Wednesday, August 06, 2008

holiday impressions: today, Athens

update: just got back home to Romania from Greece, via Bulgaria. Let me give you upfront a piece of advice: don't fly to Greece. Take your car (or rent one) and see Greece by car. It is definitely an impressive country and it's worth the effort. Avoid Athens though, except for Acropolis it's a piece of crap. I thought I would be in danger in the center of Athens, on Voulgari street (sometimes this globalization is not good). And you don't get a place to safely leave your car. But Thessaloniki and Ioannina (where I stopped) are fabulous cities, representing Greece by all means. Greek people well deserve their fame and glory, they grew their country with lots of work, effort and sacrifice. I am impressed and will return to Greece every summer (hopefully).

Our tour was in short the following: Bucharest - Thessaloniki (stop one night) - Termopile - Delphi - Corfu (stop 8 nights) - Meteora - Thessaloniki (stop one night) - Veliko Tarnovo (BG, stop one night) - Bucharest

From Corfu island we had two trips, one to Paxos-Antipaxos islands and another one to Albania, at Sarinda and Butrint. Both these trips are recommended, though the boat to Paxos was way to crowded for my taste.

And another impression, from Albania: this is a country which has been sleeping for many decades under a fierce communist regime (just like Romania), but in Sarinda I saw some impressive constructions going on. I think they will be the next point of attraction for tourists. We'll see about it after 10 years from now on, as their infrastructure is absent at this moment (no roads, ruthless poverty all over the place). But I think they will rise just as the greeks did. Only romanians don't do anything about it: we only complain, talk politics and make good jokes. Uff....

So, back to our technical stuff, back to projects, customers, ideas and new things.
The original article follows.
end of update

I never thought I would have the need to share thoughts from my holidays. But now I do.

This is my first and last visit to Athens, by car. The thing that shocked me is that I had to trust the guy at the parking, with the key to my car. I am never doing this back in Bucharest, Romania. Never. But there seems to be this custom here, to which I had to follow.

I had no idea about this, which led me to perform three trips to the parking, when we arrived in Athens, at 9pm: first when we discovered we need to trust the parking people (which we didn't, so we suffered the consequence), second, after leaving the car on the street where I think we would have found them on pieces, the parking guys told us: park full. He was upset we didn't trusted him in the first place :) And finally, the third trip, after a phone from the hotel receptionist, we trusted them and our parking fellow took the cars.

Funny thing is that after all this I forgot my camera in the car, which I recovered the next day, so the cars are safe :)

Other than that, the town is not so impressive, except for the ancient monuments which is showing the Greeks are a great people.

And the next thing which shocked me: these people are actually building roads ... we saw heavy working on their highways. Tens of Kilometers of new highways, not yet marked but smooth and clean, with speed limitations. They link parts of highways with the old roads. But they do it. We went hundred of kilometers and even the national roads have an emergency line which allows cars to pass by one another.

hey, you Romanian leaders !!! the Greeks are building highways !!!! Where are the Romanian highways ?
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