- Entries : Category [ travel ]
- The bug travelling around in Greece (and maybe even further sometimes?)
18 November 2007
The Man Who Went Out To The Cold
Arriving in Munich
This picture is for Ovelikios from Athens Daily Photo who likes flying. Myself, I had a good flight to already wintery Munich. A good flight means a lot of space (a row of seats to myself), acceptable food (the airline didn't try to cook up something artistic, tortellini work even in prefab airplane food), no delays, turbulences, etc.
Highlight of the flight was the captain's introduction. He didn't just say hello, he described the flight route in detail, almost like a geography lesson. In the English version he said (paraphrasing from memory):
"...the weather in our destination is the usual misery of autumn in Germany: Overclouded, cold, foggy, with a sprinkling of snow."
All the plane was laughing. In fact when I came out of the airport building in Munich, I almost turned around: The temperature difference for me going from Athens to Munich was about 23º C. Shock! I'm staying indoors a lot. In fact I have much more problems with the dry air (especially in heated rooms), my nose and throat are not liking it and give me a hard time.
This afternoon we enjoyed some sunshine. We went for a walk in the Olympia Park. It looked like most of Munich had the same idea. Families, cyclists, joggers, people with dogs. All the usual suspects for a Sunday walk.
At one point I wanted to draw some of the architecture, so we sat down for a moment. Bad idea. The moment you stop moving, you freeze to death. The picture didn't went well, so here is a photo instead. If you can't draw, you better have a camera.
25 November 2007
Back from Foggy Munich
Much warmer already
Yesterday we had a stroll through the center of Munich. It wasn't the
best idea to do that on a Saturday, with Christmas on the horizon. The
city was stuffed with shoppers. Nevermind, we had our Rostbratwurst at
the Naschmarkt Viktualienmarkt, shopped for some books, and had a good look at the
symbol of Munich, the Frauenkirche. Well, we would have had a good look
at that one, but the fog was hiding it. See the Rathaus in the picture, and behind it the towers of the Frauenkirche in the fog.
Woke up early this morning to take the flight back home. In Munich the
weather report was having us expect snow, but instead the weather kept
on steady with the fog. The flight home was nothing special. I noticed
that it's nicer to have a half empty plane, with a row of seats to
myself (like on the trip to Germany). But I already knew that sitting in
a stuffed plane next to some complicated old ladies isn't so
comfortable (like on the trip back to Greece).
The temperature difference upon arriving here was even more impressive.
I was tempted to take off my sweatshirt. The buildings in Munich are
somehow all so "inside-focussed". Few balconies, a lot of the balconies
that are there are going to the inside, small windows, etc. etc. Here
it's much different, with all the balconies around the houses. Well, I'm
back. Just stowed away all my warm clothes again.
25 December 2007
Kneel before me, for I am the net!
Haha, only serious
There are PC stations for free Internet access at Athens International Airport, but you have to go on your knees before the gods of the net to use them.
At the gate where I'm waiting is another station. The user is logged out, the screen showing a password prompt (W2k, duh). But at least this one has something to sit on.
30 December 2007
Going to see some snow
Travelling to Germany and Switzerland
The last post on this blog was about the Internet stations at Athens
Airport. I saw them, because I was flying to Munich on the late
afternoon of the 25th December. In Munich it was much colder, which was
expected. This time the temperature change did not shock me as much as
in November. Maybe I got a bit used to it, maybe it was because while it
was colder now, back in November the temperature difference between the
two places was bigger, with more than 20ºC. First thing in Munich, we
went to a bavarian restaurant and I got a nice duck for dinner.
A friend comes over for some beers
We had talked with wildweasel about the chance of him coming over from
leatherpantz counry (Tirol) for a short visit. As usual, at first it
seemed possible, then our schedules wouldn't work out, then again he
decided he might hop on a train a day earlier and ping, there he was.
The last time I had seen him on Limnos. He had gotten a bit more
athletic, all that climbing seems to have had a positive effect on him.
Since his train was late, we went straight to dinner, at an ethiopean
restaurent. In case you haven't eaten at an ethiopean restaurant, you
eat with your fingers there. It's all very spicy and good, so we were
well fed when we went further to a bavarian place to get some beers into
Thanks to the gf's family and some organization, wiwi had a place to
crash and we had breakfast before going to the train station. The weasel
man sent us off to our train to Switzerland and he left shortly after
back to more mountaineous territories.
Where is the snow?
On our side, we had a stop at Lindau, with a break of 45 minutes. We
took a stroll down to the lake of constance, enjoyed the view and
somehow less enjoyed the cold. On the way through bavaria we had seen
quite a bit of snow, so we expected the same to be around in
Switzerland. But there was no snow. Cold, wintery, but no snow.
On our first evening, my father had his monthly "stand up comedy news"
show at the Restaurant Drahtseilbahn in St.Gallen. He plays a gruffy
old news host who reads down the news, mixed in with comments and
bonmots about current politics and affairs. A lot of it relates to swiss
politics and events, but if you understand German, most of it is still
funny even if you don't know all the background stories. Amongst the
guests where an uncle of mine and some of his friends, so we had a
good family atmosphere.
On Saturday we mostly relaxed and went out to eat. Since we were up
higher now, there was already more snow around. It hasn't snowed in a
while, so what we saw was just what hadn't melted away yet. Today we
went out to eat at a restaurant in the Appenzell region (where the
famous cheese is coming from) and there is more snow there at the
moment. That's where the picture above was taken. Tomorrow, at the 1st
of january, that restaurant will remain open from 5:30 in the morning
until 5:00 in the morning the next day. They have this tradition of boys
and young men going up early in the new year and "driving the old year
out" with cowbells, banging, and anything that makes a lot of noise.
06 January 2008
Nymphenburg Palace On Ice
A winter wonderland, especially when in a warm room and looking at pix
Yesterday we went for a walk next to the channel leading to the
Nymphenburg Palace. I've been there before, but this time the little
lake at the start of the channel and the channel itself were frozen.
People skating on the ice and playing Eisstockschiessen (ice stock
sport, aka bavarian curling). It had been cold for a few days, and it
was cold as we marched along the channel. See some pictures, bigger
than usual, because of my nice new camera...
This is the little lake where we started to walk next to the channel.
There were a lot of people ice skating, some even playing a little bit
It was possible to rent skates, so we planned to go back today, but then
it rained today and we changed plans.
This is a view from one of the first bridges over the channel. Up to
here there were a few kids playing hockey, this is where the serious
business starts: A lots of Bavarians use the chance to play the game of
Eisstockschiessen (ice stock sport, aka "bavarian curling"). You can
click on the image for a bigger view.
The game is simple. You have these "sticks" that everyone shoots along
the lane at a little piece of wood. The stick closest to the piece of
wood wins. There seems to be a team situation going on too, dunno about
that, but it looked like that from the way people cheered or argued.
First you have to swing to get your stick up to speed...
Then you shoot or slide it at the target.
... and in the end you have to discuss who won!
Finally we almost reached the Nymphenburg Palace. We got a nice
glimpse, I took some pics, then we turned around. It was too cold for our
taste. But you can compare these pictures with the ones I took before,
in November 2006.
08 January 2008
The Glyptothek in Munich
Another Bavarian - Greek connection
On my last day in Munich, we paid a visit to the Glyptothek. This
is a museum that was built by King Ludwig I to house a collection of
sculptures, mainly from Greece. What a suitable location when travelling
home to Athens the next day! The exhibition is quite impressive. I've
been there before and I'm always enjoying the mix of the classical art
with the architecture from Leo von Klenze. This time I mainly went there
to get some pictures to try out my new camera. I was lucky to get some
acceptable pictures so I'm thinking about getting some kind of "gallery"
function on my site to be able to present them better.
I think everytime when you revisit a place, you notice something new.
This time it was the difference between the current appearance of the
place (everything in white to light earth tones, nothing in color) and
the original layout (where lots of things were vividly colored). This
kind of reflects the sculptures too, as many of them were painted "in
their days" and have been sanded to marble colors by time.
The very next day I went home to a warmer Athens. I bet if some of
the sculptures could talk they would wish to do the same too.
18 March 2008
Patras Carnival 2008 Pictures
I was there
The carnival weekend (8./9.3.2008) I was in Patras, where the main event of Greek carnival is taking place. This year I wasn't taking part in the parade, wasn't even dressing up. Instead I had my camera with me and took some pictures. Filled up the camera's chip. I've selected a few of them and put them online in a little gallery, for you to get an impression.
So, just hop over and have a look at my Patras Carnival 2008 Pictures.
24 March 2008
Over the weekend I was on Hydra, one of my beloved islands. On
Saturday the weather was nice, but on Sunday it got cloudy with
a warning of storm. The coming rain was said to bring red earth
from the Sahara.
While I was sketching a tree that is clinging to some rocks above the sea (much too hard for my skills), red drops appeared on my sketchbook. I switched to taking photos. These turned out to be special too afterwards: The clouds of red rain had given them a distinct sepia tone.
It's interesting how the mind had compensated for the tone of the light,
it did not appear red or sepia to my eye, but apparently it was enough
off balance to trip the auto white balance of the camera.
It's spring here in Greece, and I loved all the flowers I saw on Hydra. These here went especially well with the white sails in the distance.
28 April 2008
Athens to Patras by Train
How to get there
When I was trying to find out how to get from Athens to Patras by Train, I did the obvious thing and searched on the site of ΟΣΕ (OSE, the Greek Train Organisation). But... I got nowhere there, because it didn't let me search for that particular connection. So I needed to call out for some help. Thanks to indyone I found out how it all works and I might help out others in the same situation...
The catch is, that there isn't any direct train connection Athens-Patras any more. What you need to do is take the Προαστιακός (Proastiakos, the "suburban railway" as the announcements say) till Κιάτος (Kiatos) and there jump on the InterCity (which is just an old fashioned train) to Patras. To get the timetable up for this, you need to find the connection Kiato-Patras (keep it open in one browser window, btw. at least in the Greek screens, Kiato is hidden under the letter "Π", for whatever reason), then open the timetables for the Προαστιακός and cross reference till you have what you need.
You can take the Proastiakos from any number of Metro stations, for example from Stathmos Larissis, Doukisis Plakentias, Neratziotissa. To me that's one very usefull thing, as the bus terminal for Patras is in the middle of nowhere. Going to Patras, the train takes a little bit longer than the long distance busses, but once a traffic jam hits, the train will still arrive on time, while in the bus you're stuck.
BTW: As the train line in question is under reconstruction, this information will be outdated in a few years, but hey, this is a blog, there is a date on the top of this article for a reason.
Update 2013: Since the line is interrupted currently, there is a continuation service where you go part of the way by bus. More info here.
04 May 2008
Griechische Ostern 2008
Eine Woche danach...
Es ist Wochenende und dass erinnert mich daran, dass letztes Wochenende Ostern war. Griechische Ostern genauer gesagt. Mein Freund Panos hatte uns (International Pizza) ins Haus seiner Familie in "seinem" Dorf eingeladen.
Wir sind mit dem Zug hingefahren (weise Entscheidung, an Ostern ist der Verkehr mörderisch), Panos hat uns vom Bahnhof abgeholt und von da an ging das grosse Essen und Faulenzen los. Essen, obwohl es erst Oster-Samstag war: Aber auch wer fastet, kann essen, zum Beispiel Γεμιστά (Gemista, gefuellte Tomaten), halt ohne Fleisch in der Füllung. Wobei ja der Grad des Fastens nicht von allen Leuten gleich eingehalten wird, bei einigen Leuten gibts am Samstag nix mit Oel dran.
Samstag abend dann zur Kirche, Kerzen anzünden. Wir waren eine der wenigen Gruppen, die ihr Licht nach Hause brachten, in einer Sturmlaterne, denn der Wind war frühlingshaft böig. Danach gibts zuhause das erste nicht-fasten Essen: Μαγειρίτσα (Majeiritsa, eine Suppe mit Innereien) und hartgekochte, rotgefärbte Eier.
Am Sonntag gibts Lamm am Spiess. Das muss erstmal gegrillt werden, was drei bis vier Stunden dauern kann, früh aufstehen inbegriffen. Zum Glück gabs genug Experten, so dass ich weiter faulenzen konnte. Während man wartet kann man auch tanzen (siehe das Bild, wo Dinos, der Vater von Panos, grad am tanzen ist) oder sich schon mit Vorspeisen vollstopfen.
Das Lamm war wirklich gut geworden, zart, mit gutem grillgeschmack. Das Κοκορέτσι (Kokoretsi, gewickelte Innereien am Spiess) ist nicht so meine Sache, aber das war schon vorher klar. Gegessen hab ich dann doch bis zum Umfallen, bei solchen Gelegenheiten kann ich einfach noch ein Stückchen essen, dann noch ein Stückchen, und noch ein St...
Insgesamt hatten wir Glück mit dem Wetter: Anderswo in Griechenland hatte es die Grillzeremonie verregnet oder es war saukalt. Wir sind zwar auch teilweise mit der Jacke draussen gesessen, aber grösstenteils gings und zwischendurch wars richtig sonnig.
Nach dem Essen gings runter an den Strand, keine 5 Minuten zu Fuss. (Klick auf's Bild für eine grössere Ansicht.) Die Aussicht auf die Brücke von Rio nach Antirio, vom Peloponnes aufs Festland ist wirklich nett. Das Ding im Wasser im Vordergrund ist der Überrest eines Schiffes, das im Zweiten Weltkrieg von einer Bombe versenkt wurde.
Montag gings zurück nach Athen. Wieder mit dem Zug, der diesmal überfüllt war, aber wir sind immer noch entspannter nach Hause gekommen als die Leute, die wir im Stau auf der Nationalstrasse gesehen haben. Normalerweise ist das Osterwochenende schön, aber im Ganzen gesehen ist man durch die Reise nachher müder als vorher. Diesmal war es im Vergleich dazu richtig entspannend.
24 June 2008
About Changes and Leaving
... and about quotes
Some good friends and some acquaintances who were here to study for a year are about to leave. Last Saturday we were sitting at a kafeneion, discussing about things, when one of the people there expressed something that I later found again in a quote from Anatole France:
Tous les changements, même les plus souhaités ont leur mélancolie, car ce que nous quittons, c'est une partie de nous-mêmes; il faut mourir à une vie pour entrer dans une autre.
from "Le Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard" and the same in an English translation:
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
I had found the English version somewhere in my collection of mail .sig(nature) files. Found a source for the original French quote on wikiquotes (full text of the book on Project Gutenberg in English translation). Being someone who lives (again) far from where he came from (a vague definition with me, as it is in itself far from where I was born), having left friends behind many times, I know this sentiment all too well.
18 July 2008
On the boat again
My vacation has started. I am on the Παναγιά Σουμέλα(Panagia Soumela), due to leave for Limnos in a bit more than an hour.
Been on this ship before, two years ago, from Limnos to Samothraki.
As seen on the pic, it's a jolly sailor's life on board. There's no wind, I hope for a good night's sleep on deck, seeing some stars and a safe arrival tomorrow in Myrina.
02 August 2008
Paris, here I am!
Yesterday evening the 2nd part of my vacation started. I hopped into the Bus to Eleftherios Venizelos Airport in Athens, took a flight to Paris. The flight was boring, too long, crowded. It felt a bit like what Wu experienced in the MRI tube, minus the cool techno music. I'm really ambivalent about flying: On the one hand it's the fastest way to visit friends, especially if you live in Greece, on the far corner of Europe, like me. On the other, I don't like the airline experience much and the ecological aspect of the thing is just a total breakdown.
Didn't see much of Paris yet, except the nice retro style airport (Orly) and some highways. But Saad's place is really cool. An old house in a quiet neighborhood, lots of green around, high rooms, wooden floors, great atmosphere. That and Saad filling the place with good muzak. This morning I woke up and it rained. Might not be so special for most people, but for me it's the 2nd time I see rain in the last 2 months or so. Today the tourist program will start!
03 August 2008
Walk the walk, See the sights
With saad and mitch through Paris
My first real day in Paris yesterday was spent with saad and mitch going all across Paris. We've already seen a lot of the tourist sites like that. Some of theme I've seen for the first time, others I've seen again after a long time (from back when I was here with my father), and even saad and mitch didn't see some of them for a long time. There we are on the pic, right under the Eiffel Tower. Didn't go up (yet), because there was a long line of people waiting. At noon we had moroccan food, wonderful! In the late afternoon we went for drinks to a little bar in Bastille.
Today I'm tired from all that walking, taking a slacking day. The weather gives us "four seasons in one day", as Saad likes to describe it. Cloudy, raining, warmer, the sun coming out, cloudy again... when it gets warmer it tends to get sticky, there's a lot of humidity. I'm constantly switching in and out of pullovers, shirts, windbreaker.
07 August 2008
Sweet Tourist Life
See it all!
Yes, I'm still in Paris, enjoying the sweet tourist life and the good
weather (Tuesday/Wednesday, didn't last all that long, now on Thursday it's raining again).
Monday and Tuesday I've visited and revisited a lot of Paris, doing all
the tourist program, but also spending a lot of time slacking in the
nice parks they have here. Wednesday I slept a bit longer in the morning,
then met saad, mitch, and some of their friends for lunch. In the
afternoon I tried to pick up on my tourist program, but somehow I had
picked mostly boring stuff. Thursday will be back to speed there, lots
of interesting stuff waits to be seen. Ofcoz now it's raining again, so I'll see what I will do.
Apart from going and checking out all these places I've picked up on my
drawing / sketching habit. I've set myself a target of doing 3 sketches
per day... much more then the about 1 per month I seem to be doing
usually. So far I've exceeded this target by a good margin. Once I've got a chance to scan something maybe I can post a few of the acceptable ones.
26 August 2008
A Weekend at the Navel of the World
Last weekend I was in Delphi. I had great luck that I was able to lend a car from work (thanx!) so I left Friday evening right from work. Driving the little FIAT was comfortable and easy. There wasn't much traffic around and I'm well versed in driving on mountain roads, like there were on the last part of my trip. Not that there is anything difficult about those mountain roads, they are all brand new and well built.
I got to see the archeological site (which I've seen a couple of times before). Again and again those collections of old stones are interesting to me. There's usually a fine atmosphere in the air. Once you make that thought "imagine how long this has been around, all those people who stood here thousands of years ago..." you get at least a little bit of goosebumps. Standing in front of the temple of Apollon, where once nobody but the main priestess was allowed to go, that thought was clearly there.
Being in the mountains was generally nice. The wide views, all the green and trees, seeing the sea in the distance. We went for a long walk on some officially marked trail above the archeological site (made the sketch at the very start of that walk). Also took some photos for two panorama pictures, here is one of them at sunset.
We also went to the coast to go for swimming and food - having the car made things a lot easier there. One of the evenings we went to a restaurant in Delphi... wow, the food in those tourist restaurants is really not good. They should get sued by the government for generating a bad name for Greece and especially the Greek kitchen. One of the beachside restaurants reimbursed me for that food experience the next day, by providing us with well grilled μπριζόλες (brizoles, steaks). A siesta on the beach, followed up by another swim rounded that afternoon out. Monday morning I drove straight back to work. This weekend was really a little vacation extension.