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Greece > Is for great family holidays January 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece, Greece Islands, Greece Islands Aegean, Greece Islands Ionian, Greece Mainland.
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Hunt a minotaur, hire a kayak or just go paddling: it’s Greece for families. 

Greece’s affable, easy-going ways have long made it a favourite with families. You can take children almost anywhere, and the sandy beaches and shallow seas are perfect for tots. Children thrive on the old taverna stand-bys of makaronia, bifteki, watermelon and ice cream. And even the remotest islands have a music bar to keep your teenager bopping happily under the stars.

Greece is hot in the summer, so make like the locals: take long siestas, then stay up late, letting the kids play in the cool of the night while you linger in a taverna. Don’t be offended if the Greeks pretend to spit when patting your darling on the head, though; they know the gods are jealous and are trying to ward off evil.

Although prices are not as low as they once were, you can still bag a good-value holiday. Greek camp sites will rent you four sleeping bags and a tent, and sleeping outdoors on summer nights is so lovely that some families wouldn’t holiday any other way.

Resort coast > Despite what you’ll read in certain papers, Greek seaside resorts are not full of twenty-something northern Europeans behaving badly. Most, in fact, are genteel, and a good bet for families, there is always plenty to do, including sports watery and otherwise. Hire a car, and you’ll also find some very rewarding “days out”.

Crete, with its stunning scenery, its Minoan palaces, Byzantine churches and Venetian castles, is packed with potential outings. At Elounda Gulf Villas, overlooking the beautiful Gulf of Mirabello, your family can combine the independence of a self-catering villa with the facilities and restaurants offered by one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Each villa comes with its own pool, spa bath and maid service.  Check out A&K Chapters for Greece (www.villa-rentals.com) for more. Fly to Heraklion, an hour’s drive away.

Thanks to Captain Corelli, Cephalonia has now achieved resort status. Besides stretching out on its pretty beaches, you can drive up Mount Enos and look for wild horses, explore superb caves, and visit what might be the Mycenaean tomb of Odysseus. The Porto Skala Hotel, 3km from Skala (210 6128517) is an especially child-friendly place, just a few steps from a pebble beach, with a paddling pool, a playground and baby-sitting. Get there on a direct charter flight.

While nearby Mykonos and Paros attract the glitterati, Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades, is ideal for families. It has a stunning sugar-cube town that reminds kids of a big maze, terrific country walks, and ancient monuments to explore. Near sandy Agios Georgios beach is the Naxos Beach Hotel (22850 22928, www.naxosbeach.com), with a pool and a great sports club. A studio for four in mid-July B&B, and comes with a town tour, free bicycles, and an hour’s windsurfing tuition. Alternatively, Maragas Camping on Agia Anna beach (22850 24552, www.maragascamping.gr) rents four-man tents and sleeping bags (children under 6 are free; 6-12s half-price), and also studio flats for four. From Piraeus, Blue Star ferries sail to Naxos in five hours.

Many Brits first came across Corfu through the writings of the Durrells, and now your own family can stay in the convivial White House at Kalami, where Lawrence Durrell penned Prospero’s Cell in 1939. Kalami is on the lovely northeast coast, and the owner also runs a taverna downstairs and hires out boats for exploring the coast. Check the price with CV Travel (www.cvtravel.net) including flights.

On the Apollo Coast, south of Athens, you can combine the sights of classical Greece with the lazy delights of the seaside. Club Med makes it easy for families at Athenia Village (www.clubmed.co.uk), a hotel and bungalow complex offering a pool, tennis, windsurfing, kayaking, in-line skating and more. Club Med offers excursions to Athens, the Saronic islands and elsewhere.

Messenia, part of the Peloponnese, is silvery with olive groves and lined with beaches, and ancient Messeni, Sparta, Mystras and the Mani are all within day-trip range. Sunrise Village, at Chrani, just southwest of Kalamata, has interconnecting bungalow rooms, a kids’ club (ages 3-11), a diving school and more. Check with Sunvil (www.sunvil.co.uk) including flights; with discounts for two small children in cots.

Remote coast > For families, remote is a relative term. You’re probably not looking for the full Robinson Crusoe, miles from the nearest ice cream and disposable nappy. But if you want to give the kids a bit of genuine Greece along with the sea and sand, it’s not hard to find. And even if they can’t live without their PlayStation at home, dreamy days by the beach, hunting for shells and watching fishermen mend their nets may well convert them into confirmed philhellenes by the time you leave.

The Dodecanese is the archipelago of fleshpots such as Kos and Rhodes, but also harbours some treats. The best is Kalymnos, a friendly island of dramatic fjords and crags that attract daredevil rock climbers. Its west coast is well endowed with beaches, and Myrties, quieter than the main resort Masouri, has safe sands and gorgeous sunset views over the islet of Telendos, just opposite. With Fransway (www.fransway.co.uk), four can stay in a family room at Phenis Hotel, right on the beach. Someday soon, Kalymnos’s airport may finally open, until then, catch a UK charter to Kos; then take a taxi to Mastihari, which has ferries (45 minutes) to Kalymnos daily.

Rugged green Alonnisos is queen of its own little bevy of islands, and the best base for exploring Greece’s National Marine Park, home of the rare monk seal. The Milia Bay (21089 50794, www.milia-bay.gr) is great for families, and has a pool, a telescope and lovely views. The beach is 400 metres away and perfect for snorkelling, while nearby Steni Vala has an activity centre (ages 8 and above) offering climbing, Zodiac trips, trekking and sea kayaking. To get to Alonnisos, take a charter to Skiathos or Volos. From Skiathos, Hellas Flying Dolphins crosses in 80 minutes.

Ithaca, the fabled home of Odysseus, is calmer still. Stay at the idyllic Levendis Estate (6944 169770, www.levendisestate.com), created by a Greek family as their own dream holiday destination. It’s an organic farm set in terraced olive groves and gardens, and can accommodate 20 guests in several cottages. Childcare is available, as are motorboats, scuba and sailing lessons, and aromatherapy massage by the pool. Kitchens come stocked with fresh produce from the garden, and there’s a fine restaurant. A week for four, includes transfers from Cephalonia airport to Ithaca and a hire car, cheaper if your children are under 6 or share a cot in your room. Catch a charter to Cephalonia.

Lemnos, in the north Aegean, is an unusual island: low and hilly instead of mountainous, with big beaches and some of the oldest inhabited sites in Greece. It also has flamingos and a mini “Sahara desert”. There is something for all ages at Mark Warner’s (www.markwarner.co.uk) village-style beach resort at Platy. The children’s facilities run the gamut from baby clubs to teenage clubs (reserve when you book), and there are sailing, windsurfing and tennis lessons for teens. Four sharing a family room, includes all meals, flights and transfers, and a free windsurfing lesson.

Syros is a calm, classy Cycladic island, with a stunning neoclassical “capital” piled on two hills. Frequent buses link the village to the beach at Galissas, sheltered, sandy and perfect for small children. Olympic Holidays (www.olympicholidays.com) has a week for four at the self-catering Galissas Studios, including flights and transfers. It’s a short walk from the village, and has a pool.

Cage’s Cephalonia >The actor Nicolas Cage filmed Captain Corelli’s Mandolin in Cephalonia: “I fell in love with the Greeks, who were full of life and love and very generous to us. You can’t help but feel their zest for life stems from their surroundings. I was busy learning the dialect, how to march and how to play the mandolin. But after filming, I’d look out over mountains and sea, and marvel at the place.”

Manos (www.manos.co.uk) offers holidays with free child places: for example, a trip to relaxing Paralia Astrous, in the eastern Peloponnese, with its long, shelving beach and friendly village. Mycenae, ancient Tirynth, birthplace of Heracles, and the beautiful city of Nafplion are all short day trips away. Manos’s Irini Filoxenia self-catering apartments are set in a peaceful garden, a short walk from the beach and town;   with flights into Kalamata.

Countryside > Few children want a holiday without sea, but if there’s a pool on hand, you can just about get away with it. For at least part of your trip, then, why not head for the interior? Greece is the second most mountainous country in Europe and, in summer, the cool fresh air, the array of mountain sports and the chance to glimpse rural life are a big draw for holidaying Greek families. Fancy joining them?  

Eastern Crete’s Lasithi mountains make a lovely backdrop for the Avdou Villas, a comfortable complex with a pool, set on an organic farm (22810 300540, www.avdou.com). Nearby activities include horse-riding, mountain-biking, Cretan cookery courses, paragliding lessons and golf at the new Crete Golf Club. A day out? Choose between the Aqua Splash water park, the ruins at Knossos and Heraklion’s superb archeology museum, even children find its unique Minoan treasures fascinating. 

Foreigners are just beginning to discover the beauty of Evrytania, the “Switzerland of Greece”. It makes a great base for back-to-nature holidays, and the Trekking Hellas programme at Karpenisi, the region’s main resort, embraces kayaking, rafting and mountain-biking. Meteora, Lake Plastiras and ancient Thermon are all potential day trips. Stay at the swish Montana Club (22370 80400, www.montana.gr), with its picturesque views, indoor and outdoor heated pools, hot tub and playground;  Fly into Athens, hire a car and you can be there in four hours.

The delightful rambling estate of Candili is in northern Evia. It has been in the Noel-Baker family since 1832, and now offers accommodation in two buildings with a shared pool. The estate sleeps a total of 30 and can be hired for seminars, family reunions and the like, except in August, when it opens up to individual families. You can be as lazy as you like, or sign up for a bit of “soft adventure”, Land Rover safaris, walks, picnics and boat trips to Skopelos. Check for rates at Candili with Filoxenia (www.filoxenia.co.uk

Many kids have a great affinity for the Greek myths and will be fascinated to tramp around the places where they were forged. Families with children aged 5 and up can explore the best of ancient Greece on a group tour with the Adventure Company (www.adventurecompany.co.uk), whose nine-day Legends of Greece itinerary takes in Athens, Mycenae, Olympia, the Mani and other points in the Peloponnese

Activities > Greece’s history and economy are closely bound to the sea, and its warm transparent waters are the obvious starting point for any family seeking sport and adventure. But there are plenty of other options, too.

Paros, island of the golden beaches, is also the watersports capital of the Cyclades. Here, Octopus Sea Trips (69327 57123, www.octopuseatrips.com) offers family adventures in marine biology and archeology, with sea and rock-pool excursions, children’s scuba and snorkelling, a marine touch-tank and more. Stay at the Golden Beach Hotel at Chryssi Akti. You can get there from Piraeus in four hours with Blue Star Ferries.

Based in Piraeus, DR Yachting (210 9850168, www.disabledsailingholidays.com) provides holidays for the disabled and visually impaired, and also has a specially designed yacht suitable for families with small children, or single parents. The boat sleeps eight (or 10 including two tots), check rates for a week’s bareboat sailing around the Saronic Gulf (plus extra cost per day if you need a skipper). 

Olympos Trek (69325 45001, www.olympostrek.gr) is an activity-holiday specialist in eastern Thessaly, where Mount Olympus tumbles into the sea. Check rates for a week of canyoning, canoeing, rafting, climbing and orienteering, with B&B accommodation by the beach at Stomio. Fly to Athens and catch the train to Larisa on the Thessaloniki line; you’ll be collected at the station.

Just because you have tots doesn’t mean you have to sit on a beach. In the beautiful Pindos mountains, Walks Worldwide (www.walksworldwide.com) offers walking tours for families with children of any age, if the littlest ones are too heavy to carry on certain stretches, you can have them driven on ahead with your baggage. 

If your offspring are old enough to lug some of their own gear, island-hopping on the ferries can be fun, especially when your transfers and accommodation have been sorted in advance. Greek Sun Holidays (www.greeksun.co.uk) offers two weeks buzzing around the Cyclades, Santorini, Paros, Naxos, Syros and Tinos, though they will tailor to suit. All accommodation, flights and ferries are included.

For messing about in boats, the Ionian Sea is hard to beat. Sunsail (www.sunsail.com) has several watersporty family resorts, such as Club Vounaki, a 10-minute walk from Paleros, on the mainland. It has three pools and all the latest gear, and is ideally located for exploring the Ionian islands by day yacht. 

Can’t resist Halki > Until a few years ago, I’d never been to this Greek island. Then I went on a painting holiday in Halki, and immediately became a total convert. Halki is in the Dodecanese; it’s fairly small and quiet, with a tiny village port on a horseshoe bay and a few interesting churches and castles. I’ve now been back several times, and consider it my island. Each time I go, I find it more enchanting. 

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Say Greek cheese January 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece.
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From the hills of northern Greece to the tables of Melbourne’s finest restaurants, this food is a favourite.

In the small, weather-beaten and none-too-glamorous village of Anavra, in the hills of Thessaly in northern Greece, Evanthia Tzani is performing a weekly ritual. It’s pie day. For this sprightly, diminutive grandmother with a scarf around her head, right out of a Stella Artois ad, producing pies (or pita) is something she’s been doing since childhood, which explains why the process of making filo pastry looks so simple in her hands. It’s not.

For while Anavra, perched above the coastal plains that stretch along the Aegean like a ragged piece of the elastic pastry Evanthia is rolling on her kitchen table, may not do much on the aesthetic Geiger counter, it is renowned throughout Thessaly for its pita.

It starts with the dough. Evanthia combines flour from a hard wheat, water, olive oil and salt to produce a mound she will later roll into small balls, and then, with great dexterity, roll extensively with a piece of thick dowel to produce her own sheets of “country filo” that is slightly coarser than the filo in the supermarkets.

She layers a huge, aluminium pie tin first with sheets of pastry, then olive oil, then tops it with a layer of the filling: chopped red onion, trachana, a little like a Greek couscous for moisture absorption during the cooking, horta, or wild greens roughly chopped, and two cheeses, both produced at home from milk that is predominantly sheep’s, although most flocks have a few goats among them leading the bleaters.

One of the cheeses, of course, is feta: in Greece, it is a staple, and around Anavra’s outskirts there are sheep and goats grazing free-range in flocks of up to 50. The other is myzithra, a whey cheese, a cheese produced from the whey left over from making feta curds, not dissimilar to the more familiar ricotta. Evanthia alternates pastry and filling until the pie is ready for her makeshift wood oven outside.

The result is sublime although with such high oil content, the pita loses its appeal as it cools. What it doesn’t lose is its significance: Greeks are the highest consumers of cheese per capita in the world, largely because they cook with it so much. Also, many fresh Greek cheeses, such as myzithra and manouri, not to mention the sublime, thick, hung sheep’s milk yoghurts, cross-dress as desserts when they’re not employed as savoury components. You tend to think of the Greeks as great lamb eaters, but in reality, an ovine’s first duty here is to milk production.

The region of Thessaly is not only known for its pita. Down on the coastal plain, at Almyros, is one of the dozen or so cheese-making companies left in Greece that still makes a percentage of its feta traditionally, ripening the salted curds in barrels. The dairy still works with about a dozen free-ranging herds from nearby hills, roaming on communal and national pastures such as those around Anavra.

Refrigerated trucks collect the milk daily and cold milk is brought to the dairy no later than 15 hours after milking. The population of animals produces on the average a blend of sheep and goat’s milk that varies from 15-25 per cent goat milk content, well within the goat milk limit of 30 per cent for authentic feta.

Once the milk has been turned to curd, and the fresh curd drained, it is transferred the next day to wooden, birch, barrels and coarse grain salt is placed at the bottom of the barrel as well as between the rounds of cheese.

The best feta stays in the barrel, at varying degrees of temperature and humidity, for between six and 12 months. Some, under the label Mt Vikos, makes its way into cheese shops and it’s worth trying to make the comparison with mass-production feta.

Feta is the hero from a Greek pantheon that includes, as well as the aforementioned cheeses, kasseri, kefalotiri, kefalograviera, often used in the dish haloumi, pan-fried cheese, ladotiri and graviera. But there are hundreds more, because simple cheese making from domestic herds still happens all over Greece, as it has for thousands of years.

“In even the poorest homes there will always be a jar of home-cured olives, a wheel of some variety of cheese and a loaf of bread in the cellar or pantry,” says Maria Tsihlakis, general manager of the Essential Ingredient and a frequent visitor to Athens and Crete. “They reflect what is available or affordable. It is unheard of to be at a table where cheese is not served as an accompaniment.”

Lately, in Melbourne, Greek cheeses have been coming out of the tavernas and Greek delis to find a wider audience at smart restaurants. At Mini Perry Peters incorporates with different dishes and seasons kefalograviera, kefalotiri, feta, myzithra and telemes, manouri and kalathaki. The cheeses are a mix of imported and locally made versions of the originals.

At the Press Club, George Calombaris uses feta, demonstrating the versatility Greeks achieve with their cheeses and cuisine: haloumi might be incorporated into a souffle with mint; feta on a bean stew; while more feta, this time crumbled, dances between sweet and savoury with a dish of fresh watermelon, yoghurt sorbet, crumbled feta and basil oil.

It’s a long way from a basic hills village in northern Greece, but then, food makes for unlikely connections.

Greek coffee culture > frappe! January 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Food Culture.
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Shaken, not stirred > Greeks worship coffee cold and frothy

The Greek frappe coffee  The frappe, a foamy, caffeine-packed cold coffee drink has been popular in Greece since it was first made some 50 years ago. Greeks often will spend hours socializing over this drink.

It started by accident in 1957: A representative from the Nestle food company couldn’t find any boiling water to make his coffee at an international trade fair in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. So he used cold. And thus was born the frappe, the foamy, caffeine-packed drink that became an icon of Greek pop culture.

Fifty years on, while Americans guzzle innumerable fancy chilly copycats, Greeks remain loyal to their simple cool coffee, imbibing everywhere from the beaches to Athens’ numerous upscale cafes. In fact, the frappe (pronounced fra-PAY) has become its own industry. Supermarkets carry hand-held electric foam beaters, while roadside kiosks keep frappe kits in their fridges. Tips are traded on the merits of thick froth, straw placement, and the best time to drop the ice into the mix.

“Frappe looks so thick, but it glides through the straw so easily,” said Daniel Young, an American food critic who teamed with his wife, Vivian Constantinopoulos, to write a coffee-table book on the subject.

It may drink smooth, but it has a kick. Young says many frappes have four times the caffeine as an espresso. And it is fueled by something considered the dregs of the beverage world in many countries, instant coffee.

Frappe is a simple beverage. A spoonful of instant coffee is combined with water, sugar and sometimes milk, then shaken vigorously in a cocktail mixer. When to add the ice, during or after shaking, is hotly debated. The resulting dark drink has a foamy head so large it resembles a half-pint of Guinness more than a coffee. How the freeze-dried coffee drink became a national craze is hard to say, but supporters insist it matches Greeks’ erratic lifestyle: Laid-back Mediterranean with bursts of energy thrown in.

Young and Constantinopoulos, whose book is titled “Frappe Nation” (Editions Potamos, 2006), believe Greeks’ relationship with the drink is rooted in their centuries-old thirst for public dialogue and social interaction. “It doesn’t have to do with quality or quantity, but it is more about the way people sit and enjoy,” said Constantinopoulos, who claims the average person takes 93 minutes to drink a frappe.

In fact, coffee shop owners price their products accordingly, charging customers likely to keep their tables for a couple of hours as much as $7.50 for a coffee. Much of frappe’s appeal lies in its longevity. Even as the ice melts, the foam, which contains coffee granules, mixes with the ice and the drink replenishes itself.

“If you time it perfectly, it will stay consistent throughout,” Young said. “Greeks turned it into something that is supposed to be instantaneous and made it a three-hour ordeal.” “To Greeks, there is no such thing as instant coffee,” Constantinopoulos said.

Frappe >

1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 tablespoon hot water
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons milk
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
3 ice cubes

In a blender or cocktail shaker, dissolve the coffee in the hot water. Add the remaining ingredients and blend or shake until very frothy. Pour into a cold glass and serve immediately. Makes 1 to 2 servings, or about 1 1/2 cups.

Baghdatis suffers injury scare in Sydney January 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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Marcos Baghdatis suffered an injury scare in his 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 loss to Carlos Moya at the Sydney International yesterday but said he expected to play in next week’s Australian Open.

The charismatic Cypriot collapsed in pain after twisting his ankle in the third set and immediately called for a medical timeout to have the injury treated.

A relieved Baghdatis was able to resume playing after the pain quickly subsided and he was cleared of any serious damage but lost the match in a third set tiebreaker.

“I got scared in the beginning. I thought I twisted a tendon behind the left ankle,” said Baghdatis, a finalist at last year’s Australian Open.

“But then it went up to the calf and slowly, slowly it was getting better and better. I’m disappointed because I lost, of course, but I’m pretty happy with the way I’m playing. I guess I’m ready for Melbourne and that is the most positive thing.”

How the Americans favour and promote Turks > II January 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied, Education.
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In an previous post titled “How the Americans favour and promote Turks” dated January 11, 2007 we provided a link to an article appearing at the Voice of San Diego newspaper. The link to the page is this >

http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/articles/2007/01/11/opinion/01goldsdsu.txt

As I am following-up on this article, here are two more additional comments posted by newspaper’s readers, after my personal comment appeared >

Reader Feedback Comments so far on this story:
Nihat wrote on January 12, 2007 10:56 AM:
“Nice article. These hyphenated Americans have no compunction whatsoever in pursuing their pet feuds. March on Yorgos! Continue muddling history, denying responsibility… Who is to hold you back?”

Doug wrote on January 12, 2007 5:11 AM:
“Nice article. I don’t see Turkish-American relations improving if these Greek-Americans keep it up – Nevertheless, Turks always watch them carefully. To all those Cyprus experts out there, remember this word. “Enosis.” The sinister plans of the Greeks back fired and of course now they preach humanity. Those of us who truly understand the history of Cyprus from times way before 1974, will know that it is not as simple as an unjustified Turkish invasion. This issue has always been about Hellenism vs. Turkism. Ethnic cleansing indeed – You Yorgos should get your facts straight!”

and here is my reply to their above comments > 5:55 πμ 13/1/2007

“@ Doug and Nihat > Have you lived in Cyprus? Have you lost any family member during the Turkish invasion? Have you lost your property in the occupied North areas of Cyprus? Have you fought during the invasion? Have you seen dead bodies and have you suffered from the war? Have you seen your friends killed next to you? If not, then you do not know Cyprus history. I suggest to learn about Kissinger’s and the US administration involvement. Enosis was a dream before The Republic of Cyprus was formed in 1960, after British ruled the island.”

Needless to add that I will check again the latest news on this issue and see if my latest, as above, comment was accepted.

UPDATE > 13 January 2007

It seems that above article has sparked a few more comments (in fact two additional ones) plus my last comment again was published uncensored. Read what they had to say:

Reader Feedback Comments so far on this story:

George wrote on January 12, 2007 7:46 PM:
“@ Doug and Nihat > Have you lived in Cyprus? Have you lost any family member during the Turkish invasion? Have you lost your property in the occupied North areas of Cyprus? Have you fought during the invasion? Have you seen dead bodies and have you suffered from the war? Have you seen your friends killed next to you? If not, then you do not know Cyprus history. I suggest to learn about Kissinger’s and the US administration involvement. Enosis was a dream before The Republic of Cyprus was formed in 1960, after British ruled the island.”

Rian wrote on January 12, 2007 7:35 PM:
“It is obvious what side Mr Goldsborough is with? I wonder why…”

John Wilkinson wrote on January 12, 2007 7:32 PM:
“Mr Goldsborough is completely reversing the facts. Is Mr Tsakopoulos politically biased or the university that establishes exchange programmes with Northern Cyprus, a community that has no country status and is not recognised by any country in the world including US, but Turkey? Establishing exchange programmes with N Cyprus is undoubtedly a political statement that affects the international relationships of our country. What would Mr Goldborough say if the university did the same with Cuban or North Korean universities? After all these countries are recognised by the UN. Should universities be involved in international politics?”

Well, that proves something, doesn’t it? People should learn a few historical facts first, and before attempting to make any political or not statements, as well as learn how to sort and separate facts from fiction. A thank you is owed to those readers supporting my facts and certainly not my fiction!

UPDATE >>> 16 January 2007

After my second comment, as stated above, more reader feedback followed, which are as follows:

Reader Feedback Comments so far on this story:
Ergun Kirlikovali wrote on January 14, 2007 1:49 AM:
“Mr Goldsborough hit the nail on the head with his assessment that academic freedom can only be destroyed by political pressure. I was one of the speakers at he ad-hoc committee meeting last December and stunned to see how partisan Tsakopoulos acted. He was asked to recuse himself from the committee due to obvious conflict of interest. After all, he was sitting in judgment of his own proposal (How ugly is that?) The man didn’t care and arrogantly stayed on. Professors, students, and trustees (except the Greek) all supported academic freedom in their speecehes. ”

Nihat wrote on January 14, 2007 1:17 AM:
“@JohnWilkinson> Sir, you’re missing the fact that the said exchange program had the blessings of the State Department. But, you can’t be blamed if you don’t trust the State’s ability to conduct American international affairs properly. @George> It’s not like Turkish Cypriots didn’t lose anything. Were they not killed? Were they not squezed into enclaves and threatened with extinction. Enosis was not a pre-1960 dream; it was a pre-1974 nightmare for Turkish Cypriots. Have you heard of Sampson? I suggest you read some history, too. For a realistic sense of the political situation on the ground, see: http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/editorial.php?ed=ariana_ferentinou

JDMB wrote on January 13, 2007 12:31 PM:
“The point of the article is that someone is trying to improperly influence the university’s actions with a sociopolitical agenda, not an educational one. As to the situation in Cyprus: When do we let go of the past? Is Mexico justified in still resenting the loss of Texas due to dubious circumstances (Mexican history of that conflict is different from the US’s)? When should the Irish stop killing each other? Have Argentina & England settled their differences over the Falkland Islands? etc. etc. etc. I am unfamiliar with the Annan Plan but both sides will have to give up something.”

Tom Virane wrote on January 13, 2007 12:10 PM:
“It makes you wonder why Mr Goldsborough has written all these accuracies. If you read carefully the article you will see there is no place for the counterargument. Is this a balanced opinion? Of course not. I wonder how much he is paid by the Turkish embassy. ”

Mike Drake wrote on January 13, 2007 12:42 AM:
“It is perfectly clear to anybody who has studied the Cyprus conflict that Mr. Goldsborough does not have a clue about the reality of the situation. The fact is that 37 percent of the Republic of Cyprus is illegally occupied by Turkey and governed by a puppet regime that the Turkish government supports militarily. Turkish settlers brought to Cyprus are living on land stolen from Greek-Cypriots that were forced to flee from the invading Turkish army in 1974. This illegal entity in the north means that SDSU by fostering this program is complicit in a crime! ”

And here is copy of my reply posted (to appear hopefully by tomorrow) >

Your comment has been posted! 2:45 πμ 16/1/2007
“Academic Freedom is one subject. Military Invasion to The Republic of Cyprus is another. Between the two there’s a thin line Mr Goldsborough did not kept. If Mr Tsakopoulos acted in a provocative manner, must be a reason. You were there you should know better. I have read the article. In 1963 Turks did not accepted  Constitutional change proposed by  President Makarios. They enclaved themselves Christmas 1963. Remember Mansoura and Omorfita bombings? Rauf Denktash forced them to move during 1974s invasion. Sampson was just a puppet.Enosis is a Turkish excuse not for the Greeks. “

I also posted this second comment >

Your comment has been posted! 2:56 πμ 16/1/2007
“Since 100 words are allowed per comment, here is a link for your readers and for all the gentlemen who posted feedback, to read more about the Cyprus Problem >
https://grhomeboy.wordpress.com/tag/news-cyprus-occupied/

Will follow up as usual. And again my sincere thanks to all those Gentlemen who defended my opinion, although I personally know none of them.

UPDATE >>> 16 January 2007, 21:55 local Greek time

The debate goes on. One more feedback from a reader plus my last two comments. Here are the details >

Reader Feedback Comments so far on this story:
John Wilkinson wrote on January 15, 2007 5:44 PM:
“to Nihat: the State Department does not support this officially.. if this is true they are incapable of any serious policy making..OR some in the SD might have their own interests in this story. The fact is that this is a controversial issue that divides us .. the politicians should give an answer to the issue and not the universities.. certainly not the american universities. and it is utterly hypocritical to speak in the name of academic freedom in this country. freedom has nothing to do with personal agendas. ”

George wrote on January 15, 2007 4:56 PM:
“Since 100 words are allowed per comment, here is a link for your readers and for all the gentlemen who posted feedback, to read more about the Cyprus Problem > https://grhomeboy.wordpress.com/tag/news-cyprus-occupied/

George wrote on January 15, 2007 4:45 PM:
“Academic Freedom is one subject. Military Invasion to The Republic of Cyprus is another. Between the two there’s a thin line Mr Goldsborough did not kept. If Mr Tsakopoulos acted in a provocative manner, must be a reason. You were there you should know better. I have read the article. In 1963 Turks did not accepted Constitutional change proposed by President Makarios. They enclaved themselves Christmas 1963. Remember Mansoura and Omorfita bombings? Rauf Denktash forced them to move during 1974s invasion. Sampson was just a puppet.Enosis is a Turkish excuse not for the Greeks. ”

Well, still the debated article’s author has not made any statement nor has posted his opinion or any reaction(s). Not that I was expecting him to do so, maybe he is not aware of the word “Respect”. Or as I read in another reader’s feedback “I wonder how much he is paid by the Turkish embassy.”

In Greece and Cyprus we have a few popular sayings which I find to be most appropriate > “When you hear about a lot of cherries, bring a small basket”, “On the deaf’s door you can knock as long as you want”, “Everyone declares that he/she is what he/she would like to be but is not”. However, popular sayings are indeed unlimited. In the case of Mr Goldsborough, I find them mostly appealing! No hard feelings though 🙂

Stolen icons handed over in New York ceremony January 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied, Religion & Faith.
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Six 13th century Byzantine icons stolen from churches in the Morphou occupied area after the Turkish invasion in 1974 have been returned to the Church of Cyprus during a ceremony in New York late on Wednesday. They will arrive back in Cyprus tomorrow.

The priceless icons were located at the Sotheby’s auction house after Church investigators spotted them for sale in a catalogue.

They were handed over to Bishop Neophytou of Morphou, who told the special gathering: “The Turkish invasion turned upside down the units and the history of the Church in Cyprus and we continue to bear witness to the destruction of our cultural and religious heritage in the areas occupied by Turkey.”

Neophytou commented that thousands of priceless icons had been trafficked from the north of the island since 1974 and had fallen into the hands of wealthy art collectors.

Cypriot ambassador to the US, Andreas Kakouris, who also attended the ceremony, said the government was first notified in 2005 that the icons were due to be auctioned by Sotheby’s. The auction house was asked to halt the sale until the matter was sorted out.

“The return of the icons is part of continuing efforts by the government to maintain and protect our rich cultural and religious heritage. At the same time, we are following a legal course of action relating to the plunder of our treasures and their illicit export,” he said.

Kakouris said the government had redoubled its efforts in monitoring international art markets to locate and repatriate stolen artefacts.

Orthodox Archbishop of the Americas Demetrios said he was very pleased to see the icons “being retrieved from slavery on their way to freedom”.

Five of the six icons were from the church in occupied Asinou in the Morphou district and the sixth was stolen from a church in Kalopanayiotis. Among others they include depictions of the Virgin of Asinou, the Apostles Peter and Paul and Ayios Andronikos.

All have been well-documented in the past in various publications, which made the Church’s case easier to prove. The icons had been in the possession of the Pankow Foundation created by construction magnate Charles Pankow.

Pankow was well known as a connoisseur of the arts, having established a considerable collection of ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Russian artefacts. He amassed one of the largest private collections of Russian and Greek icons in the United States.

After his death, the administrators gathered a lot of his Byzantine pieces for auction and published a catalogue. An out-of-court settlement was reached with the administrators of the Foundation, but only for the reimbursement of expenses and fees. Bishop Neophytou thanked the Foundation for its co-operation.

Church slams outdoor vows January 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Religion & Faith.
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The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece yesterday banned weddings and baptisms from taking place at private chapels in open-air venues, claiming that the services “lose their holiness” when they are conducted in this manner.

“The guests are standing up, talking on their mobile phones, laughing, smoking and chewing gum,” said Bishop Anthimos of Alexandroupolis after the meeting.

Recently, there has been a gradual move away from traditional weddings at Orthodox churches to more Westernized ceremonies conducted on private land.

However, the Holy Synod struck out against this yesterday and sent a circular to all bishops informing them that marriages and baptisms cannot take place outside of Church grounds. Bishops admitted that it will be difficult to enforce the new rule.