Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Links, posts, archives

No underlined links to third-party sites here, just written addresses. Please take the time to follow up on the details, even though we have to slow up. Why slow us up like this? See for overviews on internet law and copyright. These things are more complex than we ever dreamed, and nothing seems clear. In transition.

Post dates show the itinerary chronology - from arrival, to departure. So, do read the Archives - they show the continuing trip, not necessarily earlier posts. A new or revised post may appear at the beginning, to draw attention to it, but the plan is to incorporate it later elsewhere, if it fits better there.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Thessaloniki area: American Farm School

Everyone involved with the campus and programs at this secondary school (boarding school) should be very proud. Many American teachers and their families. The school teaches a broad curriculum to boys and girls in the context of also teaching modern agricultural techniques and issues. We went to a graduation and the top student is given a calf that is proudly led right on the stage.

They also have an exchange program for summer high school students from the US, who then live with Greek families (farm? I believe so)and a friend's daughter loved it. Other friends (really like family) are committed to its growth as well. With all the bad press Americans get from other activities abroad, this one deserves huge kudos. There is physical sense of relief to come across things like this, as an American. And to see the deep commitment of the Greek adminstration and trustees. See Also see

I am not involved with any of this other than cheering on the people we know who have been instrumental in its success - just very, very, impressed.

At that graduation, we noticed that so many of the parents were short-statured, while the children were much taller. We were told that the improvement in diet has made a big difference in the height of the young people, and were reminded that many of the parents and their parents lived through the food and health deprivations of wars. That makes sense.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Old Jewish Quarter - Near Thessaloniki

Old Jewish Quarter, near Thessaloniki, Greece

In so many towns there is an old Jewish quarter that is either still abandoned, or -- as here -- becoming rejuvenated, re-lived in. Walking around, there may be just an alley heading into a square, and you go through and suddenly find a world there, and easy to imagine the sights and sounds of a busy community before the horrors.

The reconstruction here is beyond the main square of the town, hardly noticeable as you walk on the more traveled street, and is in a walled-in area. Some things are best seen on your own, while just out walking off a good meal. The town is between the area where the father of Alexander the Great was buried, and Thessaloniki. It is not far from the American Farm School,

Thessaloniki - Northern Greece - Ossios David

This is a late 5th century church, Ossios David, with a famous mosaic inside showing a clean-shaven Christ in a vision to prophets.

The city is cosmopolitan, with a well-known university, a busy port, and large pedestrianized mall area with students and more students. This is said to be one of the "hippest" cities in Europe. For shoes, I understand you can see more in Thessaloniki shops than most anywhere else. Also, beaches, and an old city area at the top of the hill that is full of all the things in this site and more: see Carry a daypack, leave your larger stuff in the car and trust, and you will find that the guidebooks and maps are quite enough to tote, thank you. Some guidebooks, even though compact, are enormously heavy - meant for the coffee table when you get back, not the tote when you are there.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Language, signs, ouzo, mezze,

We had the usual guide book language guide. Signs were more difficult because of the different characters and diphthongs, but just coast along. Body language works fine in most cases. Food: the rough equivalent of the Spanish tapas is the Greek mezze - bites, sequential little plates of things. They mey be called appetizers, but for us made an entire meal most of the time. For more on mezze, the Greek appetizers, see The rest of the address would be asp?gid=9&nodeid=7889&arid=3806. Click around the site to the Mediterranean section, and find how to cook squid. A fine dish.

Ouzo (a splendid pine-pitchy liquor) may be served with a little colorful tin cup, short (maybe 3 1/2"?) and narrow, for refills. Try the lamb with lemon, oregano. Lamb fricasee. Octopus (see post here for Ehina). It is easy to order foreign ingredients and see what food there looks like - toggle around, or as a start for pictures and how to order, see No connection, it just looks like a good starting point for getting authentic ingredients.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Kavala - Northeast - Aqueduct, fortress

Aqueduct, Kavala (Philippi), Greece

Kavala is northeast from Thessaloniki, on a more scenic route than the truck-congested motorway.

Kavala is the newer name for Philippi, the city where the apostle Paul is supposed to have first landed. Its aqueduct here is not Roman, but dates from the time of Suleiman the Magnificent, constructed 1520-1530 or so. That little sign on the left that you can barely see, says that Constantinople is 480 Km away (take 2/3 of that for miles, approximately. So, 250 +/- miles?).   Kavala was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1371-1912. See
Kavala,  Castle, Greece.

The castle at Kavala was begun in in the 5th century BC, with Byzantine additions. See

Monday, November 20, 2006

Mt. Olympus - in the distance

Distant Mount Olympus, Greece

Mount Olympus. The home of the gods, believed to be so because it is so high. The mythology of the Greeks is extensive - get a start at; and at

There is an entire history site - for multiple countries and topics, including Greece and its mythology, at

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Delphi and the road to it. The Oracle and the Horseradish

Delphi is the mountainous site where heaven and earth were said to meet, the center of the world, and where the Oracle foresaw the future.

Delphi oracle and horseradish.

The Oracle also dealt with mundane matters:  The Oracle told Apollo, god of the sun, something like this:  That the radish is worth its weight in lead; the beet its weight in silver; and the horseradish its weight in gold. See The Big Book of Herbs, by Arthur O. Tucker and Thomas DeBaggio, Interweave Press, 2000 (as reported in the New York Times somewhere, didn't write down the cite properly). See it at ://
Its story, Delphi in its glorious past,  is told well at For a photo gallery, here are some signposts: see www.galenfrysinger.comdelphi, and

Delphi is a World Heritage Site. See

Delphi, Greece

Getting to Delphi:  Delphi plants.  Find broom, poppies, a flowering pink bush. Surprising color in the dry.
Delphi, view of landscape, Greece

Is there any culture that has not tried to foretell? Individuals came to Delphi for that purpose. What about Nostradamus? Did he ever do individual prophecies,as did the Oracles?

What makes an oracle different from a soothsayer, a fortune teller? Search on those.

A good overview on oracle-ing is at, under Oracle. There is another section there for the specific Oracle at Delphi.

This source suggests that part of the mystique of Delphi stemmed from certain earth-gases seeping into the underground cavern, and inhaled by the Oracle. See

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Corinth - Peloponnese - old city, high fortress

Corinth, Greece

Corinth is on the other side the the canal that now separates mainland Greece (with Athens and Pereus) from the Peloppenese peninsula. Read the newsletter of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens at // , and scroll to Corinth.

There is a busy town below, and elaborate ruins at a lower level and then more at a higher level.

Think defense, and recourse if the first level fortress falls.

Well area, Corinth, Greece

The descending stairs here are for an underground well and water disbursement system for the entire city - tubs collect the water, and sluice it all around. Here is a touring family's photos - real people's pictures are easier to follow than the professional websites.

The more level town area has been inhabited since about 3000-5000 BC. There is a brief history; and more photos at [the rest of the web address is /2/21/211/21104a/e211da.05.]

The old city castle-fort on the cliff is built to make invasion on horseback, or by great numbers of enemies, almost impossible. Not also the narrow doorway at the top. More defense, make it difficult to arrive on horseback, or two abreast. Always conscious of how precarious life was - and defenses had better work, because somebody was at the door much of the time. Also conscious of what the ordinary sounds and smells would be there - horses, hoofs, animals, shouting, markets, people just being people.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Site for Photo gallery, someone else, an excellent few

Sometimes the photo galleries on the net are so good that they deserve a special round of applause. Go to, for example, This is a road sign only, not a direct blue-link, and is not an "incorporation," or other internet no-no referred to at, as far as I can tell. This area of copyright is a minefield.

Admire the poppies in particular. Then go to and follow the instructions for hearing real applause.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mycenae - Death of Agamemnon; Peloponnese

Mycenae, Greece

The palace ruin at Mycenae - a town connected to the some of thegreatest myths and historical references and cultural works in Greece. See

Sometimes ruins can look alike when we get home, but to my best recollection this is the baths area on the Peloponnese peninsula where the Queen Clytemnestra is to have murdered her husband, Agamemnon. Agamamnon was the brother of King Menelaus, whose wife, Helen, went with/was abducted by Paris, the son of King Priam of Troy. The Trojan war commenced. For the summary of the story of that, read "The Virtual Iliad" - go to; or Homer's original Iliad,the tale of Troy, available at your local library.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Itinerary After The Fact

Athens (and staying with splendid friends who also loaned us a car), Piraeus, day trip to Aegina, an island, then north to Thebes, Livadia, Mt. Parnassus - Delphi, Lamia, Larisa, , west to Kalambaka, Inannina, Metsovo, Kozani, Thessaloniki, south to Karyes, north and east again to Kavala, Drama, back to Thessaloniki, south to Delphi, Athens, Korinth, Mycenae, Argos, Nafplio and back to Athens.