Salon.com no longer publishes a separate travel section, but for a time it's Wanderlust website, edited by Don George, featured some of the best travel writing anywhere. The online magazine's archives include some great travel stories on Greece.
Rolf Potts recounted boozy hedonistic adventures at Corfu's notorious Pink Palace party mecca in A Greek Romance. Amy Brill shared her poignant tale of searching for her Greek roots in My Grandfathers’s Village. Jeffrey Tayler described his desperate and hillarious attempt to recapture his lost youth, at the onset of a mid-life crisis, in Ios Odyssey.
Some of the other engrossing travel tales on Greece in the Salon archives include Once Upon a Time in Greece , Santorini Style, Naxos Nights and Disco Bouzouki Takes Athens By Storm. All of Salon's stories on Greece are listed here.
Kafeneo world headquarters
Posting here has been light lately, but things are far from quiet behind the scenes as kafeneo prepares to move into new digs. We'd like to hear from you on how to fix up the place, so email us or click on the comments link below to share your suggestions. We'll need to decorate the place, so if you have pictures of other kafeneos, people, places, sights and events around Greece, send 'em to us to share them with the rest of the world.
Dispatches from the field will resume next week. At our regular kafeneo-style leisurely place.
Don't worry, be happy
Finally, somebody who knows what he's talking about when it comes to the Olympics and security pointed out the obvious. Peter Ueberroth, the director of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, said that concerns about the Athens Games being targeted by terror groups would not be borne out.
"I believe the Athens Games will be a good Games, and that there will not be any major security incidents," he told reporters at a Manhattan function showcasing New York City's bid for the 2012 Games. "(Terrorism) relies on cowardice and an element of surprise. Athens is ready, so that takes away the element of surprise."When Ueberroth was asked about the possible consequences of construction delays, smog, sunstroke, earthquakes, the position of the moon and a butterfly sneezing in China, he said, hey forgetaboutit, the Greeks have a handle on chaos. They invented that word, didn't they?
All hail Matt Barrett
Matt Barrett is a one-man online publishing wonder who has assembled some of the best travel resources for visitors to Greece. He has lived and travelled in the country since 1968 and his grasp and understanding of all things Greece and Greek is simply awesome! Matt has turned this storehouse of knowledge and experience into a collection of useful websites that include A Travel Guide to Greece, the Athens Survival Guide, Hotels of Greece and the Greece Turkey Travel Guide for those who plan to visit both countries.
On his websites, Matt dispenses friendly advice on how to survive an Athens heatwave in style and how to find good restaurants. He gives us his own lowdown on the Athens Olympics and shares good primers on Greek popular music including the blues-like Rembetika and obsure cultural gems like the Karagiozis shadow puppet theatre. Matt's page of travel tips is a must-read and contains essential insider knowledge of how to get the most out of your travel budget during your visit to Greece by working with knowledgable travel agents, some of whom he profiles on his sites.
Matt's sites also have good information and advice on travelling to Greece with children. He's even brought his daughter Amarandi into the family business to help out with her own Greece 4 Kids website. Amarandi, who started her website when she was eight years old, is now 11 and her latest updates include a description of going to school on the island of Kea in the fall of 2003.
Oh, Matt also has an extensive online photo album of Greece as well.
So all together now: in Matt Barrett we trust, all others we verify.
Easter in Greece, a moveable feast
Easter (Pascha) is the most significant holiday in Greece and marks the start of the spring and summer festival season. During Easter, many urban Greeks head for their ancestral villages to celebrate with the smell of spring in the air and wildflowers in full bloom carpeting the landscape.
Greek Orthodox Easter centers around the commemoration and celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Holy Week (Megali Evdomada) conludes on Good Friday with church services that include the procession of the Holy Sepulchral through villages, town squares or city neighborhoods. On Saturday night, Resurrection services take place at midnight and the darkened churches come alive as parishioners light their candles to symbolize Christ's return. After church people greet and embrace each other while saying "Christos Anesti" (Christ has risen) and return to their homes to knock together red-dyed eggs and eat the traditional "mageritsa" soup and "tsoureki" bread. On Easter Sunday, spit-roasted lamb ("arni" and "kokoretsi"), becomes the centerpiece of day-long preparations for a traditional dinner feast. Read more about Greek Easter dishes on MSNBC and The New York Times.
Greek Orthodox Easter does not always coinside with Catholic and Protestant Easter. That's because the dates for Greek Easter are derived from the Julian (old) calendar Paschalion, even though Greece itself has followed the Gregorian (new) calendar since 1924. This also explain why Christmas is celebrated on December 25 in Greece and not on January 7, the date that most Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas (January 7 on the Gregorian calendar is actually December 25 on the Julian calendar). If you find this calendrical conundrum confusing, you can learn more about Julian and Gregorian calendars and Easter at Wikipedia.org.
Greece: the really big picture
A giant Kodak photo montage titled "The Whole of Greece In One Smile" and made with 16,609 individual pictures of Greeks, takes up more than 5,000 square feet of space at Syntagma Square in Athens. The photo montage sets a new Guiness Book of World Records benchmark and broke the previous record, also held by Kodak, for a 12,012 photo montage in St. Petersburg, Russia. This massive picture of pictures also won a gold award for Kodak at the recent Hellas Effie 2004 Awards which are presented annually by the New York American Marketing Association.
Kodak issued a press release stating that it created the montage to honor the citizens of Greece in keeping with the company's historic association with the Olympics. George Eastman who founded Kodak, began the company's association with the Games in 1896 - when he placed an advertisement for the Athens Games.
Kodak Near East GM Lazaros Piatopoulos made the following remarks about the photomontage.
"We decided to create something that would give all visitors to Athens the chance to share in the spirit of the Olympic Games. The people of Greece were invited to send a picture and be part of history in the largest-ever photographic montage. The photos of the 16,609 Greeks that responded made up the face of a child whose smile looks at the future with hope and awaits the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with pride."