The Ionian September 2013

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September 2013 The Ionian 1 September 2013 Volume 4. Issue 6 COMPLIMENTARY/∆ΩΡΕΑΝ Please recycle: give to a friend or neighbour when finished. The Ionian A Legacy for a Village Page 6 Saying Good Bye Page 12 Traditional Greek Music Page 8 The First Two Months Page 7 Greek Café Culture Page 9 Architecture on Lefkas Island Page 10 The Art of Waiting… Page 5

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English language lifestyle, yachting and travel magazine for the Ionian, Greece.

Transcript of The Ionian September 2013

  • September 2013 The Ionian 1

    September 2013 Volume 4. Issue 6 COMPLIMENTARY/ Please recycle: give to a friend or neighbour when finished.

    The Ionian

    A Legacy for a Village Page 6

    Saying Good Bye Page 12

    Traditional Greek Music Page 8

    The First Two Months Page 7

    Greek Caf Culture Page 9

    Architecture on Lefkas Island Page 10

    The Art of Waiting Page 5

  • 2 The Ionian September 2013

  • September 2013 The Ionian 3

    A little bit of culture ... One of the main reasons why I love Greece is the culture. When I arrived back in spring, the first things I did the next morning was to indulge at my favourite seafront caf. Where else but in Greece can you get a plate of loukoumades and a glass of ice cold water with

    your perfectly made coffee served in a real cup on a saucer and delivered to you by a smiling waitress who remembers you? No more waiting in line to pay first and then having to fill a Styrofoam cup (unless I bring my own from home) with lukewarm brown mud from a thermos on a counter, and having to even clear my own table, like in some countries I wont mention. And so this month we dedicate this issue to Greek culture.

    First, we have on page 5, The Art of Waiting by Barbara de Machula. We all know that to live in Greece is to learn patience, but what better way to wait than in one of those kafeneions we find on every street corner.

    Next, Sharla Ault writes about an artist, who is working to preserve the culture of a village in A Legacy for a Village on page 6.

    And what is culture without music and night life? And so, we have Traditional Greek Music on page 8 and Greek Caf Culture on page 9, both by Marianna Tsatsou.

    Designing homes that fit in harmoniously with the local environment and existing buildings is one of the challenges for an architect and an engineer. Architect Erwin Heimgartner and engineer Nikolaos Boursinos describe the process on page 10 in Architecture on Lefkas Island.

    We have a sailing story as well - sailing being the best way I know of travelling throughout the Ionian to experience the local culture first hand. Bill Andrews continues with the saga of his new yacht, Lover, in The First Two Months on page 7.

    And finally, back at the kafeneion, on page 12, Robin Lamb is Saying Good Bye for another season to some of his Greek friends.

    Enjoy reading... ~~~_/) Barbara Molin

    The Ionian

    Cover Photo: Sokratis Nikolos, bou-zouki player in Lefkada. Photo by Barbara Molin To purchase any of our photographs or to submit your own for a cover shot consideration email us at: [email protected]

    Contact us: Website: Email: [email protected]

    Founding Publisher: Justin Smith Publisher: Barbara Molin Managing Editor: Barbara Molin Advisory Board: Yannis Dimopoulos Ryan Smith Layout: Barbara Molin Printing: Graphic Arts Advertising: Barbara Molin Subscriptions: Barbara Molin

    You can read or download The Ionian free on our website at:, or pick it up from our advertisers.

    The Ionian is published monthly approximately on the last day before each month. Publication is for informational purposes only. Although The Ionian has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions it may contain. The opinions expressed by the contributors are not necessarily held by the publisher. Published in Canada.

  • 4 The Ionian September 2013

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    We all have our moments of frustration, waiting for something to happen or something to stop happening. We expats, probably spent a fair amount of our time waiting in traffic jams, before we moved to Greece. Most of us hated the wasted time, each day on the treadmill of clogged roads, traffic lights and stress.

    In our present part of the world, the Ionian, it is hard to find a traffic jam. Sometimes in the cities the traffic can be chaotic, but that's it. Waiting seems to be happening in a different part of our lives in Greece. We can spend a fair amount of time waiting for a phone connection to our house to be made, waiting in an office to get some stamp from a gentleman with a big moustache, if he is not away just that day or on strike when we show up by his desk in a remote city.

    A Greek bank is also a great place to wait - you get a number and then go for a coffee around the corner. By the time you finish your coffee, your number is probably called. The lady at the counter may be in a good mood to help you, or your visit ends in a babylonic confusion, but at least you spent some time in the kafeneion for a good reason.

    Nowadays, a lot of people in Greece are waiting to be paid. And it is a domino effect, we all wait for each other. The phone companies make good business, as we are all calling each other to ask when

    the payment will come. In the meantime we try to wait as

    comfortably as possible, which is probably in some taverna. Our taverna can be like

    an office, we wait there for work, or new idea that we can immediately share with others. Sometimes waiting is great!

    The other day, there were falling stars in the sky. Every year in August, the Perseides take care of free fireworks. We did not have to wait long to see them shoot through the sky with long fiery tails. We made wishes, that are waiting to be fulfilled, though we may not have much to wish for anymore.

    In the garden, I was waiting for my plums to get ripe in order to make a wicked jam. I checked the tree every day while watering my tobacco

    plants. After three years of patience, I picked them with a feeling of victory, you may remember the cows that ate my first year's plums? And the year after, when the tree needed recovery? 180 plums I counted this year, and the jar of jam is pure gold!

    We were waiting for the damp and wet winter to give way to the summer, and there it was, hot as ever, and now every day we wait for the sun to set and give a bit of coolness so we can do some work outside, while the brave among us work even in the heat and sunshine.

    I am also waiting for a beautiful autumn, beginning with September; maybe one of the best months in the year. The water of the sea will still be warm, and a fresh breeze will cool us down. The evenings will be so comfortable and ideal for barbecues.

    The garden is waiting for a big cleanup to make it ready for late crops and winter planting. My greenhouse will be full with interesting vegetables, I have to learn what to grow during the wintertime, and for sure my hot peppers will be comfortable there.

    Fishing with a rod is also a way of waiting, but waiting with a purpose seems

    better than waiting in vain. The surroundings of waiting are very important, as well as the props. I don't complain waiting for anything when I can enjoy the sea at my feet, a cool drink and good company, or even being alone with my thoughts and plans in a hammock. We all have something sooner or later to wait for, let's work on our patience in the best of circumstances. This way I look at the Greeks in the taverna. They are not lazy, out drinking, no they are waiting. Exercising their patience with the best props available, an ouzo or a tsipouro, they watch life pass by and wait for anything that

    might happen. Change is life. Yamas!

    Barbara de Machula is an artist living on a farm on a side of a mountain near a monastery in Palairos.

    The Art of Waiting

    By Barbara de Machula

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    I happened upon an art exhibit in Preveza where Dutch artist Bart Elfrink displayed a series of gigantic portraits. The project, still incomplete, has taken about five years since its inception.

    It all started in this village where Caroline (partner and fellow artist) and I have been living every summer for the past fourteen years, said Mr. Elfrink. The village, Ano Kotsanopoulon is located in the mountains about a 20 minute drive from Preveza.

    We bought an old farmhouse and renovated it, and in the process have become friends with all the villagers. Some of them were quite elderly and we could see their traditions fading as the older people passed away. These people had lots of stories to tell and because Caroline speaks perfect Greek, we were able to learn a lot about their lives. The idea came to me to create a series of

    portraits, especially of the old people in the village, as a sort of tribute to them, so that they can live on in some way

    even after they are gone. And so the project began. Using a series

    of photographs, Bart created the portraits in his studio in Holland, using oils. The portraits initially seem black and white or sepia, but there are actually layers of colour underneath.

    I wanted to create portraits that were almost devoid of colour to create a harmonious collection, says Bart. The technique works: some of the paintings have an ochre undertone that comes through and breathes life into the portrait. The faces have expressions that are immediately communicative. Since I know them all well, I was able to capture their spirit in their expressions, says Elfrink .

    Bart has created 33 portraits to date, and a documentary was made of the moment when he presented the paintings to the subjects. The comments were not always complimentary.

    You made me look horrible! complains Fotini, an 80-something woman who was portrayed with a headscarf. She then proceeded to talk about her joyful youth and how she used to sing in the fields during harvest season.

    Dimitra doesnt like her portrait either. The gruff woman talked about her arranged marriage that was totally against her will. Dimitra recalled her emigration to Germany where she was treated as a second-class citizen and where her best friend was a Turk (scandalous!). Each portrait brought out comments and created a rich dialogue about the old days.

    Thats exactly what I was getting at, says Bart. The whole idea was to connect with the past. These people dont see themselves as I depicted them, in their minds they are still young and they are eager to tell me their stories about those far-off days, as if they were yesterday.

    A group of men joked with each other about who looked better. You did my hair all messy! says one. You made my husband look better than me, says another.

    Others, however were silent, because they had passed away. But now the widows (as its usually the men who die first) have a tangible legacy and their partners will not be forgotten to the world.

    And neither will this special village.

    A Legacy for a Village

    By Sharla Ault

    Portraits of Dina, Dimitra and Vangelis

    Bart Elfrink with his paintings

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    Cutting our teeth or having teeth drawn. It depends how you look at it. We've certainly had a good time on our new yacht, Lover, but there have been trying moments and we have had to put our hands deep into our pockets. This hasn't been as painful as it might have been as we bought a yacht well below our budget price.

    One of the reasons we wanted a boat here was to share the wonders of Greek boat life with friends and family and we had at least seven groups coming this year. Two friends arrived only three days after we'd bought the boat and stayed with us for two weeks. They were experienced sailors so we learnt quite a lot from them.

    Anyway, the problems. Firstly we had to have our spray hood re-stitched and our genoa repaired. The fierce sun plays havoc with the threads and the material and the repairer of the genoa said they had done their best but really it was time for a new sail. I made enquiries, obtaining quotes from English and Chinese suppliers before deciding to purchase locally from Jsails of Preveza.

    They measured every possible, relevant distance and fed the measurements into a laptop computer programme which produced a 3D image of what the sail would look like. It is magnificent and was delivered to Parga very rapidly to comply with my request to have it for my grandchildren's visit.

    Secondly we were persuaded to buy a more modern anchor as we tend to spend most nights at anchor. At the same time we asked for our tender to be repaired and again we were told we needed a new one. The seams only last five years in this climate and they were shot. We bought both in Lefkas and sailed to Palairos to digest how much we were spending. There we had a frightening experience - a cooker fire.

    Sue, who had offered to make a cup of tea, shouted "There's something wrong with

    the cooker." I said "Let me have a look" and foolishly tried to light the burner. There was an explosion as the escaped gas ignited. We threw a fire blanket over the flames but the fire continued to burn. I dashed out to turn off the gas in the gas locker, leaving poor Sue inside. We both struggled to set off a fire extinguisher, but

    when I managed it, the white powder put out all the flames but in the process covered the whole of the interior of the boat. We were both very shaken but miraculously there was no damage to us or to the boat, the fire had been contained in the cooker space which is lined with metal.

    After a few tears we put all the boat cushions on the quay, where we brushed and beat them clean. After five hours of hard labour, the boat was habitable again. A kind Dutchman brought us hot water for tea that evening and next morning tested the cooker and regulator out on the quay. The burners were so rusty we didn't trust it

    and ordered a replacement. This took a while to arrive but meanwhile, our second lot of guests bought us a cheap camping stove.

    After that we were fine for a few days until the gearbox blew up. We had had a pleasant sail down the Meganissi Channel but hit strong winds at the southern end. We were headed for Sivota. We reefed the sails but the old genoa did not perform well so we made the decision to motor. Sue then discovered that the engine didn't seem to be working. It revved up OK but we weren't moving. I went to inspect and found the main drive shaft of the gearbox sticking up out of the oil fill cap obviously unworkable.

    So we either had to battle our way to Sivota, which was closest, or head back up

    the channel in uncertain winds. We decided on Sivota and our wonderful boat behaved magnificently in winds of over 30 knots, but we had some harrowing moments.

    I sent a text to friends who we'd arranged to meet in Sivota and they asked "Do you need help?" I replied "maybe when we get in the bay." Although we tacked almost all the way in we were very grateful when Vicky from Sailing Holidays offered to tow us to the quay with their rib.

    Amazingly they had a second-hand gearbox which they sold us and Simon of Sivota Yacht Services rebuilt ours using parts from theirs and installed it within two days of our arrival there. What service!

    We also had a problem with the furling system on our new genoa, which we thought would mean the front stay which runs from the top of the mast to the bow would have to be replaced. Way Point of Lefkas managed to sort the problem out quickly and cheaply with some grease and a specially made spliced cord.

    Anther improvement we've made is to the electrical system, so we have sufficient power to run all our gadgets and the power hungry fridge with a second solar panel, a modern controller for the two panels, a booster device on the alternator device and a display so we can see what charge is

    going in and what charge is going out. We have been very impressed with the speed with which we have been able to get everything done and how pleasant everyone has been. I don't think we'd have had the same experience in the UK. All that hassle must sound like your worst nightmare but we've had a fabulous time in spite of the problems. We've had Sue's sister and brother in law for a few days, met up with friends in Parga, sailed as far as Ericoussa Island and back to Nidri, played lots and lots of bridge and shared some delicious meals with our friends Dave and Viola either on our boat or

    theirs. One of the highlights was sharing Lover

    with my son and daughter-in-law and their three children for ten days. The children, aged between 5 and 13, splashed about in the water for hours, caught two fish which we cooked on the beach and generally had a whale of a time. My son, an expert wind surfer, loved helming. Two of the children slept in mosquito nets in the cockpit so there was plenty of bedroom space for the other five. In between visitors Sue and I have had peaceful, quality time together and had some wonderful sailing.

    Bill and Sue Andrews bought their first yacht, Lover in May 2013 when Bill was 69. You can read that story in the August 2013 issue of The Ionian.

    The First Two Months

    By Bill Andrews

    Bill and Sue (right) with friends

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    Greeks have many ways of celebrating or grieving, and all of these social events are accompanied by some form of traditional Greek music. If it's Monday, we listen to music because Mondays are blue, if it's summer, we listen to music because it's sunny and we are happy about it. Even when someone dies, residents of Preveza's villages mourn about the dead person singing laments.

    Unfortunately, the laments have nothing to do with music played on an organ or sung by a choir in any Protestant church. I was shocked when I first attended a funeral ceremony of a young cousin of mine in my father's village. There were about five people including grandfathers and uncles singing a lament so depressing that everyone started crying even if they hated the person who had just passed away.

    In ancient times, Greeks organized meetings, especially for men, called symposia. The symposium was a party which was attended by renowned Greeks to discuss important issues (let's say this was the official reason), but mostly, to party with large amounts of wine and women of ill repute.

    Modern Greeks inherited this pleasant tradition and always seek opportunities to party. Alright then, not with women of ill repute perhaps, although they would really love to, but with wine, ouzo, tsipouro or retsina that everyone loves. And of course, music.

    First of all, there is the fundamental Greek folk music, which includes a variety of ethnic Greek songs. Most of these songs have been sung over the course of time by thousands of illiterate people. As a result, after decades or even hundreds of years, someone decided to write down these lyrics. However, the elderly know them by heart.

    For example, a few miles away from

    Preveza, there is a village called Papadates. Papadates is well-known for its annual 'Kagelari' festival one week after Easter, when locals gather in the central square and dance in a circle for many hours. They know all

    the lyrics and melody by heart even without being accompanied by any instruments.

    We should not forget to mention the annual paniyiri festival of every village and city of this country. Especially in

    Epirus, from where many Greeks have migrated to other, richer countries, paniyiria is the hot event of the year for two main reasons; there is much food (mostly soup of beans called fassolada or boiled goat with carrots) and too much alcohol, but it is also the ideal opportunity for villagers from all over the globe to meet each other once a year.

    Since Greeks are Orthodox Christians, they organize paniyiria in honor of some saint. As a result, on the Assumption Day, Aug. 15, wherever one goes, hundreds

    of paniyiria can be found all over the country because Virgin Mary is one of the most prominent figures of Christianity.

    Most modern paniyiria last two or three days and apart from the music, there is also a bazaar.

    A piece of advice: if you want a Greek person to love you, especially the older ones, mention that the sound of the clarinet is the smoothest, sweetest, best sound you've ever heard!

    In a country where migration has always been present, this social change has affected our music as well. Population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1922-1924 forced several former Turkey-based Greeks to move to Greece and vice versa. A Mediterranean person would die if someone banned music from their life and thus, these Oriental migrants introduced rebetika to Greece. At first, this type of music was regarded as inappropriate, since it was associated with a particular subculture. Alcohol, illegal marijuana and fights were part of rebetes' (people who listened to or played rebetika) everyday nightlife and thus, it was quite inappropriate music for civilized Greeks. However a few decades later, musicians such as Tsitsanis or Vamvakaris convinced Greeks to listen to their music. Despite the fact that Preveza is a small town, there are several keen musicians playing many music styles in the local taverns. Have a walk around the city's alleys and you'll meet some singer or a band playing rebetika or some folk songs of Kazantzidis. A bouzouki and a guitar is all they need

    to stay awake till dawn and sing together Oli oi rebetes tou dounia, translated as every rebetis of the world.

    Traditional Greek Music

    Marianna Tsatsou

    Zorba Dancer: Nikos Skepetaris Lies vant Net

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    A friend asked me how it is possible for us, Greeks, to stay out till late many times a week after working all day. I tried to find something clever or funny to say but I didnt actually know how we finally make it - most Greeks work, raise kids and go out at night at least four times a week without feeling anxious or exhausted about this habit.

    The truth is, I dont really know how it happens but lets have a look at the facts. Staying out until morning needs three important things: money, free time and good mood. Greeks have always been outgoing and enthusiastic people, so having fun is part of our culture. Of course, some tsipouro or wine helps our smile hang on our face for some more hours.

    As for spare time, obviously we cannot claim we have any super powers. Taking into consideration that in most cases Greek employees work even on Sundays (without even getting paid any extra money for it), especially during summer, free time is like a privilege to us, like to every other person in the world. So, usually late evenings are the only time we have free. And besides, in summer, its the only time when its not too hot to dance!

    However, we dont mind feeling like a zombie while at work after having stayed up late the night before. Moreover, living in a small town, people enjoying themselves at a tavern or kafenio - a

    traditional Greek coffee shop - do not have to worry about the way and the time we get home since our houses might be only 3-4 minutes away by bicycle!

    Apparently, spare time or fun is not a big deal; the only thing left to discuss is money. I could accept that meeting the same friends over and over again at the same taverns means that regular customers, friends or the owner of the tavern might treat you to a free drink. So, even the days of the month you are broke, you can easily enjoy yourself! The next time your friends have no penny, it is your turn to return the favour.

    To a reasonable, northern European this might seem that all these people, having no money or only enough needed to pay their rent, would stay in at night, would go to sleep earlier, would spend their money more wisely and would wake up early in the morning to seize the day. But no!

    Greek people have gone through many ordeals, such as invasions, military junta, wars, starvation, and so on, and have listened carefully to the elders stories about deaths, poverty, dictators and misery. So they need to have fun and have friends in order to balance their lives, to forget the past, in order to banish it. If they

    didn't do so, they would probably commit suicide. Staying out till the morning is like a rebellion running in our veins. Its about sharing the night with people who face similar

    problems and have the same needs as you, who are as happy (or sad) as you, who do not worry about tomorrow for a few hours, who feel the bond of a community. The night is our psychiatrist: we talk, we cry, we sing and dance. You dont feel lonely when you have people around you, even if you dont know each other.

    After three years of serious financial problems, the situation has not changed a lot. We go out fewer days a month than we used to but our houses are always full of friends. We meet at midnight, when many of us finish work, and stay together till late (or rather early).

    We cannot spend as much money as in the past, but we know how to have a good time for very little money. We treat our friends to home made pies - whats better than a home-made meal in ones living room discussing our must subject: that we dont have any money to spend?

    So, my dear friend, I hope this answers your question. And now, Im going to bed because its morning!

    Marianna Tsatsou is a freelance translator and editor for and Photos both pages courtesy caf owners, B. Molin, M. Tsatsou. and L. vant Net

    Greek Caf Culture

    Marianna Tsatsou

  • 10 The Ionian September 2013

    On the island of Lefkada, building has never been easy for the residents. Earthquakes and difficult terrains forced craftsmen to develop a specific way of building, using the available materials - stones and wood. The techniques that evolved are a unique example of anti-seismic architecture in Europe.

    Around the 1950s, as modern materials became available, the ground floor usually had stone walls based on a foundation and strengthened by the szenage - a ring of reinforced concrete above the windows and doors. Wood was mainly used for the upper floor because of its resilience to violent movements and this was clad with the colourful, painted, corrugated metal which efficiently protects the house from weather in a cheap and easy manner. You can see this type of construction in the traditional town of Lefkada.

    On the island of Lefkas, there are two villages where this building tradition is protected by planning legislation: Ag. Nikitas situated on the northwestern coast and Sivota in the south of the island. The general building laws prohibit modern architecture inside the town planning areas and allow it only outside the villages.

    In recent years it was quite common to build two-storey villas similar to the historical house of the famous poet Valeoritis which is located on the beautiful island of Madouri just opposite Nidri. It was also common practice to enlarge the construction by

    building spacious basements to augment the permitted 5% footprint, i.e. on a plot of 4,000 square metres only 200 square metres is permitted to be used as building space.

    The use of these basements or any construction which has not been licensed by the authorities for living is illegal. Up until June 2013 amnesty legislation provided the opportunity to legalize these constructions. Today legislation prohibits the sale of a building that does not

    conform to the original building license. Although the amnesty legislation has

    expired, there is a good chance that a similar law will provide a further amnesty - mainly because of the current economic

    situation. This law does not apply to new buildings.

    Very strong regulations prohibit work that does not conform to current building regulations and the engineers will be held responsible for conformance. During the construction process the authorities inspect

    Architecture on Lefkas Island

    By Erwin Heimgartner and Nikolaos Boursinos

    With modern technology, we can build houses that appear to fly off the cliffs or that are excavated into

    the ground, invisible before you step into them!

    Combining old with new

  • September 2013 The Ionian 11

    three times and the final license will not be stamped if there is anything not according to the authorized plans.

    Nowadays, foreign investors and individuals look for unique architectural designs that accommodate their lifestyle, culture and needs. The sophisticated investor knows that only a unique villa will give them the investment value they expect.

    For an architect enamoured with contemporary architecture, the relaxing of traditional building restrictions is challenging and relieving. In areas prone to earthquakes, such as Lefkas Island, with modern materials, the statics (safe grounding , walls that stay straight, roof that remains in place) are not a problem, even with much larger homes. Furthermore, in spite of the current economic situation there are still opportunities for creating really amazing projects.

    With modern technology, we can build houses that appear to fly off the cliffs or that are excavated into the ground, invisible before you step into them! We adapt the construction to the type of land that we build on and the environment that we are to build in. The results are inspiring - the environment and the construction standing before you as an integrated whole.

    The construction process is interesting and creative. It is followed closely from the beginning until the end by both the architect who is giving his professional instructions to the craftsmen, and also by the client who sees his and/or her dream home growing into reality.

    B-H Design + Engineering is an

    architectural and engineering company located in the harbor of Lefkada close to the old town. The company does not follow the philosophy of standardized designs, but provides professional advice and support to the client through specific integrated steps, which guarantee a successful accomplishment of the client's expectations. Most of the companys clients are foreigners and the goal of the architect and engineer is to adapt the design to the clients culture and needs as well as fit the building harmoniously to the unique environment.

    The creative process starts with the land, says architect Erwin Heimgartner, I ask myself, what is the best that can happen on this particular land, how to create a construction that seems to grow out of the nature..

    What is even more interesting from a point of view of originality, is how to keep some of the characteristics of a traditional building in a modern and comfortable home. Some of the projects of B-H -Design show in a superb way how to integrate the openness and light of the modern design into the frame of a conventional building.

    According to Mr. Heimgartner, the process of creating a design adapted to the surroundings in this case is even more challenging as he also needs to adapt his ideas to the already existing building. But we all know how creativity thrives on intricate challenges!

    Erwin Heimgartner, Dipl. Ing. Engineer, Bachelor and Master of Architecture, has long term experience in urban, residential and industrial design. He studied in

    Switzerland, Germany, California and Brazil under Frank Gehry, Sir Norman Forster, Prof. Niemayer and Joseph Beuys and worked together with famous architects, such as Luigi Snozzi, Aurelio Galfetti and Mario Botta. Heimgartner speaks German, English, Italian, French, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese and Rhaeto-Romanic fluently and is the leading architect of the team.

    His partner, Nikolaos Boursinos, is a civil engineer and leading company partner who studied at the University of Patras. He has professional experience in earthquake statics and realization process. Expect a highly motivated team of well educated engineers!

    B-H Design+Engineering Nikos Boursinos | Erwin Heimgartner Petros Filippa Panagou 18, 31100 Lefkas-Harbor Tel: +30 26450 - 25650 / 23789

  • 12 The Ionian September 2013

    Im in Frikes, on Ithaka Island, a favourite place. Im on my way back to Aktio to have my boat lifted out next week, so I wander around the harbour saying bye to a few folks. I hear Yassoo Robin. I look over and there is Aristotelis and Andreas sat under a tree outside the Rementzo with someone else I dont know. I go over. You like a beer? enquires Aristotelis (who I think they call Telis).

    I sit with him and soon a large man in a dark T-shirt joins us. It is Dionisis, Telis cousin. He patiently tells me Dennis is the English equivalent of his name after I struggle with the pronunciation of Dionisis.

    He captains a cargo vessel 350 metres long, Aristotelis tells me.

    After a confusing exchange of Greek between Dionisis and Aristotelis, Dionisis turns to me and says, I understand you are a captain too.

    Ah err yes, I reply hesitantly. Oh, what sort of a boat? he asks.

    A 38-foot Bavaria. I tell him. A what? he asks. Look there, it is over there, I point to

    my boat moored in splendid isolation at the end of the new quayside. It is a bit shorter than yours.

    He looks at it: So it is. So it is. And he laughs uproariously. Meanwhile, Stathis arrives and winks and chinks glasses with me Yammas and starts telling everybody how bad the fishing is compared to twenty years ago.

    Makis, joins us. His band had been part of the celebrations the previous evening. The celebrations were to do with a young man getting married, or about to get married, or maybe thinking of getting married sometime. I never fully understood though I met the gentleman in

    question. Tzantenos hosted the celebration at the Ulysseus. He had spit roasted two lambs and his wife Barbara had prepared gavros, cheese pies, and numerous other dishes for 120 or 130 people. The celebrations were still in full swing at five thirty when I woke up in the morning. The last guest left at seven.

    I felt it time to move on. The problem was that I had had a couple of drinks brought me and felt I ought to have contributed. I called over Nektarios, who with his wife Poppy runs the Rementzo and speaks good English. Look, can I pay my share?

    He spoke to Aristotelis and Dionisis and there was a fierce exchange of Greek.

    What are they saying? I asked. Nektarios explained to me: They shouted you over, so the drinks are their responsibility. It is not like in England where you buy your rounds now its his turn, now its your turn... In Greece if you

    have shouted someone over, then you pay. No further obligation. Endaksi so avrio, I suggested to Aristotelis and Dionisis. Ah well, says Aristotelis, if your sensitivity will be offended then perhaps I will have a drink

    with you. So we had another. Later, I felt I really ought to leave. Will

    you explain to your friends, I started to say to Nektarios, that I enjoyed their company but I started off walking around the harbour to see a friend on a boat over the other side and to buy something from Kiki, but now the friend has sailed off to wherever he is going to and I quite forgot what I was going to buy from Kiki!

    I find Frikes difficult to leave but it maybe kinder to my liver if I do.

    Dionisis, Georgio, Dionisis, Aristotelis, Makis and Statis

    Nektarios at the door of the Rementzo



    Saying Good Bye By Robin Lamb

  • September 2013 The Ionian 13

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