This blog continues to share ideas and hopes to generate discussion on social business, knowledge management, and emerging technologies. It also increasingly covers my home, New Orleans, my painting, and travels.
After exploring ancient Athens (see other posts) I took a cable car to the top of Lycrabettus Hill for sunset. It is the highest hill in Athens with amazing 360 degree views. I watched the sun set over the surrounding mountains and then walked down. Here are the views.
The new Acropolis Museum is very informative with models of how it appeared at different ages. They did two inventive things. You can see through glass floors the old neighborhood underneath the museum site. There are many layers to this city. The top flow is shaped like the Parthenon and has its size. They have placed the remains of the decorative sculptures in the correct position so you can get a sense of scale and placement.
This post covers some of the other sties besides the Acropolis (see separate post). They include the Roman Agora (market), the ancient Athens Agora, Hadrian’s Arch, Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Thession.
I saw the Acropolis first thing before it got too hot. Very impressive but they are doing a lot of work on it. When I first saw it in 1966 there was no renovation going on so it was uncovered. But this is essential work so I am glad they are taking care of it. It still remains impressive. The Parthenon is the centerpiece but they are other beautiful buildings and areas.
I loved Athens as I stopped here for two nights and a day and a half after spending almost a month on Samos. I titled this post modern Athens as opposed to ancient but I spent most of my time in the older parts of the existing city. It was an unexpected desert at the end of a long time in Samos. The people at my hotel, Acropolis Museum Hotel, are very friendly and want me to tell everyone good things about Athens, as people are afraid to come. I told the receptionist that it reminds me of my hometown New Orleans when people where afraid to go and it needed the tourist revenue. So I said I will write wonderful things on my blog. My coverage is divided into five posts, this one, the Acropolis, the other ancient areas, the new Acropolis Museum, and sunset from Lycabettus Hill. I also got one of the receptionists to show me where not to go on the map. But this is the case in any large city. All of the interesting areas are quite safe and full of people at all hours.
The first afternoon I walked around the Plaka neighborhood with a lot of old buildings and had dinner on a rooftop restaurant with wonderful view of Acropolis at sunset. Then went to a roof top garden restaurant with great live music, Stamatopoulos Old Tavern 26, Lissiou Plaka. I decided to come back there the next night for dinner to hear more music.
The next day between exploring the ancient sites, I had a nice lunch of friend calamari and fried eggplant at a sidewalk café. I also saw some markets in the Monastiraki area and the uniformed band below. After watching sunset on Lycabettus Hill (see separate post), I went to my live music restaurant that had a different but equally good band. They have music every night. I had grilled calamari and zucchini fritters. Another magical night in Athens with sunset on the highest hill and the dinner in roof top garden with live Greek music. I recommend it as a destination city or certainly a place to spend time on the way to or from the Greek islands.
It is the weekend so I am back to my series on Greece. I have covered sections of these two areas in other posts but here are scenes from the areas in between. First, I will start with the North coast where the main road goes along with sea for much of its length. It has great beaches that are often windy and wind surfing championships are held here. On my last afternoon in Samos I had lunch at Avlakia with some friends and you can see it in the last pictures.
Here is the south coast with equally good beaches. It has a more gentle tone. I spent a quiet afternoon at one of them sitting under a tree and reading. The only time I actually read while I was on Samos. There were too many other things to do.
These are the two largest towns on Samos. Samos is the largest town and main port with a deep natural harbor. You can see it below. I ate a nice lunch of mixed grill fish and eggplant salad at the Garden restaurant that was in the Lonely Planet guidebook. This was the only time I ate at a guidebook place. You can see pictures of it below. I sailed from Samos town to Kusdari Turkey to see Ephesus on the smaller ferry seen below.
Karlovasi has the university and so has a more student orientation. It is also embedded in the more mountainous western part of the island. I spent much more time here as George Mattea and his friends live in this area. I walked around the old town there with George and his girl friend Mytro. Myrto said they build the old town up on the hillside out of sight of the sea so pirates could not see them. The pirates were mostly from Egypt. When a pirate ship was sighted the watches who light fires on the hilltops and then others would do the same warning the villages. The era of the pirates was about 1600 – 1800. We walked from the old town down to the port and had coffee at the port. The flag was at half mast because it was Good Friday.
Tomorrow there will be more Enterprise 2.0 session notes but it is the weekend now.
Before we went to Ephesus we went to house where St. John and the Virgin Mary lived when St. John came to preach here. There was a wishing wall and of course I had to put a wish on. You can see the wall and the close up is of my wish. Thses are the first three small pictures below after the large one from Ephesus. You can click on any picture to enlarge it.
Ephesus was amazing. It was a large Greek and then Roman city that had 250,000 people at one time. Only about 20 % has been excavated but that includes the city core. It was buried by an earthquake that that is why is was preserved. These are just a few of the many photos. These is one of a badgamon game that the Romans played like the current one in the seventh picture. Much was recontructed. Th eorginla parts are in marble and the reconstructed parts in concrete or stones. The marble streets are mostly intact. It had many the features of our cities today with healthcare, a public WC, a library, and a "love" house. In one photo you can see the symbol fo rmedicine today withthe snake to symbolize the the healthcare facility.
We also went to house of Virgin Mary and John, as Ephesus museum and site of a large temple. Nizamettin Adsiz was our guide and did a great job (www.apasatravel.com). I usually do not do guided tours but this was mush more convient, included a good lunch, all admissions, and much transporation.
It is the weekend so I take a break from Enterprise 2.0 session posts but there will be more next starting Monday.
I went here from Samos (so including it with Greek pictures) to see Ephesus but also to get a taste of Turkey. It was an upscale resort that catered to the tour boats who come to see Ephesus and there are also water parks for families and other side attractions like in Orlando. I got culture shock when I the s first things I saw were a Starbucks and Diesel outlet. But then I found the less upscale tourist side and had fun the two nights I was there. I stayed at the Limon Hotel and recommend it as they were very friendly and made good suggestions for food and music. I went to a seafood place right over the water and watched the sunset while having a whole snapper (you paid by the weight) and two sides: an eggplant tomato dish and some garlic shrimp. After watching the street celebration of local football victory I heard music at the Orient Bar, a quiet pub.
The next two mornings I had a great breakfast from the rooftop of the hotel with view of the harbor. There was fresh fruit and omelets. After Ephesus (see separate post) I walked out to the old fort in the harbor and watched the sunset.
I went to dinner at the Avlu that the hotel guy recommended and a fine lamb kabob. After dinner I found much better music club than the night before great one. It was a type of traditional Turkish music that was very danceable and there were a lot of young people, no tourists. I was a place for locals. I watched and figured out you could do a fast sort of rock dancing to it. I want to find some of the music on the Web. It is called Turku music. There were two guys playing electric version of Turkish guitars and singing and then a guy with a big bass drum on was on the dance floor and everyone danced around him. Unfortunately I have no pictures.
On the mountainous west coast of Samos, there is a nature preserve and less development. I drove to the end of the road at Dhrakei and turned around. The road goes up high so there are endless vistas and benches placed along with way. I sat on one for quite some time.
Here is a 16# x 20# acrylic painting of froed potatoes from Samos Island Greece. They have the best potatoes I have ever eaten so I had to paint them. The Greeks say it is the potatoes because of the soil and they do a small production. So I bought some at the market and they were indeed the best fried potatoes I ever made. These are from a restaurant as a side dish for chicken with honey carrot sauce.
On the eastern end of Samos Island is a small fishing village, Posidhonia, where you can easily see Turkey less than a mile away. I had a nice lunch there of small fried fish, fried potatoes, and a carrot and cabbage salad. Thye seem to have salad with every meal so I feel I am eating healthy. Many cats eyed my mealas yu can see below. After I was done the cafe owner feed them the scraps - see last picture - no wonder the cats stayed around.
I went to the Aghina Pavlos Monastery on Samos Island as I heard there were good views and wa snot disappointed. While up ther I spoted to small harbor of Mourtia and drive down. It was full of boats but noe people and very peaceful I spent a good bit of time there hanging out.
These three villages are close to each other on the western end of the the island in the region of Marathokambos on Samos Island. I first went to Kambos on the way to nature perserve on the western end of the island (see next post). I had an excellent lunch of fried calamari, fried potatoes at The Ballad of Bill and Salome Restaurant. You can see from the link that they have a Web site. The owner spoke excellent English and gave me some tips on where to go. He said there are few Amercian vistiors on this part of the island, only Northern Europeans. Last year he had only three US families. I highly recommend this places so maybe some of you will go there. The pictures are in order of my visits.
On the way back from the west coast, I drove up to Marathokambos, which is the regional center. It has great views of the sea. It is also known for the fireworks they set off at midnight the Saturday before Easter. Other towns do it but Marathokambos is known for the biggest noise makers. While up there I saw the port of Ormous so I drove down on my way back. It is a quiet fisging village. There are a lot of harbor side tavernas but none were open yet as the season has not started. It looks like a great place to go for lunch during the May - September season.
The Temple of Hera on Samos Island was four times the size of the Parthenon in Athens. Now there are only scattered ruins and one of the of many columns that is impressive, especially when you consider it was originally twice its current size. It was built in the 6th century BC. It was contstructed over an ealier Mycenaren temple. I found it very peaceful and reminded my in some ways of the cemeteries in my neighborhood in New Orleans with all of their above ground graves often over grown with plants and flowers.
Located just aboce the port of Pythagorio on Samos Island, the Spilani monastery is a very peaceful with a beuatiful view over the Aegan and Pythagorio. No one was around and I spent a peaceful afternoon in the garden enjoying the view. I was surrounded by tall popular trees with various flowers and shade from the hot sun while looking down at the sea. There was a gentle breeze. This is one reason why I came to Greece for quite moments like this. The large picture is where I sat.
A few days ago I drove to the mountain top village, Manolates, Samos Island, on a windy road where there was a great winery. The town was beautiful and I had another Greek salad with honey sauce on chicken with fries as you can see below. The food has all been very fresh. The restaurant owner took me to the home of the wine owner but she was out. Anyway the trip to the village was worth it as you can see from the photos.
I went on another trip with Geroge Mattea, This time with his his friend Paolo Christou on a three hour (each way) hike along seaside cliffs through olive groves to two isolated beaches on Samos Island, the smaller Seitani, that you reach first and the larger Seitani that you reach second. You can only reach via this hike unless youcome down from a canyon above them. You can do it is less time but we went slowly. Then we hung out on the beach for a while.
I also learned why the olive groves are terraced with store walls. It did not make since as trees can grow on the side of a hill unlike grapes vines, rice, etc. It turns these walls create a flat catchment area for the falling olives. They put nets under the trees on the flat areas to catch them so the olives do not roll down the hillside or people step on them. It makes great sense.
The canyon where we walked along the narrow path to the monastery in the cave is at the upper end of the canyon that ends at this beach (see Photos of Western Mountains of Samos Island - Interior). You can get down the canyon to the larger Seitani beach through an 8 hour technical descent but you are not able to go back up so you then take the hike out we did today. The beach and the hike were beautiful. At the beach is one climbing sight were you have to go over a significant over hang. They have tested the rock and it seems fine. Now they are getting ready to try it. The pictures are in order of our hike. You can see the overhanging cliff and the mountain that it is on in the large picture below. The cliff is in the lower part of the mountain.
Afterwards we had a great meal overlooking the ocean at sunset as you can see in the last pictures. As I mentioned before If you go to Samos, which I highly recommend, and you want to get off the beaten path and see the mountains and the interior you should contact George Matteau at: email@example.com. He is working on promoting alternative tourism on Samos and will take very good care of you. If you clikc on the smaller photos you make them larger.
I went with the same mountain climbers that I did the jeep tour that I posted on yesterday. Except one of the original guys was not available so the girl friend, Myrto of the other guy, Goerge Mathea, came to translate, She speaks excellent English. You can see them in the first and last pictures. They invited me to their Greek Easter cook out this Sunday. People are so welcoming here. If you go to Samos, whch I highly recommend, and you want to get off the beaten path and see the mountains and the interior you should contact George Matteau at: firstname.lastname@example.org. He is working on promoting alternative tourism on Samos and will take very good care of you.
This time we explored the mountains on the western side of Samos Island. In my last post I showed these mountains form the sea side. Now you can see them from the interior. We first went up a stream that people swim in during the summer. Then we drove through Nikaloudhas, a nice village and walked around. We also saw an old caste from the time that Genoa controled Samos in the 1400s. Next we drove to a monastery and hiked along this long narrow path through a very steep canyon where there was a cave that was a first a monastery and then a hiding place for the resistance during WW2. Also criminals were sent there in exile for some time. It is called the Karoperato Cave. Then we went back for a nice dinner in Karlovasi, walked around the old town there. Myrto said they build the old town up on the hillside out of sight of the sea so pirates could not see them. The pirates were mostly from Egypt. When a pirate ship was sighted the watches who light fires on the hilltops and then others would do the same warning the villages. The era of the pirates was about 1600 – 1800. These pictures wil appear in my upcoming post on Karlovasi
Then we had coffee at the port where we met the cousin of the male climber, David Mathea who is a very serious climber and knew about Alpinist Magazine where my daughter Katie is the editor. The four of us talked for hours, mostly about mountain climbing in Greece and the US but also other adventures. George and David are going to set up a Web site to promote adventure tourist on Samos. I said when they have it ready I would promote it on this blog as it deserves attention. The large picture is of the canyon with the cave. The rest are in order of the trip.
Two Greek guys in their early 20s, George Mathea and Perciles Stonailos, (see below wiht their truck) took me up into the mountains for an mostly all day four wheel drive trip on back roads on Samos Island.George drove and Perciles did most of the talking as his English was excellent. George also spekas English. If you go to Samos, whch I highly recommend, and you want to get off the beaten path and see the mountains and the interior you should contact George Matteau at: email@example.com. He is working on promoting alternative tourism on Samos and will take very good care of you.
We did some hiking and went to the top of one mountain. There was a small Greek church on the summit. George is a rock climber and on our walk he checked out a cliff for a possible route. We also visited the highest village, Platanos, and saw a lot of the islands mountainous interior and vineyards. There are vineyards everywhere. The large picture is from the summit. The day was in and out of clouds with some rain.
Happy Greek Easter. Pythagorio in Samos Island, was named after the famous mathetician, Pythagoras, who lived here. It is also a center for tourist with its pleasant port lined with cafes. Many had not yet openned so you see stacked chairs but there were enough to provide we with some excellent meals. Live music happens later in the season. So the night life in the port will be more in force the second half of my trip just in time for my birthday. It is ten minutes from my April home in Mytilinili. On my second trip I went to the port and had a great lunch of Greek salad and fried squid. They do their squid differently here. Not so greasy - I like it much better. I sat at dockside and watched the harbor.
I am spending the month of April in Mitlilni, Samos Island so there will be many more photos from here and the rest of the island. This is a small village in the mountains away from the main tourist areas and tourist season has not begun. The people are very friendly and I have some local contacts through the friend' whose home I am staying it. The seventh small picture is the town square where they play local music every Sunday. The sixth picture is great bakery. Many of the streets are both steep and narrow. The steep part is good to walk some off the excellent fresh food I am eating here. I am starting to get to know the village and the shopkeepers. I think I am the only visitor here. The tourists stay on the water but I am only a ten-minute drive from it and it is a nice it be in a Greek village without tourists. You click on any of the small pictures to enlarge them.