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The bug travelling around in Greece (and maybe even further sometimes?)
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16 August 2009

Elvetia, bitte

H Ελβετία έχει τα δίκα της

Αν κάποτε βρεθείτε κατά τύχη στην Ελβετία, σας συστήσω μια εκδρομή σε ένα καλό φούρνο [1].
Τι δουλειά, θα με ρωτήστε, έχω σ'έναν φούρνο όταν μπορώ να παω να αγοράζω ρολόϊα ή σοκολάτες στην Bahnhofstrasse; Ο λόγος είναι απλός: στο φούρνο μπορείτε να παρακολουθείτε κάτι πολύ ελβετικό.

Βέβαιος είναι καλά να καταλαβαίνετε κάτι από τα ελβετικά Γερμανικά. Αλλιώς πατέ απλά με κάποιον που μιλάει και σημειώνετε ότι "merci" και "danke" σημαίνουν "ευχαριστώ", "bitteschön" ή μόνο "bitte" είναι "παρακαλώ" και "gern" είναι "ευχαρίστως".
Από εκεί το παιχνίδι είναι απλό: ο φίλος σας θα διαλέγει διαφορά ψομάκια και γλυκά, εσείς μετράτε πόσες φορές λέει "ευχαριστώ" η πωλήτρια.
Πως μου ήρθε να γράψω κάτι τέτοιο; λείπω μερικά χρόνια από τη Ελβετία τώρα και αυτές τις μέρες που ήρθα για τουρισμό, με "χτύπησε" πολύ το *τι* θέατρο κάνουν.
1: Λέω "καλό" φούρνο, γιατί μπορείτε αλλιώς να πέφτεστε στην εξαίρεση... εγώ όμως το είδα στο "φούρνο" ενός σούπερ μάρκετ.

Posted by betabug at 14:53 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
17 August 2009

Tourism is Hard Work

Early bird to the Bernina-Express

It's 5:55 in the morning and I'm already sitting in a train. After going all the way to Basel yesterday, to see the Giacometti exhibition. Today I'll take the Bernina-Express, a train with panorama windows that passes through the alps in Grisonia.
It starts at 8:30 in the morning in Chur and is quite the spectacle with mountain views.
The problem with me sitting already here is that I could have slept an hour longer, if only SBB (the swiss rail company) had coordinated the trains a bit better: train from St.Gallen arrives at 8:38, Bernina-Express leaves at 8:30. No good, so I have to leave 1 hour earlier. The early bird, and all that.

Posted by betabug at 06:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
19 August 2009

Back from Switzerland

...and Germany and France and Italy

I'm back in Athens for now, arrived yesterday night. In the 7 days in Switzerland, I walked up (and down) one mountain (2509m), took the Bernina-Express where I saw a big bunch of other mountains. On Sunday I had gone to Basel, where I visited the Giacometti-Exhibition at the Beyeler museum. After that I had gone to eat "schwäbisch" in Germany, then for a refreshing drink over to France.

On Monday, the Bernina-Express had taken me to Tirano in Italy. After all that "looking at mountains", I was hungry, so I went to eat some fine italian food at a restaurant behind the cathedral. I left there well fed and satisfied with the quality... and a bit late. I had misremembered the time that the train back leaves, so I had 4 minutes left till the departure. I decided to go for it and ran about 1100m in 4 minutes, with a full belly in 33ºC. As I jumped inside and the train door closed behind me, the train left.

Leaving Switzerland for Greece was much easier: I was early at the train station, early at the airport and in August in the middle of the night, the airport bus didn't encounter any traffic.

Posted by betabug at 19:59 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
22 August 2009

Raising the Garage Flag on Naxos

Once more!
Me, raising the Graphics Garage flag/towel on the beach at Naxos

After scrambling around Switzerland for one week, it's quite the change to be back on the island of Naxos. I've got a few precious days of vacation left, after that it's back to work. Not too bad to be working here though. Since I'm with a bunch of more people this time, we'll probably have a rented car, so I'll be able to hit the beach in the late afternoon after work too.

As can be seen on this pic, I'm raising the flag of the Graphics Garage here on Naxos. Actually it's a towel, since every hitch hiker to the Galaxy should always have a towel with him! Naxos is slightly cooler than at the end of July and start of August (yesterday night I put on a sweater when we sat outside for a drink). But then the water is slightly warmer, which is good enough for an exchange.

So, no matter what's ahead, life is good for the moment. I'll work a bit on my tan, a lot more on my code... and I'll enjoy the good sleep and fresh air of the country side!

Posted by betabug at 12:51 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
13 September 2009

Wu in Athens

Cow meeting

Yesterday evening Wu from #bsdcow arrived in Athens. Graffic and me picked him up from the Airport, then we went for food and Ouzo.
Today everybody woke up late. We had relaxed breakfast, then went out to see the area around the Akropolis. Right now we're sitting in a cafe, listening to some indy tunes while Wu waits to try his first greek "frappé" (cold coffee).

Posted by betabug at 15:08 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
20 September 2009

First Swim for Some

Wu goes for a swim

After having Wu around Athens for more than a week and being in town all the time, we finally went for an excursion outside town.
We're on a beach near Cape Sounion. For Wu it's the first swim of the year. The water is nice and not too cold. It's crystal clear.
When there's a light cloud before the sun, it's getting slightly cold, otherwise it's fine. Next stop in the schedule: get some food and then visit the temple of Poseidon.

Posted by betabug at 16:03 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
09 January 2010

Preparing moblog for a little hike

Not expecting snow

Just a little post here to check that moblog (posting to a weblog from a mobile phone) is still working on my updated server.

If things go well, I will be on a day hike tomorrow. Preparing stuff now. It sure will be good to be out of this big city for some fresh air. We don't expect to find any snow though.

Maybe I could post from some mountain village, assuming I have a signal and am not too busy with enjoying nature.

Posted by betabug at 15:29 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
28 February 2010

Parnitha, 3 years later

Much has changed

Almost three years after the fire that destroyed a large part of the forest on the parnassos mountains (Πάρνηθα, parnitha), and a bit more than three years after I went hiking at parmitha, I went back.

Today, on a sunday with fine weather, we went for a short hike from the base station of the cable car to the Bafi hut. It took us around 2.5 hours up. Plus some extra time, because I had brought the Arca Swiss with me and I took two pictures on the way up. At the hut we had something to drink and eat.

We were a bit faster on the (same) way down, while I also took a third picture. Over all, we had no reason to hurry and instead enjoyed the fresh air and viewing all those growing things.

Not all was well and nice: we passed through many parts of the forest that had burned. Not a nice view, even though grasses, bushes and other green stuff is sprouting out. We even saw areas where reforestation was underway.

The picture shows some of the burned trees, with the hiking path marker. The hiking path marks have been restored in the parts that had burned, and apart from the reforestation, there were also signs of works to fix the soil against being swept away by erosion. Despite all this we had a great day and we're now back home, tired and refreshed.

Posted by betabug at 20:28 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
25 March 2010

Independence Day in the Countryside

It's all green and smelling good

The 25th of March this year is on a Thursday, so I took Friday off and I'm with friends in a small village near Patras.

So nice to be outside the big city, away from the noise and all the traffic. Here everything is green and full of flowers. Lots of butterflies too. The one in the picture gave me enough time to try and take a good picture, even with the unwieldy phone camera.

Next thing will be to go for food, traditionally Bakaliaro me skordalia. After that the plans for the long weekend show many long walks and taking pictures.

Posted by betabug at 11:40 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
27 March 2010

Rack Trains and Village Internet

Enjoying the long weekend

Yesterday we went on an excursion to Kalavryta, taking the scenic rack railway up there. The railway trip is wonderful, travelling through a narrow gorge. The train moves quite slow and - at least now in spring - you can open the windows to take pictures. Kalavryta itself is nothing to write home about. It was rebuild after being destroyed in the war. I saw many nice scenes around Kalavryta and around the train track, but would have to return on foot to take pictures.

In the late afternoon we returned and stopped by the lighthouse at the northernmost tip of the Peloponnese. Finally as things weren't moving any more, I was able to take two pictures with the Arca. I was a bit disappointed though: I had bought two extra films in Athens and discovered they had given me the wrong films.

In the evening we were enjoying the old fashioned Internet in the village... a 56k modem connection. Due to a broken clip on the cable quite shaky too. We were able to look up things about the rack train though.

Posted by betabug at 11:24 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
05 April 2010

Extraship to Naxos

Easter holiday on the island

Easter holidays is on of the top occasions for all Greeks to return to their villages. Streets and boats are full. The ferry boat line that serves the island of Naxos put on an extra ship on Friday morning for Paros and Naxos. I took that ship and arrived midday of easter friday here.

The island is in full spring mode: Flowers everywhere, everything is green. The sun is shining. When you sit in the sun, it gets warm, but ifyou sit in the shade it gets a bit chilly with the wind.

This long weekend I used to relax and to take pictures. I'm taking little walks with the Arca strapped on my back, then I take pictures of flowery hillsides and paths, of white aegean houses under blue skies. There's the odd byzantine church and some venetian towers too. There are far more things to take nice pictures of, than I have time to take them. This camera is first of all slow.

Posted by betabug at 20:20 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
29 June 2010

Starting the Week on Naxos

Enjoying simple things

On Sunday we arrived on Naxos. The ship left Pireus at 7:25 in the morning, combine that with the taverna behind my place hosting some kind of birthday party and some neighbors down the street having a party too. I was kind of sleepy when we arrived in the house. Lucky for us, we had to do only very little cleanup, since the house hasn't been empty for a full year, only for three months.

In town we had bought some bread, butter, cheese and tomatoes. We had a good, simple lunch of that, then crashed for a well deserved siesta. The point of really arriving.

Sunday and monday had lots of impressive cloud formations all day. The elements were putting on a show. By late afternoon the clouds started to disappear and a blue sky took over.

Monday morning I started work. I'm dividing my time between thinking ahead, planning for some new and revamped projects... and making small changes and cleanups in existing code. I get a bit tired to just "think around" all the time, so after a while I want to do something as simple as finding commented out code, deleting it and committing the changes to the repository. It also makes me read through the code, which is good for planning to make bigger changes.

Sunday evening I took one picture from the veranda of the house. But I was still so sleepy, that I noticed afterwards that I had failed to reset the camera prior to starting. That way, the result will be more a matter of luck. On Monday evening I went and took a picture of a nearby church. I didn't have much time, because we were invited for drinks by friends. Now that is a way to start the week!

Posted by betabug at 09:35 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
03 July 2010


First Swim of 2010

It's been a week of hard, not too successful work. But thanks to some friends with a car, finally this morning we made it to the beach and I had my first swim in 2010. It's kind of late in the year. Thinking of it, I can't say what kept me. Always there seemed to have been some reason or other. Of course around Athens the beaches are not so nice, etc. etc.

Well, there I am, in the water. First moment was a bit cold, as usual. Then that great feeling of splashing in and being carried. The old camera is still watertight, even after its repair. I'll hopefully make a lot more underwater pictures this year, some of them nice, most of them boring, but who cares, it's summer!

Posted by betabug at 12:41 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
08 July 2010

Second Week of Work on Naxos

...drawing to an end

My second week on Naxos is slowly coming to an end. I've managed to go for a swim three times (twice on the weekend, once on an evening). I've worked 8 hours every working day. Not too succesful... I think I could have done better. But I've slowly overcome some obstacles in the code, which is something too. Now further changes will be a tiny bit slicker and with every step they get easier.

Most evenings I was out taking pictures with the Arca. Not as persistent or productive as I was in spring. A bit more relaxed and lazy and very happy. When I was taking that picture in the little church yard there, I was so happy and relaxed, I thought I wouldn't care much if I didn't get to take the picture. It was such a nice moment in itself. In the end I found a good angle for a picture I think - and even though I took some time maybe I didn't totally miss the best light.

I still can't manage to go and take pictures in the morning too. Sleeping in the country side is just too sweet and relaxing. Makes it hard to get up. During the daytime it's too hot to go photo walking in the landscape. It's OK to take the occasional picture in a village, but with the midday hours I'm more productive working on the computer in the coolth of the house.

Posted by betabug at 13:37 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
23 August 2010

1.8. - 10.8.2010: Paris

Playing with Saad's Mamiya
Cuppola of official looking building in Paris

From August 1st till August 10th I was in Paris. I had the chance to play around with Saad's Mamiya C330, a medium format (6x6cm film format), twin-lens reflex camera. It's an incredible good camera, but it weights a ton. I didn't have much access to the Internet. Instead I had a really good time.

Posted by betabug at 10:06 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
24 August 2010

7.8. - 8.8.: Normandie

Burning through film with Saad's Mamiya
A white column of rock on the cliffs of the Normandie

OK, I was lying. I wasn't actually all of August 1st to 10th in Paris. The 7th and 8th of August we went to the Normandie, together with Saad and his wonderful family. We went to see Honfleur and Etretat. These are both kind of touristy towns, but still they are nice.

We had rain on the first day. Didn't keep us from exploring Honfleur. The second day in Etretat was supposed to be sunshine, but when we got up, it was all gray skies. So off we went anyway. We went walking around town, then walking on one side of the town along and on top of the cliffs. We even went for a swim, it was cold but cool!

When we slacked on the beach after swimming, the sun came out. The suncream was in the car. By the time we got back and had some coffee-analogs and crêpes on the terrace of a cafe, I had a slight sunburn. So what, two days with a red head isn't so bad. I've burned through lots of film on Saad's Mamiya. Since we handed the camera around, there are also some shots that I don't remember if I took them or if Saad took them. What the heck, photography was fun there!

Posted by betabug at 16:52 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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