Archive for the 'Greece' Category

Quick Post!

The Wandering Nerd November 26th, 2007

I’m back in Athens, coalescing…sorta’.  Tonight I’m off for an overnight train to Thessaloniki then tomorrow night it’s an overnight train to Istanbul.  Gonna’ be a long run.  I’ll post again when I can.


My fingernails retracted, can’t be asked and daily specials.

The Wandering Nerd November 24th, 2007


Time - among other things - has a habit of sneaking up on you. I’ve been on the road for four months now, and the rowers keep on rowing and they’re certainly not showing any signs that they are slowing. I’m in Santorini sitting on my private balconey - not bad for €12 - staring up at an almost full moon, billow clouds lazily drifting by. Right now the cloud in front of the moon looks exactly like a Luckdragon. I’m sipping on a Santorini Wine - medium dry red -, munching on fresh Baklava - extra honey-, listening to Rufus Wainwright. There are precious few things that could make this better. One involves me not being sick anymore.

The more I travel the more I notice striking synchronicity with old idioms. Sure the When in Rome… line was clearly necessary, but when we were in Pompei - and Italy/Greece in general - there were numerous strays wandering around on the street. At one point one of the other tourists stumbling around the city reached down to pet one that was snoozing in the sun. Unhappy at being awoken, it started growling and barking at the guy, this is why you should let sleeping dogs lie! I got a million of them! While in the Athens train station I was studying the map and one of the people following me asked if I knew what I was looking for, nope, it’s all greek to me! There are more, but I’ll spare you for a bit.

I’ve travelled to Santorini with a guy I met in Athens, Tom. British, but other than that genetic failing, he’s a good bloke. We rented ATVs today and literally drove around the island. The map we were given can only loosely be termed as such. I’ve seen better directions in crayon or given by a Scotsman…okay so maybe not as bad as the Scots, but still poor.

A word - actually two - on Santorini beaches: poorly defined. I expect something about a beach named Paradiso. Something more than it was. They do have the cleverly named Red Beach, which is a lot of giant red rocks by the sea. Then there’s the Black Beach, which is similar to the Red Beach but with one minor difference that I’ll leave as an excersice to the reader. Finally there’s the White Beach. Go on, guess.


The Thundermight ATVs we rented were all 50ccs of pure screaming power. There were some paved roads the little bastards couldn’t climb. It was like a bad game of Mario Cart, only without blue sparks FTW. The thing was so small I actually got it to bunny hop. I had it up on two wheels easily enough, but I couldn’t get a wheelie out of it short of standing in front of it and just lifting the front end up to my chest. Oh, and did I mention it’s freakin’ cold? I’m sure that’s going to go well with me in the morning.

The morning should see me headed back to Athens for a night or two as I suss out my next moves. Either Istanbul, or straight on into Cyprus. I’m tired of being cold.

Santorini is definately a pretty island, and the inhabitants are kings and queens of hospitality and friendliness. I suspect it would be a lot cooler if everything wasn’t closed. The island is like a ghost town right now. From the number of ‘beach’ bars I’m seeing, this place likes to kick it during the peak season. I’ve also noticed numerous gutted concrete husks of buildings standing vacant. Not sure if they are going up or coming down, but they look oddly ghastly in this place.

Lots of things here are painted white, and a blue that is exactly the same shade as the midday sky. It adds a seeming transperancy to the buildings around here. You’ll see in the shots that the colors are very clashing with the countryside, but it works well. Enjoy the show!

everything i’m not
made me everything I am
-kanye west

Who is your daddy and what does he do? Lazy eyes and pricey beers. No, you were telling me about Nigeria.

The Wandering Nerd November 21st, 2007

People have been bagging on Athens since I’ve started traveling. Saying that I only need to spend 2 days there and I’d be over it. Complete bollocks! I love this place.

The trip in was kinda’ horrible, after the ‘cruise’ I got unceremoniously dumped off in a place called Patras. Basically a wharf town that everyone has to pass through. Hopped a bus to Athens from there. The bus passed a lot of the areas that were hit by the fires this summer. That was truly barren rock and emptiness, but the coastline is fantastic. The bus station in Athens was very disheartening - while we were there the whole place lost power…completely - and no one had a map to beg, borrow or steal. I hadn’t planned on where I was going to stay for the evening, so I hopped a bus to the main train station and after some searching found a hostel to crash. The bus to the station drove through standing water in the road so deep that water literally came up into the bus. Good times. The area I’m staying in is just north of the Acropolis in the Plaka region of Athens. It’s freakin’ sweet. Everything is marble, streets, buildings, signs, everything.

For the last six years I’d been living within spitting distance of the Nashville Parthenon. Seeing the real Parthenon was pretty trippy. Though to be fair it truly is a ruin and currently surrounded by scaffolding, much like everything else in Europe. Didn’t these punks know I was coming? Couldn’t they have made some sort of effort? Bastards.

Speaking of bastards. Let’s talk about Ouzo. It is a licorice liquor, much like the dreaded Jagermeister. Generally it’s not bad, but it becomes deadly due to the fact it mainly hunts in packs. One shot of ouzo seems to serve as some sort of twisted herding call, summoning numerous others in short order. More dangerous in the wilds of Greece is the infamous Ninja Ouzo, which is simply someone dumping a shot of ouzo in your beer when you aren’t looking - or when you are looking.

I’ve also discovered the secret to getting free drinks. Just tell everyone around you that you’re having a light night and not drinking. The dirty philistines seem to line up to hand you drinks. Especially the Germans. They have some pent up hatred for Americans - or perhaps just me. For the sake of international relations - completely selflessly - I’ve been graciously accepting. No need to start some sort of incident until I’m in Turkey.

Crazy nightlife aside, Athens is inspiring. Talk about the history, this place has some truly old school ruins. Not like those johnny-come-lately Romans, with their 200 AD crap. I’m talking 4th Millennium BC stuff here! I really wish the photos could do justice to the panoramas you can see here just by walking up to the hill of the Acropolis. The city stretches on as far as the eye can see, and you can clearly see the sunlight glinting off of the Mediterranean in the other direction. Truly captivating. I snagged some video from the Ancient Agora which gives you an idea of the dichotomy of the city.

The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is swank. Supposedly one of the best museums in the world. While I’m not sure about that, they certainly have a lot of pots…lots and lots of pots. Here comes some really old school nerdness. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. The museum has the Antikythera mechanism. The first mechanical computer! Forget Eniac, this thing was dated somewhere between 150 and 100 BC! To put that in perspective, it was a contemporary of the early Abacus - earliest abacus is about 300 BC! How freakin’ cool is that? The Greeks were using mechanisms to calculate the positions of the stars over 2 thousand years ago, and the British still can’t seem to get more than two pieces of ice in a mixed drink! Where’s the progress?

The also had arrowheads scavaged from the field of the Battle of Thermopylae. Think 300. I was going to go to Sparta, get off the bus scream, “THIS IS SPARTA!” and randomly kick some passerby in the chest. Then hop back on and come back to Athens. As it’s a 4 hour bus ride, and there really isn’t anything else there now than the glory of a teep on some unsuspecting citizen.

Last night turned out delightfully random. I’d met a few cool geologists - they rock - from Michigan State, and they were going to a reception put on by a megaconglomerate oil company who I am not allowed to name. They invited me along to crash it if I wanted to. All I had to do was vaguely pretend to be a student and talk a little bit about dirt. How could I turn that down? Free booze, and food on the top floor of the fancy schmancy hotel in Athens under false pretense, having to make up reasonable sounding scientific discussions regarding a field of study I haven’t looked at since seventh grade?!? I’m there. I ended up talking to the CEO of the unsaid company for a while, making him tell me about the places he’d been. Hehe, Hail Eris!


I would like to tell you the night ended quietly with a warm cup of cocoa and a nice sleep. As that would be a belligerent lie however, I am unable to. We headed back to one of the hostel bars where my geology friends (Eric, John, and Julie) sacked out and the damnable Germans got a hold of me again and forced, forced me mind you to drink more Jagermeister. To the point I am now refered to as, “Mr. Jagermeister” to a small portion of the German population. Hey, it’s better than ‘Moldy’, which was the nickname of one of the German guys. Good folks though, even ‘Machine’ which was the largest German I have ever seen, and very Bavarian. We would give him Arnie lines to say back to us and he was a great sport about it all. By the 3 or 4 in the morning a big group of people were sitting on the marble outcropping just north of the Acropolis rolling laughing to bellowed echoes of “IT’S NOT A TUMOR!” and “COME WITH ME IF YOU WANT TO LIVE!” Priceless.

Today was quiet, wandered around a bit more, but generally just took it easy. Tonight I’m going to see if I can find someplace showing the England vs. Croatia footy and sack out early. The ferry I have to catch tomorrow requires me to be there by 7 a.m. So thank you Athens! Good Night!

this is a type of kinda like a formal dedication
giving out a shout for much inspiration
all i ever really want to do is get nice
get loose and goof my little slice of life
-beastie boys

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