Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Athens - Final

I have to finish the story of our visit to Athens. I just can’t leave it half finished. Don’t get your hopes really high though. Nothing that unbelievable exciting happened, but there are still a couple of anecdotes to share.

Anyway, during our visit in Athens, as I’ve already mentioned, one morning, I took JJ and we visited the Museum of Cycladic Art. That’s a beautiful neoclassic building in the centre, close to the Parliament. After our visit there, we decided to sit in a nearby coffee shop to get some rest, have a coffee and a small bite. The place was called ‘Cake’. So, we decided to try their cakes. It would be rude not to. I had a very nice marble cake and JJ selected the appetising cheesecake. The day was sunny and the temperature around 18 degrees. For us, coming from the UK, it’s definitely spring weather, not to mention summer. So, we sat outside to enjoy our cakes and coffee. For the Greeks, everything below 20 is considered to be cold and everybody was sitting indoors.

After a while, I noticed that there was a group of 4 men, chatting and laughing in another table, inside the shop, but right opposite us. There were in their late 40s or early 50s. They seemed to know one another very well. They were well dressed and mannered. My gaydar immediately went off but I couldn’t really be sure. I took notice of them, the same way I think they took notice of us. Later I found out that JJ was having an orgasm with his cheesecake and licking his spoon oblivious to his surroundings. But when he lifted his head, all 4 men were looking at him.

After a while, we finished our lunch and JJ went indoors to pay. I stayed outside to enjoy the sun a bit more. At that time the group of 4 men decided to leave and exited the shop. That’s when the last of them stayed behind and started chatting with me. We had the general small talk about this and that. He was visiting the city as well for a short time since he was now permanently living in Vienna. He was happy to catch up with his old friends etc etc. Then the conversation took a turn that I didn’t expect. He asked me for my number. He offered himself as a guide to the gay nightlife of Athens. By that time JJ was back.  We switched the conversation to English and he kept saying that Athens has a very interesting night life and he knew some ‘secret’ but exciting places to show us! I politely declined saying that we weren’t staying for that long and our nights were more or less already pre booked, which was actually true. He sounded a bit disappointed and he left after exchanging pleasantries.

I was surprised to say the least. That has never happened to me before, especially in Greece, outside a designated gay bar in broad day light, when no alcohol is involved. You have to realise that generally people there are very conservative and everything gay related is frowned upon, to say the least. People don’t openly flirt like that. I’m not sure if he was hitting on both of us or not, but in any case, the whole event was quite unexpected…

A couple of days later, JJ was on a plane back to London and my parents were arriving to Athens. I first met them right before going to my great aunt’s place for supper, as previously arranged for a family get together. I had to drive there with my father. There were just the two of us in the car. So, I took the opportunity to talk to him about my future plans and how the possibility of buying a property should be considered. I mentioned us (meaning me and JJ) buying a place and how a good investment that would be. I wanted to appeal to his financial side and it went quite well. He agreed with me about it in general, since there is potential for an investment.

That same day, I mentioned to both my parents that it might be a good idea to get a British citizenship. It would more convenient when I needed to renew my passport and you never know with Greece, its crisis and the European Union in general. To my surprise, they liked that idea too! My mother specially was in favour in doing it as soon as possible!

The evening ended with us watching family videos. My parents during last Christmas found someone that converted all the old family 8mm movies to a DVD! So, we sat down and watched my parents’ engagement party, their wedding, my brother’s Christening and some clips of both of us playing by the sea. Unfortunately, my christening film was destroyed when exposed to sunlight, years ago. Watching that video was a bit emotional but quite enjoyable. We laughed about the fashion sense of the 70s and the 80s and loved watching my grandparents who are no longer with us. In general seeing my parents for a couple of days was really nice. Maybe, the problems start when I have to stay with them longer than that… lol… Maybe there is some hope for us at the end…

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Busy like a f$&£&ng bee

I was told when I joined this team at work, that the period around the mid to end February will be busy! Oh, my… I simply couldn’t imagine how much! Since it is near the end of the financial year, the end of the policy year and the end of the time when all client contracts needs to be renewed, everything is extremely urgent and needs to be done yesterday! It also doesn’t help the fact that my colleague is away in New Zealand somewhere enjoying himself (the bastard) while I’m working extra hours daily under lots of pressure.

Anyway, that’s my:

  • small rant for the day
  • the main reason I feel constantly exhausted the last weeks
  • I haven’t replied to your latest comments
  • I haven’t left any comments anywhere else
  • Haven’t even finished telling the Athens story…

Is it too late to mention what else happened in Athens now? I don’t know. We’ll see how today post is goes and how much I can go on about other things.

Apart from being extra busy at work, we’ve been busy at home as well. Last weekend I spent it with JJ doing some ‘DIY’ and refurbishing one room of our house. I think I’ve mentioned it before, that an old colleague of mine from uni is coming to London to find a job. So, we decided with JJ to redo what will become for a short period of time her room.

That extra room is a bit dark and cold unfortunately. It had very old fashioned wallpaper and what we feared was growing mould behind the big closet. That’s the wall most exposed to the elements and right next to the old fireplace whose chimney we’re not sure how well sealed it is. So, we’ve decided to empty it from furniture, paint the walls white even over the wallpaper and treat the mouldy wall properly. I have to admit that the room now looks so much better. It’s brighter, more inviting and appealing to a financial Greek female immigrant…

me at work, painting behind the bed

In general, I like doing DIY. It’s a great way to blow off some steam, although it is a bit tiring at the end. I’m not sure what our next project for the house is going to be. I’m pretty sure we’ll find something. There is the idea of actually buying the old place. We’ll see.

The cake I baked for Valentine's. I had to work till 9pm though

I'm planning on doing nothing this weekend. TLC and rest is all I need.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Athens, next couple of days

In general, during our stay in Athens we spent the mornings with JJ walking around and visiting museums. Apart from the ‘Cycladic Museum of Art’ in the very beautiful neoclassic building we visited the New Acropolis Museum for the second time, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and the Benakis Gallery at Piraeus Avenue to watch a Tsarouxis exhibition. During the evenings we met friends of mine for dinner or drinks, or my brother and his fiancĂ©e for the same purpose.

                          Going in for the Greek Salad!                  

The new Acropolis Museum is something amazing! That is why we went there again after it during our previous visit to the capital. The old museum used to be a tiny building on the Acropolis, next to the Parthenon. The new building is a big construction next to it, overlooking the Dionysus Theatre and the Acropolis. It’s new and modern with replicas, statues and information on everything related to the area and its structures. The entrance fee is only €5, a bargain for the quality offered. The views from the balcony to the Acropolis and the Parthenon are breath taking. We sat there for lunch trying to absorb the views. The top floor of the museum is dedicated only to the statues and details of the Parthenon. It’s great looking at them and turning your head to look at the actual construction behind you.

The view from the Acropolis Museum top floor


Inside the Museum


The National Museum of Athens is a must see for lovers of the Ancient Greek Art. It contains mostly statues of the Hellenistic and Classical period. They were so different from the figurines we saw in the Cycladic Art museum. They are displaying strong emotions and ‘movement’. Between the items we saw and amazed us, were the so called Agamemnon mask, the Santorini murals and the Antikythira Mechanism. There was a whole new exhibition on the Antikithyra shipwreck which was very interesting. Unfortunately, due to lack of staff and the general economic crisis, parts of the museum were closed. They had available the most important artefacts, but still…

                                    Agamemnon's Mask                             Santorini's murals

                                      Poseidon or Zeus                              JJ's rare appearance                

The Antikithira Mechanism and JJ looking at it.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

UK same sex marriages approved

Although I'm getting ready for bed at the moment I couldn't not share the very wonderful news that same sex marriages have been approved in the UK. According to BBC:

"MPs have approved same-sex marriage in England and Wales in a key Commons vote, despite the opposition of almost half the Conservative MPs.

The Commons voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, by 400 to 175, a majority of 225, at the end of a full day's debate on the bill.

Prime Minister David Cameron has described the move as "an important step forward" that strengthens society.

Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said: "I genuinely believe that we will look back on today as a landmark for equality in Britain.

"Tonight's vote shows Parliament is very strongly in favour of equal marriage.

"No matter who you are and who you love, we are all equal. Marriage is about love and commitment, and it should no longer be denied to people just because they are gay.

Athens first day

As previously mentioned, we went to Greece last week and specifically to Athens staying a couple of days at my brother and fiance's place. The weather was really nice and we spent lots of time wondering around and seeing the city's sights.

After my brother and his bride to be finished work, they took us to an amazing Cretan restaurant in an area called Halandri. The place was amazing and the food outstanding. Needless to say that almost each dish was some thousands calories  but who cares? We were on holidays and indulged as appropriate:

It's worth going to Crete, just for the food. Just look at my happy face!

Next morning we decided to go to the 'Cycladic Art Museum' in the area of Athens, called Kolonaki. That's a very nice area at the center with some really nice house:
Building in the area

The museum itself was amazing. The exhibitions were displayed over 4 floors in a very beautiful neoclassic building. There was a section on how ancient Greeks used to live, a floor on Cypriot ancient art and two floors on Cycladic ancient art dated from the 7th century BC to the 25th century.

I couldn't not take a picture of erotic ancient art 

Art dated around 2800 BC. First figurines were female. Something to do with mother Earth and productivity. They were found over tombs. You can see that they are really old, since they are represented without many details and motionless, standing still. It took the Greeks centuries to start making statues with features and 'motion'. 

 Ancient toys for small children.