Thursday, December 10, 2009

Old Age Homes for Fleas

On our recent excursion we saw numerous members of the canine persuasion. Most of them were stretched out in the sun or looking for a handout. As you can tell as you look at the photos, only one was from Northern Europe and one from Spain. All the rest were from Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Sevastopol and Varna. I don't know what this means, if anything. A few years ago Bucharest had a big problem with free roaming dogs that were rabid. The dogs we saw didn't accost anyone or appear to be dangerous and some of them had ear tags, like the government had done something to them.

Below is a whimsical creature outside a shop in Amsterdam. Canine or not, I like it.

This dog was ensconced in apparent luxury on a balcony in Cadiz, Spain, looking down on us poor folks below. Not a bad life--catch a few rays, have a little kibble....

These dogs may be waiting for Ulysses or Diogenes, bagging it in the Agora below the Acropolis.

This dog was on the sidewalk in the port of Piraeus, Greece. He seems to be doing rather well at getting handouts. He reminds me of Donna the Boxer, who would plant herself in the doorway of the Student Union at the U of A when I was a student there. She got really, really fat--the student body loved her. If I remember right, we elected her student body president as a write-in candidate. Really ticked off the campus Greeks.

Kusadasi, Turkey--business is slow, might as well bag it.

This dog is at Ephesus, apparently waiting for Paul to return.

This flea bag is smack in the middle of a street in Ephesus.

The photo below is on a street in Ephesus. It looks like the man who is pointing has just sent the other couple packing; the dog couldn't care less. The man is probably just pointing at something but its fun to speculate.

This Istanbul dog has made an art form out of sleeping in the middle of a pedestrian square.

This canine appears a little more lively than some of the others. He is just outside a shop with goodies suitable for dogs in Thera, Santorini.

This dog is waiting for his idiot master to get out of the Black Sea at Sevastopol.

This dog in Varna, Bulgaria is eyeing a small snack shop hopefully.

King of the square, Varna

Guarding the Pyramids at Saqarra.

Another Pyramid guard dog.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, being slightly bigger than the Vatican. It is 2 square km, surrounded on three sides by France, only 16km from Italy. The Grimaldi family has ruled since 1297. France is responsible for their defense and in fact Monaco can do whatever they want re laws and regs, as long as the French government approves.

We arrived in Monaco on a Sunday morning. A yacht show (boats, accessories, etc), had just finished so there were tents, displays, and yachts all around the harbor. Below is some business advertising yacht insurance.

Below are two views of the harbor.

Below is the Grimaldi palace.

This is along the high rent shopping district; what these two Smart cars are doing there I don't know.

Opera house window.

This is the famous Monte Carlo Casino. They will allow anyone to go in the front entrance but to go into the gambling areas you must abide by a dress code, etc. Being Sunday they didn't open for gambling until 2:30 pm. Not only that, I never saw James Bond of any version. Very disappointing.

This is a park across from the casino entrance.

This is more like it!

And so are these!

Not to mention this Bentley.

Another Ferrari!


We all have to come back down to earth eventually, even if we are parked in front of the Hermes store.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Santorini, Part 2

Thera has both Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. The two photos below are from the Roman Catholic side of things. The blue with the white walls and blue sky is very striking. There is a small dome in Thera shown inmany photos and commercials for Santorini which is no longer blue; it is now white.

Below are a couple of very interesting entrances. The one with the stairs leading down is the entrance to a restaurant, I think. The other one may be a doorway to a monastery or nunnery; I can't remember for sure.

The four photos below are all of the Catholic church.

This photo is part of the same Catholic complex.

The sun is setting and the moon rising over Thera.

Sunset at Santorini.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Santorini, Part 1

Santorini is a small archipelago located between the Greek mainland and Crete. The islands surround a lagoon, which is the volcanic caldera. The walls raise virtually straight up from the lagoon to a height of about 980 feet. There are some buildings at lagoon level where the harbors are, but most buildings are on the top. Originally it was one island, which blew its top in a gigantic volcanic explosion approximately 1500 BC. It may have been the largest volcanic explosion in recorded civilization. Some think this was where the legend of Atlantis originated and that the demise of the Minoan civilization on Crete was from the resulting tsunami. The largest town is Thera, located on the largest island of the same name, with a population of about 12,000. Thera also has an airport and is where the cruise ships call. There are ruins on Thera that are being excavated that were buried in ash at the time of the eruption. Unfortunately they were closed at the time we were there and have been closed for a couple of years because of an accident. Below is a photo of the lagoon from Thera; the water is 1300 feet deep.

Approaching the islands from a distance your eyes and brain get in a fight over what you're seeing. Your eyes tell you you are seeing snow rimmed islands but your mind tells you that is not possible. As you get closer, the snow becomes white washed buildings.

Thera can be very crowded. Six or more cruise ships in the harbor each with 1200 or more passengers makes a crowd at the top of the cliff. One gets to the town by walking up a zigzag path dodging donkey poo, riding a donkey up the zigzag path or taking a cable car.

The photo below is a view of Thera from the end of the cable car line. The town seems to cling to the mountain and cliff. Some of the houses have one of more rooms dug into the hillside and are thus covered with pumice, which has a lot of air trapped in it and makes excellent insulation. These places are prized for their coolness in summer and warmth in winter.

The young lady below took the cable car but carried her own donkey souvenir.

The streets are narrow with most of the buildings painted white. There are many stairways and steps and many colorful doors and windows, two of which are shown below.

A view of some of the backs of houses/buildings. I especially like the terrace with the big sunflowers.

The photo below is taken through an entry gate to a terrace overlooking the lagoon. I believe it was a small restaurant.

More doors and windows.

Below is a photo of the entrance to a taverna.

Another window with yellow as the predominant color this time.

These are baskets of natural sponges for sale.