betabug... Sascha Welter

home english | home deutsch | Site Map | Sascha | Kontakt | Pro | Weblog | Wiki

Entries : Category [ athens ]
The city itself, big, fat, loud, stinking, sitting in the middle of Attica and growing. Athens, Greece, to be sure.
[digital]  [language]  [life]  [security]  [media]  [zope]  [tourism]  [limnos]  [mac]  [athens]  [travel]  [montage]  [food]  [fire]  [zwiki]  [schnipsel]  [music]  [culture]  [shellfun]  [photography]  [hiking]  [pyramid]  [politics]  [bicycle]  [naxos]  [swim] 

22 October 2008

Noch ein Generalstreik

Gestern wieder zuhause gearbeitet

Die ausländischen Medien haben über den Generalstreik von gestern berichtet. (Hier zum Beispiel die NZZ.) Hab mir noch überlegt einen Kommentar zu hinterlassen, etwa "business as usual, ein Streik wie so viele". Was die Politiker von Themen wie "Altersversorgung", "wirtschaftlich benachteiligte" und "Erziehung/Ausbildung" halten, haben sie mit den Blanko-Checks an die Finanzblase deutlich genug gezeigt.

Diese Streiks und deren aggressivere Nebenerscheinungen gibt es deswegen, weil es sonst keine demokratische Mitbestimmung für das Volk gibt. Wo es keine friedlichen Mittel zur Meinungsäusserung gibt, müssen die Leute wohl oder übel auf die Strasse gehen, um sich zu krassen Misständen zu äussern. Erinnert sei da an ein Zitat:

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

—John F. Kennedy

Ich bin, wie in letzter Zeit immer bei solchen Gelegenheiten, zuhause geblieben und hab dort gearbeitet. Mit dem guten Wetter, das in unsere Wohnung flutet, war es fast wie Sonntag - mal von der Arbeit abgesehen.


Posted by betabug at 14:28 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 October 2008

Shot Marks

Historical artifacts?
Shot marks on historical facade in Athens, Greece

On my Sunday drawing excursion I came by this building which spotted some examples of what I guess are shot marks from WWII or the following civil war in Greece. I guess they are left there on purpose, because the building is in good shape otherwise, it's even listed in the "contemporary monuments database" of the "Archeology of the city of Athens". No mentions of the war wounds on the facade though. Also in the first and second floor the marks seem at least to have been partially repaired.

The address is Αμαλίας 42 (Amalias 42), just opposite Hadrian's arch and the temple of Olympian Zeus. Click on the image for a big panorama view of the scenery.


Posted by betabug at 17:17 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
17 November 2008

Non Sequitur

A conclusion that does not follow the rain and the riot

Two things happened today in Athens: It rained and it is the 17th of November, day of annual demonstrations in memory of the Politehneion uprising against the military junta 35 years ago. The two things have only limited relation: It might happen that due to the rain there will be less trouble at the demonstrations, everybody's mood cooled down a bit and tear gas probably not working that well. But given information out of context, one could come to interesting non-conclusions, as in when Wu heard me describe part of my way home. His reaction:

< Wu> what?
< Wu> in greece riot police go into the street when raining?

My way home was non-spectacular, despite arriving at the metro station closest to the imperialists foothold^W^Wamerican embassy and seeing a bit of the demonstration. Oh, and I got wet from the rain.


Posted by betabug at 20:09 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
08 December 2008

Betreffend Krawalle in Griechenland

Brandgeruch und Tränengas überall

Die Medien ausserhalb Griechenlands berichten allerseits über die Krawalle der letzten Tage hier und den von einem Polizisten erschossenen Jugendlichen. Ich selber habe natürlich keine Informationen aus erster Hand, denn ich werde ganz sicher nicht losziehen, um mir die Krawalle anzuschauen. Eine Freundin von mir war allerdings zum Zeitpunkt der tödlichen Schüsse ca. 50 Meter vom Tatort entfernt - natürlich ohne etwas direkt mitzubekommen.

Was ich zu den Berichten der deutschsprachigen Presse beitragen kann sind einerseits ein paar Hintergrundinformationen, andererseits einiges, was hier in den Medien gezeigt wurde aber in den Agenturmeldungen nicht auftauchte.


Der Jugendliche der erschossen wurde und die Gruppe seiner Kollegen gehören laut Augenzeugenaussagen (am griechischen TV gezeigt) nicht den "Autonomen" an. Es war nach dieser Aussage einfach nur eine Gruppe Jugendlicher, die im Ausgang war und die Polizisten verspottet haben. Nach einigen Beschimpfungen die hin- und her gingen wurden Plasticflaschen auf die Polizisten geworfen.

Laut Pressetext teilten die Polizisten der Zentrale mit, dass sie von "Autonomen" angegriffen wurden. Sie warteten dann aber nicht die Befehle der Zentrale ab (die - meiner Einschätzung nach - in der betreffenden Gegend den sofortigen Abzug angeordnet hätte), sondern verliessen ihren Streifenwagen. Einer der Polizisten warf eine Blendgranate, der andere zog seine Pistole. Laut Aussage des Schützen zielte er "zweimal in die Luft, einmal nach unten".

Der am TV gezeigte Augenzeuge berichtete, dass der Polizist dreimal direkt auf die Jugendlichen geschossen hat, auf kurze Distanz (andere Seite der Kreuzung).

Der betreffende Polizist fährt schon seit Jahren in dem Quartier Streife, sein jüngerer Kollege war das erste Mal mit ihm unterwegs.

Vertreter aller Parteien (ausser der regierenden ND) sagten fast gleichlautend aus, dass mit der zunehmenden Gewaltbereitschaft der Polizei ein solches Ereignis nur eine Frage der Zeit war.

Die Athener Innenstadt roch am Sonntag fast überall nach Brand und Tränengas. Viele Strassen waren noch länger gesperrt. Das Mass der Ausschreitungen dürfte auch damit zusammenhängen, dass bei bisherigen Verfehlungen von Polizisten diese jeweils mit einem freundlichen Klaps auf die Hand bestraft wurden. Daher auch die Aussage des Innenministers, dass die Täter "exemplarisch bestraft werden, sollte eine Schuld erwiesen werden".

Zum Hintergrund: Das Quartier Exarchia

Das Quartier Εξάρχεια (Exarchia) in dem die tragische Tat geschah, hat einen speziellen Status. Es ist die Basis der "Anarchisten" oder "Autonomen". Als solches sind seine "Grenzen" auch zu normalen Zeiten oft von Spezialpolizei mit Schildern und Schlagstöcken besetzt. Normalerweise begeben sich einzelne Polizisten nicht in dieses Quartier, da die anarchistischen Gruppen das als Affront betrachten. Eine Ausnahme bildet die Strasse Harilaou Trikoupi, in der sich z.B. das Büro der Partei PASOK befindet, das ständig von einem Mannschaftswagen der Polizei beschützt wird (seit mehr als 20 Jahren). Das ist genau die Strasse, die der Streifenwagen durchquerte.

Viele Vollkasko-Versicherungen für Autos haben eine spezielle Klausel, die die Haftung für Schäden am Auto ablehnt, falls das Auto in Exarcheia parkiert war.

Nachbarschaftshilfe und Selbstkontrolle funktionieren in Exarcheia noch relativ gut. Das Quartier ist bekannt für seine Künstler, es ist ein Zentrum der graphischen Branche. Es gibt dort viele Cafés, Bars und Restaurants, die florieren weil es keine mafiösen Strukturen gibt, die Schutzgelder erpressen. Die Anarchisten wollen keine Polizei und lösen solche Probleme deshalb selber. Durch dieses "wirtschaftsfreundliche" Umfeld ist es auch ein beliebtes Ziel, um Abends oder Nachmittags auszugehen. Ich gehe dort recht häufig essen.

Posted by betabug at 10:03 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
10 December 2008

The Dam Breaks

Go read it at Bollybutton's

Bollybutton has a very good post titled The Dam Breaks about what's happening with the riots in Greece, the reasons, backgrounds. Instead of writing something myself, I want to point you there. Go read it.


Posted by betabug at 09:36 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
16 December 2008

Athens Protests Information

Some good writeups, but not by me

Some people have written very well and very well thought articles about the riots and protests here in Athens, that were sparked by the murder of a 15 year old boy by a policeman. Myself I'm in no writing spirit currently, so I'll recommend some other stuff. In my last post I had already recommended The Dam Breaks from Bollybutton. Now she has added an account of her own visit to Athens' burnt center, titled Sights and Sounds of Athens.

Then we have Panagiotis article about some of the psychological backgrounds, both of the policeman with the nickname "Rambo" and of the society of parents: St. Nikolaos Night: No regrets.

There are probably a lot more. Thoughtful pieces by people who informed themselves, double checked their sources and their conscience.


Posted by betabug at 09:53 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
14 February 2009

Schnee auf den Hügeln

Sowas wie ein Wintereinbruch
Schnee auf den Huegeln ueber Athen

Bis jetzt war dieser Winter eher mild in Athen. Seit gestern ist es aber schon mal kälter geworden. Wie man an diesem Foto sehen kann, liegt heute auf den Hügeln, die die Stadt umgeben, schon etwas Schnee. In der Stadt natürlich keine Spur von Schnee, dafür ein frischer, kühler Wind.

Das Bild ist vom kleinen Hügel gegenüber dem Eingang der Akropolis aufgenommen, ungefähr in nördliche Richtung schauend.


Posted by betabug at 17:16 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
17 February 2009

Anafiotika, an Island in the City of Athens

Wind in hair, eyes wander far
View from Anafiotika area over Athens

Athens is a sea of concrete. But there are islands in every sea. On the northern side of the Akropolis, right in the center of Athens, there is a village called Anafiotika, which was built by people coming from the island of Anafi, right after the independence of the modern Greek state.

It's a place for a nice walk, best on a day with some wind and a clear view. The island architecture is refreshing over the city covering the plain from horizon to horizon. There are no cafes or restaurants here, but the Plaka is not far with all the tourist places.

(Sidenote: I've posted the picture much bigger than usually, I think it's worth it - but if you experience problems or dislike so big pictures in my weblog, feel free to drop me a note in the comments!)


Posted by betabug at 09:10 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 February 2009

Métro - Public Transport on Smartphone

Nice, but limited usefulness for Athens
Exit of the Metro station Megaro Mousikis in Athens

There is a clever "little" program for PDAs and smartphones that lets you orientate yourself in the public transport networks of many cities. It's called Métro and is available for free. You install the program and then install the databases for the cities you need it for. I've installed it on my phone (Nokia e71) and played around with it. Basically it tells you how to get from point A to point B in the maze of an unknown city's public transport net.

The program itself works fine, even though some of the user interface is a bit counter intuitive to what I got used to on this Symbian phone. The Athens Public Transport information is limited to the Metro/Treno lines, the tram, the "suburban railway" (προαστιακός) and the trolley lines. Missing are all the bus lines - which constitute probably 80-90% of the public transport network in Athens.

This limitation is probably due to the stated limitation of the Métro software, which on their site is given as "when a database contains more than 80 to 120 lines, trouble is looming". This is quite understandable, since many variations of the software have to run on limited hardware.

So, is the software still useful for visitors to Athens? If you're a tourist, probably yes. Most tourists are overwhelmed with the Athenian bus system anyway (ok, the "Métro" software could well change that with bus line info) and stick to the Metro and tram lines. In that case Métro might save you some studying of line diagrams and help you plan your tours to visit the tourist spots. Or it might help you reschedule your excursions on the spot when you feel like it. If on the other hand you want to explore Athens in depth, the ΟΑΣΑ site and pdf transport maps will be a better, but much more tiresome resource.


Posted by betabug at 13:17 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
22 February 2009

Up and Down

Another Lycabettus hill visit
The church on Lycabettus hill

The last few weeks I have a tendency to go to places with wide views, preferably up. One such place is the Λυκαβηττός (Lycavitos, also transliterated as Lycabettus sometimes), a steep hill, where one has a wide view all around Athens.


View from Lycabettus

So every time I'm up there somewhere and look at the rows and rows of streets and houses, I imagine someone standing there in the streets down there. Sometimes they will be looking up and spotting the white church on the hill. But most of the times they are probably busy with whatever they are doing down there.

Athens has much more "places to look down from", compared to Paris, for example. Must be why they built the Eiffel tower in Paris, they needed a spot for a wider view.

Typical street scene in Athens

Certainly there is enough to busy oneself with in the streets. Apart from whatever task one has at hand, there is also the job to look out for the traffic (ultimate goals: survival and getting there).

Being up there and enjoying the fresh air myself, I took some pictures to stitch together for a panorama (click on image for slightly bigger view). Instead of the usual "panorama of the city from above", I looked at the backside of the church. You can see a bit of the bell tower and the Greek flag, and on the sides you still get a hint of the city from above. That church on the other hand could be anywhere in Greece, up or down.

Posted by betabug at 13:41 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
07 April 2009

No Metro Service from Athens Airport till September

Stranger, when you come to Athens
out of order info display at Athens International Airport

On the (blue) metro line that is running from and to the Athens International Airport there are currently 3 new stations being built. Due to these works, Metro service to and from the Airport is not going to be there until September 2009. You can take the airport buses instead, they're easy to find and even cheaper than the special Metro ticket from the Airport.

I had heard about this many times, the information is all over the Athens Metro system. On Sunday, when I was at the airport I noticed something different though: While there are indeed enough bus schedules to move the people (at least now, I guess in summer they will have to upgrade the bus schedules a bit), the line on the ticket booth was quite long. Not "really, really annoying long", but quite long.

As an illustration there was also a dysfunctional information monitor above the line of waiting people, showing a typical Windows desktop.

Update September 2009: Everything is back in service!


Posted by betabug at 09:44 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
17 April 2009

Orangen-Geruch

...in der leeren Stadt
Blueten an einem Orangen-Baum

Während sich die Stadt zu Ostern eines grossen Teils ihrer Bewohner entleert, füllen sich die kleinen Seitenstrassen mit dem Duft der Orangenbäume. Viele Strässchen sind hier mit Orangen- und Olivenbäumen gesäumt und im Moment merkt mans grad wieder mal richtig, weil die Orangen blühen und dementsprechend gut riechen.

Die Saison für Orangen ist also vorbei, es gibt zwar noch Orangen zu kaufen, aber der Zenit der Qualität ist überschritten. Es ist ja auch schon Frühling, sowohl nach dem Kalender und jetzt endlich auch dem Wetter nach. Die Stadt ist übers Osterwochenende schön ruhig, viele, viele Athener fahren über die Feiertage aufs Land um dort ihr Lamm zu grillen.


Posted by betabug at 13:32 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 May 2009

9th European Jazz Festival in Athens

At the Technopolis in Gazi

It's time again for the European Jazz Festival in Athens. The 9th edition is held again at the Technopolis in Gazi. I've been there last year, found some good music and a lot of people who were there for the party, not necessarily for the music. Not that that's a bad thing, everybody was enjoying themselves.

There seems to be no official site for the event, except for one page without any real info on the Athens city website. Only real information in there: Entrance is free! Anyway, due to proceedings I don't want to mention in detail in public, I got handed a program leaflet yesterday evening, so I'll type in the program titles, click on "continue" to see it.


So there we go.. Please note that I'm typing this in from the official booklet, but if there are any changes, I won't keep this program up to date. Also you'll have to figure out what's what yourself, I'm not going to type in all the blurbs from the booklet! :-)

Wednesday 27.5.

21:00 Grand opening with the "Big Band" of the municipality of Athens

22:00 Benni Chaves (Denmark)

23:00 Ángela Tröndle &amp; Mosaik (Austria)

Thursday 28.5.

21:00 Nordic Sounds (Estland)

22:00 Teun Verbruggen "Warped Dreamer" (Belgium)

23:00 Γιάννης Κασσέτας (Yannis Kassetas) &amp; the funk wizards (Greece)

Friday 29.5.

21:00 Jerez-Texas (Spain)

22:00 Wired Paradise (Netherlands)

23:00 Marco di Gennaro &amp; Luca Velotti Duo (Italy)

Saturday 30.5.

21:00 Kaisa Kulmala-Trio (Finland)

22:00 Miriam Bayle Band (Czech Republic)

23:00 Maria João Quartet (Portugal)

Sunday 31.5.

21:00 The David Kollar Band (Slovakia)

22:00 Maxime Bender Group (Luxembourg)

23:00 Eved-Fenyvesi Quarted (Hungary)

Posted by betabug at 09:31 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
03 June 2009

Greek Urban Surrealism

Ελληνικός αστικός σουρεαλισμός, as named by Panos
Workplace of the "parkadoros"

My friend Panos names these things as "ελληνικός αστικός σουρεαλισμός" (ellinikos astikos sourrealismos) - "Greek urban surrealism". Those spots of life where things go that little extra step that make them "get out of hand". We're pretty much used to these things here in Athens, we'll just look and walk by, often times not even notice or just do as much as chuckle. But quite often if you keep your eyes open and then really think about it for a moment... life and people here produce bizarre stuff really. A few posts back I already offered an example.

There used to be a time when parking lot guardians had little transistor radios. They were parking your car in front of that restaurant and then watching over the lot like a modern version shepherd. While they sat around doing that (i.e. nothing) they listened to the match on that squeaky radio. This guy here went a step further. He installed a portable LCD tv, complete with remote control and "suck on" antenna (antenna unfortunately not pictured). Coincidentally this scene was found less than 50m from and at the same time as the previous example. Maybe there is a strong surrealism force field at that spot?


Posted by betabug at 11:24 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
26 June 2009

Metro Art

An installation by George Zongolopoulos
Installation in the Athens Metro Syntagma station by George Zongolopoulos

There are many sculptures and art pieces in the Athens Metro system. Some of it I pass quite often, sometimes even daily. Some other things are more well hidden.

A few weeks ago, going a path and direction I never took before, in the Syntagma station, I came across this installation. It is by the sculptor George Zongolopoulos (Γιώργος Ζογγολόπουλος, 1903-2004).

It struck me as very beautiful, a piece of art that you can look at and loose yourself within. I would have liked it if this was in some place where I passed more often. I believe I would stop and look each time.

In case you can't make head or tails from my picture: The installation seems to be in some kind of ventilation shaft. The passengers walk right underneath it, some of them not even noticing that there is something above them. Look up though and you will notice a round window to the sky, silver coated walls and an assortment of "flying" objects. Every little move of your position will change the light, the positions of the objects, the reflections.


Posted by betabug at 13:30 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
06 July 2009

Petralona Subway Train Station Out of Service

Reworking one of the tracks
One of the tracks under construction in the Petralona Train station in Athens

On my way to work this morning I took a different route, which had me pass by the Petralona (Πετράλωνα) station of the (ΗΣΑΠ) line 1 of the Athens Metro system. As you can see, one of the tracks is being completely reconstructed. It also looks like that will still take some time to finish. I like the area around the station. It has a very laid back, relaxed mood. There are some cafes and shops, but all in a quiet way. It's a nice way to get to work.

That station is currently out of service, the line is under reconstruction (see the announcement, which gives only the start date of the works). Trains pass the station, but they don't stop there. There are also some longish delays on the line.

If you need to get to Petralona, there are at least 2 options: Either get off at Tavros station, take the special bus 012 (which starts a short walk away from the station, as usual without signs in which direction you have to walk). Or you can take the Metro to Syggrou-Fix, walk a very short walk (up Δράκου/Drakou street, till Βεϊκού/Veikou street) and take the Trolley Nr. 15.

Update September 2009: The station is back in service in the direction to Kifisia. When you come from direction Kifisia and want to get out at Petralona, get off at Tavros instead and take the waiting train back to Petralona.


Posted by betabug at 09:54 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Prev  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   [8]   9   10   11   12   13   Next