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The bug travelling around in Greece (and maybe even further sometimes?)
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06 January 2008

Nymphenburg Palace On Ice

A winter wonderland, especially when in a warm room and looking at pix
Ice skaters on Nymphenburg Channel

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...

Ice skaters on a little lake at Nymphenburg Channel

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 of hockey.

It was possible to rent skates, so we planned to go back today, but then it rained today and we changed plans.

Nymphenburg channel full of bavarians playing their curling

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.

Player getting up to shoot

First you have to swing to get your stick up to speed...

Player shooting his stick

Then you shoot or slide it at the target.

Ice stock sport players discussing the results

... and in the end you have to discuss who won!

Nymphenburg Castle seen over a frozen Nymphenburg channel

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.

Posted by betabug at 18:43 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
08 January 2008

The Glyptothek in Munich

Another Bavarian - Greek connection
Architecture and sculpture meet at the Glyptotech in Munich

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.

Posted by betabug at 21:26 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 March 2008

Patras Carnival 2008 Pictures

I was there
Costumed People on Patras Carnival 2008 Sidestreet

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.

Posted by betabug at 16:07 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
24 March 2008

Red Rain

Grey Sky
Red rain filtering the light on this picture of a church on Hydra

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.

The tree I was sketching - much too hard for my skillz, even without rain

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.

A boat off Hydra island

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.

Posted by betabug at 11:58 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
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.

Posted by betabug at 21:36 | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)
04 May 2008

Griechische Ostern 2008

Eine Woche danach...
Dinos, der Vater von Panos, tanzend

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.

Panos und Thanassis nehmen das Lamm vom Grill

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.

Die Brücke von Rio-Antirio.

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.

Posted by betabug at 08:35 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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.

Posted by betabug at 10:57 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
18 July 2008

On board

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.

Posted by betabug at 17:52 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
02 August 2008

Paris, here I am!

Visiting saad

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!

Posted by betabug at 10:20 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
03 August 2008

Walk the walk, See the sights

With saad and mitch through Paris
With mitch and saad under the Eiffel Tower

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.

Posted by betabug at 12:18 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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.

Posted by betabug at 08:48 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 August 2008

A Weekend at the Navel of the World

Visiting Delphi
Mountain scene in Delphi

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.

Mountain panorama at sunset, above Delphi (Greece)

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.

Posted by betabug at 20:14 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
29 September 2008

Sailing Away

Forget it all for a weekend
On board the Mango 3

This weekend I had the incredible luck that Panos organized me a place on the sailing boat of his friends (big thanx to Stelios especially) for a weekend race from Χαλκίδα to Αλιβέρι (Halkida to Aliveri) and back. I've never been on a sailing boat before and always had wanted to. It was an incredible trip and a great experience.

I don't know if I would be able to learn all the stuff myself (e.g. lots of totally new Greek terms used on a boat), but I was able to give a helping hand now and then, so I didn't feel like a totally useless piece of luggage most of the time.

On Saturday morning we started out, at first with no to almost no wind at all, everybody nervously trying to get a tiny little bit of speed into the boat, in order to have a nose length of headway when the real wind sets in. When the wind finally came, a small group of boats started out with a huge distance to the followers. We were going quite well there, about to get in on the 4th position, when our genua sail ripped, still got in about 7th. On the way back we had no such accidents, but we hit a tough calm spot and our replacement sail wasn't so good. The results didn't affect me so much, I had a great time.

Posted by betabug at 09:43 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
07 January 2009

Sign of Life

Not "still here", but "currently there"

In case you've been wondering where I've been all that time... I'm currently travelling. Lucky me. Right now I happen to be in the Bretagne, where it's not even raining - against all expectations - but it's pretty cold. Oh and I don't feel much like writing, as you might have guessed.

Posted by betabug at 18:15 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
13 January 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

or rather: back home

So I'm (as of yesterday evening) back in Athens, now back in the office. Having a vacation and traveling was very nice. I caught an endless cold (still sniffing, coughing and running around with a scarp) but still I managed to see some really nice places in the Bretagne and enjoy some really good food. Breton gallettes and crêpes rock! I hit on a streak of very un-breton weather. Practically no rain, days and days of sunshine and very cold weather. Nice to look at (everything looks nicer with a bit of sunshine), but with the wind sometimes very cold.

Now in Athens the weather is warmer, but I'm still dressing up thicker than appropriate. Have to drive out that cold somehow. I didn't feel much of a "culture shock" either going to France or coming back to Greece. Now I've got to catch up on answering mails, get to speed at work and see friends.

Posted by betabug at 09:22 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
30 January 2009

Thoughts on Airports

Past the security control

Sitting here, waiting for my flight to a weekend in Switzerland, some thoughts go through my head. How many times I've been sitting here, waiting for some check-in or boarding in the last years. Even thoughts about the old Athens airport, which was close to where I lived back then.

Flying somewhere for a weekend is pretty crazy, but it's a special occasion, my father's birthday. There was a time, when I was a kid, when I enjoyed flying - now it's more like taking the bus, just something to get over with. Well, I will enjoy seeing the good old Helvetia (Ελβετία in Greek ) and bring some chocolate!

Posted by betabug at 12:01 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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