Friday 26 July 2013

Greece for sale?

Astakos, Mithikas, Trichonida, Mesolongi, Nafpaktos, Trimonas, Amfilochia...
Yes, we are still on the road, dear reader, and have explored unknown ( to us- that is) parts of Greece. The sun is shining, the ocean is blue and the sky is clear. Still, parts of this trip has made me sad. Empty tavernas, abandoned houses, closed shops, hotels for sale... Many of the people we have met, are struggling to make it... It is economic crisis in Greece.

- All of Greece is for sale, sighed Philippos who had lost his business in Athens, and had now returned to Lefkas to work at the family restaurant..

And then we passed the village of Astakos where Aristotle Onassis bought his seafood, before he went over to his island Scorpios. Beautiful Scorpios, now bought (or leased for 99 years) by a Russian millionaire, they told us. Well, we support the best we can - buying Greek products, eat at local family tavernas and stay at small Greek - owned hotels. I still enjoy our moments at the sea though- how can I not -in this breathtaking beautiful country..
Enjoy your moments dear reader:)

Empty taverna in Nafpaktos:

Beautiful Amfilochia

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Road tripping in Greece

Dear reader!
And there is a first time for everything - so this is my first blogpost written on mobile! Yeah!
We are on a road trip in Greece you see, and I just wanted to pop in - today to say hello from the island of Lefkas! We are having a blast - exploring places in Greece where we have never been before!
And I tell you - this island is soooo beautiful!!!
This is what we saw today -

So, lets see where the road takes us tomorrow...
Ta ta!

Sunday 21 July 2013

My Kavala - tourist special

So, in my confusing exciting expat world I now have 3 hometowns! You have already read my tales from my bustling Mumbai and you have heard about my coming-home-to-Bergen, right? And then there is Kavala!

Kavala, with the green hills covering her back. Kavala, majestically overlooking the blue blue sea and the gorgeous island of Thassos. Kavala with the harbor and promenade, with proud historic sights, classy shops, cozy cafes, long beaches, and a lot of cultural events. Kavala, where we lived when my daughter was a little girl and from where my memories are strong and happy. Here is my Kavala - hope you like it too:)
Kavala, and a lazy boat-moment
From the harbor towards the old parts of the city
One of many pedestrian areas- nice to walk around in
Stairs going down aaall the way to the centre of Kavala 
The harbor promenade - a nice place to see and be seen - and lots of coffee bars too, just by the sea!  
Kavala is placed on the mainland of Greece, east of Thessaloniki which is the second largest city. Also for tourism it has eeeeverything you can wish for. And of course this is our favorite part of the country:) 
Tempting? You can find more information about Kavala here
Tata from Greece:)  

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Walk-in closets and a dream of a dress

-Eeeeverybody wants walk - in closets now! sighed our friend, working late for the 5th time this week. His company helps Norwegians remodel their houses, building shelves, lockers, wardrobes, doors - and walk-in-closets... The latest biiig thing obviously. Apparently every lady has a dream of her own walk-in closet with hundreds of pair of shoes and a cloth collection for each season.  Hm. I didn't really have that dream before going to India as an expat, and our stay there has certainly not awaken any sleeping dream for walk-ins now either. 

I thought of Mantasha, and I told my friends about that little girl, who at the NGO summer party, shyly pulled my arm, so she could show me... - this is my nice dress, do you like it? She turned around so I could admire it from all angles. That was the only beautiful dress she owned, but she had a dream of getting another one, - a yellow one, she whispered to me. - A yellow one with some silver on, that would be wonderful, she smiled. I think she was picturing that dress...

In their best clothes...
A new dress - a dream for some?

Commercial for walk-in closets. - a dream for some?

Living in India has not made me less aware of the differences in the world, to put it like that. And even though I enjoy fabrics, clothes and shoes too, it makes an impression to listen to Mantasha share her dream. The differences become very close, if you know what I mean. The dreams suddenly have a name and a face and they are right there in front of me: modest dreams about a new dress, a new pair of shoes, shampoo and education. That makes me humble. 

Next month I will meet them all again, when our holiday in Greece comes to an end. But first I will enjoy some more weeks of sea, culture and yoummie food. Have a wonderful day dear reader, and thanks for reading my blog:)  

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Under the stars with Sakis and Dionysus

Our summers in Greece are not only about splashing around in the Aegean Sea. Our Greek summers are for me a lot about culture and history, about music and dance and theatre. And it is all happening outdoors: next to the sea, under the stars & the moon, at ancient amfitheatres on green hillsides. How can I not love it?

So, I was thrilled when we lined up at the ancient theatre of Filippi, to enjoy Euripides' play Bacchae. Well enjoy and enjoy..? - it is a classic Greek Tragedy about King Pentheus and his mother and their punishment by the God Dionysus because he refuses to worship him. (very short version..) And in a leading role as Dionysus, the wine God himself, Sakis Rouvas!

Sakis is a popular singer and artist- kind of a national icon really. Europeans know him from Eurovision Song Contest where he has represented Greece 3 times, and his "Shake it!" remains the best selling standard single of all times in Greece. So, how did he do in a classical play? Well, have a look:  

The ancient theatre of Filippi- before the play
Sakis and the Bacchae- the followers of Dionysus.

And Dionysus, the wine God appears..

The festival at Filippi goes on every summer: with tragedies, comedies, concerts and plays... I think our meeting with Sakis and Dionysus only made us want more. Cultural input under the stars in soft warm summer nights. Wonderful moments! Enjoy your moments dear reader.

Sunday 14 July 2013

Karpouzi with a (sea) view

Breakfast with a view
Good morning from the balcony! And here in our Greek mansion that also means enjoying a good breakfast  - with a  beautiful view! Sea view... Ok, ok - enough talk about the sea soon? Yes, maybe...  But today I was enjoying my breakfast with watermelon with feta cheese and yougurt with honey and the obligatory coffee: frappe.

A wonderful thing about living in India is the fresh fruit and vegetables available all year round. My favorite is the watermelon, but living in India has also made me looove the mango! Now, it is watermelon season in Greece, so I just go crazy: so juicy and so sweet! Watermelon for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Sure! Why not? 

This is how we had in served at a taverna the other day: on ice in a wooden boat by the edge of the sea:
Karpouzi on ice- by the edge of the sea

So, dear reader, our Greek adventures continues...
Have a wonderful day - wherever you are!

Finally: The Sea and One Happy Greek!

Crystal clear blue green sea, dolphins, bright green cypress hillsides, small white houses with red roofs, long nights at the tavernas with kalamarakia, ktapodakia, kolokithakia tiganita, salatates

Oh, yes, dear reader, the expats have been on the move again - this time from one home country to another! After a wonderful month in Norway we are now to be found at the golden sandy beaches of Greece, and splashing in the Aegean sea. And finally I get to show you what I have been talking about.... All my bla-bla-bla about the SEA- remember? My dear Greek who has been longing and longing for the thalassa...

Well, here we are and here it is- finally - :The Sea... and this is the view from our balcony, almost at sunset.

The sea is all around, and how beautiful it is! In the daytime we go to the beach or out with the boat, and in the evenings we gather at the cafes or tavernas, or just go for a walk - at the sea promenade - of course
Frappe at the beach!

Same procedure as last year... The Greek and his beloved Sea...

Crystal clear water...
Golden sandy beaches...
So, we are having relaxing days in our second home country, Greece, and like I showed you 
some touristy sides of Norway, I will show you more from here too! Right now though, it is just The Sea and us- but more of Greece will follow. The Greek is very very very happy, I tell you:-) 
Stay tuned, dear reader, for more Greek tales!
Ta ta - apo tin Ellada

Friday 5 July 2013

6 Memorable Mumbai Moments

This morning I was, as usual, sitting with my cup of tea in the kitchen: looking out at our green garden. A quiet, peaceful time of a rather rainy grey summer day in Bergen. I closed my eyes, and -bam- my mind went back to Mumbai. With some distance to our year there: what was the first memories that came to my mind?

1. The first time I met the kids at the NGO where I work as a volunteer.
2. The arrival of the famous Guru, who stayed at our neighbors'. And then later finding out that we had, in our Powai Explorers group, made a puja for the same Guru some months earlier! Crazy!
3. This little girl...
4. Thinking about the NGO summer party made me laugh, and also brought some tears...

5. These guys..

6. The first time the kids got to take a book from our little library home..
And now, dear reader, it is getting difficult.. In a way our Mumbai year is an eeeendless stream of Moments. Happy, sad, angry, funny, unbelievable Mumbai moments. Moments with my hubby, with the expat teens, with new dear friends, and moments of exploring, of laughter, of tears...

I take another sip of my tea, grateful for the memorable moments, and soooo ready for more! Cheerish your moments dear reader, and good evening from Bergen!
- and after rains comes sun..:)

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Expat vacationing - do as the locals?

Yes, dear reader, I have just completed my first expat year! Yeeeeah! So, I am therefore also a first-time-expat-vacationing-in-my-own-country-person! Already half way into the summer I can say this much: vacationing back home is haard work - but I mean that in the most positive way!

But really, I can not just lay in the park and watch the grass grow, you know! As the returning expat I have felt like a mix of the new-kid-in-town-and-the-homecoming queen, and it is catch up-time, share expatliv-time and visit-time with family and friends. We have to meet eeeeverybody!

This week, the expat teens and I have been on a road trip. Since we can not drive ourselves in Mumbai, it felt great to be cruising around again.. (but at the same time missing the Mumbai style- at least the parking part...)  A highlight for us was hanging out with my sister and her family who live in Oslo, and continuing to play tourists in our own country. So, we did what the locals do - and besides walking on tur, we visited museums, like the Munch collection and this amusing place:
Ha ha ha - great snapshot eh?

A great place for explorers and curious minds:-)
Summers in Norway can be a bit of a lottery- what the weather is concerned. Many Norwegians go to Spain, Italy or Greece- just to be sure they will have sun and warm weather. Some Norwegians also visit our neighbors - Denmark or Sweden! And that is what we did (after all- we are soon going home to our Greece too
) so our road trip took us to Sweden, to the west coast: small idyllic villages by the sea like Grebbestad, Fjellbaecka also known from Camilla Laeckberg's books and something for the youngest.. Here are some moments from our Swedish roadtrip:


Resø island

And the sea- always close by..Wonderful:)
 I hope you have had a great start of your week too, dear reader! Enjoy your moments!