I was surprised by the recent announcement that the group of Schengen countries had enlarged by nine new members: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. What this means is borderless travel for 24 countries throughout Europe (and 400 million citizens), including Greece. Country hopping just became easier.

The ground floor of the New Acropolis Museum is now open to the public for two hours daily running through the Easter holiday, it was announced recently.

The founding of a Greece-Turkey Business Council was announced on in Athens by the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) and Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK). The target of the Council is to boost bilateral trade and collaboration between the two business communities in the regions of Southeastern Europe and in the Black Sea countries.

I have discovered another couple books about expats living on a Greek island.



Of course snow is rare on Paros--in modern memory there where a couple inches for a couple hours in February 2004--but the Portland, Oregon area is noted for NOT having White Christmases.
So we were pleasantly surprised to receive a few inches for a few hours on Christmas Day. These photos are of my son's house and a neighbour's decorations.
Cheers




ΚΑΛΑ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥΓΕΝΝΑ
Merry Christmas

These photos are from Paros, Greece while we are with family in Oregon, USA.

I recently downloaded a video creating program, Camtasia Studio 3, and have put together a collection of photos. Here is my second effort: Our Life on Paros



For more photos including other Greek islands try these sites:

The oldest are on Webshots under paroshep: http://www.webshots.com/webshots.cgi?cashclubparoshep

There are a few on Flicker under paroshep: http://www.flickr.com/

Even more on Picasa: http://picasaweb.google.com/ParosShepherd

Enjoy!

Hello, I have not posted in a while because we have traveled from our quiet Greek island to the hustle and bustle of Christmas season near Portland, Oregon, USA. During the trip we watched several movies and now have unlimited access to more at our son's house. Such luxury!

Since I don't have any news from Greece to post about I suggest you click on over to deTraci Regula's Greece for Visitors. She lists 10 top movies filmed in Greece: http://gogreece.about.com/od/greecemovies/tp/greekfilms.htm

Her Number 3 is our Number 1: Shirley Valentine We can identify with this classic but one of our friends says this film was a prime motivation for her move to Paros. So if you are open to a life change check it out. You also can read our web page about Work from home at the beach

Of course, Captain Corelli's Mandolin is another good Greek island flick.


Like the rest of the Christian world, I am sure, we are into the full swing of Christmas--decorations, music, shopping.

Athens is going all out for Christmas this year. In addition to the traditional events at Syntagma Square they have added a fairy-tale village for young children in the National Gardens.

Through out the city there will be free concerts of all kinds:
Pop, Rock, Reggae and Jazz as well as classical, carols and Byzantine hymns--even a Dec 24 party featuring well known DJ's.

It all starts with a street and tree lighting on Dec 13--designed by EMMY-award winning lighting designer Eleftheria Deko--and goes non-stop until January 6.

Syntagma Square activities include a free carousal for all ages and will be flooded with entrepreneurs in Santa suits offering the traditional pony rides.

Read about our Athens Christmas Past Here.
Read about our 2007 Christmas in a later post.

By the way if you are a British expatriate living anywhere in the world BBC Radio would like to here from you. They are running a series about how expats are spending Christmas. Send an email to Radio Five and they will telephone you for a 5 minute interview. Sounds like fun, unless, of course, you are maudlin about spending Christmas away from home.

So, how about some comments, please. How are you spending Christmas? How would you like to spend Christmas? Non-Christian readers tell us what you think of the Christmas season--diplomatically, of course.

Karin spent most of the day translating the liner notes from a music CD that had been loaned to us. It was by a local Aliki man, Vangelis Paroussis, who in 2005 won the Pan-Hellenic Song Competition organized for Senior Citizens--that's for all of Greece. Here is her version of the Greek and the list of songs: we found it beautiful and moving.

PAROS, MY LOVE

There is one day (from all the rest), when May has much gaiety.

It scatters wide open its sweet grin over all Paros. From St. Pantes, Stromboula, Bizani Trypiti, and all the salt marsh called Alyki, and as far as AntiParos.

I am sitting in the courtyard of my house by the sea, where the waves are voracious. I can see in the distance a boundless and immense light crystal blue. Here I see caciques, small sailing boats, trawlers and fishing boats. Some of the fishermen are eagerly starting their engines, untying their ropes and leave for fishing. Following them are troops of gulls, hovering above in a light blue sky, giving one a magic picture.

It speaks strongly, and you know that God is sending all his happiness in this beauty...this place that is called Saltmarsh (Alyki).

My brain is filled with thousands of recollections. They bring back to me my younger years when I also went fishing with my father on days just like this. I use to see, from the sea, the smoke from ovens that the housewives turned on each Saturday in order to cook the bread of the week. The smoke twisted and turned, one with the other as it reached the sky. The roosters crowed, the farmer tilled his field in the first rains of autumn with oxen. The sound of mules and the voices of the ploughmen calling into the wind spoke with such beauty that they sounded like people in love; speaking in affection and pride.

With Love,
Vangelis Paroussis


With a lot of love I have written a few words for AntiParos, that is the birthplace of my grandfather, Vangelis.

I have many sweet memories from my juvenile years. From the first beating of my heart, then from my fun loving and ardent compatriots (friends) who together we played the violins, the gramophones, tambourines and sang songs.

All these prompted me to write these few words for my beloved island, Paros, and with the poor talent that I have, I made these songs.

I want to thank with all my heart my conductor (with his big heart and immense talent), as well as all the other contributors....in particular my nephew Nikos Drakaki, where with devotion he supported this endeavor in order for it to become this beautiful work and make it realized....a small piece from my dream.

SONGS

1. Preface
2. Paros, My Love
3. Years Gone By
4. Salt Marsh (Alyki)
5. I Did Not Stay
6. A Boat
7. Your Kiss
8. My Glance
9. My Everything Mother
10. Without a Doubt, Your a Star
11. Each Day
12. Because You Leave This Place
13. You Are My Life
14. My Love Remains
15. In the Market of Pireaus
16. Sweet Bow
17. Dazzled With Beauty
18. The Marriage

6/12/07 Update: The photo is of Aliki fishing boats by Ray Keppie.

Recent weather has been a bit of a paradox. Late October and early November storms delayed the olive ripening on Paros. But now the last several days have been mostly sunny with night time thunder showers.


The olive harvesting is moving apace and Karin went swimming with our friend Bruce to set a new personal record for late season dips in the sea. Some people, of course, swim year around; my last entry into the refreshing water was October 30.


Last month the 95th International Olive Oil Conference was held in Madrid. The First Prize
Quality Award in the medium fruitiness olive oil category, was won by a producer based in the town of Plomari on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos. We know this town as the producer of our favourite ouzo. Now we will have to try their olive oil as well. This contest had 73 entrants from all the major olive oil producing countries.

This golden Macedonian wreath is described as spectacular. But this is the best photo I could find (thanks Athens News Agency) so you have to travel to the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum to see the original.

It was recently returned to Greece by the Getty Museum as part of the Marion True controversy which I have written on several times--and will again as she goes on trial soon.

The wreath is a gold leaf crown worn on ceremonial occasions by Macedonian kings. It probably dates from about 400 B.C. and is claimed to have been looted from one of the many kingly graves at the archaeological site of Vergina west of Thessaloniki.


Karin and I decided that while we would not invite company for Thanksgiving dinner we would treat the day as a holiday. So we had a slow casual morning then were surprised when we left home to see utility workers and school buses on the road.

On our motor scooters we took a brisk, sunny drive to the east side of the island. We stopped for a brief stroll around Pirgos, a beach and small harbour that we normally pass by. The photo is of a church, flag and anchor there. We spotted what looks like an excellent snorkeling location for next summer.

Next Karin had a surprise for me--a road that I had never been on before. North of Drios we turned left towards the hills to follow a paved road that
wound through strictly rural farm country -- plentiful pastures, livestock and farm gardens and no obvious holiday homes. A very pastoral area sheltered from the main coast road and beach properties by rolling hills. The combination of my camera and my photography skills could not capture it, however.

Then on to the only restaurant we knew that was offering turkey. The Malibu in Logaras is owned by a Greek-American chef from Florida who had married a local Greek girl. They served a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings--with Greek substitutes as necessary. The cranberry sauce was very much his own recipe. Three other Americans were there, all with Greek family connections. As every Thanksgiving we were stuffed but still managed apple pie with ice cream before heading home in the dusk for an easy home evening--no football, however.

We are truly thankful for our blessings.

Nov Sunrise

Here are more sunrise photos from early riser, Karin.

Click on the photo to be directed to our Picasa album. From there you can find other photos as well.

Part One Paros Sunrise photos can be found at: http://parosparadise.blogspot.com/2005/12/paros-sunrise-photos.html

Or check out our full service Paros Website.

The keynote speaker for the Thessaloniki Film Festival was none other than Hollywood actor, director, producer, John Malkovich. He shared the stage with Greek-American writer and journalist Nicholas Gage, the author of "Eleni", a book later turned into a motion picture staring Malkovich. (ANA)

We recommend both the book and the movie Eleni for anyone interested in modern Greek history or the power of immigration. Being John Malkovich was a riveting exploration of ordinary people entering the mind of a celebrity.

Both Malkovich and Gage have many other works. You can find them by clicking one of the Amazon links and doing a search.

If your interested in Greek filmmaking, see our Filmmaking Workshop page.

New Scientist magazine would have you believe a beach bum has come up with a hot new candidate for The Theory of Everything. They emphasize that Garrett Lisi spends much of the year surfboarding in Hawaii and snowboarding at Lake Tahoe, California and play down that he has a PhD in Physics and several published articles on "quantum field theory within a geometric framework"--the new theory that has the scientific community buzzing.

He does list his "Other Interests" as: Surfing, Snowboarding, Rock Climbing, Hang Gliding, Windsurfing, and Go.

All I know is that I am going to add his story to my web site page about earning a living from the beach.

The last couple posts have been shy of photos so please scroll down if that is what you are looking for.

P.S. I found a fun widget that gives the Greek Orthodox Name Day for each day of the year. Check it out on the Fun Facts page. (See tab above)

For the last month I have been looking at this milestone with trepidation. I have not commented on previous anniversaries or 100 posts but somehow 300 seemed like it should be noted.

However I have come up try for anything special to write about. So I decided to do a retrospective like the professional journalists who take a holiday at the end of the year.

This is my first post, including typing error: 19 September 2005
Hi, I am not sure how I will be using this blog. Since everyone is interested in the weather I will start by saying it is now quite warm and sunny after starting out clowdy. Michael

I've come a long way, ain't I. I should have found my top one or two posts to repeat here but I enjoyed reading the old stuff so much that I didn't get any further than the first two months.

This from 7 October 2005: Antiparos Back Country Beaches
Yesterday was cloud free so Karin and I decided to take the afternoon off and explore a back road on Antiparos that we had not traveled before. Although windy it was a delightful day and we helped replenish our suntans.
It was actually quite hot while we ate our picnic lunch on a small isolated beach. We thought it was the end of the road until afterwards we noticed a mast sticking up between the hills and thus discovered a tour group having lunch on an even better beach. While the guests waved the boat operator seem perturbed that we had spoiled the exclusivity of his offering.

We just moved on to explore some unusual rock formations and some other back country curiosities. For our swim we shared a beach with a retired couple and their camper van at one end and a young nudist couple at the other. We were in the middle literally and figuratively.

This from 14 November 2008: Learn Greek
We just got back from our first Greek language class. It went better than everyone expected, i.e. virtually no grammar. The teacher started with asking us what Greek we already knew and building or reinforcing from there. That is we had all heard and repeated words and phrases that we had questions about. Later the teacher said we would not be conjugating verbs, rather we would memorize and use common forms from everyday speech. Great!

We six students are a mixed bag; one has been living here for about 10 years, Karin and I for 6 seasons, three others just moved here this year but holidayed in Greece before. All of us past the age of easy learning. None of us able to speak a full sentence of Greek.

The hardest word to pronounce χτεσ (htes or chtes) meaning yesterday.

Hmmm, what should I do for post 301?

I have been working on publicity for our Plein Air Oil Painting Workshop in May. I saw that our instructor, Ron Johnson, has some new paintings on his web site.

These two are my favourites; painted in Aliki and Lefkes.

Ron also has some great paintings of Italy, Horses and other subjects. Take a look at his web site HERE

Read how you can enhance your art while enjoying all the delights of a Greek island on our Workshop page

I wanted to title this post The Windmill but the windmill on Paros is at the ferry port and the focal point of all coming and goings in Parikia.


This particular windmill is at the south end of town near the Pandrossos Hotel. It is the focal point of watching the sun set over the harbour entrance.

This photo was taken about 1993 by Daryl Samuel. See more of her photos on the unfutz blog.





I don't have any current photos other than these two taken from the very nice bar in and around the windmill. It is our traditional place to go for my birthday drink.




















It was also featured in the only feature film that I know of filmed on Paros, Brothers. I don't recommend the bawdy romp unless you are desperate for older scenes of Paros and our town policeman, Dimitri, playing an indulgent police chief.


Our Paros Filmmaking Workshop hopes to improve the quality and quantity of films shot on Paros.

How's that for an attention getting headline? Just like the professionals who in reporting results of this year's Classic Marathon emphasized that one runner was injured when he was hit by a tram car.


Details are sketchy but it is more likely he ran into the tram as race officials said he suffered health problems earlier in the race and was not seriously injured.


The marathon winner, Benjamin Kiprotich Korir, set a new course record at 2 hours, 14 minutes, 40 seconds. The first six places were all won my Kenyans; the injured runner was also Kenyan. The winner in the Women's Division was a Russian, Svetlana Ponomarenko. Her time was also a record: 2:33:19. I could not find who the top placing Greek was.


Of course, the race course follows the route attributed to a Greek hero in 490 BC. Read more here. The finish line was in the stadium where the first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896.


This post was mainly rewritten from the International Herald Tribune, a great newspaper for expats.

Each week in October I noticed fewer people in the village and more establishments closing. I thought O.K. winter is here, but now in November it is quieter yet.










Everyone, however, has started work for next season. Our landlord has started construction on a new villa next to us. The photo shows that like nearly everything here, it is a family project.

I noticed that the rock that was dug out was mostly marble. Does that mean we are sitting on a giant crystal?

At the big 23rd Philoxenia fair for the travel industry in Thessaloniki the Association President predicted both the number of visitors and the spending per visitor would be up for 2008. He said that last year high-end hotels increased their revenues by 10%; yachting by 15% and sea cruises by 20% due to targeting of government and association spending. He also said US visitors were up 35% and Russian visitors up 16%.

I have found each year is noticeably different than the previous as to type and nationality of travellers. So I have no crystal ball.


Island mentality, Not.

One of the major attractions of our life on a Greek island is the easy going, laid back attitude of our friends, neighbours and authorities. It can be frustrating when you want service, such as a new telephone line, but the overall pace of life reduces stress. You go along to get along.

Regular readers have probably noted that I am exchanging links with several new sites. Today I just wrote a brief article about volunteer travel.
Here are brief excerpts:
Many people find this a personally satisfying and economical way to have a holiday or vacation, make new life-long friends and accomplish good deeds all in one go. Yet it can also be a mine field of good intentions gone wrong and can cost more than a luxury cruise. The answer lies in research. Finally communicate with people who have been there; . . .

Please go to the site, read the short article and leave a positive comment. If your reaction is negative, buzz off.

I just printed this picture for Karin. It has been one of her favourites since we visited Knossos on Crete several years ago.

Speaking of photos, I placed four of my favourite photos on 1000 Places to See Before You Die but now I can't find the link. Time will tell whether Paros will be featured.

Update: It is actually SeeBeforeYouDie.Net


Our photos of Amorgos, however, are featured on this attractive site: Another Place to Go They have great travel pictures.

We also created another new page for our full service Paros web site called Greece Fun Facts. Some of the useful travel information is new; some has been published here before.

Hey, Hey, Hey, I went swimming today. Plus it's 11 P.M. and our front door is still wide open for air. What more can I say?

One of Karin's favourite garments is a sweatshirt given to her by her son, Stuart, as a souvenir of his time in France. It is from The Sorbonne in Paris and now is well over 25 years old.


La Sorbonne, itself, is over 700 years old and has decided to start it's expansion through Europe by establishing a campus in Athens.


Due to the already strong ties between Greek and French universities they hope to offer master's-level courses in law, communications, international relations and psychology in the academic year 2008-09.


This recent announcement is probably related to the Communist Student group that has been protesting in Athens. They are unhappy that the European Union is forcing Greece to recognize degrees from private schools related to foreign universities. Now third level education in Greece is going to have to compete with the rest of Europe. That will undoubtedly bring about great improvement.

Other opinions welcome. Please comment.

Last year a neighbor gave us a few gourds. Karin cleaned out a couple to make pots and tossed the seeds and other innards over our wall.

This year despite a dry, hot summer we had a bumper crop of volunteer gourds. This is just a portion of the harvest.

We picked them early because of the forecast was for extended rain and we did not want them to rot.

Does anyone know what we can do with them besides paint them and shake them? Help please!

This photo is from our veranda after the first night of cloud burst.



Attention bloggers and webmasters: AuctionAds, the eBay affilliate now has a new product, Shopping Ads that pay per click. Please see the sample at the bottom of this page.

I decided to create a web page specifically about Amorgos and our journey there, including the ferry stop at Donousa. It includes a lot of photos and a travel guide. We had a great time; hopefully you will enjoy it vicariously if you cannot include it in your island hopping itinerary.


Take a look at Amorgos & Donousa

This first photo is of my favourite wife taken at a bench my favourite son sat on several years ago during his visit to Katapola, Amorgos.

The second photo is of a private villa, vineyards and a windmill above the beach at Ayia Anna.

Read more about Greece and private villas for rent on our full service Paros site.

Last week I read about a "premier" of the new film, El Greco, in Iraklion, Crete. Now the Director calls that a "sneak preview".
The official premier is being held in Athens with numerous officials and the visiting Queen of Spain, Sophia.

The painter, formally named Domenicos Theotocopoulos, was from Crete and lived a dramatic life in Spain. Without spoiling the plot it is a story of an artist against the establishment, the latter in the form of the Spanish Inquisition.

Accompanying the Athens premier is a major exhibition of El Greco's works and those of his students at the Museum of Cycladic Art. The paintings come from the Prado and other famous museums.

Read about film making on Paros and about painting on Paros on our full service web site.

Here is a trailer for the film:

Just as we are starting to make plans for our Paros Art Workshops for 2008 we see a report in The Granville Sentinel--I use Google Alerts as a news clipping service--about two former participants and a friend who are having a gallery showing in Newark, Ohio. Entitled "Greek Memories in Line and Colour", the showing includes works done on Paros as well as other Greece locations.


Congratulations to Margery Mitchell, Mary Helen Fernandez-Stewart and Don Gunnerson for presenting their art to a wide audience. Read more about the Showing HERE. Read more about Art Workshops on Paros on our site.


Also in 2008 the brand new Acropolis Museum will be opening in stages. Described as ultra-modern, it is the much bally-hooed environment designed to hold the Parthenon Marbles, better known as the Elgin Marbles, when and if the British Museum decides to return them to Greece.


In the meantime, starting on October 14th they will start moving the other priceless antiquities from the old museum atop the Acropolis down to the new location a good distance away. This will be done in a relay using three giant cranes. A successful dry run with a 2.5 ton piece of plain marble was carried out today.
15 October Update: This photo was lifted from BBC News.


This photo was taken by Karin yesterday on the dramatic island of Amorgos. The clouds were actually flowing over the cliffs like a waterfall. We spent three days there by way of the island of Donoussa.As soon as we get a description written up for our main web site we will include more photos and information here.

A university student blogger temporary living on Paros asked this question. She wrote:

"As September blows into October, the islands are already changing. When we arrived in Greece three weeks ago, the streets were thick with hundreds of tourists. Then they were gone. As suddenly as the season changed from beach weather to sweatshirt temperature, the crowds outside my apartment dissipated. Thank goodness.


I was riding in a taxi last Sunday with three good friends. Our driver was an old Greek man who could speak English fluently. I asked him curiously, what was his favorite time of year on Paros? He didn't hesitate, "When the tourists leave."


Imagine if our campus was an archeological site. Instead of 150 years old, it was 1,500 years old and known throughout the world for its beauty. Every year, millions of tourists would arrive by bus, train, and hot air balloon to snap pictures of buildings where we live. They would need food, water and places to stay. They don't usually recycle, rarely speak our language and typically leave their trash behind.
Prices everywhere would rise because of higher demand, but they would arrive regardless, awed by the beauty of our quaint paradise. And you, dear friend, would either cater to their needs or eventually be forced to leave.


At minimum you would need to speak something besides English. At that point we might understand how the citizens of Greece feel during tourist season."

Complete Original.


So readers, how would your life change if your town were "discovered"? Would the value of your property increase greatly? Would your children have better jobs or opportunities? Would you live more comfortably? Please comment.

My wife Karin's adventure continued from yesterday:


"The second part of the day was lunch in Lefkes and then a trip up Mt. Ilias, the tallest part of Paros with several masts. I suggested the mountain trail down, and my friend (being adventuresome ) said he was all for it! He had a 4 wheeler (quad) and I was on my scooter. The trail was long, hard, and beautiful beyond description. High above us we saw sheep walking in a single file along the terraces, and goats with lovely bells higher up yet! In the silence, the bells were wonderful, although you wonder if the goats get tired of listening to them?


This house was perched above a gully which I found quite delightful. Their view was of the sea far away in the distance. A sheepherder was sitting on the road in just the right place, as we took the wrong road and ended up in a chicken coop! When I asked in my limited Greek...."Dromo?...Aspro Horio?....Kato?" (In Pidgin English..."Where is the road to Aspro Horio? Is it the one below us?") Ha, ha. He shrugged and in his limited English he silently pointed to the road below us. So we took that road and it was the right one!
The trail ends at the main road in the village called Aspro Horio (White Village). An ouzo at the end of a dusty trail was in order, so we went to my favourite beachside taverna at Drios. (Down the narrow lane past the Lake Bar, for those who have been there.)

So, that was my "Monastery, Lefkes lunch, Mountain Top, Mountain Trail" Day! From 10 - 7:30! A long day, but lots of fun. I fancy myself a "bit" of an Adventure Lady, so came home happy and accomplished! What can I tackle next?"

Last week Karin had an interesting day with a visitor from Canada. It started with the Agia Anargiri Monastery above Parikia. She writes:

"I have been here before but saw it differently this time because the person I went with had spent time here as a young man in 1965! He and several of his buddies were on a trip to Africa and then came to Paros to relax....the stories he told about what Paros was like and how the Greeks gave them food all the time, and were so kind to them in many ways, kept me interested for hours! The boys rented rooms here and then walked each day down a donkey trail to Parosporos Beach to swim! He said they were really fit...and that Parikia was a small village at that time....and the landscape was NOTHING like now....no houses and road. He said the road out of Parikia to Parosporos was nothing more than a dirt track!!!

Also he was told that this Monastery was originally a house of a rich Parian who did "something bad" to a brother, and then turned his house into a religious place as a penance.




How it looks from the road up.






How it looks from the courtyard down.

For those of you who know Parikia, you can probably spot landmarks such as the church, the marina and the port.

"My friend and his buddies rented a room for 3 drachma a day, which he thinks was about 5 cents or less! That included spring water directly from the mountain (still there but now tapped with faucets), a view, and an outside oven for cooking! Oh, and outside privy!! He slept on a straw mattress on a wooden platform which was what beds were then in remote farms and the like. No electricity. He said that there was electricity in Parikia, but not much, so when you looked down at night you saw very few lights and also they were not bright like now. Usually it was moonlight as they came up the hill "slightly inebriated!" from parties that the Greeks invited them to...dancing, great food, the real Greek experience. "

Please come back tomorrow for Part Two.

Read more about Paros on our full service web site.

Chris and Karen included Paros in their Greek island honeymoon so that they could take one of Eddie's Cooking classes.

In this photo we are about to join them in great Greek food presented farm house style. We just had wine while watching a beautiful sunset over the sea and other islands. During dinner the full moon rose behind us. The taste is in the place!

Read more about activities on Paros, even into the autumn.

Hey, I have been featured in an interview magazine! Nothing like the ultra high style magazine that was popular in the USA for years, but quality, none the less.


This is a relatively new web site that provides first hand accounts of life abroad from many different countries to many different countries. Take a look at my page than search for something of more interest. Cheers.


Attention Bloggers: Have you taken a look at the new Blog Rush yet. It is having start up pains but the concept promises to deliver targeted traffic in expotential quantities. Try it.

Last weekend one of Aliki villages most popular citizens got married: Manoli of Manoli's Cafe' married his long time girlfriend, Georgia. They had a party at their house on Thursday and the celebration continued-with rest breaks--through Sunday morning.


We were not among the invited guests but participated vicariously in the sights and sounds drifting through our small village.



These are the only two photos that turned out:
watermelon sculpture and fireworks.

I stand corrected on all my previous references in this blog to seaweed. I just learned courtesy of the Aegean Institute here on Paros that all those pieces of plant seen after high winds washing around our rocks and beaches are actually Posidonia (fykiadha in Greek), a grass that is related to the palm tree.

It's main value is that it produces a high amount of oxygen; up to 20 litres per square metre per 24 hours--for those of you who don't know liters and meters, that is a lot. Historically the Posidonia blades have been used for insulation and fertilizer. In our snorkeling we see many meadows of this grass; the water is so clear it grows in great depths. Learn more at the Aegean Institute web site

Also I have written before about Greece dragging its heals on adopting laws to allow freer flow of goods, services and people within the EU. Recently the European Court in Brussels ruled against Greece's used car tax which taxed cars bought outside the country much higher than those bought within Greece. (This and the next story from Athens News Agency.)

Greece is making great strides in infrastructure construction and not just within Athens. Thessalonica, the business capital in northern Greece, how has a 98 km suburban railway that can reach speeds up to 160 km per hour (59 miles and 96 mph).

Finally, I have not previously written about the fires in Greece this summer because I found readers knew more about what was happening than I did. But now chances are that follow-up reporting has fallen off the international media horizon. A recent report by the Fire Service estimated a 30% rise in arson this summer. Yet only 14 of the 137 fires in the Peloponnesus were caused by arson they say. The Fire Service investigators have not found evidence of an organized plan behind the fires. I am sure we will hear more from all sides, however.

Stay tuned.

I have decided to get double duty out of what I wrote for a discussion group by posting it here.
I was asked: "Is there as much "machismo" in Greece as has been reported or is it another stereotype?"

My answer: Interesting question. I have two examples.

A few years back I read a European Commission sponsored study that listed the average number of times that people had sex per month by nationality. Greek men were at the top of the list. This did not quite match my understanding compared to the French and Italians, say. So I looked into the study further. Turns out it was just a survey; they asked the men. I had to laugh; who would believe what a Greek man told them!

I field many questions per year from single women about the advisability, safety of traveling alone in Greece. I assure them that while Athens is like any big city anywhere once you get to the islands you are perfectly safe and will have no problems--as long as you don't mind the compliment of men vocally admiring your feminine assets. The Greek men are very friendly to foreign women, but they will take No as an answer. Of course they have been known to accept a Yes on occasion as well.

Question: "Who was the great Greek comedian?"
My answer:
The Shakespeare of ancient Greece was Aristophanes.
His play that all colleges like to produce because of the sexual theme and phallic costuming is Lysistrata.

Here is a link to an online course about Greek Theatre: http://novaonline.nvcc.edu/eli/spd130et/ancientgreek.htm

I finally have an excuse for not posting.
This update to the new Blogger and a new template is not going well.

It all seems to be misinterpretation of XML code since the same code worked well in the old blogger. But I am plodding away.

Once I get it working then I will fine tune fonts, colors, photo and the like.
Is this fun?

Auction Ads is going from strength to strength. This group allows bloggers and webmasters to harness the power of eBay in a fun and profitable way. Read all about it on their site; it is simple and easy.

Use this link and they will start you out with a $25 credit to your account. There are no charges; they pay you when your commission earnings reach $50.

Sep 16 Update: See sample ad at the foot of this page.






Sep 11 Update: $25 Sign-up Bonus must be the in thing. Now Capital One is offering two for each new credit card--one for you and one for me. So if you would like a Capital One card contact me by Comment or email and I will give you the code that allows each of us to have $25 credited to our accounts.

Sep 17 Update: The blog traffic exchange site Blog Soldiers is running a special offer as well. Take a look!

Cheers,

P.S. Those looking for Greek island content keep reading below.

Today is beautiful; cool crisp air with no moisture to hide all the Greek islands that have suddenly popped up into our view. Yesterday I snorkeled over sand instead of of the usual rocks. I saw many starfish and a medium-sized plaice type fish. That's it, not much happening here.


One of our artist friends, Hans Giesen, who I have written about before, is having a major exhibition in Chania, Crete this month. "Forty years half a stranger in the land of light" commemorates his first painting trip to Crete in 1967.


deTraci Regula's Greece for Visitors has some good material this month including a list of Charities for Greek Fire Victims.


Finally this fun fact from the Lufthansa newsletter:
The name "marathon" and the distance used today of 42.195 kilometres go back to the legend of Pheidippides. He was said to have collapsed dead after running the approx. 40 kilometre stretch from Marathon to Athens to proclaim his message "Nike, Nike!" (victory, victory).

We had a pleasant evening Friday night. After dinner we drove into Parikia to tour the Holland Tunnel Gallery while listening to the jazz styling of Heleen Schuttevaer, a Dutch professional. The art was fine but we got more enjoyment from touring the 17th century building of which the gallery is the ground floor, sprawling living quarters above.

Next I had a gelato from my favourite vendor that I have raved about in previous blogs followed by the two of us having ouzo at our favourite in-town bar, Pebbles. We sit on the terrace and watch the ferries come and go from the black sea and the pedestrians come and go in all shapes and styles. We drove home in pleasant moonlight.


This morning we wake up to the beautiful yacht, Club Med 2 sailing into our bay. It was even more beautiful as it sailed away after dark with its floodlighted sails.

Life is good.

Blogger has a new feature by which you can "browse profiles". I just used it to find other blogs from Paros.

Here are two:
M in Greece Now! - A young Canadian living on Paros with a Greek boyfriend.

Paros Animal Welfare Society Blog - This group constantly struggles against the tide of homeless cats and dogs on Paros.

On another Paros subject here is an update on the Marion True / Getty Museum / illegal antiquities controversy. This one is more pro-Marion than we have seen: The Human Cost

Don't forget to come back here to see the photos below when you have finished reading these other blogs. Cheers.

We are excited about our newest possession, a gift from our Amsterdam friends, Eddy and Louise. It is a Compact Visual Dictionary--Greek/English.

We just got it today so haven't used it yet. Just thumbing through it, however, we have seen countless instances where it would have been priceless in the past. It is easier seen than explained but it full of pictures of everyday things, plants, tools, fish, clothes, machines, animals--you get the picture. So you find the picture and see both the Greek word and the English word.

What more can I say. I want to go the hardware store tomorrow and buy stuff, or maybe the butcher to get a good steak, or ask my neighbor about that tree we have wondered about, or . . .

Click on the link below for more information. It also comes in French, Italian, Spanish, and German.


August 15 is the biggest day of the year on Paros and most other Greek islands. It is the combination of the religious national holiday and the height of high season for tourism.

The season is always a slow build-up with each week after 1 May being busier than the week before. Starting today it will be a steep slide into the quietness of autumn and winter with just a brief respite in early September as the older crowd takes advantage of lower season rates.

What strikes us as so weird is that the best weather of the year is in September with a bonus of warm water for swimming. October is usually quite good as well. Yet there are so few people around to enjoy it. Many seasonal businesses start closing in September; most are shut by late October --leaving the island to us that know best.

The busyness of the last couple weeks seem strange as well. Where usually most houses are shut up now there are beach towels drying on every balcony. Last Sunday every shade tree at our beach was occupied when I went down in mid-afternoon, that was a first. Before I could cut a corners on the roads and not worry; now there are cars everywhere, except quite time, of course.

Which brings up something I noticed last night at the climax of the pinnacle day: the August 15 fireworks. They were spectacular! Well worth the trip into down and hassling the crowds. What I noticed was that the crowd appeared to be nearly all Greek. You had to search to see a foreigner and this in a big tourist town on a popular tourist island.

So there is plenty of opportunity to have a real Greek odyssey on Paros. Read more on our full service Paros web site: http://www.ParosParadise.com

I can identify with World Lizard Day. We have as many as five geckos living on our veranda--read about their entertainment value here--and recently a lizard at our front gate.


At least our resident bug population seems to be down this year.


In our part of Greece stone walls are more than common. It is not uncommon to see lizards sunning themselves on the stone walls. This Flickr photo by leslie_NAXOS


On Squidoo there is an excellent lens on lizards at http://www.squidoo.com/world-lizard-day/


Squidoo is fun and can be profitable. Register with this code: http://www.squidoo.com/lensmaster/referral/Paroshep Please.

The municipality of Paros is sponsoring a series of concerts around the island of the local musical group named En Plo.

The night it came to our area we arrived a few minutes ahead of the publicised starting time of 9 P.M. in order to get good seats. We knew from experience the actual starting time would be much later.

The band warming up.

About 9:15 the group of about 12 strong had completed their tuning and sound checks and started playing. After a few bars they quit and got up from their chairs and strolled off. What's this, a strike? I wondered. No they were just waiting for more time to pass before starting in another 10 minutes or so. Another case of Greek logic that we will never understand, I guess.


The audience waiting in the Angeria church forecourt.

The audience was mostly the older generation with a smattering of young married, not many teenagers. We soon discovered why; the music was all traditional folk -- the people behind us singing along with some of the lyrics. They seemed to be really enjoying it. We left before it was over.



We had some strong gusts of wind in the afternoon. Three sail boats took refuge in our bay.

The wind didn't prevent people from enjoying the beach.

The other evening we went to Antiparos to enjoy the sunset from a patio bar there. They have a great snack plate at the Sunset Bar and Grill.



On the way I was amazed at how many people can kite board without ending up in a tangled mess.



Attention Bloggers: The blog traffic exchange, Blogazoo, announced they were closing down. An alternative that I am now using is Blog Soldiers. Take a look here: http://www.blogsoldiers.com/splash3.php?rid=7008

Here are another couple photos from Manfred. The church is the same one we have published before. This time the planet Venus is showing.

The second is the Aliki beach and harbour using a filter. I think that is one of his boys running. They also are familiars in our photos over the past few years.





I like statistics: The number of seats offered on flights operating this month (July) has reached an all-time high, with a capacity of 309.7 million seats worldwide – equivalent to an airline seat for the entire population of the United States.

According to the latest statistics from the Official Airline Guide, this represents 19.9 million extra seats (a 7% increase) available to travellers compared with the same month last year.

The number of flights for July 2007 has increased by an additional 129,373, a rise of 5% year on year. A total of 2.6 million flights are timetabled this month, topping the previous industry high of 2.51 million reported for May 2007, and up from 2.47 million for July 2006.

To me it is hard to imagine that many people on the move.

An interesting bit of news: Greece and Turkey on Thursday agreed to exchange electricity power. The two countries aim to complete all interconnection projects of their electricity grids by January 2008 (using the Philippi-Babaeski 400 KV line).

The Turkish Minister said: "The line expands in 268 km carrying electricity power of 137 KV to Greece by the end of July or early August. Our relations with Greece are very good with new projects constantly emerging. We will be able to receive electricity power from Greece as well".

To me this indicates more of what goes on in everyday life between countries than the attention seeking politicians and the sensation seeking news media. There is no room for animosity in buying and selling.

Our friends from Amsterdam, who started out as clients our first year of hotel operation seven years ago, are in town. Manfred used to be a professional photographer and took these two photos.

The first is of a close-in fishing boat taken from our veranda.


The second is of Karin and I playing cards with the two boys on our veranda at night. Secondary entertainment is watching the geckos catching moths and other bugs. That night we counted 5 salamanders of all sizes. Read more about the sport at our Squidoo Site: http://www.squidoo.com/Paros



So . . .
nothing interesting is going on in my life. So I will piggy back on those who are enthusiastic about Paros.

Wendy Killoran of Ontario, Canada gives an evocative account of her Greece vacation including Paros and including great photographs. Check it out at http://kayakwendy.blogspot.com/2007/07/highlights-of-greece.html

Next up Linney Lou Lou from MySpace and Seattle, WA, USA lets us see Paros through the eyes of an island-hopping 22 year old girl. See it at this blog post.


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