns; without damaging anything. Long trousers, sturdy shoes or boots and confident feet are recommended.When you start the hike from the road it's also a good idea to immediately pick and swing around some branch to clear the invisible webs with fist-sized spiders across the track, woven between the bushes on the sides, around the height of your nose and mouth. Don't ask how did I figure this out.
The hill offers a scenic overview in all directions with remains of Greek mythology and Christian presence.
In the Temple of Athena.
Or Aphrodite's. It's under running research whose temple stands actually on the hill, because the internet sources and the Archaeological Museum of Kythira seem to contradict each other. The internet sources tell the sanctuary was for Aphrodite Ourania (celestial,heavenly), which sounds logical since according to the legend she emerged from the sea either here in Kythira or in Cyprus. On the other hand the museum exhibition says during the excavations they found an inscription on a stone base, reading
ΑΘΑΝΑΙΑΙ ΑΝΕΘΗΚΕwhich meansdedicated to Athena.
While I still believe everything on the internet, I have much stronger confidence in the expertise of the museums.
Also I don't wish to induce any altercation between Athena and Aphrodite, because that would not end pretty. Read up the story of Paris and see how did he fare.Opinions may vary, I think he made the right decision.
Not because Aphrodite couldn't be shockingly ferocious, oh no.
But the world is neither that big or that interesting, and the list of things to value for the brief amount of time called life is strikingly short.
He paid dearly, Hera's and Athena's revenge was quite extreme.
In mere exact four steps away from the remains of the sanctuary you can find the seen better days but well standing church (a second one, not the same as on the first picture). By visual age determining it seems to be way younger than Theodosius' Era, yet it's difficult to fully exclude the possibility that it was strategically positioned next to one of the Twelve Gods — to ensure and remind: The One and Real God is here and always watching you.
Nonetheless, churches and monasteries have played a vital role in the history of Kythira, especially around the 16th century when they provided spiritual havens for the inhabitants of the island. One infamous example, still living in the local folklore were the Ottoman pirates, namely Hayreddin Barbarossa. His cannons and minions destroyed and pillaged the island, along with proving facts that slavery on the contrary to some contemporary political misinterpretations wasn't the invention of white European males, and Barbarossa took as many slaves as he could pick to sell during his voyages all across the Mediterranean Sea.Life is cheap in Casablanca.
Summing up the missing history of Kythira from the 17th century, the French led by Bonaparte Napoleon taught the Venetians some meekness and ruled over the island but not for too long: in the quiz of whoiswho the Ottomans won an extra round with the silent partner Imperial Russia. They reigned until the 19th century when the British arrived and set up the not so humbly named United States of the Ionian Islands for the colony. Granted, without the collective intervention the Barbary slave trade routes probably would be still operating nowadays.
So the British also could mark a Kythiran check in the spreadsheet of domination, but the remoteness and other more pressing matters forced the treasury to stop sending envelopes, and not to maintain the costly yet hardly profitable presence on the island. That time the keys to the colony returned into the rightful Greek hands of King George I of Greece in 1864.
That was the day when I unwillingly sacrificed my sunglasses to the goddesses on the hill, around by the last few steps before I resurfaced from the bushes downhill. Up to this day I still cannot comprehend how. How could I loose a sunglasses of azure frame like the Greek seas in the golden-yellow vegetation. For those who don't know colour theory, these are exact opposite to each other on the colour wheel, with a screaming obvious contrast and standing out.
As if it had been just consumed by the Earth.
Later I sat on the bike and rode back to the accommodation and the evening ended in Milopotamos/Μυλοπόταμος.