Tag Archives: Greece

Through Valleys and Over Hills On Syros

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When I was staying in Ermoupolis on the Greek island of Syros, after taking a walk up to a the old town and I church that was up there I looked around and seeing cool things decided to keep going. The church looked over a ravine with a creek, and on the other side of the ravine were all these terraces, no longer in use for the most part, built with old stone walls, and abandoned stone buildings that appeared to be of similar vintage. Scattered intermittently among these ruins of sorts were shanties, often with small vegetable gardens, livestock animals (goats and chickens mainly), and dogs. At the bottom of the creek I also found this little building that the water flowed under that housed a number of wash basins that looked like they hadn’t been used for a while. I continued up the other side of the ravine, sticking to the narrowing paths and trying to avoid the shanties because they a) usually housed angry sounding dogs, and b) didn’t want to intrude into someone’s space. The path I was on eventually ended so I just bushwhacked it, cutting through the brush and climbing old walls and terraces. I eventually arrived at a church which unlike the majority that are open to the public, was enclosed by walls with a locked gate. Surrounding it were terraces being used to grow a number of fruits and vegetables. I continued my walk, going both along paved and dirt paths or just cutting across fields and hills when the pathways didn’t lead where I wanted to go. I continued on until reaching the top of the hill to the right of the windmill pictured, then took a round-about route along paved roads back into town. It was a cool adventure, I got some great views of the town, the island, the sea on both sides of the island, and some stuff that I didn’t see marked on the tourist maps for the area. I would liked to have found out the story behind all the old terraces and buildings there. There is a passage in one of Henry Thoreau’s writings where he talks about how great it is to walk through the forest not using any path and ignoring property lines and other limitations, and how this is an experience in individual freedom. To just walk, not bound by the routes or rules of people. I think I understand what he was getting at. If I can remember what work it was in I will put it in this post. Ermoupolis was a neat town and I will definitely post pictures of it on here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Athens

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I wanted to post something from my trip but I didn’t know what so I figured I’d just post some stuff from the beginning of the trip in Athens. So here I have put together a slideshow of a number of pictures from Athens. The first couple pictures are of the 19th century Chapel of St. George on top of Mount Lycabettus, which I walked up my first day in Athens, one being a close up from on Mount Lycsbettus and the other from some small residential streets at the base of the Akropolis. Not far from there, in a modern part of Athens where I saw this little Greek Orthodox church that has been enveloped by an office building and thought it was funny, the building is hardly longer than it is wide. Many large orthodox churches will have a side church similar to this beside the main temple, I don’t know why.

The next bunch are from a walking tour of the archeological sites in Athens I saw on a walking tour of Athens. The two pictures of the large free-standing columns, are from the Temple of Olympian Zeus, a once very large temple started in about 520 B.C. and but not completed until some 638 years later by the Roman emperor Hadrian. The close up shows the Corinthian-style capitals. The site is important in ancient Greek and local Christian mythology because of the discovery of a large cavern and sanctuary in the middle of the temple that some say is that from the flood stories of those religions. The close-up of the short post from the site of Hadrian’s Library. The temple is the Temple of Hephaestus, inaugurated around 415 B.C., notable for being the best preserved temple. It is the only one (in Athens at least) with sections of the original roof. There are a couple pictures from nearby looking over the Agora, the city centre of ancient Athens, where the city-state was administered, people went to the market and people gathered to talk and hear speeches from the great philosophers of the time. One picture shows the Akropolis, the other a reconstructed building at the Agora.

Another picture shows one of the cool but dilapidated old buildings in Athens. It is illegal to tear these buildings down, and if restored they have to be done true to the period so developers buy them and just wait for them to fall down on their own. There is also a lot of political graffiti in Athens, a reflection of the social unrest there, from what I’ve heard, unemployment is high, wages are low, and shit really hit the fan a while back when the police shot and killed a kid, resulting in huge riots. In places you see police with riot gear sitting in stations near certain sites they are charged with protecting in the event of more riots. There is also a picture of people camped out in front of the national library, giving out information about Afghan refugees.

Other notes on Athens: drivers are crazy, as are the huge amounts of motorcyclists and there is no concept of pedestrians having the right of way. The city has no public parks, the only green spaces are at the archeological sites, which bothers me. The city is overall really hectic, lacks any kind of planning, and is fairly gritty, making it interesting but I don’t think I’d want to live there.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Greetings and Salutations

Hello reader(s), welcome to my blog. As an alternative to posting the pictures from my trip to Europe on facebook en masse, I have decided to post them on a blog individually, or in small groups, along with a short story to go with it. So if you come to my blog every now and again you can see some new pictures from the trip, and an explanation of what you’re are seeing, or a story from the trip, or something like that. Along with pictures from my trip I will also be posting about what I get up to at home, which right now isn’t much so you can expect a lot of food-related posts, as well as just anything I think is important that I want to post. Because food will be an ongoing theme of the blog when trip picture well runs dry, I will start with a post relating to both.

This is a meal I had in Athens: tomato and pepper stuffed with rice, cooked with potatoes, and some bread on the side. It was from some restaurant near the Akropolis on small twisted street, just off of the main tourist area that I don’t know the name of. It is common in Greece for restaurant owners to stand in the street and talk to people trying to get them to come in, it can be annoying at times when you just want to walk down the street, but the guy at this place seemed nice. He told me about how he had lived in Vancouver and Kenora. After telling him I wasn’t hungry, I said I would come back the next night and he seemed pleased when I actually did. After the meal he had a waiter bring me out some candies that he said were for “his Canadian friend.” I appreciated having some good conversations with locals like that. I also appreciated a good meal, most of the time in Greece I either got cheap vegetable pies or made meals of bread and some fruit (or at times just one of those two).

This next picture is at Tim and Rebekka’s apartment in Oslo. After being on the road for three weeks by myself, and living away from my friends when in Collingwood, I really appreciated staying with them. I think one of the best simple pleasures in life is a home-cooked meal with friends. I really like cooking and food, partly because it has so many dimensions, including a social one, we went to the store to buy ingredients together, cooked together, and then ate and cleaned up together. Eating from a common dish adds to the sense of communality, and slowly eating while conversing is a great way to spend an evening and appreciate your food. I also really liked this because for the most part I was not able to cook proper meals while on the road, something of home I missed. In case you were wondering what we are eating, it is ful medames (middle eastern fava bean dip, recipe here: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/07/ful-medames-fava-bean-dip.html), pitas, and a side salad.

The previous two pictures were from the start and end of the trip, and this one is from the homecoming, which is just always a great part of any trip, no matter how fun it is. I really missed making my own food while I was gone, and I also ate a lot of bread and looked forward to meals where the main component was not a loaf of bread by itself. I also really missed peanut butter, it was non-existent in the Mediterranean, and in central and northern Europe I could generally only find the sugary kind. I planned on having a lot of picnic lunches, but the lack of peanut butter and hummus that I would normally use for such a things was bothersome. Pictured here are Vietnamese-style fresh wraps and a peanut dipping sauce of my own concoction.

Stay tuned for more posts, and I promise they will not all be food related and you will get to see cool Europe stuff.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized