30 Years ERAMUS – 180 Years EKPA Athens

 

This year the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is celebrating its 180th anniversary and at the same time the programme ERASMUS of the European Union becomes 30 years old. Yesterday there was a little celebration in the big hall of the central buildung. Each AUDIMAX I have seen from inside until now, is nothing compared to this 🙂

Several people give talks abput the importance, the statistics, the history, and the future of ERASMUS or talked about there own experiences today as outgoings or incomings to Athens and also in the past. For example one professor talked about her ERASMUS she did in 1987 as one of the first students, who had the opportunity to study abroad – without knowing the language, without internet etc.

The official part was followed by a little concert in the yard of the building.

This evening made me also think of my personal ERASMUS experience, although it hasn´t come to an end at that point. Of course then I will draw a final conclusion, but already now I want to collect some interim balances.

  • Before I came here, I thought that experiences in a foreign country are important of course, but I couldn´t understand, why it is kind of fashionable and essential, if you want to apply somewhere. Being now here, I changed my mind. It´s really essential, especially regarding the non-formal education you get during a stay abroad.
  • The cliché the ERASMUS is all about party, drinking and „YOLO“ annoys me a bit. But I find a suitable way for me to deal with it 😉
  • Yes, already now I think, that the time here in Athens changed me as a person, especially the lifestyle differs at least in some points from the one in Germany. And I´m excited, how much of this I can/want to take home 🙂
  • Meanwhile I feel at home in Athens, and that´s important. I am familiar with the streets, the public transport etc. And, what´s even more important: I got to know so many unforgettable people (ERASMUS-Mates) and Greeks, they never let me feel alone!

 

Writing these words, I notice myself getting a bit sentimental. And this will get even worse, the closer the end will come. But there won´t be a huge gap, when I return, so that I hopefully can avoid the worst symptoms of a post-ERASMUS depression 😉

Κάνει ζέστη στην Αθήνα! Καλό καλοκαίρι!

Unfortunately the first heat wave in Athens is accompanied by a strike of the garbage collection. That´s why you find huge amounts of rubbish nearly on every corner. It´s not that terrible, I imagined before. But slowly, it starts to smell very disgusting…. The  employees are fighting for lasting contracts and I hope there will be an agreement between them and the government soon!

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Latest update (Tuesday afternoon): Strike is supposed to stop immediately

Nevertheless daily life goes on and although it´s very hot, I filled the last days with different (typical and non-typical summer activities). Sometimes I think „Well 34 degrees in the shadow are not that bad“ and sometimes I think „I didn´t know before that I can sweat so much. Where is the next pool?“ 😉

 

First of all I will tell you about the non-typical ones. Amongst other things I went to a further education for German teachers, which was offer by a German publisher´s house here in Athens for free. It was very interesting to discuss with Greek German teachers about a new book for DaF (German as a foreign language), that was presented.

National Opera and German Books

And one last time, I visited a performance of the „Volksbühne“. This time it was „Murmel Murmel“ by Herbert Fritsch, shown in the National Opera. The play consists only of one word – guess which it is: Murmel -, but it is very very funny! I laughed so much during this evening together with all the other visitors.

 

The other thing to do during this hot days, is to chose a place near the sea, where you can have a bath. That´s what I did on Sunday. By bus we went first to a small village Bilia, where you can find a very old and beautiful church. After that we went down to the beach Porto Germenos to relax and to refresh ourselves in the sea. Of course we were not the only ones, but I could still find a place in the shadow, given by some trees, so that I didn´t get a sun burn!

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Porto Germenos

Yesterday I used the public transport to get to Vougliameni´s Lake, a Spa Lake close to Sounio. You have to pay entrance, but it´s worth! Just look at the fotos and you will agree! Also the cats have to cope with the heat. It seems like Merlin wants to come with me to the beach! 🙂

Lake Vougliameni – and Merlin 🙂

An easy alternative is to look for a café in the shadow and to drink a σπιτική λεμονάδα (homemade lemonade) and to read or meet some friends. This foto is taken in one of the bars at my beloved Fokionos Negri!

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And I guess I have to look for some more cooler spots for the next days, as the forecast is saying it´s going to be even hotter –  40 degrees!

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This is the forecast for Epidavros, where I will spend the weekend!

Saying Hello and Goodbye

Although I can stay nearly two more months in Greece, last week I had several times to say goodbye. A strange feeling, that made me aware, that the (temporary) end of my time here, is also coming closer slowly. But on the other hand I could welcome Bastian for a short visit, one of my colleagues and good friend since the first semester.

Η καλύτερη παρεά στο Πανεπιστήμιο

First this week was the last meeting of my course in Comparative literary studies, I attended by Prof. Antonopoulou. It was a great course: I learned a lot and I had the best classmates I could imagine. Fortunately it is only a short goodbye, as we will visit the theatre of Epidaurus next weekend all together. I am already excited to see a theater play in one of the best preserved ancient theaters of the world!

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In love with Greek Food – Last dinner with Franzi

Secondly I had to say goodbye to Franzi, who already returned to Germany. But we will see each other soon for sure, because in Germany we live only one hour away from each other. Before she left, we had a farewell-dinner at our favourite restaurant at Fokionos Negri.

Rain in Athens during June

After all that farewells, it was time to welcome my guest Bastian. Unfortunately we had a little bad luck with the weather, so that we weren´t able to see the sea. But instead we explored the center with all it´s sights, museum and taverns. Sometimes we weren´t the only ones, so especially the Acropolis and the National Archaeological Museum were quite crowdy. To get some balance we visited the Benaki Museum, the Philopappos and the Lycavittos, where it was more empty. It was great to show him also „my Athens“ (my favourite places etc.) and we spent an amazing time, although it was really short.

Sightseeing in Athens

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Waiting for the rain to stop: Reading and Stroking the cats 🙂

Another very nice coincidence was the visit of Berlin´s „Volksbühne“ within the Athens-Epidaurus-Festival, so that we could watch a German Theatre play here in Athens in a very unique location – an old factory. The weather nearly thwart our plans, as the performance was cancelled on Saturday due to the rain and the thunderlights. But on Sunday it took place. As the „Volksbühne“ is staying here for some more shows, I have visited them again yesterday and I will also go on Friday. My souvenir – a printed T-shirt – I forgot in the Taxi first, but yesterday I could buy another one 🙂

Stage on Saturday (right) and on Sunday (left)

„Volksbühne“-Merchandising and Bad Decisions ( a film by René Pollesch)

This Monday then I had to say good bye again, first to Bastian in the morning and then in the evening to Petra, my colleague and flatmate from the Czech Republic. But we found a unique way to spent her last evening. We visited the gigantic concert „All Greece for Miki“ honoring Mikis Theodorakis, who came himself to see it, although he is very old. More than 1000 musicians and I guess approximately 80.000 visitors celebrated together in the Stadium of 1896. Greek media spoke even of an event of the century. And we were there!!! 🙂

Good Bye Petra!!!

Unique and unforgettable! The concert for Mikis Theodorakis in Kallimarmaro

Today daily routine has caught me again, at least for now. But next adventures are already scheduled!

 

Μαγική Τήνος

The island of Tinos is mostly known for it´s religious importance – for catholic and for orthodoxian people. The island is said to be holy, after there was found an icon of the Virgin Mary during the resistance against the Ottoman Empire in 1823. The Church of the Panagia Evangelistria is still today an important destination for pilgrims from all over Greece and other countries. That´s why you can find a separate area on the main road to the church for the people, who climb the way on their knees.

Besides this religious importance Tinos is a wonderful destination for a short time vacation, because it combines very beautiful villages, clean beaches, cultural attractions, delicious local products and a lot of art works! For example the only museum for Marble crafts all over the world, you can find on Tinos. And in the small village Volax the doors of the houses are decorated not only with bright flowers, but also with poems! And it´s only three and a half hour by boat from Rafina.

The following photos give you an impression of the beauty and the variety of the island! Thank you, Alina and Athina Tour, for organizing this trip. Again it was a pleasant journey!

View from our hotel room (behind is the harbour)

Church of Panagia (in the right picture you can see the way for the pilgrims)

Archaeological museum (right) and museum of marble crafts (left)

Three different beautiful beaches

Villages Volax and Pyrgos

Time to relax

The harbour in the evening (There was a firework, because there was a public run with more than 1,000 athletes on Saturday)

A weekend full of ahhs and ohhhs ;)

To see all the photos, click on the link.

With a little delay I write about my experiences on Santorini – but the pictures I posted the last day have already given you some first impressions I think…

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Our group

Let me start with my personal conclusions:

  1. Yes, you must see this most famous island of Greece once in your life time, BUT try to find a time, when it´s not that crowded. On the one hand I was fascinated by the view, natural phenomenons, the light and the architecture, but on the other hand I was shocked about the mass tourism!
  2. The organisation was a little bit to chaotic, but our Erasmus coordinators cope very well with all the shit (Sorry- but there is no other word for it), the travel company caused.

Our Erasmus-Trip started on Friday very early in the morning, heading 8 hours to Santorini. We were lucky that we catched it, because there was a Gate change, so that we had to run about 2 kilometers to the right gate. After this morning workout we spent the time on the ferry with sleeping, eating, playing cards or reading. In the afternoon we finally reached the island and we had the first surprise: The promised four star Hotel changed into a Camping place with bungalow. But after this first disappointment it was a nice place to stay and it even had a swimming pool.

„Our“ Pool – Wine Tasting

In the evening we went to a winery to taste the typical wines of Santorini and to watch the sunset! Delicious and marvellous 🙂 And after that we went to the maintown Fira to have dinner and discover the Nightlife.

Sunset Number 1

Saturday was a beach day. After a visit of the Prehistoric town Akrotiri we went to the famous Red Beach. And as the name already says: The sand you can find here is red! The other beach we visited was the Black Beach, also named after the Black, which was by the way very hot under your feet! This unusual colours appear due to the volcanic stones and sediments.

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Red Beach and Black Beach

And this is, what we explored on Sunday on our volcano cruise. Very long ago Santorini and the nearby islands Nea Kameni, Palea Kameni and Thirassia were divided by an eruption. Today you can have a walk on the volcano on Nea Kameni and actually you can have a bath in the thermal waters. But: we couldn´t, as the travel company dismanaged to include it in the programme…..

Way to the port with donkeys everywhere – Volcano – Thermal waters

Our cruise ended at Oia, the village on Santorini, where all the sunset pictures are taken. BUT: Before you can enjoy it, you have to walk up 250 stairs or pay for one of the poor donkeys (what mostly asian tourists do). So: 250 stairs, no shadow, no wind and temperatures about 28 degrees – wonderful!

Port of Oia down and above!

But after this very exhausting climb, we found a nice and quite cheap tavern to eat (which is really an exception!). Refreshed and full of energy, we walked to the small streets, where you can find a lot of nice and individual ceramics, paintings and other fine arts.

 

What a beautiful town (on the pictures it doesn´t even seem so crowdy

And of course we looked for a place to see the sunset. But of course  we weren´t the only ones. So in the end it was nearly more funny to watch all the mostly Asian tourist fighting for the best place. Some were even applauding, when the sun had set. Weird!

Waiting for the sunset

People waiting for the sunset (try to zoom in to see them)

Our way back was also weird, because the traffic reminded us of Athens. Nearly 100 Busses and one small street = one hour traffic jam. It was incredibly crowdy.

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All my impressions in one picture – photobombing with a selfie stick!

So it was again on the way back! I cannot imagine, how all this people and cars could fit in the boat! But in end we reached the port of Piraeus a little exhausted but safe 🙂

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Bye Bye Santorini – next destination is in front of us!

And I unpacked my bag only for a short time, because tomorrow I will discover the next island. But about this adventure I will tell you later 🙂

Ο λογοτέχνικος Κύκλος κάνει καλοκαίρινο διάλειμμα

This Saturday the last session of the Logotechnikos Kuklos took place. It is organized by the club of the graduated and post-graduated students of the German department of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and it is open to everyone, who is interested in discussing about German Literature. They meet once a week in Café Zoe´s, a nostalgic cafeteria, that offers its rooms for different literary groups

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Since I am here, I joined the club every Saturday, when I wasn´t „on tour“. The discussions were very interesting. For me it was great and enriching to see, how non native speakers perceive German literature and I could also improve my comprehension skills in Greek, as we talked both in Greek and in German.

For the last session before the summer break they invited two guests, a translator, Maria Angelidou and a historican, Xeni Baloti, who held a talk about Joseph Roth and about Marie Antoinette from Goethe to Zweig. As a lot of guests were expected, we didn´t meet at Zoe´s, but in the rooms of the ΙΔΡΥΜΑ ΑΓΓΕΛΟΥ & ΛΗΤΩΣ ΚΑΤΑΚΟΥΖΗΝΟΥ, the foundation of Angelos and Lotos Katakouzinos, which a located in one of the huge buildings, at Syntagma Square. Expect from the interesting talks, the location was amazing: Noble furniture, old family heirlooms and a stunning view of the Parliament and the National Garden.

On the first photo you can see also Lena and me with the speakers and the organizers, Eirini and Panagiota. We were asked to join them as the two German women, who could follow the talk in Greek – more or less 😉

 

Μαθήματα Νέων Ελληνικών

Μετά από τέσσερις μήνες τα μαθήματα Νέων Ελληνικών τελείωσαν χθες. Λυπάμαι πολύ, γιατί έμαθα πάρα πολύ! Οι καθηγήτριες μου, Ειρήνη και Μαρία ήταν πολύ συμπαθητικιή και επίσης οι συμμαθητές μου. Χαμογελάσαμε πολύ, συσητήσαμε πολύ και διασβάσαμε πολύ. Στο τέλος όλοι πήραν μια βεβαίωση (εγώ έχω Β1) και γιορτάσαμε με διεθνή φαγητά!

After four months my lessons in New Greek already have finished. My teachers, Eirini and Maria, and my colleagues were very nice. We laughed a lot, discussed and studied. And finally we all get our certificate (mine is B1 one now) and celebrated with an international dinner.

Από την όδο Σπετσών προς Σπέτσες – From a street named after Spetses to the island itself

Already four months are over and I still can’t believe how fast time is passing by. The fact, that I got 25 this week, doesn’t make it even better. I feel really old 😉

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No matter, where I am: On my Birthday there is always rain…

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But apart from my age, there were more changes this week: First of all I moved to another flat. It’s the flat of a friend, who went to Germany for a while to work there. There I will live now until the end of my stay together and take care two very cute cats – Merlin and Nouri. The flat is also in Kypseli close to my old one and it is located in an area, where all streets are named after islands. A lot of new destinations 😉

Merlin, Nouri and a lot of books – Paradise!!!

The flat is very nice and on my birthday I invited my friends for a coffee and a cake to my „new home“.  The road where it is located is named after the small Saronic island Spetses and by accident there was a trip to it this Sunday. Actually the plan was to go to Santorini, but die to the strikes we had to cancel it. But no problem , we just postponed it 😉

 

Arrival on Spetses

And I have to admit – also Spetses is very very beautiful. A bit too upper class (there is a hotel in the harbor that reminds me on the Adlon in Berlin), but also historical very important, as it was the place where the Greek Revolution started in 1821.

The Poseidonion Hotel and some very noble mansions

And you might never guess: But one of the most important heroes was a woman, Laskarida Bouboulina. And her house is today a very interesting museum!

Impressions of the house of Bouboulina (the house in the left corner is the mansion of Chatzigiannis Metzis, which is today the island museum)

After this awesome experienced I was welcomed by my two  flatmates 😺in the evening 😉

As there are nearly no cars on Spetses, you can find a lot of horse carriages, and even special parking places for them! (See the picture in the left corner)

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Only a few steps to heaven!

Κάνει ζεστή! – First Heatwave in Athens!

As you could see, I travelled a lot the last months and I have seen a lot of stunning and beautiful places. But until now this weekend I had the best trip until now. While most of the other Erasmus students went to Crete this weekend, I went with the office „My road trip“ for a two day trip to Pylio – Volos – Skiathos. (I will be two weeks on Crete for a summer school, so I wanted to see something else.) And it was a great decision. The combination of mountains, city life, Harbour, island culture and Beach was totally ideal!

I met Amalia and Philip again, who I met on another trip and we spent a great time 🙂

Saturday morning we started early from Athens to the Pylion Mountains – the mountains of the Kentaurs, that are close to Volos.

Although there were clouds, it had 35 degrees.

There we visited two colorful villages with pictourous houses, a stunning view and really old trees.

As we had 35 degrees, it was the right place to stay!

One of the trees was more than 500 years old!

Early in the evening we reached our hotel, that was directly located at the port of Volos – a quite big city between Athens and Larissa. Volos has a beautiful seaside. Furthermore the city hosted the Panhellenic riders meeting this weekend, so that there were horses everywhere on the Main Street.

Volos Town with horses on the street

A beautiful city!

The next morning we started early  to go to the port, where our small cruise to Skiathos started. Together with a group of Polish retired people (the were very  funny 😂) we went to the island. There we had first a stop at the main town. During the free time I walk through the streets and along the coast. It is a very beautiful area – I will come back once for sure!!!

On the way to Skiathos

Skiathos Town and harbour with a Baptise!

After that we went to the most famous beach of Skiathos – Koukinares! It has clean water and very nice sand and nature!

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Beautiful beach!

On the way back to the mainland we also saw dolphins, that swam directly in front of our boat. Unfortunately they were to fast for my camera….

Late in the evening we arrived back in Athens, where it was still so hot, that you didn’t need a jacket!

All in all a very nice short trip with My Road Trip – perfectly organized, nice atmosphere and nice people! I can really recommend it!!

Deutsch-griechische Geschichte in Kalavryta

This time in German

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No more wars!

Am gestrigen Sonntag habe ich einen beeindruckenden, ebenso wie bedrückenden Ausflug in das kleine Bergstadt Kalavryta gemacht. Bevor ich nach Griechenland kam, kannte ich dieses Dorf nicht. Und ich bin mir sicher, dass es vielen anderen genauso geht, da Orte wie Kalavryta oder auch Distomo, Drama oder Kommeno und die schrecklichen Massaker, die von der deutschen Wehrmacht dort begangen worden sind, im deutschen Gedächtnis kaum präsent sind. Das hat mich damals total schockiert und umso wichtiger war es für mich, während meiner Zeit in Griechenland zumindest eine dieser beeindruckenden Gedenkstätten und das dazugehörige Museum zu besuchen.

Gedenkstätte und Museum von Kalavryta

Kalavryta ist über eine Gebirgsstraße erreichbar und gleichzeitig durch eine Schmalspur-Zahnradbahn mit dem Küstenort Diakofto verbunden. Diese Strecke ist bereits seit dem späten 19. Jahrhundert in Betrieb und gehört meiner Meinung nach zu einer der schönsten Zugstrecken der Welt!

Die Fotos zeigen einige Impressionen, geben aber die Schönheit und die Gewaltigkeit der Natur nur ansatzweise wieder.

Den Aufenthalt in Kalavryta habe ich genutzt, um die Gedenkstätte und das Museum zu besuchen und in den kleine Läden einige regionale Produkte zu kaufen.