Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Open air cinema

It's the last day of June and my Greek sojourn is coming to an end. To celebrate what has been a most enjoyable and summery June, I thought I'd dedicate this post to the phenomenon of the open air cinema.

All over Greece, once summer comes and temperatures start rising (usually around the beginning of June), conventional cinemas close down and a number of open air cinemas start operating. These establishments are located in a courtyard or a rooftop, where punters can sit on director's chairs to watch films on a big screen - just like a regular cinema, minus the reclining chairs and roof! There are usually tables scattered amongst the chairs, and it's possible to eat and drink while watching the movie (you're able to smoke too, but maybe not after tomorrow as a country-wide smoking ban is coming into effect).

For me, open air cinemas are the biggest summer treat, as we don't have anything similar in England. Open air events don't quite agree with our weather...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Time with friends

I've not blogged much lately (apart from posting a couple of photos on my other blog) as I've been travelling all over Greece to visit friends.

I've just spent three days with my friend Aspa, who I'd not seen for years. Aspa and I started as pen friends when we were both 14 and soon became good friends. Despite following completely different paths in life, we have kept in touch for over 20 years, we still write the occasional letter (Aspa doesn't do computers) and enjoy each other's company whenever we get together. We've spent the last three days catching up, talking almost non-stop and even staying up until 3 AM each night to talk after putting the kids to bed. I've had the most wonderful time and can't wait to see her again.

It's true what they say, that the more time you spend with someone the more you miss them. Sometimes life gets in the way - the last time Aspa and I had a few hours of uniterrupted time together was 7 years ago - but we've both promised each other not to let another seven years go by before our next face-to-face chat.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pizza night

This is the pizza Sandi and I shared on my balcony the other night, after coming back from the open air cinema (we watched The Reader, and it was as good as I remembered). It's a Pizza Hut special called Greek Lover's and it's super yummy. It's made with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, fresh tomato, feta cheese, black olives, oregano, green peppers, onion, pepperoni and mushrooms. We had the thin and crispy base, but to be honest I think the thick base is better for this particular pizza.

I could have taken a more artistic shot, but we were too hungry to mess about with photography.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Today I went shoe shopping with my friend Sandi who's visiting from London. Sandi loves shoes but has size 35 feet and has trouble finding grown-up shoes to fit her.

Dubai was a total disappointment in this respect, but Athens came up trumps. In just three hours, Sandi purchased five pairs of shoes. We stopped for lunch, then she bought a sixth pair on the way to the metro station. You're either serious about shoes or you're not. This is her loot.

Not bad, huh? Especially considering the most popular style at the moment is the flat, strappy sandal, so it took some searching to find shoes suitable for wearing at work in a wet country.

The dusky pink patent leather ones are our favourite.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wedding season

I haven't had much time to post in the last week or so, as we've hit wedding season big time. First a family friend got married 10 days ago, then both my cousin and my brother got married within a week (not to each other, I hasten to add). As a result, our lives have been taken over by wedding preparations and the associated stresses. Thankfully all three weddings have gone well and I'm now looking forward to some chilling out time, preferably on a sandy beach.

I haven't been granted permission to publish the photos of the happy couples, so I thought I'd show you my brother's wedding favours. These are pouches made of tulle and fastened with a satin ribbon, which hold seven or nine sugared almonds, and are given to the guests at the end of the service. Once opened they look like this:

Yes, you can only see 5 sugared almonds - that's because I ate the other four before I took the photo.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Old friends

Last Sunday I went to visit my parents, who still live in the town I grew up in. This morning, while rushing around the town centre doing errands for my mum, I bumped into an old friend who I'd not seen for over 20 years, and not spoken to for at least 17. She's American but has family in my hometown and when she was younger used to spend the summer months with her aunt and uncle, who lived round the corner from my family. We first met when I was 11 and she was 13 and we got on like houses on fire - whenever she was in Greece we were pretty much inseparable. Then, as she got older she had school and college commitments and couldn't afford to spend summers in Greece, my family moved to another part of town, I moved to Athens and then England and we didn't see each other any more.

This was before mobile phones and email, and way before Facebook, Twitter and Skype, when the only way to keep in touch was to write letters or make very expensive phonecalls in the middle of the night (esp. if you had an inability to calculate time differences correctly, as I did). I think I got too embarassed of ringing her at 5 AM and waking the whole family up, so I stopped calling, she stopped writing and we eventually lost touch completely.

Until this morning that is, when we came face to face as she stepped out of a shop just as I was walking past. It took me a couple of seconds to recognise her, she didn't see me at all. I called her name, she turned around, blinked and as soon as we both realised who the other was, we started shrieking like... well, I guess like two friends who'd not seen each other for 20 years and all but given up hope of ever seeing each other again :-)

We got a lot of funny looks chatting animatedly (i.e. at the top of our voices) in the street, but who cares? It's not every day you come across an old friend. It was impressive (and a little scary) how immediately we clicked, even making the same comments, pulling the same faces and reacting the same way to the smallest things as we gave each other an update on our lives. It almost felt like 20 years hadn't gone by and we were still teenagers spending the summer together. We've promised to keep in touch, so we'll see. Wouldn't it be great if I've found an old friend again, just like that?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

It's getting hotter

The first few days after I arrived in Athens were quite pleasant, but not quite hot enough to qualify as Greek summer (27°C or 80°F during the day and down to 22°C or 72°F at night).

Yesterday, however, I spotted that we finally hit 30°C (86°F) so summer is definitely on its way. Bring it on, is what I say!

The two men you can see on the posterboard below the temperature display are Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and leader of the opposision George Papandreou. The posters are part of their respective parties' campaigns for the European elections on Sunday.

Friday, June 05, 2009

New Moon


Can't wait for November 27th (UK viewers will have to wait an extra week, which is REALLY CRUEL. Bah!)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Reporting live from Greece

From today until the end of June I will be based in Athens. There are a couple of weddings and various family matters to take care of this month, so I thought I'd take advantage of the unemployment thing and move out here temporarily . Since 2003, the longest I've spent in Greece in one go has been 16 days, so this is going to be an experience.

I arrived earlier today after a false start (I missed my flight, would you believe it) and I'm happy to report that Athens is as warm as London, which is experiencing a mini heatwave at the moment.

Obviously while I was in London the hot weather was a good thing - now I'm praying for rain as I'm worried that my plants will die. I've left hubby with strict instructions to water them regularly, but I'm not sure I trust him.

Anyway, here I am in Athens, it's bright, it's warm and the sea is only half an hour away. Could be worse, I guess.