27 September, 2008

New Upload: Mycenae Site

I started to write pages on Mycenae archaeological site.

Mycenae




Mycenae: Treasury of Atreus (Tomb of Agamemnon)




To tell you the truth, we were very tired when we arrived at Mycenae site, after a long stroll at Akrokorinthos, and I could not explore the site as much as I wanted to. I did my best, though.

More to follow.

22 September, 2008

Plaka and a Sleeping Cat

Usual stroll around Plaka (north east fringe of Athenian acropolis). I love Plaka. Not for the souvenir shops or for tourists, but here I can get the feel of old - not ancient - Athens. It is so full of atmosphere.


I never manage to come around here in the evening. I really have to, as it should show me another face.




Although the streets are busy and noisy, in an old town, there always a relaxed air.



Just hiding behind something, he was deeply asleep....



while tourists from all over the world were passing by.

21 September, 2008

Ethiopian restaurant in Athens

A page about an Ethiopian restaurant in Kypseli, Athens was added.

http://www.mesogeia.net/athens/estiatoria/lalibela_en.html

I am not repeating what I have already wrote on the web page above, but I want to go a bit more in detail about what we ate there.

This is Kifto.





According to the menu description, it is "finely chopped lean beef with spiced butter and mitmita (special red pepper)". "Finely chopped lean beef" is minced beef for you and me.

When I ordered this, Elizabeth - the owner and chef - warned me that it was hot (kafteri), but I said it was ok, because I like chily food and, if it is not endurance contest kind of heat, I can eat.

Well, I did eat all of it, but it was close to the limit of delectation. Elizabeth kindly gave me extra chili powder (in the photo), but I did not use it. Although it was fragrant and delicious, there was another problem. Minced meat was very difficult to eat only with hand and injera bread. I would have enjoyed more it with rice and with a spoon.

It came with a small dish of Ethiopian fresh cheese made of buttermilk. It was a kind of cottage cheese, and helped to take the edge of the chili heat from the dish.

Another dish: Lalibela special



Menu description: beef cooked with spiced butter, onions, tomatoes (with or without hot chili peppers or red hot pepper) in a variety of spices.

We could choose how hot we wanted when we order, and Dim wanted "slightly hot".

This one was very delicious without any reserve. Again, it was fragrant and spicy, and had multiple taste layers in it. 10/10 from me. Dim said the meat was tough (it was not slow-cooked dish, so was normal).

Highly recommended if you like spicy food.

http://www.mesogeia.net/athens/estiatoria/lalibela_en.html

18 September, 2008

Black Cat near the Roman Agora, Athens

I befriended with this black cat near the Roman Agora in Athens. He was resting, but when I invited him to play, in accepted it.



We played like for 5 minutes. I could not take photos of him while we were playing, because both of my hands were occupied and he was too close to me anyway.

So this was taken after we finished playing.



Hoping to see him again.

16 September, 2008

Travel from Athens to Birmingham

As I wrote about the flight to Athens, I now write about travel from Athens to Birmingham.

The flight from Athens to Zurich was very early, departing before 7 o'clock (I woke up at 4!). This is the breakfast.



The same sultana bun as the one I had in the plane from B'ham to Zurich, but this time with a pot of yogurt. We were given a small tablet of Swiss chocolate, too.

The girl sitting next to me was reading a book written by Russell Brand. It is totally irrelevant, but I remembered it now. I like Russell Brand.

Swiss airplanes look like Red Cross planes.


This is the waiting lounge of Zurich airport. Cool, isn't it?



Lunch hour approaching, I felt hungry. Everything was pretty expensive. A coffee is about 5 Swiss francs, or a cup of soup at self-service cafeteria is 6.50 or so.

I settled at a cafeteria called Corbeille and ordered a coffee/tea + a slice of cake deal for SFr. 9.90. These are milk coffee and a cake with berries and custard cream cake.


The cake looked delicious but was pretty ghastly. No interest what-so-ever. The coffee was really good, however.

While I was eating, an American guy sat down behind me (there were lots of Americans in Zurich airport). To order, he asked the waitress's suggestion. It was not a specific question. Something like "I think I'd like to have lunch. What do you recommend?". I felt it was quite alien to my culture, or the cultures I have lived in. In my culture, if you want to order, you read the menu and choose what you would like to eat. If you want to know some details about the items in the menu, you ask the waiter/waitress, but never such a general question. In America, the waiters/waitresses are not just the people who ask your order and bring your food, but the people who coordinate your meal and your eating experience at the restaurant.

I finished eating thinking about these things, and then headed for the boarding gate.


This is the lunch in the flight from Zurich to Birmingham: brown bread sandwich with turkey ham and artificially formed egg.

We had also drink and a tablet of Swiss chocolate again. Food with no joy.

When I arrived at Birmingham, the temperature was 14 degrees and it was raining, while the temperature of the room where I was sleeping in Piraeus was 35 degrees during the night. Shock to the system, it was.

15 September, 2008

Travel from Birmingham to Athens by Swiss

28 August 2008.

The departure.

As I wrote in a previous entry, this time I took Swiss fright from Birmingham to Athens stopping at Zurich. I paid about 170 or 180 quid. The cheapest combination was 20 quid less than that, but I chose a slightly convenient combination time wise.

It was a morning flight but it was not too early and I did not have to get a cab to the airport. Although we used a private hire from the home to the town (£5 and £1 tip), I could use the train to the airport (ticket was £3).

At the airport, I checked the currency exchange rate of Travelex.




£1 could buy only €1.10! You must be joking!!! It is sooo close to £1=€1 level. Although I had enough euro and did not have to buy any, this rate scared me.

I managed to secure a window side seat (to be able to take pictures for my websites and blogs) and enjoyed a sultana sweet bun and a cup of coffee on the flight from Birmingham to Zurich. The bun was chillingly cold, but tasted rich and nice.




Sultana bun and coffee

Coffee was pretty good for in flight freebee. It tasted fresh and bitter as I liked.


Then I changed planes at Zurich. I waited about 45 min and embarked (but we waited about half an hour in the plain because of the airport was too crowded).

This is my seat from Zurich to Athens.



For some mistake, they gave me a seat with large leg room. You don't know me in person, but I can tell you I am pretty short and small, about 155 cm high, 48kg in weight. I have never get one of these in my life.

Now, lunch time. We were given this bag. It was warm. I said "What is this?" in my mind. Stewardess said something but I did not get it.



It was a kind of calzone. The stewardess, who was evidently a French speaker, pronounced "calzoné" instead of "calzooone" as in Italian, and that was why I did not get it.



Inside, there was meagre quantity of cheese and tomato sauce. The bread was chewy and not particularly pleasant. Just something to fill the stomach.

We were given also Mövenpick white chocolate ice cream.



I learnt that Mövenpick is a Swiss company. I heard many people asking for normal chocolate ice cream, but white choco ones were all they had. They gave us, however, small Swiss chocolate tablets as well.


The ice cream was already half melted and it was like semifreddo without meaning to be so. A shame.

At Athens airport, I checked again the exchange rate.



€1 for 82.50 p., which is about £1 for €1.20. Evidently the exchange rate at Birmingham airport isn't good. If I need currency exchange, I should not wait until the airport; lesson learnt.

14 September, 2008

NEON in Syntagma Square

If you have ever visited Athens, you must have passed Syntagma Square (Constitution Square) once or twice, and if it was more than a few years ago, you might recognise this sight.


NEON in Syntagma Square

NEON self-service restaurant has been an oasis for tourists for many years. The food was not cheap, but for those who were not familiar with the Greek food to be able to order what you see was convenient. Inside it was spacious and well air-conditioned. And toilets were clean, too.

The photo above was shot in summer 2006. When I heard it had been closed, I could not help revisiting the place.

This is the situation in August 2008.

The signage was just stripped off and the place looks pretty gloomy. According to my hubby, it has been like this for quite a long time.

It is sad to see a large lot of dead shop in the centre of Athens. Next to it (left side in the photo), however, a new restaurant Politi.co has been opened.



It's name has nothing to do with politics apart from the etymology. It serves the traditional food from the Greek Polis, Constantinople - the City in excellence for many centuries in the history of Greek people. Greek "Politiki" cuisine is usually much closer to Turkish cuisine than usual Greek cooking.

According to Αθηνόραμα (Athenorama) magazine, the address is Μητροπόλεως 3, Σύνταγμα (Mitropoleos street 3, Syntagma area), tel. is 210-3232251, the budget is €19-23. There is another outlet in Glyfada.

Looks to be a better choice than fast food places in Syntagma Square.

13 September, 2008

Return

I have returned to England already for 4 days, but I am still overwhelmed by the amount of data and photos in my possession. I am in dismay.

Tolo Beach

This is a view of Toló beach from the acropolis of ancient Asini. Isn't it gorgeous?

07 September, 2008

From Piraeus

I am still in Piraeus. I have been to many interesting places, and have kept travel diaries, but I cannot upload the photos now. Consequently, I will publishe the diary at later moments.

It is very hot here; more than 30 degrees.

Only two days of the vacation left...
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