This post is part of a weekly feature called Discovery of the Week. By discovery, I mean a place, a custom or dish that is not widely known. See, I love to read travel magazines, websites and books. Very often, I find beautiful and interesting gems that not a lot of people seem to know about. That is why I thought about introducing this feature because I am sure it will expose a lot of astonishing places. Additionally, I enjoy learning about the many amazing places in the world. I believe my readers also enjoy this activity.
This week discovery: Ikaria
Where it is located: Greece
What it is: An island in the Aegean sea located 10 nautical miles southwest of Samos (another island close to the port of Kusadasi, Turkey).
Ikaria and the surrounding sea, got its name from the ancient Greek myth about Ikaros, the boy who was the first aviator in the world. This was one of my favorite myths when I was a kid.
The story goes that Daedalus, the father of Ikaros, was a skilled Athenian craftsman who was hired by the King of Crete to build his palace. He also built the famous Labyrinth, which held the Minotaur. Daedalus married a slave woman who gave birth to his son Ikaros. When Daedalus and Ikaros tried to leave Crete, the King sent them to prison. This is when Daedalus decided to make wings of feathers and wax. Once the wings were ready Daedalus told Ikaros not to go too close to the sun because the wax could melt. They took off, but Ikaros did not hear his father and when they were above Ikaria, Ikaros flew too close to the sun while playing and the wax melted. He fell to his doom into the sea, now called the Ikarian sea, and Hercules, who happened to see it while he was on the island, dragged Ikaros out of the sea and buried him on the island. This is the myth of how the island Ikaria was named.
This week, I was reading an article about the secrets (or factors) that have made this island a Blue Zone. A Blue Zone is a place where the population regularly lives to an advanced age. Ikaria is one of the five places in the world who have gained this distinction. One in three Ikarians reaches at least 90. They suffer 50 percent less heart disease than Americans. Old people are an integral part of the community (no dementia in here). The secret to live a long life? They eat copious amounts of greens and drink goat milk and wine. They also consume raw honey and herbal teas. Maybe it is time to learn a little bit from the Ikarians.
Did you know about Ikaria? Let me know int he comments section below.