Local Heart, Global Soul

August 2, 2014

O.K. Car…. Breathe In !!!!

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch are experts at getting lost. Never have a family of map lovers been so “navigationally challenged”.

Thus it made complete sense to invest in a little electronic help in the form of a Sat.Nav.

Then we arrived in Greece and discovered that despite Our Lady Of the Tom Tom listing some thirty or so countries, Greece wasn’t on her list. Yes, maybe we should have checked that before we left home, but we assumed and sometimes assumptions are dangerous things.

Back in October 2012 we find ourselves in the little Greek town of Agia Kiriaki and wishing we had  Sat. Nav. That could help us. Himself speaks literally five words of Greek and Little Mr. and I zero, so asking for directions can get tricky.

We head back into town to try and find the way though we must have missed before. Back past the boatyard, following the waterfront until we get stuck in exactly the same place as before. This time we don’t have any doubts that we could have missed a turn off on the way in because we’ve already backtracked and found none. There are a few old men sitting at one of the outside tables of what looks like a local café / bar.

Himself tries to ask the way but they speak no English. He points to the car and then to the other side of the bay, towards the road we saw earlier from the lookout point. They grin and point to what we thought was an alleyway with parking for the houses close by.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The man gestures that we need to take this “road” and then turn right. Are they serious? Apparently so.

A parked car takes up a decent percentage of the space, “narrow” is an understatement.

Himself points to the alleyway and makes it clear that he’s making sure that they really mean down there?

More gestures and grins, apparently yes indeed,and then a right turn. Ok, here goes!

We enter the street at a snails pace checking  that wing mirrors are tucked in as we pass the parked car and the various objects jutting out from buildings.

Just past the parked car there is another alleyway in the right, but the space is so narrow it takes us a few goes to negotiate the corner.

We find that we’ve turned right into a “street” that has electricity poles and house steps in it, not to mention balconies protruding overhead. Definitely not a street for a large truck or removal van! You might think that locals would park in the wider parts, or at least as close to the walls as possible, but no, vehicles are just left  where-ever the owners took a fancy and several times we have to inch past with the windows rolled down, Himself and I debating if he could add take off one the three centimetres clearance on my side to add to the one and a half centimetres clearance on his.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If you could will a car to breathe in, we would have.

Several time we saw an opening to the right, but each time this  was not a road but the edge of the bay. Boats on the water were just a meter or two away.

We carry on (not that there was any space to turn around anyway) and find ourselves in a new alleyway, there’s even a tiny shop with the entrance door right on the street!

Then the road rises, we go around a corner with the water below and only a rail to keep us from falling in.

Directly around the corner the road veers sharply downwards and we are back at waterfront level, before entering the next alleyway “road” which brings us back to the water again.

An old lady waits for us to pass before using the road as in it’s dual purpose as footpath. This time the houses are literally a stone’s throw from the water’s edge and we squeeze between the steps and the sea to the last right turn that takes us to a wider road that leads past the boats on the opposite side of the bay. Phew… we all let out a sigh of relief, the rental car isn’t dented or scratched and we have the road we saw from the lookout point in sight! Hooray,  Agia Kiriaki might well be a quaint little village  but we are pleased that we are  finally out of here !!!

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 6, 2013

Big Houses, Cramped Houses and Feathered Homes in the Smallest of Nooks and Crannies…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS,UTRECHT (Province) — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m taking you on a retroactive tour of Utrecht’s canals… we did this trip with one of my New Zealand cousins and his family a few years back and it’s taken me until now to sort through the photos and tell you about our adventures . We’ve left the inner city canals with their distinctive upper and lower “streets/ quays”  behind, and have now branched out to where the smaller waterways join larger ones.

The houses around the canals here are generally far bigger, the exception being the smaller rows of alms houses built by the rich for the poor, widows and the like (first two photographs).

They sit in the shadow of their rich owner dwellings, small in comparison and first I thought “nice to get a house if you were poor and in desperate need”…  except it wasn’t actually a house the poor would get… it was just one single room and no matter how big the family of the widow or poor person was, all had to be squeezed into their one room.

I supposed that in the centuries before welfare benefits and social housing, these cramped conditions would have been most welcome since the alternative would have been the street… but all the same,  it can’t have been comfortable or easy living for people who were already at the bottom of the heap.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Just a low and unassuming bridge marks the junction of “Nieuwegracht” (New Canal) and “Oudegracht” (Old Canal), much of the New Canal having been dug by hand.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There’s a lock that marks the main waterway connection with Amsterdam, as well as many smaller waterways that connect to various nearby districts.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This bridge is  called ” The Ladies Bridge”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back in the city centre, we learn that a large building on the upper street level is the ancient  “Kastel Utrecht” (Castle Utrecht)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A multitude of bird-life inhabit the canals too, we saw many riverbank nests on the more open and grassy parts of the canal, but also a next of chicks tucked neatly into a crevice deep under a bridge, and a crow who was being a tad fussy about the position he needed to be in, in order to drink from one of the rain water drainage pipes that  empty water from the street above, into the canal below.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Everything we saw from the water gave us a new perspective of how the water transport system used to work here, and since we also learned that some of the larger refuse collections are still made using barges on the canals,  evidence that the water transport system is still effective indeed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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