Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Can you Believe it!!

Yesterday morning, while Ted was still sleeping, I walked to the water and was enjoying the solitude. An older gentleman sat down and began a converssation. He was very subtle, but ended up patting my arm a few times and actually picking a piece of food off my shirt. Then he asked if'd like to walk a bit. I said yes, being very dumb. We ended up strolling to his car where he invited me for a ride.... At that point I shook his hand good-bye. How bout that!!

Hania, Crete

Doorway to the synagogue in Hania. This one's for you, Mollie!!
We went snorkeling off the side of a boat in Hania. Ted brought up dead sea urchins.

Ted on our rooftop garden of El Greco Hotel, Hania.

Caught in the act!

(out of order) this is view we saw of Athens as we left gate E-3 for Crete

My family will know why this is included!

partial view of Hania Harbor, Crete

Theotokopoulou St, Hania, Crete
more harbor views


Ted playing you know what on othe ferry over.

Arrived in Hania, Crete, yesterday after a glorious 8 hour ferry ride. Was very relaxing and refreshing to run around the decks and explore the ship. The great-grandmother of them all, it floated 9 stories above the water. Except for the fact that it was old and worn, we could have been on a cruise. Very few other passengers, considering the size of the monster. People were sleeping on the floor in corners, sipping hot drinks around the drained and very ancient swimming pool, and gazing out windows. We spent a lot of time outdoors watching the wake and watching for islands and other ships. Was a great day, with little wind, except at the end. We thought we were arriving in Hania where our hotel was, but the ship docked 8 kilometers away in Souda. So we hopped on a local bus and ended up in the newer Hania. Still had to locate Old Hania. We dragged our suitcases down 6-8 streets and found our hotel. This posting is gratis of the hotels internet access. More later. PS Cretan food is great!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Recycling Batteries at ACG

This contraption is about 3 feet high. You drop your dead batteries in the top and someone at the college recycles them. We could put these in Belmonts!

Scenes from our after dinner walk - Mati

The above two photos show some front yards of houses in Mati.

If you click on this photo you will see the Aegean and part of the Island of Evvia in the distance.

Easter Dinner with friends in Mati

Many Greeks only dye their eggs red, to remind them of the blood Jesus shed.

Dishes included grilled lamb, slow roasted goat with potatoes, a baked artichoke dish with carrots , potatoes, and a lemon sauce, two delicious salads (one with sliced figs and pecans in it), quiche, and tzazki. A plate of fresh fruit and cheeses was served afterwards ... then after our walk we had the sweets. Needless to say, we skipped dinner that night. We stopped at a special bakery on our way to Mati and took a traditional dessert whose name begins with a G. It was a milk pie with a Phyllo crust, drenched in a sweet syrup. People were standing in line at the bakery waiting to get their desserts. Our hostess had also made individual cheese pies as appetizers. This meal was delicious.

Night Shots - Aghia Paraskevia

This is the neighborhood kiosk where we buy our bus and metro tickets and unhealthy snacks. They are open from early in the morning till long after we've gone to bed. Click to see where Ted moonlights.
Standing at the main gate to the American College of Greece. Street was empty because it was either Good Friday or Holy Saturday. Normally cars are everywhere.

National Gardens, Athens, April 26

We walked through the gardens on our way to catch the Metro.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Olympic Stadium, restored 1898

Stadium seats 60,000 Standing in the plaza in front of the stadium. Note acropolis in the distance.

Byzantium Museum, Athens

A very simple Nativity Scene

Click to enlarge and see mosaic work. This was a replica.

Doorway to the Byzantium Museum is deceptive. Museum was on a very busy street with very little signage in front. Inside the Museum was spectacular.. and it was free because it was Easter weekend. This is my favorite museum in Athens. Items were displayed in a very contemporary way and not crowded.

Fast Food, Greek Style

A quick fix (you figure out what it is!)

Good Friday (9:30 pm)

No words can describe what it was like to stand in a crowd of thousands, while a mournful churchbell clanged over and over, signifying the death of Christ. Very somber. The woman we went with (to the left of Laurie in the photo) took us to a spot near the bottom of the church steps. All around, under a starlit sky, were families, waiting. The bell continued to ring as people lit individual candles. The mood was one of quiet reverence. A young girl in front of me kept trying to snuff out her mothers candle. Members of a civic band appeared in their dark blue uniforms with gold braid. The tuba player with long scraggly hair stood like a tree above the rest of them. Occasionally the drummer would play a quiet roll. As we waited, people were going in and out of the church. Then a contingency of police arrived and parted the crowd. Now there was a path from the church to the band. Suddenly a fifteen foot high cross with three candle holders and a purple wreath on it appeared in the doorway. The procession had begun. Next, a giant flower covered float appeared in the church doorway, juggled by six sailors in their black uniforms and white hats. It dipped and swayed as they manuvered the flower covered coffin under the doorway. Spectators crowding the church steps threw handfuls of flower petals as the coffin passed. Behind the coffin were the Greek Orthodox priests in the black hats, long gray beards and gold vestments. With the band playing a dirge, and the coffin right behind, the massive crowd slowly followed. We circled the church, walking on a major road which had been closed for the event. The woman who went with us explained that the evening represented a funeral for the dead Christ. It was an experience Ted nor I will ever forget. Ted took his camera, expecting to take photos of the flower covered coffin. It was not appropriate though, even though we were outside. So the only photo is the one above.

Ted took the photo. We met up with the college president and his family after the procession around the church. Camera was on nighttime setting. (Lens was open longer.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Easter Celebrations

Today is Good Friday in Greece. Nearby church rang bells for two hours, from noon to 2 pm and all stores and shops were closed till 1:00 pm . Tonight we are going to a church where we have been told that a procession will arrive at 9 pm, carrying a coffin. The coffin represents Christ after he has been crucified. Tomorrow night, more excitement. Sunday we have been invited to a traditional Greek Easter dinner by one of Ted's co-workers and her family. It will take place at their weekend home, which is a 30 minute drive outside of Athens. Easter is the biggest holiday the Greeks celebrate.

Dinner with Friends

Maria, a co-worker of Ted's, invited us to dinner at her house on Thursday. We all left work together. Rode the B-5 , then the metro from Ethnyki Amyna to Panormou, then walked up hill for 20 minutes to her house. We had a great time. Arrived home by 10 pm.
Nikos, age 88, with friends
Maria with her father

Because we were eating during Holy Week, and Greek Orthodox members fast from meat then, Nikos did not eat any of the baked chicken. Dinner included a delicious green salad with dried tomatoes and pine nuts, string beans with tomatoes and onions, a bean salad with tomatoes and tuna, and bread. It was delicious. Thank you, Maria!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Upcoming Trip to Crete

Bought tickets yesterday for our upcoming trip to Hania, Crete and Irakion, Crete. Going there will be an 8 hour ferry ride during the day. I`m assuming we will stop at other islands along the way. Coming back the ferry is only a six hour ride. I did look into flying there, but tickets were 436.00 euros ($600.00) each - round trip. The ferry tickets for both of us were 124.00 euros. We are not going till April 29, the Tuesday after the Greek Orthodox Easter. We were told that the week before Easter everything is mobbed. Returning on Saturday, May 3.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bunco Debaucle

Yesterday a woman from church called and invited me to play Bunco with 15 other ladies tonight. I told her yes and decided to make a practice run to her house from mine. On the map it looked easy. After getting directions from her and calling Ted to make sure he would make the practice run after dinner I was all set. We began our journey at 6:10 pm. Walked to the 407 stop, waited 13 minutes, and hopped on that bus where we ended up at Planketias, a metro station. So far, so good. Debbie will appreciate what happened next. I went to a ticket counter, but it turns out it was the wrong counter. (It was the same counter I'd always gone to to get train tickets) So back upstairs. Purchased two tickets for a short run on the suburban train. Rode the train to a station that sounds like Nerrantiozza. Got off, but since neither of us had ever been there we had no idea what to do. Most metro stations are underground and we were looking for the green line to Kiffissia, so we took the escalator down. Nothing. Lost again. Finally someone pointed to the platform to Kiffissia. It was above ground, where we usually caught only buses. We hopped on that metro till Maroussi Station. Disembarked and had to find the bus we were then supposed to catch. At this point we had been enroute one and a half hours. Turns out we still had a 40 minute bus ride before us. I looked at Ted and said, "forget it." We went home a different route, thinking it would be quicker. We arrived home at 9:20, after hopping off the bus to buy a few groceries. Ate dinner at 9:30pm.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Food in Monemvasia

We had an hour and a half to kill while waiting for the bus to go home from Monemvasia. After eating some fruit I asked Ted to go to the bakery and get a surprise. I requested something with dark chocolate and goo. Too bad you can't taste this. It was divine.

New Monemvasia

This was a nice looking place that advertised rooms for rent, right on the water.
Ted and I walked the causeway to the New Monemvasia. In this photo we are half way there.