Saturday, December 17, 2011

Request 2

Dear Santa,
I have never asked something very fancy. This year I will be more demanding.
This year I would like a time-machine.
I know I am being too irrational for a physicist, but, heck, you are the Santa and have a sleigh pulled by flying raindeer, and you can distribute a billion presents overnight and all. I am pretty sure you can't do it without a time machine.
If you can't find one more, could you please change the calendar so that after 7 Jan I can get a 27 Jun?
Anyway, if you insist that I should obey the laws of Physics, please give to me and my beloved, health, peace and a healthy level of insanity to overcome the complexities of 2012.
Ah! I could also find some good use for an one way ath-muc ticket for 5-15 Jul.



Friday, December 16, 2011

Gray city: Munich

The snow lasted only for a day.
Warm winter (that is temperatures above zero) is plain sad.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Just because

Trying to cheer up all the people out there. Random flower from a long time ago...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

White things


The white things started falling from the sky again.

This winter has been very warm, only yesterday the temperature was about 10 degrees Celsius, but dropping dramatically was never really a problem.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Request 1

Dear Saint Basil (of Caesarea),

what about a small boat this year?
You see, there are some very beautiful and quiet places that we cannot reach on foot. We tried!

Keep me posted. But if you decide to bring one this year, please bring it directly to the island. It would be such a hassle to transport it from Munich all the way to Greece.



Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jingle Bells

What are going to write in your letter to Santa this year?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

new M.A.Sc. in the house

Shout-out to my good friend Idipous who successfully defended his Master thesis today!
He is not in Paris, but I know that it is one of his favorite cities!

Best wishes Idipous!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

bitte berühren

When I was little, I was taught NEVER to touch any of the exhibits in a museum. This of course out of respect towards the works of art, since they will be quickly ruined if each and everyone of us touched for a example a statue or a painting. Imagine my frustration and the deadly looks I give to people when I realize that they are touching something (yes, I am looking at you!).
But, I have heard -on the radio perhaps- that special museums have been created especially for blind people and for children where you are encouraged to touch replicas of famous statues. What a great idea!
The Louvre, has a small room where you can touch the statuettes and this is where we spotted this little guy. I have to admit that I was hesitating to touch it :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

traffic lights: Munich

Desperatly trying to convince pedestrians not to cross the road. Perhaps a sign with something like: "Please pedestrians, don't cross the road :( " would be more effective. spotted: in Munich close to Marienplatz.

2012 Update:

The People have spoken, this traffic light is no longer in place :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dancing ladies

One of the things I like about Germany is the spontaneus events in streets and parks, involving happy people. This one spotted in a hot August day in Englischer Garten, Munich Germany, close to the Chinese tower.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Κουράγιο Αδέρφια!

Many people ask me what is the situation like in Greece. Well, there you have it, a picture is worth 1000 words.

No one knows how is the prime minister thinking. What worries me is that maybe even he doesn't know what he is doing. Maybe this is all part of a truly genius plan that we are unable to conceive.

Κουράγιο αδέρφια....

p.s. Ironically enough, the picture is from the East side gallery in Berlin.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Outdoors hagiography

Q: What's a guy doing with spray paint outside a church?
A: Hagiograffiti.

This one was spotted outside St Michaels golden domed monastery in Kiev. Or close to it...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

traffic lights: Berlin

Our trip across the roads brings us back to Europe. This time in Germany, we saw the green Ampelmann in Berlin. According to the wikipedia entry, this figure starred in the traffic lights in East Germany, but I am very sure that I have seen this figure also in Heidelberg. If any of our german friends has some clue about this, I would love to hear it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

traffic lights: State college

Day 2, in Pennsylvania. Even though the green traffic light is the legendary little person crossing the road, the red traffic light is different.

Two things come to mind:

Halt!! Put the cot down slowly! (from an old greek commercial...)

and which was that movie where the famous phrase was heard: "talk to the hand" ?

Tomorrow, back in Europe.

Monday, October 10, 2011

traffic lights: Paris

I am going to take you a tour around the world and see the habits of pedestrians crossing the road.

Let's start from Paris. When the traffic light is red, you have to stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hands on the hips. Annoyed face is optional. When it is time to cross the road, you have to proceed very carefully, almost stepping on your toes! It reminds me a bit of 'the pink panther' :D

...or as the locals suggested, cross the road no matter if the light is green or red! Which is quite similar to our habits in Greece. Indeed, Paris felt like home ;)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Leaning tower

For sure you all know the leaning tower of Pisa, but what about the leaning tower of Bologna?

I was fortunate to visit Bologna last September. It is a very beautiful well preserved medieval city that has the oldest University in Europe. During the Roman times, several towers were erected for defence purposes and today only a few remain.

But what is it with the italian towers and they all lean?

Monday, October 3, 2011

RAW fun

I have always been a fun of digital post processing of photographs. After some googling I came across the program Darktable which processes RAW images and it is available for all platforms!

It is soooo cool! Take a look at the example here. On the left is the RAW image after some fiddling. On the right is the jpeg directly out of the camera. Of course it takes a lot of effort to process all of the pictures you take every time but I think it is worth it. You can save a picture that had a nice theme, but the settings went bad.

This picture is from the last weekend of this years' Octoberfest.

p.s. I have continuous numbering on the images on my camera, and about a month ago I reached 9999 pictures and the numbering started over. That is about ~650 pictures per month since I got the camera!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day or Night

Very creative garage door spotted in Paris, but I am not sure what is the message that comes across. If I am reading this correctly, parking in front of this door is not allowed for French people day or night, for Germans only during the night and for Greeks during the day. I cannot find anything for English people though. ;)

p.s. As always, click on the image to enlarge it!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cool and fresh

Having a long layover? No problem! You have the chance to entertain yourself with a brand new camera!
Spotted: Philadelphia airport, not surprising right? ;)

p.s. I was severely tempted...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Taking the black (beret)

"Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all nights to com." [George RR Martin, "A game of thrones"]

For me it is better than that. Tomorrow I am starting my military service but it will be only for nine months.

We found this tank in Kiev, in the museum of the great patriotic war. Sasha told us a lot of things about it. It appears to have been the most powerful weapon of the soviet army during WWII. Then I couldn't imagine that I would have to deal with something like this a year and 3 months later.

This is also my first try of  "forging" a photo. One person was GIMPed out of it.

Hope to see you again soon.

P.S. By the way, TV series "Game of Thrones" rocks, as well as the novel. I am taking with me the latter, with the hope that I will have time to read a bit.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Picnic in Paris

I bet many of you have noticed the spikes people use on exposed surfaces to keep birds away. It seems that this particular bird could not care less :) I guess people should reconsider their effectiveness.

In the mean time, at the background you can see a typical Parisian activity, that is picnic by the river. We realized quite soon that we had to do the same as the food in Paris is very, very, very expensive!
There is one district though that has more reasonable prices, but we found out about it on our last day in the city. More on this tomorrow!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Up and down

The world is turning upside down!

We are in the middle of a tremendous economic crisis, a man-made satellite is about to crash on Earth, there might be neutrinos that travel faster than the light in vacuum and Facebook made yet another change.

If the world does end in 2012 I will not be surprised at all!

Spotted: under the pyramid in Louvre, what was hidden there again?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A facepalm for a minister


Today, I read in the greek press:
  • People with income as low as 5000 euros will be taxed. (Poverty limit by eurostat: 6500 euros). The official justification is that with this measure the high incomes which are hidden from the state will be spotted.
  • The minister of economy declared that we are not in a crisis but we try to avoid to become like Argentina, with complete destruction of economy, institutions, social fabric and the production base of the country. Someone should tell him that we are already there. And any rags left by the previous governments are day by day destructed by him and the rest of the gang.
  • The same guy told that the recently introduced temporary fee on real estate for 2011 and 2012 will be permanent and included in the regular tax system from 2013. I am relieved! I feared that it would become permanent from now.
Then, I browsed through the photos we shot in Paris earlier this summer. And found this one. Should I feel desperate? should I laugh? Facepalm!

Monday, September 19, 2011

In the park

There is something about this picture that I like a lot. Maybe it is the colors, maybe the composition...
Spotted in the English garden in Munich one summery day.

(This beautiful picture belongs to Kostas, posted with his permission :) )

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The barrel is now open!

Wow, these are very dedicated people!
From what I'm guessing, the barrel is now open and people are parading once more (from overwhelming joy?). But this time the weather was not on their side. The group suffering the more is the musicians. The other people carry umbrellas conveniently enough!

What is also puzzling, is that there are people standing for more than an hour watching the parade passing by...


It is this time of the year again! Octoberfest is here!!

Today was the first day and the parade of the owners of the breweries reached the Theresienwiesen, place of the Octoberfest. Tomorrow, the mayor will open the first barrel of beer and offer the first glass to the prime minister of Bavaria.

In the picture you see just a glance from the parade, the beer carried from the Hofbräu München maybe the most famous bavarian brewery. I have no idea if the barrels are empty or not :)

Fun facts about the Octoberfest,
- it started 200 years ago as a celebration of King Ludwig's wedding
- people like to wear their traditional clothes (dirndl for the women, lederhose for the men)
- Munich hosts 6 million visitors in a period of 3 weeks
- 6 million liters of beer are being consumed and 3 million chickens (it is typical to eat half a chicken)
- there are tourists everywhere!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nice... what?

Remember the fresh fruit in Rome? This time we found 'nice hair' (orea malia = ωραία μαλλιά) in Bologna!

It is funny how all the languages have influenced each other during the centuries... And it is even funnier how the same word sometimes means different things!

Tell us, do you have any funny examples of mixing up words which sound the same but have completely different meanings in different languages?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Της γριάς το πήδημα, Old lady's jump

A few, or not so few, days ago I had promised to tell a bit more about the Gria (old lady) and the castle .

So, the Gria's castle, formally Ano Kastro (Upper castle) was built during the Venetian era of the island. Not much is known about its history, as archaeologists are somehow more fascinated by the ancient Greek history than the medieval one. However some excavations were held recently (2009). What remains today is a small but very important, for the residents of the nearby Kochylou village and the whole island, chapel of Phaneromeni (Our lady "the uncovered" / better translation welcome!). The chapel is celebrated twice a year on the day of the Assumption and the first Tuesday after Easter.

But how is all that related to the scenery in today's photo? And who is the "Gria"?

One of the many legends has it, that the Gria pretended to ask a refuge in the castle during its siege by Pirates (or Turks), but in fact she betrayed it and when the defenders opened the door, the siegers had the chance to enter and occupy it. After that, the Gria felt guilty and committed suicide by jumping in the sea in a nearby small bay.  Her body became the large rock that you can see in today's photo. The bay is now known as "Tis grias to pidima" (Της γριάς το πήδημα, The old lady's jump) and is probably the most famous beach of Korthi area. Partly because of its funny name, partly because it is one of the most beautiful beaches with this rare geological phenomenon.

Other legends about the name of the bay:
2) The Gria had a daughter who was kidnapped by the pirates and she committed suicide out of sadness
3) The Gria was in love with a sailor who didn't return, and she lost all hope.

(If you know any other legends please write it in the comments!)

PG13 alert --- implied sexuality ----

In greek the word "pidima" except for the original meaning of jump is also used as an euphemism for the sexual act. Which obviously makes the name of the bay far more funny. It makes me think that the sailor from legend no 3, finally returned.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Feldmochinger fly

Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has the grander view?  Hugo, Victor

I first saw this quotation in D's Thesis. Micro and Telescope share the same principles of operation. And both observe the universe, one giving the big picture, the other the details.

Just like the physicists. They work on different scales. Cosmologists, astrophysicists, planetary-environmental-geophysicists , materials scientists, nuclear physicists, and then there are those high energy particles physicists to complete the circle.

You have already seen our "telescope" image. Here is a "microscope" one. Both taken with the same tele-lens.

The other day we swam in Feldmochinger See (lake), close to Munich. And spotted this creepy but at the same time colourful and beautiful fly having her lunch.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Is it a good sign?

Spotted on the City Night Line from Paris to Munich.

My question is the following: if a drunk person sees things being distorted, could he see this distorted sign as normal?

I guess we'll have to do the experiment! Where is a drunk travel-mate when you need him the most?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Now grias kastro

The Virgin's chapel close to the medieval castle overlooking Joyfully Kochylou(*) village. Tonight we observe the vespers for tomorrow's celebration. More on the kastro (castle) and the gria (old lady) to follow.

edit: More on the castro and the gria, and also her beach may be found in this post.

(*) btw SE xperia X8 has a great auto correct feature, I think I should get used to it. Until then, "Kochylou" will be automatically corrected to "Joyfully". This alternative is rather appropriate, but it was not in my mind when I wrote the post.
One more thing about X8. Its camera has no autofocus, not even manual focus... which is bad.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Now the plane and the full moon

I feel extremely lucky tonight! I welcome you to enjoy the full moon from my balcony.

p.s. Best spent money of the last year

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Now the moon

Finally, a warm day! Enjoy a rarely seen Moon from cloudy Munich!

Monday, August 8, 2011


Spotted in Montmartre.

There are many reasons that make Paris the amazing city that it is.
One of them being the cool streetart. Stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Now Platanos (?) Beach.

We headed to a beach named Platanos. After some wandering off road I am not really sure we are there. Anyway, it is a great small bay!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Now a bit off the south coast of Evia

Deux girafes s'il vous plaît

One might think that giraffes are indigenous animals of Europe. We keep coming across them wherever we go. We have seen them in Athens, close to Munich and now in Berlin!

Question to our greek speaking friends: How is a male giraffe called in greek?
(Even though I never got an answer for the swan)

cookie: giraffe in greek has a funny name, καμηλοπάρδαλη.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Looking at the tower

As you might already know, eating in Paris can be very very expensive. There is a very cool alternative though! If you go at Champ de Mars you can have the most amazing view of the Eiffel tower while having a pic nic. Admittedly, you are going to have many friends around! Most of them being (loud) tourists but let's face it, you are one as well, right?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reichstag's dome

A few months ago, if you'd wish to visit the german parliament, or just its beautiful dome you would have to wait in line for some hours (if I have a photo, I'll post it tomorrow). Nowadays due to security reasons you have to book in advance and you go through a security check, pretty much like at the airport.

During our last visit to Berlin, we had the chance to enter the dome. No question for a tour inside the parliament, it was booked for the whole July! Nevertheless, if you get the chance, do visit the dome! It is beautiful!!! And from a really cool audio guide you will learn many things about Reichstag, its dome and the scenery surrounding the parliament.


p.s. I hear that some friends are going to be in Berlin very soon! :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

What are you sinking about?

SOS! We are sinking!

Who can tell us why this guy is sinking into the wall?
Tip: spotted in Montmarte.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011


This picture seems completely fake to me. Yet, I am the one who took the picture! Guess the city!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I'm in a boat

If you don't live in a country that has access to the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, chances are that you are not so used to use a boat as means of transport, or what is more, spend a night inside one!

Fear not though, next time you are in Berlin, you can stay in this cosy hostel boat on Spree!!
It has the feeling of leaving inside a boat, and the versatile Berlin, can make you feel you are on an actual cruise!


Want to preserve your love for eternity? Try this, secure a lock on a bridge and throw the keys in the river.

We have seen this tactic in Rome, Paris and as of today in Munich. As we learned though, your love will be kept safe in the case of Paris only for a year. The tourists-in-love are so many, that the police removes all locks once a year. I guess the couple in the picture has secured their lock somewhere else.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Behind Eros and Psyche

Have you ever wondered how some of the famous sculptures look from behind? I did. And here I share with you the rear view of "Eros and Psyche" which is on display in the Louvre.

The Louvre is a great (in terms of both size and quality) museum in the centre of Paris. In order to get in you have to wait in a looooong queue or use a more convenient workaround (knock the door and we will answer). It is essentially an attempt to gather every single piece of art created in the world up to the mid 19th century and put it in one museum. Most of the items on display are taken from palaces after the abolishment of monarchy, and "souvenirs" brought by Napoleon and other French officials during their trips. Good thing, the short guy didn't invade China, because Louvre is not big enough for the Chinese wall.

We confirm rumours that Mona Lisa is NOT a reason to visit Louvre, especially mid-July! It is a small painting which you will have to see from a distance due to the crowd of tourists who are there to see Mona Lisa. I guess because they have seen her everywhere and wish to confirm the good reproduction. Da Vinci was a very productive artist and Louvre has many better works of his. May we suggest the Madonna of the Rocks?