Thursday, April 28, 2011


Back in my school years, I remember that our teacher tried to teach us one day about this famous poem, from Constantinos Cavafis based on Homer's Odyssey. I have to admit that back then I thought it was a bit stupid. Why would it be for Odysseus, who was traveling for ten years in order to get back from Troy to his home island Ithaka and his beloved wife Penelope, that his travel was actually "worth" more than his destination? And why on earth would the poet wish you a longer journey? I just couldn't understand that no matter how much I tried..
But I think getting a bit older, and being away from home, helps quite a bit..

So here it goes..


As you set out for Ithaca
hope that your journey is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon-don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare sensasion
touches your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon-you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope that your journey is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and learn again from those who know.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so that you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.
Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would have not set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithacas mean.

For those of you too bored to read, you could just watch this video with the poem read by Sean Connery (yes the famous James Bond guy!).

Thanks Gianni for reminding me of this!
Και για να μην πεταχτεί κανείς να πει καμια εξυπνάδα, όχι δεν το παίζω κουλτουριάρης! Χαχαχα!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rotterdam, port city of Erasmus

Taking advantage of the chance of the Saturday of Easter, I thought it was a nice chance to go to Rotterdam, since I had heard so much about it and also you can find the only greek-orthodox church in the Netherlands there (there are many orthodox churches, but that is the only one that is specifically greek)

Arriving at the train station the first impression was weird. Big parts of the city center are under construction. But still it seems like a really big city, it is the biggest port in Europe and the second largest city in the Netherlands. Lots of massive buildings, a large and crowded market and people from all around the world.
Visiting the VVV of Rotterdam turned out a bit hard to find but worth it. There is a miniature model of the town, and you can use it for a quick tour around the city with short info and a color spotlight highlighting the building you chose.

Since it was already quite late and the museums were closed (damn I wanted to see the Maritiem Museum!) we decided to walk around the city. We visited the Oude Haven, which was the best spot in the city in my opinion. A nice little harbor with cafeterias, boats and a nice view of the red bridge known as "Willemsbrug".
The Oude Haven and in the back Willemsbrug
Behind that one of the most odd-shaped buildings I had ever seen. Designed by Piet Blom, the cube houses made you really wonder how is it possible for people to live in there without falling out or getting dizzy all the time. There was also the possibility of visiting one for 2,5 Euro, and I couldn't resist my curious nature to go and see how it is like. I have to admit that is was much more spacious and cozy than I expected it to be. And people don't actually fall off their houses!
Cube Houses

What followed was a reaaaaaally long walk around the city. Crossing the Willemsbrug to the small island and then the Koninginnebrug to the other side. This small island seemed to keep its old traditional dutch character that the rest of the city lacked. The other seemed to be crowed with skyscrapers of big marine companies. Crossing the Erasmusbrug (yes, the famous Erasmus was from Rotterdam, there is also a university dedicated to his name) we finally found two orthodox churches. The first one, all while, and with a gold-colored onion-shaped dome was the russian church of Alexander Nevsky, and a one block away was the greek church of Agios Nikolaos, protector of sailors and students.
Aghios Nikolaos of Rotterdam
And when the night came, you could see a lot of people, mostly greek, coming officially dressed for the ceremony. People of all ages, students or people who worked here for many years. I got to meet many of them, and also people from my home island. The ceremony was strange. Having been used to the ceremony in my home island, where the priest has to shout at the loudspeaker to be heard over the sound of the bells, the fireworks and the gunpower while saying the famous "Χριστός ανέστη εκ νεκρών" - "Jesus Christ has resurrected from the dead", I experienced a very different ceremony.
No bells, no gunpowder, no fireworks, no loudspeaker for the priest. And all the crowd trying to hear what the priest was saying. So eventually everyone had to quiet down, and then I managed to hear the priest among so many people reading the gospel.
The night of Easter in Aghios Nikolaos of Rotterdam

The people from my home island were kind enough to invite me to a greek restaurant, where I could crash red-painted eggs with others, try the traditional meatsoup "μαγειρίτσα" that is made especially for that day, and also have some lamb with potatoes (a well missed flavor) along with a simple yet famous white wine "Malamatina"!
And then going home on the train, riding along with a whole female hockey team who made sure the journey wouldn't be boring!

Friday, April 22, 2011

How to make your blogger easily read from mobile devices

I was trying to find out how to make my blog easily read from a mobile device and it seems the solution is simple. Just go to And then you get access to the extra feature for mobile templates.
Simple as that!

For more info: Blogger Mobile template or Mobile view actually ex...: "This is how it looks like when you browse us using your mobile phones. This option is available for blogger users FREE! Most blogger's does..."

Homer, Tree-gum and the Rocket war!

Since I've decided to do this, its only proper to present the place I'm proud to call home. It is one of the biggest islands in the north-east part of the Aegean Sea, named Chios. There are many speculations as to why it was named Chios. The most prominent ones are that it was either after Chioni (Χιόνη), the daughter of Oinopion the first ancient king of Chios who came from Crete, or from Chios (Χίος), son of Poseidon, who was named after snow (χίονι) because it was snowing the day he was born.
The town of Chios

Chios is mostly famous for three reasons.
The main one is that it is the only place on Earth you can grow and collect a special kind of tree resin, which has many medicinal uses, is used for cooking or of course you can just chew it as a gum. It is also nicknamed "tears of Chios". There is a traditional procedure to produce mastic, which is still kept in the medieval castle-villages called the Mastic-villages to the south of the island.

The second reason, is that Chios is the home island of the famous ancient greek epic poet Homer (the one who wrote "Iliad" and "Odyssey"). You even find the place that is considered to be the place he used to teach, know as "Δασκαλόπετρα" which means "The teacher's stone".

Last, there is one more reason it is really famous for. During the Easter, on Saturday night, after the priest reads the gospel and announces that Jesus has resurrected, two orthodox churches on two opposite hills celebrate in a strange way. They hurl rockets at each other, each one trying to aim the other's bell tower. Yeah, yeah, i know.. it sounds a bit crazy and dangerous. But everyone is doing their best to prevent injuries or fires, so the damage is contained. And it is a really wonderful scene.

Maybe I should start a blog?

But what should I write about..
There are so many things I like. But honestly I don't see the reason to just keep to only one of them.
I just wouldn't want my blog to be another tech/travel/whatever-specific blog.. or even political (god forbid..).
So I'll be writing about what is keeping me busy, or just makes me happy. Or just pops in my mind and won't leave!

For a quick introduction, I'm from this island in the Aegean Sea called Chios, I'm a computer scientist (or at least that's what my degree says), I love to travel (come on, who doesn't!) and I'm working in the Netherlands.

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