Monday, 23 July 2012

Dreaming during a heat wave

A colourful street in Agiasos

What are you supposed to do during a heat wave? You’d best stay inside if you don’t have to go out and the beach is too hot. And so it can happen that you find yourself spending long hours in front of your overheated computer, looking at funny things like The 7 longest streets of the world, or The shortest street.

I don’t think that any street from Lesvos will enter this category, nor does it have a restaurant that could compete with The weirdest restaurants of the world. Although you could easily place a table and two chairs in the hollow tree of Karina, or possibly in the one of Liota, thus creating a VIP-room for The Hollow Tree Restaurant (and I guess that it would be a wonderfully cool space).

There are also very strange hotels: in trees or in elephants, made from ice or sand, under water or in the air and many more choices. Lesvos also has some nice hotels, but not like the one in Kenya where the giraffes stick their heads through the windows at breakfast in order to get some bread. But Lesvos still has many donkeys and I am sure these stubborn animals could also learn to stick their heads through a window if it meant that they could get a croissant. So we could create a Donkey Hotel, where the donkeys not only ask for food, but would help out carrying suitcases, help the maids with the hotel linen or even do some gardening. Children could be taking care of them in the afternoon, thus winning a donkey ride around the swimming pool. There would even be a service to rent a donkey instead of a taxi to bring you to the village or the beach.

And then again I mention the idea of a hotel made of salt. One of the rare ones is built in Bolivia: Palacio de Sal. The salt pans of Skala Polichnitos would be ideal for such a project. You could stay in a very original hotel and have a superb view over the sometimes spectacular pink coloured salt pans where flamingos hop around and where other special birds have their habitat. It would be the dream of a bird watcher!

There is also an interesting list of abandoned islands, pieces of land in the sea where once people had great dreams, but where you now only find houses and buildings slowly uniting with nature.
Spinalonga, an island off the coast of Crete, once housing a leper colony and now a major tourist attraction, is not on the list, but it should be there. I could not find a list of islands that were abandoned by tourists. I mean, I don’t need that list for Lesvos, because there still are tourists around; but there are some days that you wonder if the island has been nearly abandoned.

Speaking about islands: there is also the possibility to rent an island and bring it to the place you prefer, see this floating island. Although I wonder what’s the difference between this floating island and a luxurious yacht. You might as well place a tree house, like those built by the company Bauraum - on a huge raft, plant it with flowers and trees and then you could rent it out to whoever wants to have a week on a private island in his favourite spot.

This way you could be king of your own kingdom and you might even figure on the list of micronations of the world. The newest nation figuring on this list is Filettino, a village in Italy whose mayor proclaimed the village independent in 2011, because they don’t agree with the severe economics dictated by Europe. Is this an idea for The Republic of Lesvos?

And then there is a list of most colourful cities of the world. And again no Lesvos on this list, although this island certainly has some very colourful places, like Agiasos, where they have a few such brightly coloured houses (on the way to the sanatorium) that sunglasses are needed to look at them. And there is a very bright and dark pink house along the Bay of Kalloni, going to Nifida, which has such a colour that it brings tears to your eyes, and Asomatos has a building painted in a colour that even from far away hurts your eyes. And if those villages do not compete with the existing list, we will charter the Dutch artists Haas & Hahn to transform a village like Argenos into an explosion of colours. These artists have been working in the favela’s of Rio de Janiero in Brazil, turning part of slums into bright colourful objects, hoping to brighten up not only buildings but also the inhabitants. For the same reasons they now work in a poor part of the American city of Philadelphia. If the Greek crisis carries on much longer, Lesvos also will be ready for a colourful and social refurbishment of this creative duo.

(Thanks to Mary Staples)

@ Smitaki 2012

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