Friday, January 30, 2009

SOUTHERN CROSS a poem by Niko Kavadias ...αφιερωμα στον Νικο Καββαδια

Stavros Tou Notou
by Niko Kavadias

In the nor-wester the waves boiled;
we were both bent over the map.
You turned and told me how in March
you'd be in other latitudes.

A Chinese tatoo drawn on your chest;
however you burn it, it won't come off.
They said that you had loved her once
in a sudden fit of blackest fever.

Keeping watch by a barren cape
and the Southern Cross behind the braces.
You're holding coral worry-beads
and chewing bitter coffee beans.

I took a line on Alpha Centaurus
with the azimuth compass one night at sea.
You told me in a deathly voice:
"Beware of the stars of Southern skies".

Another time from that same sky
you took lessosn for three whole months
with the captain's mulatto girl
in how to navigate at night.

In some shopin Nosy Be
you bought the knife - two shillings it cost -
right on the equator, exactly at noon;
it glittered like a lighthouse beam.

Down on the shores of Africa
for some years now you've been asleep.
You don't remember the lighthouse now
or the delicious Sunday sweet.

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Southern Cross

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler


The state-of-the-art luxuries aboard the world's largest cruise ship

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:07 AM on 20th June 2008

Currently under construction, these pictures offer a first glimpse of the luxury that awaits passengers on the world's largest cruise liner.

The Oasis of the Seas will be a state-of-the-art travelling city complete with a shopping mall, numerous bars and restaurants, and an outdoor amphitheatre the size of a football field with its own micro-climate and rock-climbing walls.

The 220,000 tonne behemoth - which will be 1,081ft long and tower 213ft above the water line - will have a staggering 16 passenger decks.

An artist's impression of how the Oasis of the Seas, complete with rock-climbing walls, will look once construction has been completed

Hi-tech: A bar that moves between decks
She is currently being built at a cost of £610million in Aker Yards in Turku, Finland and is due to set sail next year.

Designed under the name Project Genesis, she was rechristened Oasis of the Seas last month, following a contest to name the ship.

The cruise liner is scheduled to hit the seas in late 2009, when she will operate Caribbean cruises out of Port Everglades in Florida.

Construction on a sister ship, Allure of the Seas, is due to begin shortly.

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler


Go Greece for an adventure

One place where many people might not think to head for an adventure travel vacation is Greece. Situated in a cradle of civilization and bathed on three sides by one of the oldest seas on the planet, the Mediterranean, Greece offers both stunning historical and cultural experiences and a plethora of wildlife experiences.

The island is roughly 80% mountainous, so one of the most common Greece adventure travel vacations is spent rock-climbing; indeed, there are rock-climbing activities for all levels, the most popular being Meteora. Go rappelling in canyons with heights between 10 and 70 meters.

photo originaly uploaded
Trekking or walking tours through the mountains, along old mule and donkey paths or through gorges, to stop and enjoy the wildlife or the small villages is another very common activity in Greece. Adventure travel vacations here may also have a cultural immersion aspect to them and consist of a walking tour of Athens to experience the birthplace of western culture, or a walking tour aimed at visiting local wineries and indulging in food tasting activities. After all, the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest.

Greece boasts the world’s steepest canyon, Vikos gorge, which is a gift to trekkers that can revel in its six-hour-long trek. Go trekking through rivers lined with dense vegetation to stumble pleasantly upon hidden natural pools and waterfalls and have a swim. Visiting archeological sites and perhaps helping with digs is yet another common activity in this land which is thousands of years old. Taking in the beautiful coastlines riding along the beach on horseback, or riding through apple and chestnut trees or in Mediterranean forests, can be like riding through the world of ancient mythology.

You can enjoy camping expeditions which can involve hiking, kayaking, deep sea rafting, or canoeing, on which you will use reindeer as pack animals and marvel at the wildlife which surrounds you. Perhaps biking is what you would prefer and so can indulge in a bike tour through old, historic Greek villages, stopping off to meet some of the locals. Some agencies also offer driving tours of the Greek islands, either with or without a guide and many involve Jeep tours where travelers can experience off road adventures.

Thanks to the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, travelers can enjoy many water activities, such as sailing, in Greece. Adventure travel vacations can include sea kayaking among the Greek islands and enjoying the beautiful white rock formations, beaches and quaint Greek villages. Greek waters house an enormous variety of fauna and flora and scuba divers can enjoy underwater shipwrecks and deep sea caves. Take a motorboat cruise around the island and stop to dive into the water. Because of the wide variety of activities that this magical country has to offer, many agencies offer multi-sport vacation packages, either pre-designed to include a certain array of activities such as trekking, kayaking and scuba diving, or open to be designed by you and your adventurous mind.

If it’s Greece adventure travel vacations you want, make the Internet your first stop for information. Poke your head into a library or bookstore for books or magazines specializing in travel. Whichever of the many Greece adventure travel vacations available you choose, you’ll get transported back in time to a mythical world which you will never forget.

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Iceland, a marvelous photo journal ...Ισλανδία, ένα μαγευτικό φωτο-αλμπουμ

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

IYA2009 Greek Node Trailer - Παγκόσμιο Έτος Αστρονομίας 2009

δείτε το βίντεο και επισκεφτείτε την επίσημη ιστοσελίδα / ιστότοπο εδώ :

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

the good books

Great time to be a Darwin groupie

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler


Laos, the lost paradise ...Λάος, ένας χαμένος παράδεισος

originaly uploaded by 10.2 megapixels

Laos (pronounced /ˈlɑː.oʊs/, /ˈlaʊs/, or /ˈleɪ.ɒs/), officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in southeast Asia, bordered by Burma (Myanmar) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west. Laos traces its history to the Kingdom of Lan Xang or Land of a Million Elephants, which existed from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century.
After a period as a
French protectorate, it gained independence in 1949. A long civil war, ended officially when the communist Pathet Lao movement came to power in 1975, but the protesting between factions continued for several years.

Laos: A Rugged Paradise
Josh Haner/The New York Times
Published: 26/01/2009

Explore the raw beauty of this country while gliding down the Mekong River and traversing tumbling waterfalls.
read more here

Laos in Brief:

The Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Laos is located in the center of Indochina, sharing borders with China to the North 416 kilometers, Myanmar to Northwest 236 kilometers, Thailand to the West 1,835 kilometers, Cambodia to the South 492 kilometers and Vietnam to the East 1,957 kilometers.With a total area of 236,800 square kilometers, around 70% of Laos' terrain is mountainous, reaching a maximum elevation of 2,820 meters in Xieng Khouang Province. The landscapes of northern Laos and the regions adjacent to Vietnam, in particular, are dominated by rough mountains. The Mekong River is the main geographical feature in the west and, in fact, forms a natural border with Thailand in some areas. The Mekong flows through nearly 1,900 kilometers of Lao territory and shapes much of the lifestyle of the people of Laos. In the South the Mekong reaches a breadth of 20 kilometers, creating an area with thousands of islands.

The time in Laos is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMS +7).
When to visit:
The best time to visit Laos is between November and April.
The hot season from March to May is very dry and certain river trips are not possible.
People and population:
Population: 6.2 million.
Density: 23 people/square kilometer.
The population consists of 49 ethnic groups, in 4 main linguistic
The official language is Lao. Other languages used are French, English. Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese.
Electric current: 220 volts
Credit Cards:
Visa is the most common. Master Card and American Express are accepted at most banks in the larger towns (such as Vientiane and Luang Prabang), and in the big hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops.
The Kip is the official currency of the Lao PDR and the following bank notes are currently in circulation: 500; 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000; 20,000 and 50,000 Kip. The best currencies to use when exchanging money are: US Dollars, Euros and Thai Baht. You can exchange your currency at the bank, airport, or at a foreign currency exchange office.
Films can be found in shops in the larger towns, also if you need a digital download service for your digital camera it is also available
Silk and cotton fabrics, objects made from wood (sculptures, cut-out figures), pottery and traditional instruments are part of the rich tapestry of Laotian craftsmanship Common
Lao people are frank, open and friendly, and they possess a strongly developed sense of courtesy and respect. Everyone who adheres to the latter will receive a warm welcome.The generally accepted form of greeting among Lao people is the Nop. It is performed by placing one’s palms together in a position of praying at chest level, but not touching the body. The higher the hands, the greater the sign of respect. Nonetheless, the hands should not be held above the level of the nose. The nop is accompanied by a slight bow to show respect to persons of higher status and age. It is also used as an expression of thanks, regret or saying good-bye. But with western people it is acceptable to shake hands. The feet form the inferior part of the body (as much spiritually as physically). You must never indicate or touch another person or object with your foot.
Source: Lao National Tourism Administration

Η Λαοκρατική Λαϊκή Δημοκρατία του Λάος είναι ένα κράτος το οποίο βρίσκεται στην Άπω Ανατολή και έχει τροπικό κλίμα.
Πρωτεύουσα είναι η Βιεντιάν.
Επίσημη γλώσσα είναι η Λάο.
Έχει έκταση 236.800 τετρ. χλμ. και πληθυσμό, σύμφωνα με εκτιμήσεις του 2008, 6.677.534 κατοίκους.

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler


Monday, January 26, 2009

Prague: a Goth capital ... η Γοτθική Πράγα

The gothic Prague

The Romanesque art was influenced by Rome. The subsequent development took a completely different course. This change was so noticeable that it was regarded by the humanistic scholars as a product of barbarian, possibly Goths’ culture (Goths were one of the German nations, who ruled in Europe after the fall of Roman Empire).
That’s how the term Gothic (originally pejorative) was coined.

In reality this art, which was influencing Europe for almost four hundred years, didn’t have anything in common with Goths. It sprang from the same roots as the Romanesque art and was its natural continuation. The Gothic culture started coming to the Czech land from the second half of the 13th century from France, where it originated in the 12th century. This movement flourished in Europe for four hundred years, so it is clear that it was evolving and changing. Different periods are called early Gothic (the Přemyslid dynasty in Bohemia) high (Jagiellonian dynasty) and later (Luxemburg Dynasty).

Gothic life style was influenced by the advance in craft. There was a strong desire to forget about the worldly misery and find salvation in God. The faith in an after life in God’s realm was the keynote.

Architecture is the field which was mostly influenced by Gothic. Gothic architecture is the architecture of many churches, cathedrals, castles, fortresses and also town halls, townsman houses and bridges. The building material was stone and new techniques enabled people to build high and spacious buildings, illuminated by light coming through big windows. Churches were rising aloft as if they wanted to reach the sky with their spires. Compared to the Romanesque style, the walls were relatively thin and complemented with a supporting infrastructure.

One of the most distinctive characteristics of Gothic architecture is the pointed arch seen in windows and entrances. Gothic architecture is rich on religious symbolism, pointed arches reminiscent of hands joined in prayer, the magnificent architecture exalts the minds of believers and cathedral space is shaped like a boat, reminiscent of Noah’s ark. Stone, then a novelty in building, was used even for the exterior decorations, almost all buildings were richly decorated with spires, rosettes and gargoyles. Interiors were decorated with tabular paintings and sculptures made out of wood and stone. Goldsmithing and forge work also became important.

The most famous Prague Gothic monuments:

St Vitus Cathedral
Charles Bridge
Karolinum – Charles University
Bethlehem Chapel
Virgin Mary in front of Týn Cathedral
St. Martin in Wall Church
St Ludmila Church
Powder Gate
Old Town Hall Tower

City development
Romanesque culture was engaged in only by clergyman and monks in monasteries. In contrast with that, the leading lights of Gothic culture were town dwellers. Townsmen were building stone houses and places for trading and crafts. In 1348 the New Town of Prague was founded by Charles IV. Its pattern was designed geometrically with the base in three squares, which used to be called markets at this time (Koňský, Dobytčí and Senný). The main centre of the New Town was Koňský market (today at Wenceslas Square), its angle was 45 degrees and became axis for the whole New Town, Vltava river bend and other squares (today Charles and Senovážné).

In order to accelerate the development, the emperor came up with a very shrewd idea. He announced that if a stone house would be finished within eighteen months then a townsman receives certain liberties, most importantly he won’t have to pay tax for the duration of twelve years. No wonder Prague became three times bigger than Paris. Just Dobytčí market (Charles Square) had 550 maters in width and 152 meters in length and thus became the biggest square in Central Europe. Some streets reached 26 meters in width (one of the examples is Ječná Street) and the New Town fortification reached as far as Vyšehrad

Hand in hand with the city development, economic progress also grew stronger. Prague’s merchants were awarded a monopoly position in local trade and foreigners were allowed to sell their goods only through local merchants, foreign trade was only at one specified market in Týnsky dvur (Ungelt). Jews had an important position among Prague’s tradesman because of the economical restrictions given by their religion – they could assert themselves only in trade and in lending money with high interest, so called usury.

An annual festival market tradition developed in the Old Town. Two markets located here were called Svatováclavsky (dedicated to St Wenceslaus) and Svatovítsky (dedicated to St Vitus). On the occasion of these festivals one week markets offering various provisions took place in Old Market (Old Town Square) and New Market (by the St Havel church). Apart from these markets there were also other specialised markets visited regularly by housewives buying supplies for meals and everything that was needed for their household. There was a coal market at Kozí plácek, a fruit market at Maly rynek, a chicken market by St Nicholas, a wood market at St Valentin and a market at Old Town Square. Every Saturday there was a meat market at Ovocny market, which was called Frajmark.

Thanks to a silver find in Kutna Hora, Prague started minting silver coins called Prague Groshen (groš). As with the rest of Europe in the fourteen century Prague was stricken by plague. This terrible tragedy in 1380 had one positive consequence - the city council issued a strict ban on water discharge from malt houses and spas on streets and also a ban on walls and ditches’ litter and faeces pollution. This meant that city slowly stopped drawing in its own faeces and typical medieval smells.

Another change was the introduction of the road toll for vehicles coming to the city and the collected money should have been used for the Prague streets’ pavement. Only vehicles delivering stones from quarries were exempt from the toll payment. The firs public spa grew in the Old Town. It was called Na Hrobce and, according to the records, “it was situated in house number 679”. Just a short distance from it, three chemists stood: Augustin chemists in the U mouřenína house, Onofria chemists in the U lilie house, Charles IV’s court physician Angela Florents’ chemist was on the west side of the square.

Education, literature and arts
Monastery and rectory’s schools served since the early Middle Ages for the priesthood’s education. It wasn’t until Gothic times that schools were founded by wealthy townsmen, who send there their children to learn reading, writing, counting and Latin. Latin wasn’t just a language of church and scholars, it was also an official international language. Town schools were attended by patricians, tradesmen and wealthy craftsmen’s children. The poorer students, if allowed in a school, depended on charity.

The highest education was provided by Universities. The University was headed by a president and usually had four faculties, each headed by a dean. On successful completion a bachelor degree or a higher master or doctor’s degree was awarded. Bachelors usually taught at town schools. Prague University was founded in 1348 by Charles IV and it was divided in the Faculty of Theology, the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Art (Philosophy). It was headed by a chancellor – the first elected was the Prague archbishop Arnošt of Pardubice.

After 1200AD books and official documentation was not only in Latin but national languages started to be used as well. The oldest Czech literary work is Dalimilova Chronicle. Afterwards other Chronicles came - Petr Žitavsky, Hussites and Vavřinec of Březova Chronicles. Literary works with other than religious themes began appearing such as satiric books criticizing society and texts for theatre performances.

It was theatre which was going through a period of significant development. At the beginning mostly Latin gospel texts were dramatised. These were sung by priests but over time were supplemented by laics (non religious players) that started adding comic sequences in national language. In consequence the Church expelled the plays from churches to public open spaces. Plays and comedies became very popular among Praguers who very often stopped to watch them when shopping at one of the famous markets. From the source books is obvious that the biggest hits were mainly three following theatre performances:

GALIPOT – a drama about three Marias who go shopping for ointments so they could embalm Christ’s body. The ointment purchase is described in details with main topic being a mockery of precarious medieval charlatans medical procedures
DRAMA ABOUT MERRY MAGDALEN – is ridiculing religious topics (Magdalen is described as a prostitute), contains folklore songs and it is very well written
ABOUT CHRIST RESURRECTION - doesn’t show much respect for religion

Close fitting garments, lappet sleeves wider at the end, pointed shoes, corsets and veils – these are typical for the Gothic fashion that replaced the Romanesque one, more akin to monk’s garments than fashion dress. Fashion was, in Gothic times, influenced by the knight culture and new developments which created new esthetical ideals. Male stereotypes changed from a brave warrior dressed in rough trousers and shoes to an effeminate youth wearing long fuzzy hair, decorated with flowers.

A complete novelty was a corset which was a bodice so tight that it significantly restricted movement. Skirts became longer (with a longer tail), sleeves were widened from the elbows in long tails which were sometimes reaching the ground: in Bohemia these were called “pachy“(smell) because they trailed behind the walking person like an odour.

Traditional dress in Gothic times was a cloak, it had a semicircular design and lining usually made out of fur. It was joined together on the breast by a decorative clasp or a sling. A big emphasis was placed on hair, curling was in fashion, women and men were daily scorching their hair with hot irons. The poetic ideal was a girl with shoulder length curls, a decorated head-dress and colourful flowers.

Young girls were allowed to show their hair in public but married women had to cover their heads with expensive veils. In the 14th century so called “Czech hoods” became very popular, this adornment was reminiscent of a halo. Czech fashion was, in the Luxemburg period, famous all around Europe, it was brought to England by the princess Anna in 1382 who became married to the English court. Much in demand were Czech padded men’s coats which were sown in Prague and exported abroad.

Shoes were sown mostly from bright red leather and had pointed foreparts. They were called “stork noses” and for many moralists became embodiment of fallen luxury and debauchery. Eventually the Czech king George of Podiebrad (Jiří z Poděbrad) had to ban this item and cobblers were not allowed to produce them. Despite that the pointed shoes (together with female tails) lasted till 16th century and marked next movement: Renaissance

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler


India. time-lapse of Ganges ...ενα λεπτό στον Γάγγη, Ινδία.

The Ganges (IPA: /ˈgænʤiːz/, also Ganga pronunciation (help·info), Devanāgarī: गंगा, IAST: Gaṅgā in most Indian languages) is one of the major rivers of the Indian subcontinent,it has its origin in gangotri glacier with the name Bagirathi flows to join the river Alakanda and hence ganges is formed .
It flows east through the Gangetic Plain of northern India into Bangladesh. The 2,510 km (1,560 mi) river rises in the western Himalayas in the Uttarakhand state of India, and drains into the Sunderbans delta in the Bay of Bengal. It has long been considered a holy river by Hindus and worshiped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism. The Ganges and its tributaries drain a 1,000,000-square-kilometre (390,000 sq mi) fertile basin that supports one of the world's highest density of humans.
The many symbolic meanings of the river were described by Jawaharlal Nehru in his Discovery of India,
The Ganges, above all is the river of India, which has held India's heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history. The story of the Ganges, from her source to the sea, from old times to new, is the story of India's civilization and culture, of the rise and fall of empires, of great and proud cities, of adventures of man…
In November, 2008, the Government of India decided to declare Ganga a "national river".
The river supports some 400 million people. Pollution of Ganga affects the people who live along the river and campaigns attempt to reduce the environmental stress.

Just a simple video I put together from my trip to India. Edited with Final Cut Studio 2.

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler


Sunday, January 25, 2009

National Archaeological Museum of Athens

myathensguide com-National Archaeological Museum of Athens
"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler


Plovdiv, Bulgaria ...ενας μικρος ταξιδιωτικος οδηγος

Plovdiv In Your Pocket
"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler


vintage travel posters ...παλιες ταξιδιωτικες αφισσες

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -- Lao Tzu
Copyright © Demetrios the Traveler



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