T here is a beloved greek song that in its refrain, it says “We will never find Kythera“. For some reason I could not stop humming these lyrics from the moment I woke up in my house till the time the harsh sound of the ship’s hatch marked that we had sailed on our way to the island of Kythera. You see Kythera has always been on my mind as a place of wonder, but for some strange reason it had always remained an elusive dream no matter my efforts and plans to visit it.
I guess this time I had nailed it.
The ship left at sunrise. Despite the very early awaking, my senses were already tense with excitement. It was not only that I would finally visit Kythera. The opportunity and company was also more than great. I was traveling with all my friends to attend the Kythera Photographic Encounters, a photography festival and conference. And that means that photography would take a center stage in this trip.
We arrived at Kythera after a few hours. It was already the end of September and upon disembarking, we were welcomed by an autumn weather. Some clouds here and there, a cold breeze. But more importantly, an autumn life of an aegean island. Only the true kytherians were present, no tourists, no touristic shops open, no crazy traffic. Everything was a little calmer. Just like a crowded market that has reached the end of the day and only a few remain to clean and shut the place down. I am not sure whether this sounds kinda depressing, the reality is though that I feel that this way you can see the true essence of a place. Without its makeup. And I like that.
It didnt take long to start feeling a positive aura from the island. I am not sure if I can pin down its origin. Was it the beauty of the place? Was it the smiling and gentle people we met? Was it maybe just us? I keep wondering if we were also putting our masks down and we could finally let ourselves relax and be consumed by simple things. You know, like having fun. And play with our cameras.
Everyone was pushing the other with ideas. We would sit there and listen to the lectures, see the photos from the different exhibitions and talk about all the future plans on what we’ll make and do. Great! And at the same time, we traveled around the island to witness its wonders and little beautiful spots.
Before coming to Kythera, I believed it would be a small magic place. After almost seven days on the island, the spells were holding still tight. It is now exactly two years since then that I am writing these lines. I think that I hold the exact same ideas about the place. And I am trying to find again an opportunity to get back.