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.