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Athens > Combining the new with the old October 2, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Athens.
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There’s always something new to discover in Athens

Pack a copy of Time Out Athens, which offers a comprehensive guide to the city. And the newly published StyleCity Athens (Thames & Hudson) contains a hit list of trend-setting shops, bars and restaurants.

It can be too hot to move in the city in July and August, so go as late as November or as early as March, when accommodation is cheaper and temperatures are mellow enough to allow eating and drinking outdoors.

All major airlines fly to the Greek capital. Check details with your travel agent. From the airport (Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” at Spata), the metro and the suburban train take less than half an hour to the city centre. The bus or the express bus take about 45 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. 

Most of the top attractions are within walking distance of each other, and there is a lengthy pedestrian promenade lined with cafés. But if your feet get tired, a 24-hour travel pass on the metro costs just €3 and some of the stops are great in themselves, the Acropolis is filled with replica sculptures and is more like a museum than a metro station.

The Acropolis will be on everyone’s list, so aim to get there early (it opens at 8am). The Parthenon, the temple at its peak, is set against the incredible backdrop of the city, with views from the hills of Attica to the Saronic and the Aegean.

A stone’s throw away is the Areopagus Hill, where St Paul once preached, and the Temple of Hephaestus, the best-preserved Doric temple in Greece. There are special ticket packages covering the Acropolis, agoras and other sites for €12.

Relax and have lunch in the Plaka area directly beneath the Acropolis, which is crammed with red-roofed houses, narrow, tree-shaded streets, medieval churches and vine-covered tavernas.

To escape the city, the island of Aegina is an easy day-trip, take the metro to Piraeus, then a 40-minute hydrofoil (about €20 return, www.hellenicseaways.gr).

a restaurant hidden in the depths of Lemos shopping centre in the Kolonaki district, is a popular haunt for Athenians. There’s no sign outside, but it’ll be full of locals dining on the best meze in the city, including roast suckling pig, butterfly-grilled sardines and croquettes. It offers 600 brands of ouzo, too.

rarely eat before 10pm. Nightclubs fill up from midnight and stay open until dawn, so don’t venture out for the evening too early or the streets will be deserted. Try Psyrri, a formerly rundown district that is now one of the most vibrant areas in Athens, or nearby Gazi, an up-and-coming area with a range of clubs, pubs and restaurants.

If you’re visiting in July or August, be sure to spend an evening at an open-air cinema or theatre, a form of summer entertainment for which Athens is renowned.

Handmade Greek sandals
from the world-renowned ‘Poet-Sandalmaker’ (Stavros Melissinos) in the Psyrri district, whose celebrity customers include all four Beatles, Jackie Onassis and Sophia Loren. Olive oil is less easy to bring back with you, but pistachio nuts, jewellery and Greek skincare brand Korres (on sale in most chemists in Greece) are more likely to survive the journey home.

The Kolonaki area is buzzing with smart shoppers and designer boutiques, and is a great place to people-watch enjoying a capuccino or a frappe-coffee at one of the many and lively cafes there, even if you don’t want to flex the credit card.

If it’s a bargain you’re after, spend Sunday morning haggling at the flea market at Monastiraki (8.30am-3pm), where you’ll find everything from silver cutlery to Russian dolls.

Billed as Greece’s first ‘design’ hotel, Semiramis (www.semiramisathens.com), in the northern suburb of Kifissia, looks impressively futuristic. Designer Karim Rashid has used neo-pop colours in its 51 bedrooms (including poolside bungalows). Prices start at €200 for a double room, with breakfast.

The Amaryllis Hotel (www.greekhotel.com/athens/amaryllis) in Omonia may suit budget travellers, it’s less chic, but doubles are just €55 in high season.

Follow the locals to Diasimos on the Freattida waterfront for grilled fish and calamari. Café Avissinia in Monastiraki has fabulous views from the first floor to the Parthenon and authentic Greek dishes for €30 per head.

Yes, it’s essential in summer or if you’re recovering from too many ouzos.


Gondola ride to the casino > Mont Parnes Casino Athens October 2, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece, Hotels Greece, Technology, Transport Air Sea Land.
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The Mont Parnes Casino near Athens is accessed by a ropeway: Since March, a Doppelmayr Funitel has provided this service. The installation has a host of special features: e.g. separate VIP boarding areas and VIP lounges as well as VIP gondolas for the trip to the, yet to be built, VIP casino.

Greece currently has nine gaming operations. The Mont Parnes Casino Resort in the Mt. Parnitha National Park is the fourth largest with an annual revenue of around 90 million euro (1). The resort includes the actual casino itself, a hotel, bar/café, restaurant and meeting rooms. The Mont Parnes resort can be reached by ropeway; the infrastructure is currently being completely refurbished. In the first stage of construction, an underground parking lot with spaces for 1,800 vehicles was completed at the bottom station along with the Funitel. In May, the old Habegger reversible aerial tram (2) with 30-passenger cars originally built in 1972 closed down and is scheduled to be demolished at a later date. It has now been replaced by a modern Funi-tel from Doppelmayr, which can still be used at wind force 10, storms of approx. 100 km/h, 60 mph. The old tram had to stop operating at wind speeds of around 50 km/h, 30 mph.

High wind stability
Wind stability is extremely important because the mountain peak is frequently exposed to severe winds. In a further stage of construction, a new casino, VIP casino, 5-star hotel, restaurants, bar, etc. are to be built on a 5 acre site, while the existing facilities continue to operate. The refurbishment and construction work will be organized so that the casino will not have to close its doors.

Extras for VIPs
As a special service during normal operation of the lift, VIP customers will be able to board luxury cabins from an exclusive VIP area. A separate rail is provided to allow the VIP cabins to travel from this area onto the ropeway. This installation is Doppelmayr’s first Funitel with electric grip force testing devices. In view of the national park location, only three towers were permitted on the line. A special combined sheave assembly was used on tower 2 to ensure proper rope guidance. High availability was a major priority, as the lift operates 20 hours a day. This made it necessary to install two high-power drives. The drive capacity was designed to allow one drive to be shut down for a week for maintenance work without affecting passenger service. Diesel-driven emergency units are also on standby. Doppelmayr was responsible for the complete installation, with the exception of the civil engineering work.

20-FUN Mont Parnes
Transport capacity 2000 PPH
Trip time 4.8 min
Travel speed 6.0 m/s
Carriers 21
Interval 36 s
Inclined length 1713 m
Vertical rise 572 m
Drive Bottom
Return Top

(1) Owned by a consortium comprised of the Hyatt Regency gaming chain and the construction company Elliniki Technodomiki.
(2) Habegger was acquired by Von Roll, Von Roll by Doppelmayr.

Cartesis Global User Conference in Athens, Greece October 2, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Shows & Conferences.
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Cartesis Global User Conference in Athens, Greece to Shape the Future of Performance Management

Cartesis Connect 2006 to Honor Customers With Performance Management Excellence Award

Cartesis, the world’s leading specialist in finance and performance management software, will hold its 3rd annual international user conference from October 16-18, 2006 in Athens, Greece. Industry leaders, customers and partners will discuss key performance management topics including the future of the industry and best practices for maximizing ROI.

The winner of the Cartesis Performance Management Excellence Award will be announced from the show on October 18. A distinguished panel of judges, from La Tribune; IT Week; Handelsblatt Online; The Boston Consulting Group; Microsoft; INSEAD; HP; and Cartesis, determined the finalists, from which Connect attendees will vote for the winner.

Led by finance experts, partners and customers, conference breakout sessions at Connect 2006 will address how companies are using Cartesis to improve their decision-making capabilities and quickly react to continually evolving business environments. This year’s sessions, presented by Cartesis customers from Aviva, Axa, Royal Bank of Scotland, Roche, Energias de Portugal and Siemens, will focus on three key subject areas: management reporting, strategic planning and finance and compliance and controls.

Cartesis partners participating in Connect 2006 include Microsoft, HP, BPMi, EDGAR Online, INEUMconsulting and Thales. For more information or to register, go to www.cartesis.com/en/events/connect2006/

New blood test may detect lung cancer early October 2, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.
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A blood test to identify lung cancer in its early stages could potentially save millions of lives if initial results can be confirmed, researchers say.

French scientists on Monday announced preliminary results from a new lung cancer test at the annual congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology, a meeting of some 10,500 doctors, scientists, pharmaceutical representatives and non-governmental organizations.

The test distinguishes lung cancer from other lung diseases, such as emphysema.

People who smoke develop multiple changes in their genes; both those who get cancer and those who get other lung diseases often have the same type of cell degeneration. But at a certain point, people who develop cancer exhibit different changes at the molecular level.

“The point of this test is to catch patients at the turning point, before the cancer spreads,” said Dr. Paris Kosmidis, director of oncology at Hygeia Hospital in Athens, Greece, who was not connected to the study. “If we catch lung cancer early enough, we’ve proven in practice that we can cure it,” said Kosmidis.

The new test works by detecting proteins produced by cancer cells in the blood. Cancer cells produce different types and amounts of proteins in the blood, giving them a unique protein profile. Researchers theorize that such protein signatures might be spotted long before the symptoms of lung cancer appear and before the disease would be detectable in X-rays giving patients the possibility of early treatment and thus strengthening their survival chances.

Nearly 75 percent of patients diagnosed with lung cancer are caught only in the advanced stages of the disease, when the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. The prognosis at this stage is usually poor, with a maximum of 16 percent of patients surviving for at least five years after diagnosis. But if lung cancer is identified early enough, patients can be essentially cured. Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer worldwide, with an average of two million patients diagnosed annually.

Similar blood tests to detect ovarian cancer are also under investigation, though this is the first test to target lung cancer. If the French approach to detecting lung cancer works, scientists might be able to adapt it to look for other types of cancer.

Potent new drug could help Greeks kick habit October 2, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.
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A new anti-smoking drug that could be twice as effective as similar drugs is expected to be introduced into Greece late next year, medical experts announced.

The pill, Varenicline, targets the central nervous system and is believed to be more potent than current anti-smoking drugs on the market.

“The therapy runs over a period of 12 weeks and is suitable for people over the age of 18,” said Christina Gratziou, assistant professor at Athens University.

The drug, developed by Pfizer, helps smokers with the psychological, physical and emotional aspects of nicotine addiction.

But medical experts added that smokers are ultimately more successful if they use their own willpower to overcome the habit. Greeks are among the heaviest smokers in the EU, with 46 percent using tobacco products.

Theatre > Big Love October 2, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Europe.
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Theatre > Big Love

Gate Theatre
Pembridge Road, W11 3HQ, London, UK

Director: Melissa Kievman.
Cast: Helen Baker, Alexi Kaye Campbell, Bradley Gardner, Tim Hardy, Georgia Mackenzie, Ann Mitchell, Alex Waldmann, Victoria Yeates

Description: Contemporary take by Charles L. Mee, on Aeschylus’ The Suppliants. Fifty sisters who have been promised in marriage, try to escape to Greece, but their boat is washed up on the shores of Italy, where they are found by the promised grooms. Negotiations are not in the reckoning, so three brides-to-be promise that not one man will live through his wedding night.

Times: From Sep 25, Mon-Sat 7.30pm (press night September 28), ends October 21
Price: £15, concs available
Trains: Tube: Notting Hill Gate 
Phone: 0207229 0706

Hellenic Athletes October 2, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Sports & Games.
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According to their own description > Hellenic Athletes is a unique internet site bringing to their readers information on athletes of Hellenic descent the world over, as well as articles on big picture and business of sport issues.   

Hellenic Athletes website claims that they are the internet home for news on established Greek athletes as well as up and comers with strong potential.

We suggest to visit their website.

Related Links > http://www.hellenicathletes.com