On November 8, 2013, Venice honoured the representative of the sunny Kefalonia - Giorgio Potamianos, who completed his arduous voyage across the sea off the coast of the city of the doges. The brave man, this "fifth element" of Kefalonia, left the island in a kayak 35 days ago and has done more than 1200 km conquering the marine element and courageously overcoming all the difficulties on the way to Italy.
The traveller has dedicated his mission to the memory of Italian soldiers from the Infantry Division Acqui, who died on the island of Kefalonia from the hands of the German invaders during World War II. This event is also known as Kefalonian massacre and took the place in September 1943, when about 5,000 soldiers were killed. In 2002, a touching film "Captain Corelli`s Mandolin" with Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz starring was shot on Kefalonia and was dedicated to the memory of that terrible tragedy.
The ceremony in the honour of the explorer and his organized campaign "Rowing for Peace" was attended by representatives of the Union of Veterans of the Division Acqui, president of the city council of Venice Roberto Tourette, Consul of Greece, students and teachers of the naval college of the city, representatives of the Kefalonia municipality, and many other grateful and admiring representatives of the two countries separated by the sea.
Giorgio received congratulations, listened to quite a few admiring reviews about his campaign, which has become a significant event not only in sports but also in strengthening the relations between the two countries. In reply, the brave sailor recalled that the Italian soldiers, who died during the terrible events, were about the same age as he is now.
It was pleasant to note the keen interest, with which the inhabitants of the island of Kefalonia (Greece) met a friendly visit of one of the ships of the Black Sea Fleet. It was already during the passage of the parade with a brass band on the waterfront of Argostoli, when the sailors’ soldierly smartness and bearing struck the islanders, who are good judges of the sea and seamen.
The Russians laid a wreath at the Acqui memorial erected in memory of the tortured and murdered 9250 Italian soldiers in 1943 refusing to obey the orders of and act in conjunction with the German troops that were in a formal "union" with them at that time.
After the official program, the worthy heirs of the tradition of Admiral Ushakov did not feel the need to be just guests. No one of those, who surrounded the Plateia Valianou square in a tight ring, could stay indifferent to the concert with songs and dances. The action-vaunted camera could not keep the rapid pace of the dance! No optics can convey either the dynamics of sharpened dance movements or warm evening dusk of the peak season of Kefalonia.
The swashbuckling sailor’s "Apple" dance and Russian folk dance with spoons performed by a rollicking soloist in the uniform of a ship’s cook were above all praise mostly because of the genuine gaiety and fervor of the artists themselves. To the naked eye, it was obvious that the dance brought the joy to the sailors and they sincerely shared it with the audience. The spectators on their part did not remain indifferent and at the end both old and young set off to dance.
Finally, when the sailors elegantly and gracefully performed Sirtaki, a favourite Greek folk dance, Kefalonians immediately responded with excited cheers and hot applauses.
After the performance, grateful applauses were addressed to every sailor.
The passing September frightened the Brits, who arrived to Kefalonia, with powerful gusts of wind and a storm. Funk quickly passed away: October cherished everyone with the autumn sun and warm breeze and pleased with the incredible blue drawing of the sea! The brave ones tried unsuccessfully to cool off in the troubled waves, agitated during a night storm, which in no way wish to quell and push the unlucky swimmers back to the shore.
There is such a strong wish to share the sense of paradise that Kefalonia evokes with its scenery, blue sea, soft outlines of mountains, reared clouds ...
Something is conveyed by the photo, yet noticeably different from the reality.
But how to describe the sounds or smells?
At first, you hear only occasionally a dull rumble, erupting through the silence, of a motorboat passing somewhere. Then you begin distinguishing between play bells, rattling around the neck of sheep and goats, chirping cicadas, and soothing whisper of waves.
And the smells? A mixture of some herbs, flowers, foliage ...
This is part of something whole, immensely joyful, glorious, soothing, and native called Kefalonia!
“Indian summer” has started on Kefalonia! It`s a great time: the temperature is around 25 degrees and the heat has subsided. The sea water is warm like milk.
Ripe almonds, figs, pomegranates: we always enjoy these gifts of nature, tearing them straight from the trees that grow in abundance throughout the island. Pomegranates, however, are often planted near the houses and hotels. Although, we have seen the abandoned orchards, where we regaled those juicy, sweet fruit. Is it possible to compare the smell of fresh figs, melting in the mouth filling it with a tart sweetness, with the sticky buds covered with a chemical coating (this is the buds, not berry or fruit) that are offered on the supermarket shelves?
Pleasing are the prices in hotels, shops, and taverns: everywhere discounts and sales.
It is nice to look at the faces of guests - everyone has a smile on their faces with a perfectly blissful look as if they are in heaven. Couples - both respectable gray- haired couples and young men with their women – all go for some reason holding hands and smiling happily. No one is in a hurry or spiteful and hustle, everywhere reigns peace and quiet joy. As if you get in a warm ocean of love and gently swinging on its soft, soothing waves.
From somewhere, there come a desire to create: to paint pictures, to write poems and novels, to make something with your own hands, or capture the happy moments and corners of the beautiful nature with your camera, and then come home and have in your sight a piece Kefalonia luminous with joy!