- Entries : Category [ travel ]
- The bug travelling around in Greece (and maybe even further sometimes?)
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!
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.
23 August 2010
1.8. - 10.8.2010: Paris
Playing with Saad's Mamiya
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.
24 August 2010
7.8. - 8.8.: Normandie
Burning through film with Saad's Mamiya
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!
27 August 2010
10.8. - 21.8.: Switzerland
Mainly a gray thing
After being in Paris (and the Normandie), I was in Switzerland too. My father had a big party, lots of family to meet, nice. The plan was also to do some hikes in the mountains, but due to the gray, rainy weather, few of that we actually did.
We went to see some places in Appenzell. We got a good thorough soaking of rain in the Toggenburg. Some of the last days we went to the Ticino. Took the funicular (the steepest in Switzerland) up from Piotta and roamed around the alpine lakes up there. Slept in the wonderful hut capana cadagna, also ate there very well. The picture is the look from the backside of the hut in the evening. No vintage cameras for me up there, we only had the trusty Pentax W60. Sadly we had to go down the next day, but at least we had a wonderful hike.
08 March 2011
Snowy Way Back
Better slow than stuck
The way back from our 3-day weekend turned into a nice little adventure. We went back on smaller roads, avoiding the national roads. That way we did not only avoid all the toll booths, but also the story that was to come from the snow that was falling. On our way we were passing a bit of higher ground near Bralos, taking it slowly and taking good care. Below that, the streets were again free of snow and we moved on faster.
When we came to lower ground, we kept on the smaller roads, going in parallel to the national roads (highways). At some point, the snow reappeared, both in the sky and on the road. We moved on like that for a while, then decided to put on snow chains for a safer drive. (Note that in Greece nobody has M+S "winter" tires, there's just too much summer here.) We even snapped a picture after mounting the chains.
With the chains we continued to move at a steaming 40km/h, at about that time we started to see the traffic on the national road totally blocked. There were 5 lanes of cars, totally stuck. Cue Chris Rea's "Road to Hell" here if you want a soundtrack. A friend of ours was stuck in there too. Turns out, all these cars were stuck there from 18:30 in the evening till about 3:00 in the morning (according to news reports).
We took off the chains some distance later, when the snowing had turned into snowy rain and then simple, plain rain. Finally we went onto the national road ourselves, which was almost empty at that point. We recovered all the time we had lost by stopping for chains and by moving with 40km/h, because the entrance into Athens, which is usually a big honking traffic jam was pretty much empty. We got home safe, dry, warm and without too much hassle and we were really, really thankful for our good luck.
20 April 2011
This week I had the luck to be able to spend on Naxos. I'm working on the laptop, as usual, connecting to the net through the tethered phone. Last year the phone got a nice, little 3G signal, this year GPRS is all it gets. Still, as I don't have to do much web browsing, I'm fine. IRC and mail, a little browsing with lynx if I really need to - it doesn't use much bandwidth and it doesn't need much speed. Instead, work comes along really well, I already have reached my target for these four days - one day ahead of schedule.
Something else is different: So far this has been the rainiest and coldest week ever on Naxos. It's like winter really hasn't left yet. We have an electrical heater on, we wear thick clothes. I have brought the Arca, but haven't taken it out even once. Monday late afternoon would have been possible with some nice sunlight under the clouds, but I was dog tires and slept instead.
The weather is supposed to turn on Thursday evening. As the Easter weekend is ahead, a rainy weekend would ruin many people's party, so lets hope for the best.
23 April 2011
Weather improved to almost suitable levels too
Good luck, the weather finally turned on Thursday. It's not raining any
more and most of the time it's sunny. It's still windy like crazy and
large clouds drift across the sky. And it's cold. Never mind though,
we're soaking up all the sun we can get.
For example yesterday, on the "big" easter Friday, we went into town to
do the shopping for our easter meal. After shopping we found a nice,
classical cafe with some places in the sun, but sheltered from the wind.
There we drank a fresh, mixed juice and talked about how funny this all
will seem in summer, when every bit of wind will be a relieve and a
place in the shade a must.
For food we've got some "katsiki" (goat kid) to make in the oven. No
family here, so no need to roast a whole lamb! R. also painted some
eggs - see pic, which go very well with the newly discovered sun in the
grass. Everything is ready for the big feast on Sunday then!
I've also took two photo walks with the Arca, discovering new (to me)
paths. Since I went after work, I missed the sun on one of my subjects
by a hair. Will go back to that place again. It's good to be out with
the camera again.
05 May 2011
60 Minutes Free Wifi at Athens Airport
Hey, that's something
So, it's been a while since the last time I traveled. One thing I found out, they give you 60 minutes of free wifi at Athens airport now. Nice! All you do is surf to any website, have your connection "captured" and redirected to the airport site (flash needed, if you don't have that, try this url: http://portal.wiz.athensairport.gr/connect.asp?errorno=0&langid=2 or some alteration, it's where I end up when I "get through"). Then you click around two or three times on the obvious links for "free wifi" and at some point it tells you that you are on. Not even a captcha.
They seem to block my IPsec VPN, it connects, but no traffic runs. Not in the mood to debug that, but ssh -D works.
15 May 2011
Back from .ch
Had a nice trip
Here I am, first day back from my trip to Switzerland. I went there
for some family stuff and some business stuff. I had exceptional good
weather - way too warm and friendly for the season, but nice to have.
While I was away there was some more cold weather in Athens, which I
missed to my great delight.
For the business stuff, the trip was very successful. Projects coming
along nicely, new projects being talked about. Sometimes when things
move smoothly, it feels like something taps you on the shoulder to tell
you that you're on the right track.
On the way back I brought a few chocolates for my friends. My suitcase
was right at the top margin of allowed weight for the flight.
21 June 2011
Συνέλευση στην Κέρκυρα
Πάμε πλατεία και εδώ
Εδώ και μια εβδομάδα βρίσκομαι στην Κέρκυρα. Έχασα βεβαίως την μεγάλη μέρα της 15 Ιουνίου στο Σύνταγμα (και γύρο από την Βουλή). Αλλά εννοείται πως πάμε και εδώ στην πλατεία.
Την προηγούμενη Πέμπτη μίλησα στην συνέλευση για το πως εφαρμόζεται η άμεση δημοκρατία στην Ελβετία. Αντίθετα με το ο,τι λένε κάποιοι πολιτικοί, η άμεση δημοκρατία δεν είναι ουτοπία, υπάρχει και εφαρμόζεται καθημερινά. Η Ελβετία ίσως δεν είναι ο τέλειος πολιτισμός, αλλά μπορεί να μας δίνει ένα παράδειγμα, από το όποιο μπορούμε να πάρουμε αυτά που μας κάνουν για την δικιά μας άμεση δημοκρατία.
Την Κυριακή βράδυ είδαμε το ντοκιμαντέρ "The Take" (η κατάληψη), που περιγράφει τα εργοστάσια που τα έχουν πάρει πίσω η εργάτες τους στην Αργεντινή. Το ντοκιμαντέρ μου έκανε πολύ εντύπωση, μιλάμε για δυνατές εικόνες και πάνω απ' όλα για πολύ βαριές καταστάσεις. Πολλά στοιχεία - ειδικά με τους πολιτικούς - μοιάζανε πάρα πολύ με την Ελλάδα.
23 August 2011
Reading on Board
Pick a book
So, I'm on the boat again. Going to Naxos. It's the 2nd time this summer. It's also the 2nd time I did not bring the Arca with me. Just got the little Canon, with some donated old Fuji Sensia slide film, which I plan to cross process in C41.
The ebook reader (Bookeen Cybook Opus) works out very well for travelling. I can put it into the side pockets of my shorts and pick it up whenever I want to read. The obvious nice thing is to have a library with you on the go.
I'm catching up on some of the classics - and as if by coincidence, lots of the stuff has to do with the sea.
31 January 2012
... at 260km/h through the snowy landscape
Or: Paris to Zurich
I'm sitting in the TGV from Paris to Zurich, thinking about the last
few days. On last Thursday I had flown to Paris, where I met Saad at
the airport. It was cold in Paris, but it hadn't been that warm in
Athens. The first two days in Paris were sunny and therefore slightly
warmer. On Friday I went with Saad to a business lunch meetup with all
his coworkers, you could call it my first "Paris business meeting" :-).
After that and on Saturday I spent some hours walking through the city,
having the Firstflex with me, but taking only very few pictures.
On Sunday, we went with Saad's family and some good friends to see the
festivities of the chinese new year. I took a very few more pictures,
alltogether filling one film (12 pictures). Color film would have been
useful for the dragons, but black and white Tri-X is what I had loaded.
On Monday I had a business meeting in Paris (in the restaurant "Cul de
Poule", recommended) and then some more city slacking time. While on
Friday and Saturday "photo walking" was cold, but acceptable, by now it
had become a bit too much beyond comfort.
Tuesday morning I boarded the TGV, reading most of the way. In Paris I
had bought a replacement for my broken ebook reader (broken screen, due
to dropping it). Mostly I cought up on my Instapaper reading list. The
feature to drop the instapapered articles into an ePub to read offline
is great. For unknown reasons though, for two of the articles it had
saved only the title of the article. I haven't seen this before and will
have to check how it happened. But no problem, I had enough other stuff
to read, while the white landscape zipped away. It's going to be real
cold in Switzerland now.
(Note: posted only after finally arriving in the hotel in the evening)
07 February 2012
Switzerland in Snow
So I'm here in Switzerland since last week Tuesday. I've had some
great business meetings and events (yay! new customer!), I've seen some
really good friends, but above all I've had a huge share of freezing
cold and snow, -18c in the mornings, -8c during the daytime.
The first few days it was mostly cold with only a small dusting of snow.
The snow in the air was thin seemed mostly to be snow brushed up by the
wind. Yesterday it really started to snow though, and this morning thick
snow fell, turning the air and everyting on the ground to white. Tourist
In practical terms, what's annoying me is my ever-running nose and all
the time spent to get dressed for going outside and get rid of gloves,
caps, shawls, coats when coming back in. It could be worse, I'm prepared
with good, warm clothes.
Here in Switzerland they have good heating too. Back home in Greece,
temperatures have been much more mild, but heating and isolation of
houses are not in such a good shape. Not to speak of the many people who
do not have the money for heating this winter. This here is an island of
the lucky and right now I'm one of them.
15 February 2012
Back in Greece
by way of Paris
So I arrived back in Athens yesterday. Travelling was unexciting and a bit tiresome, but overall OK. I still have to put order to everything that was in my luggage. Today I started working on the new client's code, so excitement all over!
I had been for almost a week to Paris again after Switzerland. Ate a lot of good food there, had much, much fun with friends.
14 April 2012
Coming to a Networked Naxos
Feels good to be out of the big city
This is it, I'm in Naxos again now. Feels good to be out of the big city for a while. Tuesday/Wednesday the sailor's unions were on strike (with good reason, as the criminal state has stolen their pension funds). Since it's also Easter time here in Greece, for Thursday and Friday no tickets were to be found. So we traveled on Easter Saturday, when most people are already in their villages.
It was a good thing, as the ship was really, really empty. The picture shows all of the people getting off at Naxos. And I'm talking about a big ship, Blue Star Ferries got this new toy, the "Delos", which is a lot bigger than the "Naxos" and "Paros" that we usually traveled on. We had tons of seats to choose from, while the staff told us that the two days before every single seat was taken.
In other news, there is now an ADSL connection in the house we're staying in. After many times being here with a mobile connection, this is incredible. What's more (and I didn't really expect this), it actually works and has good ping times. They have this thing here for vacation houses where you can get a phone line that is active for the summer months, for one month around Easter and one month around Christmas. Well, they added an ADSL option to that, 2Mbit, but that's good enough. It will make working here for me a lot easier.