Friday 28 August 2020

Athens Slate Line - Richard Long

Athens Slate Line by Richard Long. 

The installation is positioned near the Shrine of Dionysos Eleuthereus on the South Slope of the Acropolis. It consists of individual pieces of slate assembled to form a line. Its linear shape acts as a path, reminiscent of the meditative nature of walking. The act of walking combines physical endurance with the principles of order, action and idea, proposing a new way of viewing the wider area of the site.

Long has been associated with Land Art, which emerged in Britain in the 1960s. Central to his practice is the action of walking. He has created sculpture and Land Art using lines all over the world, including the Sahara desert, Australia and Ireland.

A line has been at the core of Long's practice. It first appeared in his seminal work A Line Made by Walking (1967), when he was a student at Saint Martin's School of Art in London. He created this artwork by continually treading the same path in a grass field in Wiltshire.

Tuesday 25 August 2020

Our Tuesday market

We have the choice of two markets in our area,  one on Tuesdays and one on Saturdays. The Saturday one is our preferred option, as the beach gets too busy at weekends so going to the market on Saturday means we can go swimming on Tuesday. 

Except, for the man selling eggs on Tuesdays - his eggs are free-range and fabulous, bright orange yolk and they are delicious.

This was our first visit to the market this year. We went well prepared: FFP2 mask and a visor, plus lots of sanitiser, of course. I was a bit worried about going as people don't seem to exercise social distancing much: I have been told that since lockdown was eased, people have got out of the habit of doing so - it's the same in the UK, people seem to have forgotten that the pandemic is still with us. The vast majority of people were wearing masks though, but very few of the stall holders.

Huge piles of delicious fruit and veg - it all tastes so much better than the produce in the UK.

Tomatoes and cucumbers are the staple salad ingredients for the summer

peppers and aubergines

various fresh herbs and lettuce - even though lettuce is not in season at the moment, there is always one seller at least who stocks it

huge radishes

the first grapes of the season

a varied stall this one: potatoes, onions and watermelons


three of the main staples of  summer: tomatoes, aubergines and peppers

small cucumbers - I have to say that I prefer them to the more common, larger ones

these are lemons, not limes

and some yellow ones

beans - another staple of the summer: green ones with threads - these ones take ages to prepare so I never buy them, the pink ones are called handres - you eat only the inside which turn white whilst cooking, and green ones without threads, easy to prepare and the ones I favour.

August means figs, and these ones are the vasilika (royal), the best and sweetest


and clothes too.

Three types of aubergine: black, white and the purple ones

more grapes - the black ones in the middle are tiny, where raisins come from, I guess

luscious plums

nectarines and peaches

pistachios before they've been skinned and shelled

huge spring onions

parsley, a different variety to the one you get in the UK

most of the fish has gone

I love these round courgettes - they are divine when roasted.

This was a depleted market - not only because it's August but also because it was the first one after the August 15th celebrations which are almost as big as Christmas here. No flower stall for instance.

We loaded our trolley and then started the relatively long walk back to the apartment.

Sunday 23 August 2020

Swimming! At last!

I have been dreaming of this. At last. Our first swim in 2020 and we walked to the Coast of the Sun, our local beach.

Slightly choppy when we arrived, but it calmed later

We always come early in order to get a shade on the first row so that we can be as near the sea as possible. But, also, because it's not as busy early on, something that is particularly important these days when social distancing is an imperative.

Very few people around now, but by 11:00 when we leave, it will be packed.  Come the 1st of September though, most people will keep away and things will be more relaxed.

I can't describe how wonderful that first dip was. When I am in the sea swimming, I feel pure joy, the purest, all-consuming happiness.

The water is particularly clear this year, almost like being on an island. Fewer boats polluting the waters due to the pandemic just like air pollution levels fell during lockdown.

It's pure sand around here, but you do come across the odd small rock

I don't know if you noticed how clear and blue the sky was when we arrived. Just as we were about to leave we noticed this black cloud in the sky and we just knew it was smoke. We later found out that on the other side of Athens, a plastics recycling factory had caught fire - the toxic fumes stayed in the atmosphere for hours, and the Cancer Society warned people of how dangerous they were. Yet another reminder of the harm and destruction that humans cause to the environment and our planet.

Wednesday 19 August 2020

A view of the sea

At the end of our street is the sea - you can just about see it in this photograph -

and the entrance to the beach we go to, the Coast of the Sun.

The aim of this walk is not to go swimming unfortunately -  too much to do at home. Instead, the aim is to have our free passes to this beach renewed . Even though the Coast of the Sun is a private beach where you have to pay to get in, we, as residents get in free - it's the same principle as 'right of way' in  the countryside in the UK.

This is our beach, viewed from above

Next to the entrance to the beach, a statue of Thucydides, Athenian historian and general who lived in the 5th century BC. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens. He has been dubbed the father of 'scientific history' as he tried to apply strict standards of impartiality and evidence-gathering and analysis of cause and effect in the study of history, without reference to the intervention by the deities, as outlined in his introduction to his work. He has also been called the father of the school of political realism, which views the political behaviour of individuals and the subsequent outcomes of relations between states as ultimately mediated by, and constructed upon, the emotions of fear and self-interest. The Melian dialogue is regarded as a seminal work of international relations theory.

He is meant to have had some kind of connection to our area, maybe he was born here, or lived here, I don't know. The main road that cuts through our area is called Thukydidou Street.

Another view of the beach, all of the umbrellas are up, which means it's full.

We walk along this path, with the sea to our left and the tram line and main road to Athens to our right.

And, here's a tram

The new pedestrian bridge is almost complete. This main road is the main access to Athens, or to put it another way, it's the way Athenians reach the coast, so it's very busy and three pedestrian bridges are in the process of being built to make it easier for pedestrians.

We reach Rayen, a Mexican restaurant/bar - this bougainvillea at the entrance is truly stunning

This place gets dismantled every winter, and a new decor is installed every summer

this year's decor  looks quite nice and inviting.

The free beach which is opposite Rayen is very busy

it's so good, being able to see the sea again, and of course, I can't wait to dive in, but this will have to wait for another day

The promenade has been repaired in the last few weeks as part of it was sliding into the sea. There was a dispute between central government and local government: central government, whose responsibility this promenade is,  kept delaying to have it fixed. When our wonderful mayor had it fixed, central government took him to court. Two years later a different part of the promenade started sliding into the sea - our mayor could not do anything about it as the outcome of the court case was that if he tried to have it fixed again, he would go to jail. This is such a perfect example of how  dysfunctional and inefficient Greek bureaucracy is.

Now however it has been fixed, but I don't know the details of who and how it was fixed. But, we are all very pleased.

From here one can see the marina in the distance

On our right, Pennaburia, a very popular bar and cafe -  people come all the way from Athens to sit here

but, it's the sea I can't get enough of. This is a lovely place for swimming, we used to come here a lot, but we prefer the pay beach these days, mainly because it offers shade, and being a true Greek, I fear and respect the sun, and avoid it as much as possible.

We have reached Cine Alimos, our local, municipal cinema, which is cheap and always showing interesting films.  This is another of our mayor's achievements, and according to him, the one he is most proud of, but I don't know... . He has done so much for our area and we cannot believe our luck in having such a good administration for a change. I have written about this before here and here

This outdoor cinema is wonderful, lovely sitting here watching films with the extra bonus of views of the sea during the intermission. The screen is lowered when no film is showing. 

This is also where we pick up our free passes

a last look at the sea and then we head for home.