31 December 2015
Schnee auf Naxos an Silvester 2015
Wer hätte das gedacht?
Für diesen Silvester hatten wir eine schöne Ûberraschung: Es hat
prächtig geschneit auf Naxos. Viel ist es nicht, vielleicht 5 bis
maximal 10cm, aber schön schaut's aus.
Schon morgens fing es an, zuerst dachte ich, dass nicht viel mehr als
Schneeregen dabei rauskommen würde. Nach kurzer Zeit fing es aber an
klebrigeren Schnee zu geben. Sowas ist immer eine gute Gelegenheit für
ein kleines Abenteuer.
Continue reading "Schnee auf Naxos an Silvester 2015"
27 December 2015
Besinnlich und so
Am 24. Dezember war ich mit einem Freund auf einer Velotour. Wir sind
auf Naxos durch die Berge nach Apollona gefahren, von dort der Küste
entlang wieder zurück. Das ganze kommt dann auf knapp 100km, etwa 1800
Höhenmeter, ich habe noch eine kleine Extra-Strecke angehängt, so dass
ich auf 102km kam. Das Wetter war perfekt, sonnig und warm, fast kein
Wind. Dem Datum entsprechend waren fast keine Autos unterwegs, wir
hatten die Strasse für uns.
Diese Strecke habe ich schon viele Male gemacht, aber dieses Mal war
das erste Mal nach meinem Unfall mit Beinbruch im Januar. Ich bin noch
nicht so gut unterwegs wie vor dem Unfall, es geht alles noch etwas
langsamer, aber dass ich diese Tour machen konnte, ist für mich ein
grosser Meilenstein. Ich bin wirklich dankbar, dass ich diese Freiheit
wieder habe. Ein grosser Dank geht an die Ârzte und Krankenschwestern in
Naxos und Athen, an Freunde und Familie, die mir geholfen haben. Das
tönt jetzt vielleicht etwas melodramatisch, aber ich bin einfach froh,
wieder hier zu sein.
20 December 2015
Naxos Cycling Panorama Pictures
The wide view on things
Lately I got a new digicam. Those little digicams seem to die every few
years. On purpose I buy the ruggedized, waterproof little suckers. I
presume they last a little bit longer that way. In any case, the latest
one I got is one from Fujifilm. I've taken it cycling a few times, where
I played around with the panorama function. So here are some pictures
from cycling on Naxos.
Continue reading "Naxos Cycling Panorama Pictures"
19 December 2015
Ich habe eine ältere Waschmaschine. So ein Teil, das man von
oben befüllt. Es passt nicht allzuviel Wäsche rein, und moderne
Waschmaschinen brauchen garantiert weniger Strom und Wasser. Ich hab sie
gratis bekommen: Als unsere WG zügelte, war sie im neuen Badezimmer,
aber kaputt. Der herbeigerufene Reparaturtrupp zuckte nur mit den
Achseln, und ich "reparierte" sie dann selber (der Abwasser-Schlauch
musste höher gehängt werden), dann wusch sie wieder weisser.
Letzte Woche war sie dann wirklich kaputt. Das Lämpchen ging noch an,
aber sie startete nicht mehr. Einige der "Programme" auf dem Drehrad
brachten sie noch in Bewegung, aber wann immer Wasser angepumpt werden
sollte, ging gar nichts.
Also überlegt man sich, ein neues Teil zu kaufen. Nur, schade ist es
schon. Also doch nochmal einen Mechaniker finden und schauen was geht.
Wir haben hier einen sehr guten Klempner, den habe ich um eine
Empfehlung für einen Waschmaschinen-Menschen gefragt. Zuerst wusste er
keinen, dann fiel ihm einer ein, und dann rief ich den an. Er kam dann
auch vorbei, mit 3 Stunden Verspätung (mein Klempner ist immer
pünktlich) an einem sehr kalten Abend.
Er kuckte sich das Teil von vorne und hinten an, drehte etwas am
Programmrad rum, klick, klick, klick. Dann schlug er den Deckel
einmal ordentlich und mit Schwung zu. Paff! Und die Maschine sprang
an. Was haben wir gelacht, schnellste Reparatur seit langem. Im
Deckel-Verschluss ist ein Sicherheits-Schalter, und der ist alt und
lahm. Jetzt dürfen wir mit dem Deckel jedesmal zwei oder dreimal
zuschlagen, dann läuft die Maschine. Falls der Schalter mal ganz
aussteigt, überbrücken wir ihn.
Eine neue Maschine empfahl der Mann nicht (obwohl er sie verkauft), denn
bei den Stromschwankungen im Netz hier brennt öfter mal die Elektronik
durch. Das hatten wir auch schon von anderen Leuten gehört, bei der
ersten Panne nach Ablauf der Garantie kann man das Gerät dann wegwerfen.
Da muss es schon sehr viel Strom und Wasser sparen, damit sich das
28 November 2015
Getting back in shape: Pane e polvere
Having lots of fun cycling
The last month I started to pick up my cycling pace again. The downtime
after the accident had reduced my endurance a lot. Where at first I
worked hard to cycle 6km, now things start to improve. There is no
mistery about how to get back in shape, basically all it takes is
patience and perseverence. Not wanting too much, too soon is also
"Pane e polvere"
"400km a settimana. Sempre. Pioggia, vento, grandine non importava."
"Bread and Dust"
"400km per week. Always. Rain, wind, hail, does not matter."
Fiorenzo Magni was a champion in the generation of Fausto Coppi and Gino
Bartali in Italy of the 1950s. He was a tough rider, the kind who braved
the elements, and he was famous for finishing the Giro d'Italia with a
broken collarbone (finishing on 2nd place, no less). In an interview
given in 2012, he was asked "how did you train normally?" He answered
"Bread and dust. Which means doing many, many kilometers." And then he
mentions training 400km per week, plus the races.
Obviously I'm nowhere near that number. Also I don't count so much the
kilometers, as the hours. Because here on Naxos, the kilometers have a
different quality, with all the climbing. When I was doing 10 - 12 hours
per week back in the spring of 2014, I was doing just fine. I wasn't
necessarily so fast, but "doing fine" meant that I could go for a
longish ride and not be exhausted with every little climb.
Currently I've moved up to 4 - 8 hours per week, and I start to be more
comfortable with 3 hour rides. My "training" doesn't consist of any
planned exercises or something, but instead simply of clocking in a lot
of time on the bike, going more slow than fast. First building endurance
before even attempting to build up speed again.
I've also moved my "better" bike to Naxos, and on that bike I feel much
more comfortable. So overall I'm starting to enjoy cycling a lot again.
07 October 2015
Begone Mail... Not!!
There she goes
Yesterday evening I was writing a lengthy mail, explaining a nice little
idea. The mail was written in English and Greek, spellchecked, re-read,
corrected a bit, and then... the battery on the laptop suddenly ran
out of steam and the laptop shut down unexpectedly. I didn't feel a
single moment of anxiousness. I'm using mutt to handle my mails, and
mutt hands off to vim to actually write my stuff. As I know quite
well, vim saves temporary copies of my files, so in case of a crash,
I'm often asked to recover files. Works quite well.
mutt saves unfinished mails in a "folder" called postponed.
Since I had closed and re-opened the draft mail a couple of time, I
expected find the unfinished mail there. But it wasn't. Lesson learned:
mutt saves those mails there only when you close the message and
postpone it. OK, so far, but no problem, since definitely vim had
saved my message.
But I couldn't find it. It was gone. It started to take the wind out of
my sails, since I had spend some time to make a beautiful little piece
of mail, and the thought to do it all again demotivated me. I started
going through my disk with a fine comb. I found the path where my files
had been. I checked where vim is supposed to save temporary files (the
"dir" setting directive), and the documentation gave me a strong hint to
what had happened, for that setting the documentation suggested:
"Using "/tmp" on Unix is discouraged: When the system crashes
you lose the swap file"
Explanation: If you save your "swap" backup files in the /tmp directory,
when you restart after your crash, the OS will go through /tmp and throw
your carefully saved backup file away. This is what had happened to my
mail. But why?
In my .vimrc, I hadn't changed the dir setting, and the default
is to store files in a list of directories that are reasonably safe:
".,~/tmp,/var/tmp,/tmp". For a moment I was pointing fingers at vim,
but it just doesn't make sense.
In fact the culprit is mutt: The mail program tells vim to "edit
this file" and to store the needed temporary swap file in /tmp. There is
a settings directive to change the place, but the default is the very
unsafe /tmp directory. So my suggestion: if you use mutt, check your
config to set the "tmpdir" directive to something safe, something where
your OS will not clean up at restart time, e.g. on OpenBSD
/tmp/vi.recover is spared from the knife.
24 September 2015
The Big Move
Technically, it's not ch-athens any more
Man, almost a month without posts on this lazy weblog. In the meantime,
early September, I emptied my appartment in Athens and moved finally to
Naxos. So technically, this blog should not be called "ch-athens" any
more, but I don't think I'll rename it anyway.
It would be nice if I could describe the move as uneventful, but that
wasn't what happened. Since I'm moving to an island, ships are involved.
Which means that you can't just rent any old van and carry your stuff
over. Doing so would mean to pay a lot of money for bringing a car over
on the ferry boat and then bringing it back. So what I did is hire a
That was necessary for another reason: I'm still recovering from that
broken leg, and therefore I shouldn't lift stuff. So they did all the
lifting. But this is also the point where the "eventful" part of the
move happened for me. Even if I didn't lift heavy stuff, I put a lot of
stress on the leg. Push something over here, lift a box on top of
another box there. Put lots of stuff into boxes. Carry the garbage
downstairs. I had a very tired leg.
Towards the 3rd day, I was completely exhausted. I had problems going up
the stairs, even without carrying anything. At some point I was sitting
somewhere, and I saw a picture frame that I had to take down. I must
have looked at it for 15 minutes, trying to gather the strength to get
up and do that task too. What saved me was my friend Panos, who came
over on the last day and did the last "heavy" jobs, like carrying down
the last garbage.
At the end of it all, I went to the port and took the boat back to my
new home. The tourist season was still in almost full swing, so the boat
was pretty much full. I got myself a cabin, laid down and slept till
Paros (1 hour before Naxos). Then I had a shower and got myself ready to
arrive. It cost some extra money, but I already started to feel a bit
It took the leg some time to recover though. I guess it threw me back 2
or 3 weeks. On the next day I started with my regular swimming routine
again, and as soon as I was floating in the water, I felt as if the
recovery process in the leg was starting again.
30 August 2015
Full Moon over the Temple of Dimitra
Yesterday our friend Hariklia had the wonderful idea to go see the full moon come out over the Temple of Dimitra here on Naxos. We went there with friends and family, just missing the last rays of sunlight on the temple.
Still the scene was quite beautiful. As the sun had gone down, we waited for the moon to come out over the mountains. We hadn't looked up the exact time, so guesses were from "right now" to "we'll have to wait here for more than an hour". In the end it was maybe 15 minutes after sunset.
When the moon finally came out, its speed was surprising. It was as if the moon had been held back in the thick fluid of the mountains, and as it got free, it sped up until it plopped out like a cork held under water.
The little toy digicam didn't hold up all so well photographing that shiny object in the sky. Lack of a tripod didn't help either. Anyway, here are some attempts at photography for your pleasure.
28 August 2015
Three Times per Week
It's all up and down
While writing on the weblog has taken a backseat to everything else
again, I'm more or less back to regular cycling. Which is very nice,
since I really like cycling in the countryside here. Basically I'm
trying to do 3 rides per week. The plan is to build back my base
fitness. So I'm doing shorter rides, about 2 hours each. Since this is
Naxos, there is no way to do that without some climbing, but I'm trying
to take it easy.
Slowly, slowly my leg starts to feal more "normal". Whatever that means.
Basically that pushing, pulsing sensation where the operation was is
getting less, especially while riding. Walking is still a bit more
difficult. So I'm moving forward in that respect.
At the same time I have the impression that I'm moving backwards in
respect to my endurance. I seem to be able to do less and less. Having
to stop and take a long break to recover on a climb I've never ever
had to stop before (going up the Potamia valley). Never mind, that's
probably how building your endurance back should feel, for all I know of
such things. I guess I will need yet a bit more patience. I'm not
really complaining though, what I've already reached is wonderful
compared to where I was a couple of months ago.
16 August 2015
Transporting by Bike
Getting a new kitchen stove delivered
My old kitchen stove gave up its purpose in life lately. It started to
short circuit whenever I turned it on. I'm not a huge fan of "throw it
away", but this thing was beyond the trouble for me. So I bought a new
one. But then... no car, and I needed the thing urgently, as we would be
without anything to cook for the weekend. So the shop put the box on the
bus (!) and we picked it up at the bus stop.
From the bus stop, it's about 600m to my place. The box isn't so big
(it's one of those small stoves), but it's way to heavy to carry all the
way. So that led to my trusty cyclocross bike (which currently features
a rear rack for shopping runs) to serve as a cart. The setup was way too
unstable to ride. Pushing it along was more or less ok, with some short
moments of wobbling and threatening to fall. It reminded me a lot of
what lots of people in African and Asian countries do: load up a bike
full up, and push it along. The stove arrived home in one piece in the
end, and cooking warm food resumed.