apparently, some cypriots are too polite to say the word "damn."
apparently, some cypriots are too polite to say the word “damn.”

dams are impressive pieces of architecture.  when i was in albania, i photographed the vau i dejës dam for a friend who was doing some architectural work for the electric company (including a few pictures with my 6×6 camera):

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so here have the asprokremmos dam, an earthen dam built from 1978 to 1982. stones on the embankment, a huge concrete overflow reservoir, and a capacity of 51 million cubic meters of water …

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… and below it all – in case the dang fails – a row of beehives to protect the buildings on the coast from the onslaught of water.


walking the holy road (a preview)

i just cleaned up the previous post. formatting posts on an iphone is for the birds, so i’m sitting in a café with good wifi, and typing.

i was prepared to do a long post on the national archaeological museum, but i realized that the photos i’d taken on my iphone (again, why don’t i carry my camera everywhere i go?) turned out to be pretty bad. i will do a post on the museum soon-ish, since the museum is pretty amazing. in the meantime, though, i got the idea of taking the metro to the end of one of the lines, and then walking back into town and photographing what i saw. i chose to get off at agia marina (άγια μαρίνα), which i first translated as the agia marina – i.e., where they dock the boats – but then realized it means “saint marina.”

so up i popped at saint marina station, and i found myself on ιερά όδος, the holy road. “this oughta be good,” i said to myself. not so much. so the question is, can i walk down the holy road and find photos worth taking, or is this going to be three years to taking pictures just of ancient ruins and islands?

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the guy in the middle asked me why i was taking this photo, and i really couldn’t come up with a good reason except that i liked the dog.

the photos i did take, for the most part, were pretty awful, but when it cools down a bit, i’m going to go back and try again.

however, just past this exurban blight:



i came upon this:


which is the base of a once five-arched bridge over the kifissios river. the river used to run through an olive grove that flanked the sacred way (holy road), and it provided the water for plato’s academy, which was active in the fourth century b.c. archaeologists found these bases while the city was excavating the area for the metro station.

so, basically, it doesn’t matter how awful a neighborhood you’re in, something interesting was there about 2500 years ago.

ας μάθουμε λίγα ελληνικά! (part 2)

at the end of our second weekend in the greece, we now have a small wi-fi transmitter hooked up to my computer, and local cell phone service. however, it still is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for us to load a webpage anywhere in the apartment, so i am sitting at the local café, using their wi-fi to post some non-visual impressions about the greece. we read that greece has some of the slowest internet speeds in europe anyway, but given our housing situation, it may be another two months before i have sufficient bandwidth to post a single photo (apart from iphone straight to facebook).

apart from internet deprivation, however, we are enjoying athens. delicious food, friendly people, and a wonderfully relaxed attitude toward life (which, admittedly, also extends to rules about smoking and parking). people appreciate that we speak greek, and it’s fun to try. also humbling to realize how little a 3+/3+ language test score gets you in the real world. and with that, it’s again time to μαθαίνουμε λίγα ελληνικά!

today, we’ll look at spelling. greek has five different ways of spelling the sound “ee.”there is the iota, or ι; the eta, or η; the upsilon, or υ; the epsilon iota, or ει; and the omicron iota, or οι. there also are two o’s, the omicron, or ο, and the omega, or ω. this mattered today because i was taking down a street name, “virinos” in transliteration, and i wanted to spell it in greek. so, is it “βιρινος,” or “βιρηνος,” or “βυρινως,” or “βειροινος,” or … there are, as i calculate it, 50 possible spellings of this word. even more than before, i understand why non-english speakers find our language so difficult to learn.

next: who knows?