Urban travel tales

Rewarding stops at Chora or Ioulida of the Cycladic island of Kea

for Greek http://goo.gl/8qGyCW

There is no way I visit Ioulida, the capital of the Cycladic island of Kea, known also as Tzia, without passing from  ‘Rolando’  to taste his food and wine.

urban travel tales, Cyclades, Greece, Kea

Rolando came to Kea from Corfu; he left his tavern in Benitses to his children and followed his wife Chryssoula to her native island. They work side by side from spring to winter. Rolando brings to Kea a cosmopolitan air sustained by a smiling face and a warm handshake. He speaks English fluently.
The menu includes local cuisine and house specialties from Corfu: Pastisada rooster,  Beef sofrito, Bourdeto.

urban travel tales, Cyclades, Ioulida, Chora, Kea, Rolando

I prefer the veranda of ‘Rolando’ for lunch. I enjoy the passage of locals stopping to exchange with my hosts a greeting. Rolando gives me the feeling he has sprang out of a page of fiction, belonging to an era where travelers used to stop at the inns as they were traveling on horseback or on foot.

urban travel tales, Cyclades, Ioulida, Chora, Kea, Rolando

I like talking with Rolando and Chryssoula when they are less busy; sometimes chairs move closer from the neighbour  tables to participate in the discussion, while  Rolando tireless is looking after us. His way and his cooking are his distinctive talents, his hallmark.

The central square of Ioulida houses the tables of ‘Rolando’, as well as those of the tavern opposite. It is dominated by the neoclassical building of the Town Hall built in 1902 at the time of Gregory Ieromnimon. The offices of the Town Hall have been recently moved and in their place a Music School was installed.

urbantraveltales, Cyclades, Ioulida, Chora, Town Hall, Kea

“The square is considered to be the south end of the historical centre because from there stand the more recent parts of the settlement. Up to this point, we meet a few middle class houses sparsely interspersed between the popular Cycladic houses, above and below the central road (house of I.Gleoudis, the group of houses of the Ieromnimon family, Rediadion). This therefore confirms the idea that Katochori was inhabited by the upper and middle class trade and craftsmen. The Cathedral of Ioulis, Dimotikia (annunciation of Virgin Mary) dominates Katochori “ . Tassos Anastassiou, ‘Kea,History Sightseeing’, guide book, Hermoupolis 2007, Page 79

I look up at the statues on the roof of the Town Hall, at the pots ascending the stairs to my left. In this square on the Friday before Orthodox Easter come together the four epitaphs from the four churches of Ioulida, decorated with spring flowers, marking a moment of uplift for the community following the ritual with their lit candles.

urban travel tales, Kea/Tzia, Ioulida, Chora,, Greece, Cyclades

I leave the car at the parking lot. 10 minutes walking downhill is a good digestive. The vehicles are not allowed up in Chora ; although the parked motorbikes  and a truck give a different message.

Walking down, I like to stop at the lilliputian church; one person can barely fit in there.


A stop at the Archaeological Museum will endorse you with a unique time voyage. My photographic tour will introduce you to the Daughters of Kea who are connected with the archaeological site of Ayia Irini opposite Vourkari. http://goo.gl/e4Xhqr 
The visiting hours are mentioned, but you better check before, as changes are possible.


Anyway, you will find ‘Rolando’ there to welcome you as long as the weather is mild.

If all of the above fail to seduce you, there is still the sunset.

urban travel tales, Kea/Tzia, Ioulida, Chora,, Greece, Cyclades

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The Daughters of Kea and Ayia Irini


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