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The bug travelling around in Greece (and maybe even further sometimes?)
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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)
02 February 2009

Freezing Switzerland

On the way back to unfreeze

So, I'm on the way back, sitting in the Zurich airport, waiting as usual. It's been cold in Switzerland. At -3c I like to pack myself in as if I was travelling Antarctica. At the higher points, there was some snow. For the most part it was dry though, dry and cold.

I bought some chocolate, in order to fulfill my "swiss cliche quota". Then I switched on "full tourist mode", pulled out my new camera and took some lame pictures. And as the family events I came for where all successful, I can now board that plane cool and easy.

Posted by betabug at 11:55 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
10 April 2009

Evening in Mykonos

Listening to Barry White

Here I am, for a long weekend on Mykonos. Since the tourist season is only just about to start, there aren't yet that many people. Still the place is much busier than the places I frequent. (...and yes, I have already heard the jokes about "watching my ass" etc.)

Took a lot of pictures already, till the battery on my cam ran out. This one here is taken with the phone cam in low resolution, since I have no program to resize pictures on the mobile. We're sitting in a bar in "little venice", all alone cuz it's much too early really. Looking out on the sea, enjoying a drink and lsitening to Barry White.

Posted by betabug at 20:59 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
11 April 2009

Trauminsel Delos

Eine alte Welt entdecken

Von Mykonos aus kann man morgens um 10 mit einem kleinen Schiff auf die Insel Delos (Δήλος, Dilos) fahren. Delos ist komplett archäologische Stätte, niemand wohnt dort, niemand ausser den Archäologen kann dort übernachten.

Alss archäologische Stätte hat Delos wirklich viel zu bieten, es ist viel erhalten und es gibt viel interessantes zu sehen. Um diese Jahreszeit kommt noch dazu, dass die ganze Insel blüht. Wilde Blumen soweit man sehen kann, bunte Tupfer in allen Farben auf den alten Steinen, inmitten der seit dem 7. Jahrhundert verlassenen Häuser.

Um ein Uhr Mittag fährt das Schiff wieder zurück nach Mykonos. Die Zeit ist viel zu kurz, ich hätte gern noch mehr verweilen mögen.

Posted by betabug at 16:04 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
15 April 2009

Mykonos and Delos Panoramas

Wide view of these totally different islands
Looking sideways at "little venice" on Mykonos

Last weekend's trip resultet in a lot of pictures. Some of them were made to be stitched together to form a panorama.

The first one is a view from the side on the "little venice" area of Mykonos. I find the name "little venice" totally off, as the row of houses that are built onto the shoreline does not remind me of Venice at all, but whatever works for them. It's a nice enough area anyway. Well, it probably is much, much too crowded for my taste in the summer, off-season in spring it was nice and more or less quiet.

You can click on the image for a bigger view or click on "read more" to see the other panoramas.

Public toilets in Mykonos

These on the other hand are some of the public toilets in Mykonos. (That square thing built into the sea. No, not the open thing in the front, the one in the back with the little windows.) I didn't test them for cleanliness and fitness-for-purpose, I admit I'm a bad tourist guide tester. I just liked the graphicality of that wall with the cubic structure.

You might notice there are no partying people on the picture... I was quite content, that it was off-season (in case I haven't mentioned that already).

Sunset in Mykonos

On the other side of town, there was this little beach area, with this little white church (there are lots of little white churches on Mykonos). It happened to be sunset time when I passed by there, so here I stitched two pictures together. It was colder than it appeared on the picture. Still I managed to get a bit of color onto my face.

The famous windmills in Mykonos

Mykonos is quite famous for its windmills. They are photographed over and over by everybody. I did what everybody did and clicked the shutter whenever a windmill came into view, in this example at sunset.

The famous lion statues on Delos

Over from fashionable, partying Mykonos to Delos, an island mostly devoid of people, consisting of the distant memories of the people who once lived there.

This here are the famous lion statues... or I guess some reproductions, as I expect the originals to be in the museum. Where I didn't see them, because we had only 3 hours to see the island and that wasn't enough by far for all the nice spirit to pick up there and all the fantastic archeological stuff in the wonderful springtime flowers to see there.

View halfway up from the hill in Delos

Instead of going to the museum (which is btw an architectural atrocity, I sometimes had to avoid getting it into my photos) we went up the hill to have a nice overview. We didn't go all the way up, because we were running out of time and there was more stuff to see. There is a lot of remaining stuff on Delos, that will really give you an impression of what it was like.

Posted by betabug at 22:17 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
13 May 2009

Working on Naxos

An old dream comes true
betabug looking on the Naxos landscape

Since last Sunday I'm on the island of Naxos. I live in an old two-story stone house, in the middle of the island. The sea is not near, from the terrace I can barely spot a glimmer of it, but I can see the mountain of the neighboring Paros island.

Having the sea nearby isn't so important, I'm here to work. I brough my MacBook, a bit of paper, and a little device to get Internet over a 3G mobile connection. When I'm sketching out plans, I can sit on the terrace in the sun, otherwise I'm inside on the computer, with a view on the trees and the still green landscape. I hear mostly the birds chirping, with a truck or tractor passing in the distance now and then.

It's a nice setting to think things through and to concentrate on writing code. Working on the Zope on my local machine is fast as usual, but when I connect somewhere over the Internet, results vary. Sometimes the connection is speedy and slick, other times I get a lot of lag. Clearly following Murphy's law, the signal is worst on the nice desk little where I like to work, much better in the middle of the house. Sitting in the middle of the house, I can even talk on Skype with clear and non-laggy sound. I always wanted to try and work like this. Modern technology with 3G Internet connections finally made things possible.

There are a lot of cows on Naxos, the place is famous for butter and cheese. It tempts me to cook swiss style, with a lot of butter. I went to run twice in the evenings, greeting cows and farmers alike. I love that: wind up work, then change into shorts and go for a run, right outside the door. I'll stay here this week, then head back to Athens.

Posted by betabug at 10:46 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
15 May 2009

First Swim of the Season

The weekend of the week on Naxos
betabug underwater, upsidedown

After a week of working in an old house on the island of Naxos, I think I was ready for a jolt of true summer feeling. I left work early on Friday afternoon and we went to pick up a rental car. After a little tour of the Χώρα (Hora, the main town) of Naxos (and finding a certain street with a special name, which I will write more about in a later post), we drove to a very good restaurant where they served us the first Moussakas of the season.

The background being that they don't make such in advance cooked foods before guests arrive who will actually eat and appreciate the stuff. The lady who makes this moussakas seems to use half goat milk to make the bechamel sauce used in the preparation. It was a wonderful dish, the place on the top only contested by the κεφτεδάκια (keftedakia, small meat balls), who were soft and spiced with wonderful herbs.

Having eaten a lot of good food, we drove to a sandy beach hidden behind some low cliffs. Since one shouldn't bath right after eating, we just slacked out in the late afternoon sun. When I felt I had digested enough and at the same time heated up enough, I went into the water. Wow, first swim of the season! It's still May, so the water was very cold at first. The feeling was great though, cooling down, floating. A bit more inside, I reached warmer areas of water and the swim became relaxed. Only problem: My waterproof camera ran out of battery soon after, I had forgotten to charge the battery. It was enough for some first experiments.

Posted by betabug at 23:10 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
17 May 2009

Die Welter-Strasse auf Naxos

Benannt nach dem Archäologen Gabriel Welter
Sascha Welter in der Welter-Strasse auf Naxos

Schon wieder ein Foto von mir. Diesmal in einer Strasse mit einem für Griechenland sehr seltsamen Namen. Vor meiner Anreise nach Naxos hatte ich mir einige digitale Karten angeschaut und dabei zufällig in der Χόρα (Hora, dem Hauptort der Insel) eine Strasse mit dem Namen "ΒΕΛΤΕΡ" (WELTER) entdeckt. Kann ja wohl nicht sein, sowas? Seit wann benennt man eine Strasse nach mir, noch bevor ich dort aufgetaucht bin? Einige kurze Recherchen und etwas kühles Nachdenken später fand ich raus, dass die Strasse (natürlich) nicht nach mir benannt ist, sondern nach dem Archäologen Gabriel Welter (auf Griechisch Γαβριήλ Βέλτερ). Tatsächlich zeigt das Strassenschild im Unterschied zur Karte auch den vollständigen Namen.

Dieser Herr Welter war als deutscher Archäologe in Griechenland, aber zum Teil auch in Palästina tätig. Eine einzige französische Quelle, die ich fand, bezeichnet ihn als "lorrain", also als Lothringer und beansprucht ihn so wohl mehr oder weniger für Frankreich. Seine bekanntesten Ausgrabungen waren auf Ägina und beim Zeus-Tempel im Zentrum von Athen. Es gibt einige Bücher von ihm, zum Teil wohl auch mit Fotos. Leider ist fast gar nichts von ihm im Web direkt zugänglich. Wäre wohl ein Fall für altmodisches, "richtiges" Quellenstudium in Bibliotheken.

Um die Strasse selber zu finden, mussten wir in den kleinen Gässchen von Naxos suchen. Das GPS im Mobiltelephon half etwas, den entscheidenden Hinweis gab dann ein Herr vor der Tür des Museums von Naxos. Das war schon lustig zu hören, dass für einmal jemand in Griechenland meinen Namen schon mal gehört hatte.

Posted by betabug at 13:08 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
20 June 2009

Short Rest in the Shade

Hot up here

We're on an excursion with a few people from the Krystallis (Κρυστάλλης) mountain club. We're on Evia, on the way up the Ohi, highest peak of the island.
The place is nice, the view is wonderful, but some assholes built a huge concrete road up here.
It's pretty hot and for water you get only what you carry yourself.
We took a small rest in the shade of a wild castania tree. Now for one more leg and then up to the peak.

Posted by betabug at 09:58 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 June 2009

From the Mountain to the Beach

On and on the path goes on

Yesterday after our rest we continued upwards. After a few hours we reached the peak. It had fooled me a couple of times, as I was thinking "this is it, just this more steep climb" and another view opened, showing a higher peak.
Finally we had reached it, took some pictures. We enjoyed the panoramic view of the Evian range, the islands around, even Attika.
Finally we descended and clambered down the path that is strewn with loose stones. An hour later we collapsed in the tiny shade under a small rock standing all alone. A few fruits, water and finally some real food put some more power into us.
We needed it. We had a nice shady valley to go down, on a good path following a nice brook. But the path went on and on and our packs and feet were not getting lighter.
The sea, where we were planning to camp didn't seem to get any closer as time passed.
We took another longer rest where there were a few small waterfalls and basins. Some of us even went swimming in the cold water.
We then finally reached our friends at a tavern at 9 in the evening, having walked since 7 in the morning. Food, setting up the tents, sleeping and waking up to a day relaxing at the beach.

Posted by betabug at 10:54 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Traffic Jam in the Village

System failure

These cars are not parked. They're the traffic jam of cars waiting for the ferry boat back to Attika and therefore Athens.
Athens is a nice enough place, but of course people want to go to nicer, fresher places for the weekend. While not everybody leaves town at the same time, most people return Sunday evening to be Monday at work.
Result: lots of traffic jams. Usually at the entrances to the city limits, but sometimes - as here - in some remoter places that are traffic choke points. Like this village with a small ferry connection where we're on our way back from the mountain and the sea.

Posted by betabug at 20:10 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
26 July 2009

Summer is here


Took a boat yesterday night to flee the heat of Athens. Arrived this morning at 7 on Naxos, after only a brief sleep on the crowded ship.
Had a good nap and now am at a nice little beach for the first swim.
The sea is a bit cold and it's windy, But who cares, this is a fair change from the heat of the city.
Won't have so many chances for swimming during the week. Strange as it might sound, I am here to work. Like back in spring I brought the laptop to hack some code in a relaxed environment.

Posted by betabug at 19:16 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
31 July 2009

Quiet Evenings on Naxos

Way off the tourist centers
Olive grove under early evening moon

I've closed one week of working "out of the office" here on Naxos now. There were spouts of really good productivity, some slumps and some medium productivity times. Overall I'd say it was a week with above average output. I blame the quiet surroundings.

Here on Naxos all the stress of the city, all the running and reaching, worrying and trying seem to be far, far off. I can concentrate on work and on the view outside the window - which is nicer than in the city too, obviously (even though the new office is a huge step forward). On around Thursday some city business had reached me, but appart from that I had it all left behind and no worries.

Another part is that I gain two hours every day: Time that I would spend each day going and coming from work. Now I spend a part of it working longer and a part of it having time for myself. In the evenings I take walks or sometimes manage to get a ride to the beach. The beach is far away, I'm in the center of the island, far off from the tourist places.

The picture is from one of the evening walks. An olive grove, under the moon of the early evening. The heart longs to stay there, linger on, forget everything and let time pass as it does for these ages old trees. Their work is growing food, slowly and quietly since ancient times.

Posted by betabug at 20:10 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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