Each ending is also the start of something new…

Finally after seven months I am back in Germany. It feels familiar and foreign at the same time and I feel COLD! After three months nearly without temperatures under 20 degrees, 18 degrees feel like deep winter!

The most touching moment during the last days was to see Chaco, my horse, again, to smell the odour of the stable and to stroke his soft and warm coat.

Luckily I have only little time to fall into a post ERASMUS depression. The last days I was more or less busy with unpacking all the things, my mother and I brought home and the things, that accumulated, while I was in Greece.

Today in the evening there will be an opening for the Summer school I attend the next three weeks in Bielefeld. It will deal with German Romanticism and includes lectures, workshops and an excursion to places in Germany, that are connected with this époque in different ways.

So you can see: While on chapter is nearly closed, the next has almost begun. Nevertheless I will come back to Greece as soon as possible to see my friends and to go on holiday. But first I have to work!

And this might also be the last entry of this blog for the moment. But I do my very best to write a kind of recapitulation or postscript, summarizing my experiences and collecting some of the most impressing pictures.

This is also the moment, where I want to thank all my ERASMUS and my Greek friend, that made the former months so incredible amazing, filled with countless unforgettable memories. And I want to thank you for following my blog and sharing my experiences. I hope you liked it and you also want to explore the Greek life now 🙂

Last but not least, I´ll give you two songs that fit to the beginning and the end of my time abroad:

Revolverheld „Lass uns gehen“ : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRBahNdUfUo

and

Boy – We were here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMdNOiplpEc

From Athens to Bielefeld – 2636 kilometres distances, but both feel like home!

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Family reunion!

For the last week my mother decided to visit me again, so that we can carry home all my stuff together. But before we had to pack, we could spend four wonderful days at or friend´s house in Saronida. It´s a village close to the sea, where many Greek people have a flat our a little house for the summer. There we could escape at least a little from the heat and  visit the local „house“ beaches.

Saronida

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36 degress in the shadow, 28 at night: Last days on the beach!

One day we also went to the Vougliameni Lake to do a little Spa with those funny fish 🙂

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Weird –  but healthy and for free!

And as I liked it so much, we went again to Sounio 🙂

Sounio the 2nd!

But today we have to pack all the things… And also my two „flatmates“ Merlin and Nouri seem to notice that I will leave soon. That´s why they watch me all  the day and want to be cuddled a lot 🙂

Nouri and Merlin and a postcard from Germany 🙂

Γεια σου Αθήνα, Time to say goodbye…

Today whole Greece is celebrating the Feast of the Dormition of Virgin Mary, the most important local holiday in Greece. After nearly seven months in Greece, it is also my last day here in Athens. Well, it´s hard to describe, how I feel with this, because I actually cannot imagine myself being back in Germany in less than 24 hours.

I need some time to think about it, so I will first tell you a bit about the last two weeks, that I spent with Nora and my mother. We enjoyed the Greek summer, but we also suffered a little from the heat. Even I was quite exhausted though I should got used to it during the last weeks and months. One way to cope with it, is to escape from the city center and to go to the sea. That´s what Nora and I did and we chose different destinations.

The first was Agistri. On the island we rent some bikes and went  – after we got a little lost – to the beach of Chalkiada. But if you don´t know it , I am sure you would also  be surprised about the way, that leads to it. First you can go by bike to the end of a small road, but then you have to continue by feet taking a small path through a forest, where lots of people are camping. This path ends at a cliff, where you can see the beach from above. But guess, what to do to get there! No path, no stairs, no banisters – just steep rocks you have to climb down. Actually it might be a little dangerous, but don´t think about it – just go slowly down. It´s worth to do, because then you will find yourself on a beautiful beach with clear water and a lot of nice people around you. The music out of a small jukebox gives you the feeling you´re back in the 60s and 70s in Matala 🙂 This way you can recreate yourself to climb up the steep rock again 😉

Beach of Agistri – and after our adventure Frappé in the harbour

One evening we went to the Cape Sounio. With its gorgeous view and the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon it´s one of the most famous destinations in Attica to see the sunset.

Without words: Sunset in Sounio

The third beach we visited, was in Schinias, close to Marathon. There we did Stand Up Paddling for the first time. It was very very funny, but not that easy as it seems. Especially the wind, made it a little difficult, because suddenly we were quite far away from the coast. But I only fell twice into the water. Besides our own sport activities we could watch a beach volleyball tournament: The U22 Greek championships.

But of course we also explored the main sights of Athens, because it was Nora´s first time here. We went to the Acropolis, the Stadiums of 1896 and 2004 and the Plaka. There we spent our last evening together having a nice dinner, watching the full moon and the partial lunar eclipse.

Hot, hotter Athens!

Full moon in Plaka – Frappé, Freddo Espresso and WATER, that´s how you survive in the heat!

Last Tuesday I had a flying visitor exchange: Taking Nora to the airport, cleaning the flat, doing the laundry and then going to the airport again to pick up my mother who spent the last week together with me. About this I will tell you little later.

Καλό μήνα! Για μια τελευταία φορά…

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Can you see the plane? Soon it´s time to say goodbye…

Today August begins and for one last time I wish you all καλό μήνα (have a nice month) – a phrase you hear nearly everywhere on each first day of the month. 

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Also Nouri wishes you a nice month! 🙂

On 1st September I will already be back in Germany, where this is not common. 

Last days of daily routine in Athens are also nearly over, as I will spend the last two weeks together with friends and family. 

But daily life in Athens changed during the former days. 

Already when I came back from Crete, I noticed that the streets and the buses are emptier than before. And one and a half week later more and more people are leaving the city for a short summer break. Almost everywhere you see people with luggage waiting for the public transport or a taxi. Because of that also some shops close for a while or reduce their opening hours and the metro and the buses run in some cases less often. 

The only places where you can find a lot of people are the beaches. Also I can hear them calling „Visit us!!!“ 🙂

Lavrio Port and Beach

That’s what I did during the last days. Here are some pictures from Lavrio, Porto Rafti, Avlaki and Vougliameni. Always combined with some readings and preparation for my next Summerschool and my return to Germany, it’s a nice way to spend the day during that heat. 

Avlaki

It’s the first time, that I have to cope with 26 degrees in the night and 35+ during day. Sometimes I think I got used to it, but sometimes I still suffer. 

Limni Vougliameni

I also did a day trip again to Epidauros and Nafplio, because I liked it there! Here are some more pictures of the former capital of Athens, its Venetian fortress and the excavations in Epidauros. 

Remains of Archaia Epidavros

Nafplio Palamidi

Nafplio Town and Harbour with the little island of Bourtzi

The heat combined with the wind we have also provokes forest fires, which now have appeared close to Athens as well. I hope the fire fighters can stop them soon!

Γεια σου Κρήτη!

After 16 days on Crete is time to say goodbye. Ελπίζω να μας ξαναδούμε!

And it’s time to go back home. You might ask where I go. To Athens? Back to Germany?

Well, for the next three and a half weeks I can still call Athens „home“. And the fact that I want to call it exactly like this, shows that the last months were special. And even when I will be back in Germany Athens will remain part of the place where I feel home and not as a stranger or visitor. 

After this philosophical comment a few notes on the journey back. Again I had a journey for ca. 8 hours, that passed by quite quickly. For only 23 Euro I felt a little bit like on a cruise. „Traumschiff“ at it’s best (it’s a German TV serial, which fulfills all cliches of cruises)!

There was even a pool on the open deck. But it was closed… 

unfortunately it was very windy but though I had a nice time!

Early in the evening we arrived at Piraeus. It was very hot in Athens! and after I finally carried all my luggage to Kypseli  within 34 degrees, I arrived tired but happy home and was warmly welcomed by Nouri and Merlin 🙂

Happy Cats!

More on Rethymno – Crete Blogs #8

Before I will close the session of the Crete Blogs with an entry about my journey back, I would like to tell you a bit more about Rethymno accompanied with lots of pictures!

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Best sunsets! The photo was taken by Liz 🙂

Despite of the fact that Rethymno has one of the most beautiful located university, which is also known especially for its archaeological department, it’s not a coincidence that the town attracts so many tourists. 

Views of the town – inside and from above

It’s located on the north coast of Crete right between Chania and Heraklion so that you can reach the other parts of the island (especially the western parts and the beautiful beaches of the south very well). 

In the town itself you can visit the old Venetian fortress to have a stunning view of the town and the sea. At the road around the fortress  you can watch beautiful sunsets and right next to the Harbour you can find a sandy beach, which has a length of more than 5 kilometers. There is also a promenade where you can walk or ride a bike. Along this Promenade and in the old town there are a lot of shops, restaurants and bars. They are open until late so that the streets are still vivid.

The Fortress

The museums

Furthermore the museum for contemporary art shows very interesting pictures and installations of known and less known young artists!

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One of the mosques

Additonally you can see a lot of old mosques that were built during the Ottoman Empire. They are not in use anymore because there are nearly no Muslims anymore on Crete. Due to bloody exchange of population with Turkey in the early 20th they had to leave.

More street views (The building on the left is the students´ house. Behind me, taking this picture, is the sea). Could be a hotel, couldn´t it? 🙂

Fish Spa

You also see them in Athens, but on Crete you will find a lot: Fish Spas. Those are shops with small Aquariums where DoctorFish are inside. You can put your feet in and the fish will eat your died skin. Doing this they are massaging your feet at the same time. If you have the chance try! It might sound weird, but it’s great. You will feel very vitalized after it!

Crete Blog #7 – The very last day…

After CreteLing 2017 came to an end on 21st July with a closing reception party, people one after the other started their journey back home or to the country, where they study. 

I left Rethymno on Saturday morning, but I had a day left in Heraklion because my ship to Athens was leaving on Sunday morning. 

After I left my luggage (which was very heavy know, because I bought some souvenirs and local products) at my hotel, I first went to see the historical museum and the museum of natural history. Especially the second one I liked, because its educational concept was really interesting. It’s mainly designed for children but also for adults. There a lots of things to discover and to see. 

The Historical museum – one room is dedicated to Nikos Kazantzakis, where you can also see the old furniture of his office.

Living and not-living animals and experiments in the Natural History museum

I also went to Archanes, a village close to Heraklion, which was supposed to be very nice. But in fact it was boring, so that I left very soon. Everything was closed and there was nothing to see. Maybe I didn´t find the right places…

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Sleeping Archanes

The evening I spent in Hersonissos, a small touristic town in the bay of Malia, one of the most concentrated areas with more than 50.000 beds. It’s attractive for travelers because it’s not urban, but still close to the airport and there is a very good bus connection. 

Last evening on Crete with beautiful lights!

Hersonissos was nice but a little overcrowded. Most of the tourists seemed to be either German or Russian. I recognized more Russian signs than Greek ones and at least three shops for fur coats, the last thing I would buy during my summer holiday. Despite of the fact that I would never buy one… But if there wasn’t customers, they wouldn’t be there…

Little Island but a lot of history – Spinalonga. Crete Blog #6

The excursion I did on the second Wednesday combined three different places.

First we went to Agios Nikolaos, the capital of the eastern part of Crete. It’s about 159 kilometers far away from Rethymno but during the way you have stunnings views of mountains, sandy beaches and rocky cliffs. 

(This is true for all bus tours I did. Looking outside never became boring!) 

Agios Nikolaos – and yes: in the morning it was cloudy!

Agios Nikolaos has about 10.000 inhabitants and is the 5th biggest city on Crete. Directly in the center there is a lake called Voulismeni. The town has lots of little streets and nice shops and during the summer a lot of tourists come here for a day. 

Agios Nikolaos II – you can see the clouds going away!

After spending an hour there we continued to the port of Elounda, where we took a boat to Spinalonga, an island which is in fact only a rock. 

These pictures show, how rocky it is on the island.

It’s historical important in two cases. First there was a Venetian fortress whose ruins are still preserved. And second it was the last Leper colony in Europe. From 1903 Cretan people, who suffered from this disease, were brought there because the people were afraid of them. Later people from all over Greece were taken there. Lepers who once came, never returned. They were forced to stay until they died. 1957 the colony was released because scientists discovered a medicine against the illness. Today you can see the abandoned houses, the hospital and also the ruins of the former Venetian and Ottoman buildings. 

Remains of 500 years of history

In fact the island is very small and infertil and I felt very uncomfortable imagining people were forced to spend their lives  being stigmatized as Lepers. 

When the boat returned to Elounda we had some free time there to spend on swimming, relaxing, eating and walking! Here are some impressions. 

Can you recognize the little insect in the picture on the bottom? It´s a τζιτζίκι and with its legs it makes incredibly loud sounds!

Crete Blog #5 Heraklion and Knossos

After the tour to the very west of the island, sunday’s bus took me east to Heraklion where I first visited the stunning ruins of the palace of Knossos. Actually it was slightly too hot for this but with a lot of water and sunscreen I survived! The objects, the archaeologists have found there and at other excavations are shown in the Archaeological museum in the Center of Heraklion. Especially the jewelry is good preserved and very beautiful! And incredible up to 4000 years old!

The Palace of Knossos

Jewelry and Mosaics in the Archaeological Museum

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Heat on Crete

Grave of Nikos Kazantzakis, Fortress in the harbour, parts of the town wall

Besides this I took a walk through Crete’s biggest town which has a fortress as well and a lot of Venetian buildings. But actually it isn’t as beautiful as Rethymno and Chania.

Nearly every 5 minutes you could see and hear a plane above you -it´s peak season!

Greek Caribic! Crete Blog #4

The weekend between the two weeks of classes was dedicated to exploring the island. While others decided to relax at the local beach and to check out the clubs in town until late, I got up both days very early to see two very different sights of the island. 

Gramvoussa

The first day I went on a cruise to Gramvoussa and Balos, which are located at the very west of the island. Here the land rose about 10 meters due to an earthquake long ago. Gramvoussa is a little island without inhabitants where you can visit the ruins of an old Venetian fortress. The view is stunning. 

Our next stop was Balos. A lagoon with shallow, warm, crystal clear water. Even 100 m away from the coast it’s sometimes only  1 m deep. You feel like you are in the Caribbean Sea.

Beautiful Balos!