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Entries : Category [ athens ]
The city itself, big, fat, loud, stinking, sitting in the middle of Attica and growing. Athens, Greece, to be sure.
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06 April 2007

Ein Wald in der Stadt

Zum davonlaufen!

Zentrales Merkmal eines Waldes ist, dass man sich verlaufen kann. Dass es hier in Ilisia einen "Wald von Ilisia" gibt, hatte ich schon gewusst. War sogar schon ein paar Mal dort gewesen, schöne Spaziergänge. Doch anscheinend war die Ecke, die ich bisher besucht hatte, nur der kleinere Teil. Heute bin ich etwas weiter gegangen, dann rechts abgebogen... und dann stehe ich plötzlich im Wald.

Die Bäume stehen dort viel dichter. Obwohl es viele Wege und Pfade gibt, ja sogar Bänke, Mülleimer und gemauerte Wegesböschungen, wirkt alles viel waldiger, nicht mehr nur wie ein Park. Ich machte einen guten Spaziergang, bis ich ans andere Ende gekommen war. Zwischendurch fand ich einen Hügel, der mit gemauerten Bänken und Plätzen von weitem wie eine Burg wirkt.

Auf dem Rückweg musste ich aufpassen, dass ich tatsächlich noch dort rauskam, wo ich hergekommen war. Ich fand zwar eine Orientierungstafel, doch die war mit Plakaten zugeklebt. Ansonsten ist der Wald recht sauber, viele Plastiksäcke zeugen davon, dass das dem Einsatz der Gemeindearbeiter zu verdanken ist. Ich bin ihnen dankbar, denn der neu entdeckte Wald ist meiner Lebensqualität zuträglich.

Posted by betabug at 17:31 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
21 June 2007

European Music Festival

All over town

Looks like the European Music Festival is on again, with concerts all over Athens (and some other places too) every evening till Saturday. Here is a program of concerts in Athens. The weather is fine, so let's see how much fun we can scoop up!

Posted by betabug at 16:09 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
27 June 2007

Going Home is Hot

Moving without moving

Usually I take one bus and then walk 10-15 minutes to get home. Now with the heat wave in Athens I try to do without the walk. I take the bus, switch to the Metro, then take another bus. Takes longer, but less heat. Today I walked into the Metro station and they had no power. There was reduced light on and the passengers were informed that trains would be "a couple minutes late". The "end of time" athmosphere indeed lastet only a short time, then full lights came on again.

A minute or two more and the train came. It took me along, wondering what would happeen if power failed again with me in there.

Due to the heat wave electricity consumption is at a record high. We're half expecting a blackout. We're also being asked to save on energy to avoid that. Indeed at the office all unncessary lights are out and at home I follow the same line.

In other news, temperatures should start to drop any moment now. Fine with me, for now we've seen enough of those 44-47 degrees C.

Posted by betabug at 22:15 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
03 July 2007

Parnitha Forest Demonstration

We need our trees back

This Sunday, 8th of July, at 19:00 there will be a demonstration outside the parliament. The People are demanding that the forest of Parnitha will be replanted. We can't let our oxygen supply be burned down by negligence (or even malevolence). The "invitations" for the demonstration are making the rounds by SMS and email. So please all join in this Sunday!

Posted by betabug at 09:51 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
08 July 2007

Syntagma Demonstration

The people for the forrest

We are on Syntagma square, demonstrating for the reafforrestastion of mount Parnitha. There are a lot of people here. The place is packed from the parliament all over the square.

The demonstration is not organized, it's just the people who showed up. Everybody is shouting and cursing at the parliament and the politicians. Of course no politicians comes forth from the parliament (if there are any in there, they probably are in their villas).

Posted by betabug at 19:50 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
12 July 2007

Acropolis closed due to Strike

6 days in July

The news site reports (in Greek) that due to a strike of the archaeological guards the Acropolis will be closed on 6 days: July 14th and 15th, and then again from the 21st to the 24th of July. doesn't list up what the demands of the workers are. There should be a chance that the differences get sorted out and the strike canceled or postponed, but if you are planning a visit, you might want to investigate in alternative schedules.

Posted by betabug at 12:11 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
16 July 2007

...and now Ymittos is burning

More forest fires near Athens

A few weeks ago it was Parnitha, now the forest is burning on Ymitos. According to news reports (see in Greek) the fire is very close to buildings. Same source says that residents saw fires spring up in several places, so arson is suspected. Fire planes, helicopters, and firefighters are working hard, but the strong wind is making their job more difficult. The fire is on the Ymittos, near Vyronas and Kaisariani.

Residents are trying to fight the fire along Leoforos Kareas. The secretary for Civil Protection stated that 3 out of 4 fire zones are under control.

Posted by betabug at 16:52 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
23 July 2007

Το τάβλι του Όθωνα

Και άλλα ωραία στο μουσείο
The backgammon set of King Otto

Τελικά πήγα και εγώ το Σάββατο στο Μουσείο της Πόλεως των Αθηνών . Είναι καταπληκτικό - αν ενδιαφέρεσαι λίγο για το 19ο αιώνα. Το καλύτερο έκθεμα ήτανε το μοντέλο της Αθήνας του 1842 - να βλέπεις πως άλλαξε από τότε μέχρι σήμερα αυτή η πόλη, και ταυτόχρονα να δεις κάτι σημεία αναφοράς που μείνανε. Ο εθνικός κήπος τότε: ένα τετράγωνο πράσινο μέσα στα χωράφια, έξω από την πόλη. Εξαιρετικό.

Είδαμε και τον λόρδο Βύρων σε φιγούρα πορσελάνης, λες και κάνανε "action figures" της ελληνικής επανάστασης (τον είχαν και σε φώτο, σχέδια, πήνακες). Μετά, το τάβλι αυτό το όποιο μας έχουν πει από το μουσείο ότι ήτανε του Όθωνα (κλικ στην μικρή εικόνα για την επίσημη σελίδα του μουσείο).

Posted by betabug at 12:55 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 July 2007

Hot Numbers

Some details about the heat

Here we are, talking about the weather again. As most of you may know, we had another heat wave here, the second in 4 weeks. Temperatures reached 45 degrees Celsius, but there are some other numbers I find way more interesting to demonstrate how hot it got. First of all I got up yesterday at about 8 in the morning and it was 30 degrees. I went to the "periptero" (newsstand) yesterday evening at a few minutes before midnight and it still was about 35 degrees. Conclusion: It's not as much the peak temperature (which is impressive in itself), it's just not cooling down even during the night. Main reason: There wasn't any wind that could have brought colder air.

The weather pictures (lower right corner of my weblog) often do not show the peak temperature in all its glory, but browsing through their ( report for Athens that is) stations stats, I found the interesting facts that some station reports the lowest measured temperature this month to have been about 21.6 degrees. In some countries that would be a nice summers day temperature... at noon. Here and this month it must have been during the cool morning hours before sunrise on a relatively "cold" day.

What effect has the heat on people? Obviously they complain. Everybody but me seems to have a/c (blackouts are happening, no wonder). At midnight, my neighborhoods streets are exceptional quiet, very few people outside, almost no sounds except for the whirring of the air conditioners fans. The heat empties the city.

Posted by betabug at 09:11 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
03 August 2007

Summer Countdown

Everybody leaving the city... now!

The city is becoming more empty by the day. The news predict the big travel bang for the coming weekend, when the "masses" will leave for their August vacation, causing long lines and congestion on roads, ships, planes. The coming of vacation time has been rolling on for quite some time. This is the time where the "stay behinds" (even if temporarily) have to check beforehand if the place of choice for going out (or getting food) is open or not.

Our cow-orker today phoned in to order pasta and said: "Are you open? OK, I'll call back! [click]". Only then did we assemble orders. Ordering cooked Greek food (μαγειρευτά) wasn't recommended at all, that kitchen art form is dependent on a regular flow of customers. When everybody leaves town, the kitchen can't produce and the quality sinks. They will be back in September!

Posted by betabug at 11:52 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
10 August 2007

Bringing in the Flag

Here's to the patriots
Soldiers bringing in the Greek flag on Mount Lycabettos

Yesterday evening we went with our guests to the top of mount Lycabettos. Walked, that is. It's a nice ascent, and in the late afternoon, early evening it isn't so hot, while a bit of a breeze also helped. After we enjoyed the view (the sea of concrete from horizon to horizon) and tried to make out familiar features ("hey, that's the big OTE building near Victoria, we used to live near that!"), we watched the sunset. Always nice to see from up there. After the sunset we waited a bit around to see the city's lights come on, while the sky gets darker. I always enjoy that bit. And after that, we were witnesses to two soldiers officially bringing down the Greek flag for the night.

Posted by betabug at 15:21 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
25 August 2007

Watching Firefighter Planes

Athens Burning
Canadair Firefighter Plane over Athens

Forest fires are burning in the immediate surroundings of Athens again. Firefighter planes drone on over our building. We went up to the terrace and watched a couple of Canadair planes, a russian Beriev, and a helicopter. There's lots of smoke and appart from the fire on Ymittos (which we can clearly locate) there is a big yellowish cloud which we don't know if it's smoke or a normal cloud.

This thing makes me angry and sad. I wonder how much it all costs. Or how much just the planes and the fuel cost. Is it really worth for some vultures who are looking to get a fast buck with some real estate?

At least it seems to me that bringing in the Beriev from Russia was a good thing after all. After the first drop by the Beriev (we can't see the actual drop from our building) the dark smoke on the Ymittos fire lessened significantly.

Posted by betabug at 14:01 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

It's Raining Ashes

Looks like world's end
Cloud from forest fires hovering over Lycabettos hill in Athens

Even though reports the fire on Ymittos to be over (and we can see it's over) and only mentions a fire in Penteli in passing, ashes are raining down on us. It also started to smell like fire.

The sun is shining yellow and dark through a big cloud, giving a light that makes us think it's already evening. Our Internet and phone connection had problems, while the electricity showed some flukes too.

We went up to the terrace again. No more firefighter planes to be seen or heard. But a huge cloud over most of Athens' center. The sun is very yellow through the cloud. Back down in the apartment, we have closed most windows to keep the whirling ashes out.

Update: Most news sources report the cloud to be coming from Evia, which is quite a way off.

Posted by betabug at 15:55 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 August 2007

Das Leben der Anderen

Während es anderswo brennt...

Wir haben uns im Open-Air-Kino "Das Leben der Anderen" angeschaut. Der Film gefällt mir wirklich gut, liess mich mit guter Stimmung zurück, trotz allem traurigen was drin passiert. Im Thission war viel los - während es auf dem Peloponnes brennt, tanzt Athen. Ich selber bin immer etwas bedrückt, mir ist das Zeitgeschehen zu ernst, auch wenn es gut tut, mal ein paar Stunden an was anderes zu denken.

Jetzt, wieder zu Hause und eben lese ich, dass das antike Olympia von den Flammen verschont blieb, zumindest die schwersten Verwüstungen wurden abgewendet. [1]

Die Luft ist schwer und warm. Wenn mal ein kühlerer Windhauch aufkommt, riecht es immer noch nach Brand. Die Höchsttemperatur ist nicht besonders hoch (37º heute), aber es gibt keinen kühlen Wind mehr, selbst im Schatten und jetzt nachts ist es heiss. Durch die Brandluft fällt das Atmen auch schwerer und ich fühle mich oft müde.

1: Update... anscheinend wurde Olympia doch nicht so ganz verschont. Zwar sind die Museen und die archäologischen Stätten ganz geblieben, aber die Umgebung mit Wäldern und Flüssen wurde grösstenteils zerstört. Das genaue Ausmass der Schäden wird noch diskutiert...

Posted by betabug at 23:08 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
27 August 2007

Γιατί; Why?

Συγκέντρωση διαμαρτυρίας
Demonstration, August 29, 19:00 Syntagma

Αυτό το flyer μόλις μου το στείλανε με e-mail.

Συγκέντρωση διαμαρτυρίας, Τετάρτη 29 Αυγούστου, στις 7 το απόγευμα, στην πλατεία Συντάγματος και σε κάθε κεντρική πλατεία, σε ολόκληρη τη χώρα. Φορώντας μαύρα.

I've just received this flyer by mail.

Protest demonstration, Wednesday August 29, 19:00, Syntagma square, and on every central square all over the country. Wearing black.

Click on image for the full flyer!

Posted by betabug at 16:58 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
29 August 2007

Black outside Parliament

We're outside ur parliament, protesting ur bullshit

The square starts to fill up. Syntagma square outside the parliament is a sea of black.

We're not sure if there aren't less people than on the Parnitha demonstration. But maybe it's that they are slower in arriving and stay more on the center of the square.

So is there any human being in there? Or just politicians who want their seats?

Posted by betabug at 18:50 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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