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An island in the north east Aegean sea.
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03 August 2005

Ankunft auf Limnos

Der Sommer beginnt jetzt

So, ich habs geschafft, die Sommerferien sind hier. Montag nachmittag um 5 bin ich in Athen mit dem Bus abgefahren, habe um 19:30 in Lavrio auf die "Samothraki" gewechselt, mit der ich dann durch die Nacht Richtung Limnos gedampft bin. An Bord habe ich Leute aus dem Dorf getroffen, so dass ich Gesellschaft hatte.

Die Zeit auf dem Schiff verging dadurch schneller und ich wurde gleich Über die neuesten Entwicklungen im Dorf informiert. Geschlafen habe ich etwa drei unruhige Stunden. Morgens um 5 sind wir in Myrina angekommen. Ich konnte zum Glück mit Leuten vom Dorf nach Panagia mitfahren. So bin ich um 7:30 im Häuschen angekommen. Hätte ich den Bus um 11 nehmen müssen, wäre ich erst nach 12 hier angekommen.

Weiteres Glück: Das Haus ist in sehr gutem Zustand, sauber, ohne Wassereinbrüche oder sonstige Katastrophen. Da mein Freund Spiros vor kurzem im Haus war, war alles viel sauberer als letztes Jahr (damals musste ich erstmal ein paar Tage putzen). Nach kürzester Putzarbeit konnte ich mich gleich aufs Ohr hauen. Guter Trick für Ferienhäuser: Vor der Abreise einige saubere Bettwäsche einpacken, dann hat man es bei der Wiederankuft einiges einfacher.

Mittags bin ich dann erstmal Fisch essen gegangen. Und dann nachh einam weiteren Nachmittagsnickerchen um sieben erstmal schwimmen. Der erste Tag im Dorf.


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04 August 2005

Found on the Beach

Deep in the water



Look what I've found today in the water off the beach: A beatyfull sea snails housing (is there a better english term?). It's about 13cm long and 10cm in diameter. I was looking for a stone I had deposited in the deep water last year, when I spotted it at about 3 or 4 meter depth. It was full of old seaweed and some simple lifeforms. Cleaning out was easy. The shell is unbroken. It will make a nice present for a girl, and I already know whom to give it to.

On the downside I have found out that the swimming glasses I bought do not fit well, so there is constantly water leaking in. Tomorrow I'll try to tighten them a bit, but I don't have much hope. I can quickly forget those problems when I swim and dive. Floating in the water just feels good, cooling down from the hot sun is great. I also worked a bit on my tan today, still being very carefull though. No need to get burned.


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06 August 2005

Another Visit on the Beach

Have a look around
beach panorama view

So, this is where I go to swim. Apart from this beach, there are two others where I go to swim. This one is about 5 minutes by bicycle, the second is about the same distance, the third is 20-25 tough minutes uphill and downhill over dirtroads on the bicycle. The tough ride has the most beautyful beach, but I'm not in good training... yet. The brown stuff on the waterline is seaweed, it smells funny, it's funny to walk through, it's harmless, but it's not beautyfull. The other two beaches have none of it. There are other beaches that I only very rarely visit. Limnos has lots of nice, sandy beaches. But for a refreshing swim in the hot afternoon a short ride is good.

The day was a bit hazy and the camera did not cope very well with the changing light situation on each pic. No way to manual set the exposure on a camera phone. Also I should note that there are trees on the other side of the beach, all in all the other side is even nicer, but I did not like the light on the other side at that time of day, so this side it was. I just wanted to continue with my picture stitching experiments. There is a bigger view of this picture.


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10 August 2005

Eine Abend-Unterhaltung

Konzert und Tanz in Panagia



Dienstag abends um 10 machte ich einen Spaziergang durchs Dorf. Das Dorf war leerer als sonst, sogar Stratoulas Kafeneion/Fischrestaurant war geschlossen, was nur eine handvoll Tage im Jahr vorkommt. Im Dorfkern waren die καφενεία (Kafeneions) dann offen und einer der alten Männer erzählte mir, dass auf dem Schulplatz die Musik spielt. Los geht's also, nichts wie hin.

Das ganze Dorf war da, plus nochmal 3 mal soviel Leute aus der Umgebung. Als ich ankam, tanzte gerade eine Trachtengruppe traditionelle Tänze von Limnos (siehe Foto).

Später gab es zu Essen, noch mehr Musik und es tanzten die Leute aus dem Dorf. Ein grosser Abend. Dann wurden die Preise der Tombola verlesen: "Herr Panagiotis K. aus Plaka stiftet ein kleines Schwein... gewonnen von Frau Anastasia P.! Frau Gianna N. stiftet einen Damen-Haarschnitt, gewonnen von Herrn Petros L.!" Allgemeine Heiterkeit, doch ungefähr bei Nummer 50 wurde es mir langweilig und ich verliess den fröhlichen Haufen.


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11 August 2005

Looking at Samothraki

Island, Island, far away

Yesterday, while biking to Zemata beach (25 minutes over dirt roads) I had a good view on Samothraki. Samothraki is an island about 50km from Limnos. It was one of the occasions, where I wished I had a better camera. On the picture the mountain in the sea that is the island of Samothraki is hardly visible, but in real the view was much better. Still it had that dreamy atmosphere.

Samothraki's top mountain peak is 1611m above sea level. That's why we can see it from Limnos (when the wind and the weather is right). It's also a green island, full of trees. Much different then Limnos, I really should make a small trip to Samothraki.


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13 August 2005

The Year of the Tomato

Limnos Agricultural News Bulletin No. 42



Apparently this year on Limnos is the year of the tomato. Multiple sources (wishing to remain anonymous, though it was mainly Sotiris who told me) confirmed to me that cucumbers, peas, carrots and other vegetables, and even grapes, did not have a good year. Confirming this myself, I haven't seen a local grown cucumber in the last two weeks. But tomatoes. There are lots of tomatoes around, and very fine tomatoes indeed.

So at Stratoulas cafe / fish tavern, what I get for salad is tomatoes. When I go to one of the shops, there are lots of tomatoes. And one of my unnamed sources announced, that his mother is preserving all those tomatoes they got from their fields, so she can make tomato sauce for a while now without buying any of the stuff. I haven't tasted Sotiris mother's tomato sauce, but judging her cooking skills from her fasolia and other assorted dishes, I believe it will be great.

The two specimens in the picture were given to me for free in the Super Mini Market. This crazy Swiss guy went there and took 3 (three) tomatoes. The shop-owners mother did not laugh about me (at least not while I was there), but she refused to weight and subsequently charge those few tomatoes. So you've got two in the picture, while I tested the taste with the third one. Excellent.


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14 August 2005

Sundown at Zemata Beach

Stay a while, stay forever
panorama picture of sundown at Zemata beach

Went by bike to Zemata beach yesterday again. The ride is still rough over those dirt roads, but it does not take me 25 minutes any more. Looks like I'm slowly starting to get in shape again. After I arrived at the beach, I was happy to be able to cool down in the sea. The water was glass clear, with that turquoise colour that makes looking at a beach so exciting.

I stayed a long while. After taking a swim to cool down, I relaxed a bit in the sun, then took another swim. Then I sat at the beach bar, where I happened to talk to Manos (who had arrived with the same ship on the island). He is a fellow web developer, and we took a break from vacation talk and exchanged experiences of work. It was 8 in the evening when I left, the sun was about to go down in the sea. When I had managed to scramble the bike through the uphill behind the beach, I stopped and turned around to look. I gave the sundown a try for one of my panorama pictures, but the subject is tough. I don't like that pic so much, especially since the seams near the line of the horizon interfere with the atmosphere. But maybe you can imagine an idea of how beautiful the sundown can be at Zemata beach. Click on the image for a larger view.


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16 August 2005

Fahnen auf Halbmast

Trauer um die Opfer des Flugzeugabsturzes



Heute Mittag kam ich von der Bäckerei nach Hause und sah den Dorfpräsidenten aus dem Γραφείο (dem Dorfbüro) kommen, eine Fahne in den Händen. Wie auf dem Foto zu sehen ist, hisste er die Fahne vor dem Dorfbüro auf Halbmast. Eine Nachbarin sprach ihn darauf an und er erklärte, dass das für die Opfer der Flugzeugtragödie ist.

Im Dorf ist die Tragödie weit weg. Der Absturz eines Flugzeugs auf dem Weg von Larnaca nach Athen liegt nicht im Erfahrungshorizont der Leute hier. Gestern wurde ich gefragt: "Hast du gehört von ...?" Die Betroffenheit ist da, doch sie wird nicht nach aussen gedreht. Eine weitere Tragödie, deren Nachricht von aussen ins Dorf kommt, an der das Dorf aber nichts ändern kann.

Ich selber habe am Tag des Absturzes Radio gehört. Die staatlichen Sender ERT1, ERT2, NET, ... wurden auf ein Informationsprogramm zusammengeschaltet. In immer neuen Telefonschaltungen wurden neue Fakten ersichtlich. Ich dachte über die Motivation des ganzen nach: Wir möchten wissen, was passiert ist, wirklich passiert ist. Warum ist es passiert? Eine weitere Frage: Was können wir tun, um eine Wiederholung zu verhindern? Doch die letzte Frage bringt uns Zuhörer nicht weiter, nicht wir haben die (technischen) Mittel in der Hand, um eine Wiederholung zu verhindern. Was bleibt, ist der Gedanke an die Opfer und ihre Familien und Freunde. Während wir Radio hören, wurde ihr Leben umgedreht und mit Schmerz gefüllt. Mein Beileid.


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20 August 2005

Watching Pantelis Play "Raketes"

Lazy days of the summer
pictures of Pantelis 
playing raketes

The last few days have been of the lazy, summerish type. Today I went to Zemata beach, and amongst other things I watched Pantelis play "raketes", some kind of beach tennis with wooden Raquets. He is a dedicated player, maybe he has some of Mr. Gousgounis blood in him. A large part of his game style is done for the show value. The pictures show some of his best jumps and moves, as good as the camera in my phone could keep up. Myself I enjoyed the bicycle ride and two long swims, so I didn't bother with the raketes.


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22 August 2005

Myrina, Capital of Limnos Island

Taking some pictures, what else?
Myrina Castle as seen from the Romaiko Gialo

This morning I woke up early to catch the bus at 7 and go to Myrina. Myrina is the "capital" of the island Limnos (or "Lemnos", as the English sometimes spell it). The villagers sometimes call their town "kastro", after the castle that guards the town. So in the "kastro" I did some shopping and also got my ticket back home. At first I had planned to go to Thessaloniki, but a few days ago I changed my mind and will go to Athens via Lavrio.

Myrina street scene

Even though it takes a long time to go to Myrina (the bus takes almost an hour), which should result in many things waiting to be done at once whenever I go there, I always seem to come to the point that I don't know what else to do in town. So today I took some pictures. Apart from this little street scene, I did two series for panorama pictures. Only one strikes me as interesting enough now, it shows the castle on its rock, as seen from the "romaiko gialo", the Greek beach. (You can click on the image for a bigger view.)

The street scene on the other hand was taken a few days ago, when I went with my friend Christos to Myrina in his car. It seems that this year was a very good season. Limnos was featured in two Greek periodicals and in some TV shows. Flights, ships and hotels were booked out and in the "agora" of Myrina it was sometimes so crowded that one could hardly walk.

My stay here will soon come to an end. Thursday I'm leaving all this behind. I'll enjoy every swim in the sea double now. I try to soak up as much free time and leisure as I can for the remaining days. September will be a working month again. But I was able to gather strength (and sun), so I will enjoy focussing my thoughts on work again.


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25 August 2005

Abschied von Panagia und Limnos

Der Mond über dem Dorf



Mit einem Bild von letzter Woche möchte ich mich von Παναγιά und Λήμνος (dem Dorf Panagia auf der Insel Limnos) verabschieden. Auf dem Rückweg vom Strand Zemata habe ich halt gemacht um den Mond über dem Dorf zu bewundern. Das Dorf ist auf dem Bild rechts nur ganz milchig zu erkennen, das Meer dahinter kann man sich auf dem Foto nur denken. Der Mond ist fast voll, mit dem Auge scheint er riesig zu sein, im Vergleich dazu erscheint er auf dem Bild winzig.

Panagia ist kein Ort an dem es viel Ramba-Zamba gibt, es ist ein ruhiges Dorf nicht weit vom Meer. Gut zum Ausspannen, Fisch essen, es gelassen nehmen. Badeferien, Veloferien, Faulenz-Ferien. Inzwischen bin ich wieder am Packen und auf dem Weg in die grosse Stadt. Bis bald, Panagia!


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26 August 2005

On the Ship to Lavrio

Visiting Psara Island en passant

I just got through the night on the "Saos II" en route to Lavrio. The ship is bursting full. All I got was a seat. Untill the early morning I occupied the next one to put my pack on, so I had a bit more space to stretch. Then we stopped at Sigri on Lesvos and a bit later I had to let go of that seat.

Now we are stopped at the small island of Psara and the place is getting really crowded. Lesson to learn: When in future travels visiting Psara, book return ticket in advance and don't expect a seat.


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29 August 2005

How To Get To Limnos

A short travel guide

Now that I'm back in Athens, I'm reflecting a bit about this trip I took. Limnos (or Lemnos as the English speaking sometimes write it), had a lot of tourism this year, almost more than the island is prepared for. 97% booked out hotels, 100% booked out planes (waiting lists closed because of overbooking) and ferry boats. Tourism may increase as people get to know and like the island. Up to now this tourism is mostly Greek tourism, but soon the foreigners may get to know Limnos as a non-typical Greek island too.

But transport to and from the island is still a problem: It's hard to travel to Limnos and even harder to come back. I had recommended the island to a few friends, but only the very interested ones persist enough to actually get there. This August, nobody had visited me, mainly for this reason. Some thoughts about getting to Limnos:...


Plane

Olympic Airways will fly you in and out of Limnos to Athens, Thessaloniki and Mytilini (maybe others too, I'm not that up-to-date on the planes). Provided that you get a ticket of course: In summer and sometimes on other occasions getting a seat can be a real problem. The plane is of course more expensive compared to the ferry boat, but travel time from Athens (Eleftherios Venizelos Airport) is less than an hour. There are roughly 2 flights a day to and from Limnos to Athens. I've been told that a ticket one way costs around 90 Euro, but I can't confirm that really. (Nor do I know about airport taxes.)

If you fly in from outside Greece, you will have to change planes in Athens. Flights with the Greek airline Olympic are timed to give you a short waiting time for connections to the islands, while with other airlines you will unfortunately (in my experience) have to hang around the transit area for something like 5 hours sometimes. There are bound to be charter flights too, but I don't know anything about these, besides that I have known someone who got a ticket on one of them.

Ferry boat

Still that may be faster and less tiresome than the ferry boat. Ferry boats reach Limnos from the ports of Pireus, Thessaloniki, Lavrio, Kymi, Kavala, Moudania. Plus the islands, where the ferry boat stops, e.g. Samothraki, Mytilini (Lesvos), Agios Efstratios, etc.. Check out the schedules and timetables at openseas.gr.

There are some hypermodern ships that are fast and expensive (the ones going to Limnos are named after the Greek sprinter-ex-star Kenteris, the one who is under thick suspicion of having been doped, so you can consider those ships to run like on steroids). Downside: The seats are numbered and you can't get out. The price is almost as much as for the plane (I've heard about 70 Euro to Pireus and I've been quoted 48 Euro to Thessaloniki). Personally I avoid these and prefer the old-fashioned, cheaper boats, where you can take in a bit of sun and sea breeze, and roll out your sleeping bag to doze in a corner. No matter which you prefer, you will have to check them out in advance, there is not bound to be a boat every day for each of these destinations.

Getting to the port

All ports have bus connections to and from the big cities. Traveling to and from Thessaloniki, you will look at the ports of Thessaloniki itself, Moudania, and Kavala. For Athens you want Pireus (but keep a good look at ship travel times, because the "steamer" has to take all the way around Attika), Kymi, but most common currently Lavrio. Ships to and from Lavrio typically take 9 hours. Busses from Athens to Lavrio are stationed at the "Pedio tou Ares", you can take the Metro to the station "Victoria", then walk 3 minutes to the bus station. Calculate at least 1.5 hours bus travel time and be early enough because busses leave about each half hour, but you can't rely on all this. Last time I took that bus, the ticket was 3.60 Euro. You pay your ticket in the bus, after the bus started the cashier comes around. It's good but not absolutely necessary if you have change.

(Public) Transport on the island

Obviously if you have your own car, you can bring it with the ferry boat. The roads on Limnos are fine, the drivers are not too crazy or dangerous. If you want to go to special places or to the beach with the car, be prepared to drive a few kilometers on dirt roads. On the island, public transport consists of overland busses (in Myrina from the "Platia ton KTEL", the "KTEL-bus plaza" so to speak, on the upper end of the "agora", the market street). About once a day each destination is serviced.

Then there are overland taxis, in Myrina either waiting at the port when a ship comes in, or else at their own "platia" in the upper part of the "agora". Taxis (but no busses) are also waiting at the airport when a flight comes in. Prices: For example the 42km to Panagia (at the far end of the island) cost me 3.40 Euro by bus and 25 Euro by taxi. I can recommend Manolis from Moudros (697 2008388) and Giorgos from Panagia (693 7632372), just in case there is noone there when you arrive at the airport and you have to go in that direction (of course none speaks anything but Greek). In general, Limnos taxi drivers are nice people.

Car rental

The airport is located in the center of the island, about 20km from the capital and port Myrina. You can rent a car in Myrina or at the airport. Cost is about 30 Euro a day, plus 10 Euro for full insurance. In the main season be sure to book your car well in advance. Out of season it might be a good idea to arrange for a car especially at the airport, because noone might be at the booth if they don't know you are coming. I recommend Europcar, Mr. Hatzoglou (694 5495104, 22540 23777), I've had a couple of times good experiences with him when I rented cars for a few days.

Important: Price information

Prices are approximate and current as of about August 2005, sometimes even older. I don't plan to keep them updated.

Posted by betabug at 18:01 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
09 February 2006

Pläne für griechische Ostern

Dieses Jahr nach Limnos?

Griechische Ostern fällt dieses Jahr (2006 für alle die's vergessen haben oder nächstes Jahr lesen) auf den 23. April. Vielleicht schaffe ich es ja dieses Jahr nach Limnos zu fahren (letztes Jahr war ich in Athen, genauer Nikaia). Allerdings macht das nur wirklich Sinn wenn noch Leute mitkommen. Denn an Ostern ist alles zu, man kocht und brät zu Hause und im Grünen. Ich kenne in Παναγιά (Panagia) zwar einen Haufen Leute, aber sich selber zum Lamm braten einzuladen ist nicht wirklich die feine Art. Wenn ich noch Gäste im Haus habe, macht das Fest mehr Spass. Na, mal sehen.

Siehe auch: Griechische Ostern 2008


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08 April 2006

Got My Ticket

Greek Easter on Limnos

It took a while to get my ticket for the ferryboat to Limnos. Problem number one was that SAOS lines did not have the timetable online untill a few days ago. Finally they arrived in the Openseas online booking system. Then we had to find a travel agency and buy our tickets. Not so easy, because few travel agencies issue ferry tickets and of those few only a select handful work with SAOS lines. There is a listing of such travel agents in the greater Athens area on the SAOS website. We got our tickets at ARMA travel (Karageorgi Servias 10, near Syntagma square). A friendly place, I can recommend them.

So in less than two weeks I will be travelling again. I'm already excited, looks like I have the travel bug real bad.


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09 April 2006

Διαβάζω για την Πολιόχνη

Η αρχαιότερη πόλη της Ευρώπης

Το Σάββατο, σε ένα βιβλιοπωλείο που έχει πολλά αρχαιολογικά βιβλία, βρίσκω στην τύχη ένα μικρό βιβλίο με τίτλο "Πολιόχνη". Το κοιτάω και σκέφτομαι: Υπάρχει και άλλο μέρος με αυτό το όνομα; Ξανακοιτάω την φωτογραφία στον τίτλο, μοιάζει πάρα πολύ με την Πολιόχνη που επισκέφτηκα στην Λήμνο. Το ανοίγω και το επιβεβαιώνω, το ίδιο μέρος. Μόλις 7 Ευρώ κοστίζει και το παίρνω αμέσως.

Ακόμα δεν το διάβασα όλο, άλλα και μόνο από τις εικόνες που βλέπω, θυμάμαι την μέρα που περπάτησα τα δρομάκια της αρχαιότερης πόλης της Ευρώπης. Είναι πολύ ιδιαίτερο μέρος, έχει αέρα όχι μόνο ιστορίας άλλα και ιστοριών. Σε κάνει να φανταστείς τους ανθρώπους εκεί. Το βιβλίο μου επιτρέπει πρόσβαση σε αυτόν τον κόσμο από εδώ, την μακρινή Αθήνα.

Το πιο σημαντικό που κατάλαβα από την Πολιόχνη, κυρίως βλέποντας τα πέτρινα σπιτάκια εκεί, αλλά και στην υπόλοιπη Λήμνο, είναι το ότι η ζωή στην Λήμνο δεν άλλαξε για χιλιάδες χρόνια.


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