Local Heart, Global Soul

September 19, 2014

Getting The Shots Without Getting Shot…

Filed under: GREECE,PELION PENINSULAR,Volos — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There’s one thing that is rather different about Volos airport in Greece, and it’s a complication that the flying tourist doesn’t usually have to think about.

There is a military base next to the airport and photographs from the plane are strictly prohibited.

My sister in law said that even flight attendants on the planes coming in and out will insist that passengers to delete photographs and in a worst case scenario, you could even get your camera confiscated.

The area around the airport is also therefore sensitive territory, so when I saw my first ever fields of cotton plants and wanted to stop to take a photograph, Himself was understandably nervous.

When I first spotted the cotton on the way in, we were tired after the flight and we had a long drive ahead of us, so there was no chance to stop, but on the way back I convinced Himself that if we stopped the car for a single minute on the road leading to the airport it would be highly unlikely that the Greek air-force would in that time detect our position, evaluate us as enemy combatants and launch a missile to take us out.  Indeed if that were true then woe-betide any unsuspecting tourist who got a flat tire, or any kid desperate for a road-side pee pee in the bushes. …. trousers down… ploof! gone!!!

The silliness of my scenario makes Himself agree to a stop for a photograph on the way back to the airport, but only if I  agree not to get out of the car, so I took the photo out of the rolled down window. I get some photos as we drive past, and when we stop one of the watchtowers from the military base is partly visible in the background. My next photographs were taken of the end of the runway as the plane lifts off the ground, and then the plane banks sharply and Volos comes into view below us.

Very soon after that we can make out the outline of the Pelion peninsular, and once we leave that behind, a series of Greek islands as we head south. The cloud then got the better of us and as we climb we get completely surrounded by it. No one shot at us in the car and none of the flight attendants have confiscated my camera so I can sit back and enjoy the flight home.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

September 18, 2014

Quirky Until The End, …What’s With This Obsession With Three Wheels?

Filed under: Funny,GREECE,PHOTOGRAPHY,Volos — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back in 2012 our family visited Greece with our in-laws during the October school holiday break.

They have a holiday home in Platania on the Pelion peninsular, an area of Greece that is mostly free from high rise tourist apartments, wall to wall nightclubs or bars.

Little villages are just as they have been for decades, there are of course some tourist restaurants and accommodations but it’s all low key, small scale and very local.

Even in the “big”city of Volos where we pass through on our way to the airport there are little surprises that make you smile and realise that no matter how modern parts of it look on the outside, that the heart of the community is still very much “old style” Greece.

One such surprise is that when we are leaving the restaurant on the beach front where we had dinner before our flight, I spy two quirky vehicles for my collection. I’m still laughing at the three wheeled one: What is it with Greeks and  their apparent fascination with three wheeled cars? Bulk lot going cheap? Who  knows? The truck was a wonder in it’s own right… Can this mountain of branches actually stay on once the truck  negotiates the local steep and winding roads? Or are they sort of locked together by their twisted interlocking shapes? Is it a tree pruning clean up or a firewood delivery? Greece is proving charming and quirky right until the end.  How excellent is that?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

September 17, 2014

Relaxed Travelling With A Little Insider Knowledge Goes A Long Long Way…

Filed under: GREECE,Greek Cuisine,PHOTOGRAPHY,PLATANIA,Volos — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This post follows my post of yesterday, where even though it was early autumn the temperature were more than warm enough for a refreshing swim in the sea for my brother in law, his son and our kids.

The place in question was the Greek city of Volos and the date was the last week of October in 2012 so it was rather a surprise that the squeals from the swimmers were of delight rather than of a cold water shock.

Large natural bodies of water heat up very slowly, but they also cool as slowly so there is still the heat of summer “in storage” long after the temperatures have dipped from the sweltering forty degree heat of the hight of summer to the mid twenties centigrade of this time of year.

After those taking a dip are out of the water and changed, they are all ravenous and well and truly ready for an early evening dinner.

Luckily there are a series of restaurants just a few meters away on the beach front, and since the weather is mild we opt  for one where we can sit outside under a canopy close to the sand.

Once again I try the fried little fish, once again it’s tasty but nothing like the divine morsels I found on Palio Tikeri Island.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Everyone else finds their own favourite on the menu, well almost everyone: Little Mr and Kiwi Daughter find that there are no toasted sandwiches on the menu so after a little grumble that there’s nothing else on offer that they fancy, polish off bread, fries and cucumber instead.

I’m not too concerned, they  don’t know it at the time but they would hit with a mountain of veggies as soon as we are back to make up with the deficiency.

The meal is nice enough and no one had any complaints at all but at the same time  no one rated it outstanding either, it certainly filled the right gaps before our flight home.

(Ryan air have little snacks available to buy on the flight but no warm meal) and it would be around 10:30 or 11:00 pm before we landed at Charleroi in Belgium, and well after midnight before we were home in the Netherlands so this was an excellent time and place to have our evening meal. It’s brilliant that our in laws have done this trip so many times before in the last twenty years, they know all about the airport food, the quality or the lack of it, they know how to plan going to the airport so that the day still feels like a holiday day with relaxed local eating and a swim instead of just packing, driving and flying. They also know the best places to go, has we been on our own we would have driven past the side street to get here without even realising that this place was here. Relaxed travelling with a little insider knowledge goes a long long way…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 16, 2014

Dipping Into Autumn…

Filed under: GREECE,PELION PENINSULAR,PHOTOGRAPHY,Volos — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back in Greece in October 2012 the temperatures have been in the high 20’s Centigrade  all week and the kids have been enjoying swimming at the beach almost every day.

We can barely imagine that back in the Netherlands temperatures are hovering around freezing and that the days are shorter back home.

Now we are making our ways towards Volos airport, but our in-laws have told us that we will be making a stop first and we should just follow them.

Now the surprise is to be revealed:  we turn down a little side street and find ourselves at a  quiet stretch of beach.

It’s one that’s a mixture of sand and small stones, deep and not to easy to negotiate on crutches.

I make it as far as a conveniently placed bench whilst the surprise is revealed: our in-laws have allowed enough time not only for us to have dinner before our flight home, but also a final swim. A little further down the beach is  little booth, it’s  changing room and my nephew and brother in law disappear down there with Little Mr to get changed, whilst Himself and I hold up a large towels and Kiwi Daughter does her  lighteningly quick change under cover.

In no time at all  four of them are in the sea: and even though we visited in the autumn, the water hadn’t yet lost it’s summer warmth and they had a great time. It was nice to break the winding curves of the car journey with some fresh air, for the kids the chance to burn off some energy was most welcome  after being cooped up in the car. In the end the hands of the clock moved all too quickly and we had to get them out and changed, but it was a brilliant idea and much appreciated…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 13, 2014

The Flight Is Followed By A Long And Winding Road…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We land in Volos airport in Greece and my brother-in-law takes Himself to the car hire area, they are gone for over an hour because it’s busy, there’s a huge queue and only one staff member at the desk.

Murphy’s Law dictated that everyone in front of them in the queue had seemingly had ten thousand questions, problems with the size or price of the vehicle or their credit card or if it was a manual or automatic transmission etc.

The kids have exhausted their patience and have started behaving like battery hens that are kept in too close quarters to one another, sniping and poking one another and generally getting on each others (and eventually this parents) nerves.

I found myself in the role of referee and just like an International football game each child came to me as “victim” with exaggerated claims of injury or injustice done and wishes of unreasonably heavy punishment on the other whilst the perpetrator downplayed or dismissed every allegation and had some sort of excuse that usually involved heaping as much blame as possible on the victim as the one who started it all.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I start wishing if I can go to the airline booking desk and request two tickets for unaccompanied minors back to the Netherlands please.

They are even squabbling with their cousin, but I know that the main problem can be sourced as serious over tiredness and lack of decent food all day. What a difference a decent dinner will make.

First though we have a long drive ahead of us. The airport is rather a long way from the city of Volos, and then from there it’s another two and a half hours drive.

Luckily Kiwi Daughter and I have our anti-motion sickness wrist bands on because even then the winding roads and hills are testing for us both.

We follow our in-laws rental car as they lead the way. Somewhere way past Volos we stop at a supermarket right before closing time to stock up on breakfast supplies and a few necessities, and a snack dinner. The chance to stop moving for a while is most welcome.

Then comes the stop for fuel, and “entertainment” whilst we wait in the form of the various birds in cages situated on the side of the garage forecourt. As it gets darker the kids fall asleep and we weave our way through the darkness, following the tail lights of our in-laws cars as the bends in the road draw us closer and closer to our destination.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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