Tag: greece

Rhodes

Posted by – 23/06/2008

I was curious to get to Rhodes. That is near Turkey (my cellphone actually kept switching from Greece to Turkey and back all the time), and, since it held one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World it all added up to be a good place to visit.

Our first disappointment while in Greece. The hotel the travel agency had chosen was not a very good one (so far we were very lucky). This lead us to remain there as little as possible. It was too close to the airport and too close to one of the main roads… The surroundings of the hotel, ITOH, were not that bad. It was the beach of Ixia, a really beautiful one (although very windy). Hilton Resort was just around the corner and we were tempted to check-in there instead of our hotel… (Yeah… like we had money to…).

Anyway, we decided to get on with the trip and went straight to the Colossus site. Actually they have doubts of where it standed, but the traditional spot would be in the old harbour where one can see two obeliscs on the place they think Colossus’ legs were spread:

We visited also the Cassino, which is mainly comprised of slot machines. Not really interesting (and charging a non-refundable fee of EUR 15 just to get in!)… Just near the Cassino we can see one of the many beaches in Rhodes, with the two-colored sea (we were told that it was like that for the stone platform keeps the sea shallow for some meters, before diving acutelly):

Maybe the most interesting was our walking into the Old Town. Rhodes have a surrounded area that was a medieval town… but we’re not talking about ruins anymore: the city is alive and they have all kinds of shops and cafes in there. The oldest street in the Old Town is called, nowadays, Socratic Street, and we found a lot of interesting places along it.

While we were there, there was a medieval festival going on, and we saw people dressed as medieval countryman, playing typical instruments, walking around the place…

The Old Town surely is a place that deserves to be explored more than we did… But those were the last days of our trip, and we were rather tired by then. So we spent the time just going where we couldn’t avoid and preparing ourselves to the return trip (which meant meditating under the sun of the Ixia beach and packing our shopping stuff in our already stuffed suitcases).

Thanks for following my posts of this trip. Now we can go back to the usual subject of this blog…. 🙂

Santorini

Posted by – 23/06/2008

We’ve heard Santorini have the most famous sunset in the world, and that the best part of the island to watch is from the city of Oia, north of the island. So we got a hotel (actually a “traditional house” – rooms digged in the rock of the cliff) there.

What a beautiful place. Everywhere we went gave us a new view for a picture, and we took lots of them. Oia is a beautiful village with great places to eat or to shop handcrafted things. Everywhere we went, the ever blue sea greeted us in a different angle.

For completeness sake, we visited Thira, the “capital” of the island. Also a beautiful place, but too crowded and not really any better than Oia. From our “cave” balcony we watched the sunset all three days we were there:

The night also gave us the best night pictures so far. We visited every corner of Oia and everywhere we went people were kind and willing to help. We got lost sometimes, but I hardly can think of that as an annoyance (and it led us to find some “hidden” places with typical restaurants).

To the south of the island is the famous beach of Perivolos. It’s a beach of dark sand with a stone platform that can be rather slippery. Surprisingly there were not many people there, what made our experience very confortable (for crowded beaches I would have stayed in Brazil). Beware of the sun… We wore fps30 lotion and we still got our skin a little sunburned.

Mykonos and Delos

Posted by – 22/06/2008

One of the best places to rest during our trip was Mykonos. In general, a flat island (not needed to climb as often), we got a hotel near the port, with a beautiful view and really relaxing setting. All the hotel staff seem to be doing their best so we could do nothing. That was a first time in our trip.

Great views, great restaurants along the shore, Mykonos is also famous for its parties (although we haven’t gone to any), but don’t be fooled: all this come with a price. Mykonos is also the most expensive place we’ve been in this trip… So be prepared.


Following the shore we found some windmills. We’re told some still work, but not those we saw: small stores are run in there.

The water was cold, and we found no one willing to dive in it, anyway it was a relaxing view. We took our time to read and enjoy ourselves.

Near Mykonos is the ancient and sacred island of Delos. That was an impressive visit. So much history that island have seem and many interesting details: they managed to have a political and religious agnostic island that welcome everyone and had a free harbour by 800 B.C.! It’s a shame so little have remained (like the “Lions” you can see in the picture)…

We’re told that by 700 B.C., Delos, whose land could not be owned by anyone (allegelly it was owned by the god Apollo and godess Artemis), despite so many rich people living and trading there, had no organized army (or any defense system whatsoever). A king that wanted to promote his own free harbour, in a short time, invaded and destroyed Delos, killing almost everyone living there. Since then Delos is abandoned. What a pity… I wonder what could Delos developed to be if allowed to endure.

Athens

Posted by – 31/05/2008

Finally we got to Greece. I was curious about this part of the trip, and also we wanted to try to get some beach days (it was sunny in Italy, but not really warm enough for us to go to the beach). But the beach would have to wait a little longer, since we entered Greece by its capital, Athens.

We got there by night and went to a traditional Taverna (a restaurant with typical food and singing-dancing presentations). On our way to the Taverna, we took a picture of the Piraeus port in the night:


What a beautiful city! It’s well organized and well preserved and people are much more friendly than Rome. We stayed in Plaka, which is an old neighborhood with narrow streets and good places to eat and shop, and close to the touristic places we wanted to see. Rome’s ancient places were more “look but don’t touch” places, Athens, in the other hand, invites you to really enter the places. They have a well stated project to recuperate some sites (such as the Parthenon) to “give it back” to the people. While we were there, they held a “open weekend”: when they open everything to local bands and artists to show off in the ruins. We saw a band preparing the sound equipment in Herodes Odeon thinking how interesting it would be to have a band and present in such a place!

The acropolis is really impressing. Such a high place with such beautiful buildings makes you think of how they got all those stones up there with the technology they got at the time.

The Parthenon – or the temple of armed (parthenos) Athens – is marvelous:

We went down from the acropolis to the Athenian Agora… something similar the Roman forum: the political center of old Athens, with temples and public buildings. There’s a museum there, with some interesting remains, being the “random choice stone” one of which I found the most intriguing:

It was a piece from the legendary Athenian democracy called Kleroleria, used to select “randomly” the jury that would serve that day in the court of law: free people names were written in metal plates inserted in the horizontal slots in the stone. An opaque metal tube was previously filled with a random sequence of white or black balls which were extracted one by one. If the ball was white, the whole line of names was accepted for duty that day; if black the line was rejected. (I wonder if cryptography people would be happy with this randomness nowadays 🙂 ).

Also in that museum we found pieces of black ceramic with names written on them. That was also part of the democratic processes in old Athens, these particularly used for ostracism. Ostracism was a process designed to protect Athens from despotic power: every now and then a survey was taken where citizens had to vote in the least desirable person in each opinion. The “winner” had to leave Athens for the next ten years.

To end the day we watched the Guard change in front of the parliament, in Syntagma square and ate Greek barbecue (called Gyros) in a place nearby:


The change of the guard is quite an weird ceremony that happens every hour. The soldiers perform interesting movements with their legs and feet before holding still at their “watch spots” for the next hour. They use strange outfits. We recorded the change as a movie, but later I found lots of videos in youtube recording the same so if you want to take a look at the ceremony just search for ‘Athens Syntagma Guard’ and you’ll be fine.

Vacation: T-12h

Posted by – 03/05/2008

Fisl was so time-consuming that I barely had time to blog about what I was planning for vacation. Now, I am at T-12h for my vacation, so let me share a little of what I am going to do to enjoy that.

Last time I got any vacation I almost had no chance to really enjoy it. I haven’t traveled, I haven’t got any rest, I haven’t done anything useful (or not). I was confident the Army was not going to get me, but it happened the opposite, so my vacation was canceled and the rest of the story you can pretty much figure out.

Now, it’s different. I got a real vacation time. Brenda and I have planned this carefully, mainly because we want this time to last as long as possible. In 12h we’ll be flying to Italy. Yes! We’re spending the next 24 days in Italy and Greece. We’re visiting Rome, Amalfitan Coast, Athens, Mykonos, Santorini and Rhodes. Half the trip we’ll be driving (my international drivers’ license was up-to-dated and Brenda have got herself a new one), the other half we’ll go by train. I’ve tried to book a visit to Vatican necropolis, but I suspect I was not enough in advance (since I haven’t heard from them yet)… Anyway, I suspect Rome will be enough interesting without getting down there 🙂

I am so excited I don’t know if I’ll be able to get any sleep tonight. It’ll be the first time Brenda gets out of the country and she is sleeping as a child…

For you that are following this blog, I intend to post something of what is going on with us, but don’t expect frequent reports… It would not be a vacation if I kept coming back to the computer… I am bringing some slips of paper with my GPG key, just in case I get the chance to meet any Debian Developer (if you’re one, drop me a note in my email).

See you soon.