Sunday, December 31, 2006

Farewell to 2006

Let's bid a farewell to 2006 with this wonderful painting which is titled "Santorini". It's dedicated to all of you who stopped by Athens photoblog, to you who left a comment and to everyone who just passed by and took a glimpse of the athenian and greek sun.

I also especially dedicate this joyful scene to everyone who had a sad moment, small or big, during these holidays. Life is sometimes so ironic that in days of great happiness the saddest things can happen.

I hope you 'll forgive my little own artistic intervention: it's the "sun" just over the hills on the background which is, actually, the flash of my camera.
Happy new year to all.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Monkey Business

In Greece, we call "monkeys" all the products that are imitations. For example, a LV bag which is sold out in the street we call it "monkey" and we pronounce it "mymoo".

In the photo, Nigerian immigrants carry their merchandise (mostly mymoo bags but also wooden crafts, clothes and souvenirs) away while the police is raiding their positions in Christmas Athens. The sheet is very convenient. It allows them to wrap everything into seconds, make their way around the block and return to their spot.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Leave a message

Between garbage and demolition debris, a message tries to tell something.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Wet Feet

Happy penguins in Attica Zoological Park. During my visit there the penguins did not sing neither danced. It must have been Athens heat, I hear that in Antarctic every penguin sings or dances.

Season's Greetings to all of you, many thanks to anyone who left a comment yesterday.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The faces of God

Today, we celebrate Christmas and we remember that Athens had some Gods of her own, one who came along the way and stayed and another who came and left.

The Temple of Hephaestus (also called Thission, upper left) is the best-preserved ancient Greek temple in the world, built about 449 BC. The church on the right is Aghii Apostoli, one of the oldest orthodox churches in Athens, built around AD 1000.
This building used to be a mosque. It was the "Fethiye Mosque", built around 1458 by Mehmet the Conqueror inside the area of the Roman agora (yes, Romans had conquered Athens too). It hasn't been used as a mosque for about 180 years.

On a day like this, let's remember that religion should not be used to divide people (as it happens again in our days) but to teach lessons of love, tolerance and respect to anyone's faith.

Question for our friends from non-christian countries: Do you even celebrate Christmas? I read in the papers that Asian cities are decorated, camels in Egypt bear Santa Klaus accessories and things like that. Is that really happening?

Merry Christmas to all of you or Happy Holidays anyway. :-)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Singing Christmas

These kids are singing the "kalanta", a carol which brings in every home the message of Jesus' birth and says wishes. The "singers" ring triangles.

The day before Christmas hordes of children go out and knock doors, ring bells, ride trains (the photo is from metro), raid malls, even sing in the middle of the street asking for money. Of course, the custom is to be given sweets but we live in a material world :-)

Do children sing christmas carols in your country?

Friday, December 22, 2006

What's for dinner?

Most Greeks never eat at restaurants like this but, truth is, they have funny signs.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Coffee with Lord Byron

In Eleftheroudakis bookstore (free wi-fi in the coffee shop at 6th floor BTW), I met with Byron, the great poet. Although he was British, Greece considers him its own national hero. He died in Greece during the war of independence and his heart is buried in Messolongi.

Although he was known to be a heavy smoker, I put him on a non-smoking table. I hope the poet will forgive the small nuisance.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Some more Christmas

Those decorations are everywhere by now. They are so ubiquitous that sometimes they give me the creeps. I don't know if I live in Athens or at Santa Klaus's village.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Merry Athenian Christmas

My good friend Jerry sent me these photos from Christmas decorated Constitution Square. The caption is also by him.Every year Athens city celebrates Christmas "building" the sugar city at Syntagma square.15 colourful houses host candy stores offering visitors candies from Greece and abroad (sometimes though, not at reasonable enough prices).
Apart from the candy stores, Santa Claus has his own house where he is waiting for children to come and visit him and his elves.
The happy atmosphere grows with the carousel of the neighborhood which this year is an german antique of 1886. It has 80 places and offers much pleasure to everyone who feels like a child (or actually is one).

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday is for playing

Today, get rid of anything that bores you and go playing. Play videogames, board games, even with those old fashioned dolls that reminds us of our childhood. Mr Statler here, Waldorf is behind Zoot (if I am not mistaken), is smiling. Well, when even this grumpy old man is smiling what keeps you from being happy??

Have a nice Sunday and prepare yourselves for Christmas. (that includes those who hate them too).

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

A new DP

My very good friend Apostolos has just set up the daily photoblog of Delphi. In ancient times it was the site of the most important Oracle of the god Apollo. Delphi was revered throughout the Greek world as the centre of the universe.

It is, probably, the oldest town that has its own daily photoblog. So, visit and give a warm welcome.
Delphi in Wikipedia

Has the dog left?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Rosetta Paper found in Olympic Store

The Games are long gone but we still have to pay the bill. Since the chinese company, which made all the 2004 merchandise, produced countless of items (we thought we could sell them all at once) they are many of them on sale at Athens Olympic Store. The multilingual sign it's a modern Rosetta Stone. When an archaeologist, thousands of years from now, finds it he will know we had sales.
Below, the original Rosetta Stone

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Moai @ Athens metro

Far away from Easter Island, two small Moai sculptures were found in Athens. It's under investigation how they ended up in a metro station chewing tickets. Relatives in Hanga Roa (photo below) were shocked by the news but they don't seem to want them back. As Mr Moai Rano Raraku said: "It's a disgrace. Real Moais don't wear lipstick".

Monday, December 11, 2006

Yahoo and Torrent in Athens pavements

As you may already know, Greeks invented everything. The first photo proves that Yahoo was invented in Greece in 1984. Since we had no Internet back then, we used it as a sewer. And we wrote it in greek letters too.
(YAHOO=ΓΙΑΧΟΥ, on the lower side of the circular lid just above the numbers)

The second photo proves that we invented Torrents too. Similarly, we didn't know what to do with them so we used them as part of the Greek Yahoo (sewer) system. Then we sold the patent to USA where they turned it into bit-torrent. We want our royalties!
(first photo from

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My big fat greek painting

Fernando Botero found his muse :-)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday morning

Drinking some cappuccino just opposite of Athens Stock Exchange. It's s Saturday and the place is quiet and peaceful.
(click pic for larger version)

Friday, December 08, 2006

On line

...or should I say in line. But they are online anyway :-)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pushing back

A little slice of Singapore in Athens. I post this photo because I have been in Singapore in 1999 and I had a great time there. I also post this photo because my good friend George took it at Eleftherios Venizelos airport, a place which, for every Athenian, is the starting point for every big journey.
Athens Airport in Google Maps

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Remembering summer

Although it's December and almost Christmas, we like to remember summer. After all, in the southern hemisphere is no winter at all. :-)
Late in the morning, Parikia, Paros island.
Paros island in Google Maps
Visitor's guide

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fierce animals revisited

I haven't posted animals for a while and I need to catch up :-)
It's the same kitten from this post

Monday, December 04, 2006

Kolonaki Square and kolonaki itself

Kolonaki Square is the upmarket shopping centre of Athens. Every major luxury brand is here and every greek celebrity likes to drink a coffee or two in the cafés. It`s also a chic and expensive place to live. Athenian "aristocracy" resides here.

Few visitors, even locals, know the exact origin of its name. Kolonaki in greek means "little column" and this is the very object that the square and all the surrounding area is named of. A small ancient column.

Kolonaki in Wikipedia

Sunday, December 03, 2006

All Saints

Remember this post which was talking about stations named after saints?. At this crossroads inside metro's Syntagma station, every road leads to a saint. Holy underground land :-)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Omonoia Square

I took this photo early in a Saturday morning when the only people outside and on the road were the taxi drivers.

This is the official city centre (e.g. every kilometer distance to other cities is measured from here) Omonoia in greek means "concord". Well, we have a Place de la Concorde ourselves. :-)

(click on the photo for larger version)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Preserving the past

Since I have no picture of a person from the waist down (therefore I cannot participate to the December 1st Theme Day) here is a modern office building from the ground down.
This is National Bank's new headquarters in Athens. During the excavation several artifacts, walls and findings from the ancient city were unearthed.
Since it was somewhat expected that such objects would occur, the building was designed to be built over the site. The antiquities were preserved in their exact place.

Do you have similar cases in your own city?