Ikaria’s laid back lifestyle is a welcome change from the daily hustle and bustle I experienced during my last two months backpacking through South East Asia. The seaside village of Karavostamo and the mountainous village of Arethousa are exactly what I pictured when dreaming of quaint and authentic Greek villages. The locals are friendly, the coffee is strong, the food and wine is delicious, and the views out over the Aegean are breathtaking.
In the days leading up to starting on the Pathways Project, I was really looking forward to doing something productive with my time. So far, I am really enjoying my experience.
We are a team of 5 volunteers from across the word; Myself and Will from Australia, Adam from France (originally from the UK), Chiara from Holland (originally from Sicily) and Susanna from Germany. Our taskforce also consists of locals; our fearless leader Mihalis, Milton, Illias, Paula and Evo. It’s a wonderful experience to be working alongside such a dedicated team.
I find working outside and being close to nature truly energizing, particularly in landscapes as beautiful as Ikaria. It was clear on our first day, when we walked (struggled along the very overgrown) pathway, that it needed a lot of work.
Today is Day 5 of the Project, and I am really proud of what we have achieved so far. We have been focusing on clearing and widening the path; pulling out bushes, trimming branches, and cutting down trees. In steeper areas we have also been cutting in steps.
Yesterday, Giorgos from Karavostamo, and his strimmer, joined us for the morning. Having a strimmer to cut a lot of the grasses and smaller bushes was a huge help. The pathway from Karavostamo to Arethousa is almost complete!
Another important element to the project is ensuring that the pathways are well marked. Susanna has taken this task in her stride and the path is now very well marked with red paint dots to ensure you don’t lose your way.
Looking ahead, I am already excited for the positive impacts that this cleared pathway will have. Previously, there was no easy walking path connected these two villages. We now have to work on promoting the pathways, so villagers and visitors alike know that this path is available to them.