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At the end of the Odyssey


Every traveller is a citizen of Ithaca sign in Vathy’s port

Small, precipitous Ithaca has become quite trendy these days, by doing little more than remaining its lovely, low-key self. It has a jagged coast, but no wildly exceptional beaches (although there are some pretty, pebbly ones and transluscent waters), no nightlife, no camping, little new building, and a general idea that Ithaca should remain as an island set aside for daydreamers, poets and scholars.

You’ll find that many of Homer’s descriptions of Ithaca square uncannily with this island–-it is certainly ‘narrow’ and ‘rocky’ and ‘unfit for riding horses’. Although some have theorized that Homer’s Ithaca was elsewhere—Lefkada was a popular contender in the 19th century, as is Kefaloniá today—Itháki, as the eternal symbol of all homes and journey’s end, is the real thing, and ‘even if you find it poor,’ as Caváfy wrote, ‘Ithaca does not deceive. Without Ithaca your journey would have no beauty.’


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Ionian Islands

Text © Dana Facaros

Images by chrissusieking, Edward Dodwell , iant71, Jean Housen, Metaphrasi, Paul Cooper, Rien Post, Creative Commons License, Saltmarsh, Stef, Wolfgang Sauber, Creative Commons License