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Windsurfing RS:X European Championship continues June 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Aquatics.
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The 2007 Windsurfing RS:X European Championship continues in Cyprus Tuesday, while on Sunday competitors were literally ‘flying’ downwind with fins fully clear of the water before disappearing into troughs only to re-emerge again a few seconds later, an airborne ‘speed blur’.

In the men’s blue fleet 2003 Mistral World Champion, Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) won with room to spare and took back the overall lead from young gun Nicolas Le Gal (FRA). Le Gal had a torrid time finishing 15th, now happily discarded, and so clings on to second place for now.

The other young gun, Fabian Heidegger (ITA), also sailed his throw out finishing Sunday’s blue fleet race in 15th, but still hangs onto third overall. JP Tobin (NZL), Joao Rodrigues (POR) and Ivan Pastor (ESP) are all square in fourth overall, the three sailed top five performances today. JP who rounded the bottom mark in second place during the race, fell on the jibe in the tricky conditions, but still recovered quickly enough to finish fourth.

It was totally ‘full on’ for the racers who came ashore with ‘wicked’ stories of heroic efforts to hold on while hitting speeds of up to 30 knots. A few competitors stepped it up Sunday and dominated in the radical conditions.

It was a cloudy and windy day in Cyprus, not exactly the light air that had been forecasted. Instead a solid 25 knots was pumping onshore shortly before the start for the men’s fleet. An area of low pressure had swung into the area and was substantially deeper than expected. The swell and chop also built up very quickly to produce very challenging conditions.

In women, Lucy Horwood (GBR) was the heroine of the day, who reveled in the conditions using her vast Formula windsurfing experience to take the bullet. Alessandra Sensini (ITA) took 2nd and picked up some points on the overall score board where she sits in 3rd just behind Barbara Kendall (NZL), who finished 8th in today’s race. Regatta leader Marina Alabau (ESP) sailed her discard with an OCS but retains the overall lead.

Monday is a rest day. The men’s fleet will now be split into Gold and Silver Fleets.

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International Constitutional Law Conference in Athens June 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Shows & Conferences.
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The 7th World Congress of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL) opened at the Zappeion Hall in Athens on Monday, with several government ministers and officials attending.

The conference was organised and hosted by the Greek Constitutional Law Union, under the aegis of the interior ministry, and will continue until June 15.

Opening remarks were made by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, followed by Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou and Deputy Foreign Minister Evripides Stylianidis, among others.

French researcher studies Greek and Latin texts June 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Asia.
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French researcher Jean-Baptiste Yon of Lyon’s National Center for Archaeological Research has begun work on studying Greek and Latin texts in Palmyra, Syria, the Syrian Arab News Agency reports.

Yon affirmed the importance of these texts in introducing Palmyra’s civilization and its cultural impact on east and west to scholars and scientists.

Yon pointed out that Palmyra is considered an important center for similar studies, with it having been a melting pot that gathered most of the world’s cultural and civilized currents during the first three AD centuries.

Alex Dimitriades > Wog finds work in Crete June 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora, Movies Life Greek.
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He’s never been a wog out of work in Australia, now Alex Dimitriades is hoping his European ancestry will help him become the new film god of Greece.

Dimitriades jetted out of town last week bound for the balmy island of Crete, where he will tap into his Greek heritage to play the leading role in the big-screen comedy Reception Will Follow.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it could be the first in a series of more roles there,” Dimitriades told film writer Erin McWhirter. “I might become the next big Greek movie star. You never know.”

While he grew up in the Sydney suburb of Earlwood, Dimitriades is the son of first generation Greek immigrants and will draw on his native tongue for his role in the foreign film.

“I studied the language for five or six years growing up but I have had to brush up a bit,” he said. “I reckon the switch will properly switch on when I touch down.”

Reception Will Follow revolves around the secrets of a bride and groom unveiled by their wedding guests on their special day. Trading the local chill for the scorching European summer, Dimitriades will spend 2 months overseas making his mark in his parent’s homeland. But while his career is good to go in Greece, the ever sparkling lights of Hollywood are still beckoning for the original Heartbreak Kid.

After scoring a cameo role in Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo several years ago, Dimitriades says he will rejoin the US rat race again when the time is right. “Hollywood is the filmmaking town and you can’t ignore it,” he said.

Proud Greeks > To Melbourne with love June 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Diaspora.
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John Melemenis, Ripponlea Fish Supply, 49 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea, Phone 9528 5625.

In 1968, after three years of living in Australia, I decided to move back to Greece. When I arrived at the pier, the boat was already leaving. They said: “Jump on!” And I said: “No, I’ll catch the next one.” But I never did.

I was 18 when I came here. I had been a sailor for five years and our ship was in Perth. Two of my friends decided to jump ship, so I did too. We were young and silly. We got a plane straight to Melbourne and went to my friend’s sister’s house. They weren’t home, so we looked through the windows. The neighbour thought we were robbers and called the police. We told them that we were just visiting. If they had asked for our papers, we would have been arrested and sent back.

I missed Greece very much. It was so beautiful, but we were very poor. I slept in a bed with my six brothers and sisters, all lined up like sardines. Sometimes we’d say: “Mum, why are you sending us to bed early?” It was because we didn’t have enough food. But we were happy.

My oldest sister helped look after us. A couple of men asked for her hand in marriage, but my parents had to say no because they needed her. She’s still single today.

When I met my wife, Sophia, I knew she would be a hard worker because she didn’t have long nails or lipstick. But she still looked like Sophia Loren. We got married in the registry office in September and had the religious wedding in October. But when my son applied for a passport a few years ago, the Greek government said that our marriage wasn’t valid, the priest had been marrying people illegally. So we got married a third time in 2001. My son was the best man. We had the wedding in the morning and went back to the shop in the afternoon. We’ve worked here together for 35 years.

I have a beautiful daughter and my son works with me in the shop. They each have a child. One is called Sophia after my wife and the other is called Liam. It’s not a very Greek name, but it’s still good.

I’m 60 now, but I don’t want to retire. I love my customers, especially the children. I try to teach all the children the importance of saying “please” and “thank-you”. And I like to move the mouth of the fish, they think the fish is talking. It makes me feel young when they smile.

Customers’ favourite: Tasmanian salmon, about $6 a piece. “Every second customer gets salmon now.” says Mr Melemenis.

John’s choice: King Dory, about $5 a piece, grilled in flour, olive oil and oregano.

My kind of town: Athens, as seen by a British visitor June 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Athens, Testimonials.
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Paul Johnston loves Athens for its frenetic energy and capacity to surprise

Why Athens? > I first came in 1976 to work as a tour guide and now spend much of each year in the city. Back then, I was a Classicist, entranced by glimpses of ancient columns between streets. Soon, I became fascinated by the modern city and its people. I grew up in Edinburgh, the Athens of the North, and fitted surprisingly easily into what was an exotic place, with palm trees, coconut vendors, and a distinctly Middle Eastern air. The city has inevitably been Westernised, but it still has the capacity to surprise.

The new Metro is world-class, as is the airport. Athens has a frenetic energy, not ideal for long stays, but great for short breaks. I love the topography of the city. Walk or take the teleferik (funicular railway) up Lykavittos Hill for stunning views of the Acropolis, the mountains that cradle the city, and the restless, shade-shifting blue of the Aegean. But the small things also stay with you, the ubiquitous periptera (kiosks) festooned with newspapers, the smell of bitter-orange blossom in spring, and the lilting melodies of street musicians.

What do you miss most when you’re away? > The weather. Apart from the inferno of high summer, Athens is comfortably warm and dry. There are often refreshing, northerly breezes. Blue skies are the norm, even in winter.

What’s the first thing you do on arrival? > Drink a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, nectar of the ancient gods.

Where’s the best place to stay? > The refurbished Museum Hotel (16 Bouboulinas Street; 0030 210 3805611; www.hotelmuseum.gr; from £40) is next to the National Archeological Museum, as well as round the corner from the lively Exarcheia Square.

Where would you meet friends for a drink? > There are numerous cafés and bars in Exarcheia Square, the haunt of students, anarchists and arty types. The quietest is Vox, with its own bookshop. Kolonaki Square is Exarcheia’s mirror-image, business people, diplomats, the gilded youth, and inflated prices. Not my cup of Greek coffee.

Where is your favourite place for lunch? > The old-style mageireio, where you inspect the food before ordering, is dying out. A good one is To Diethnes in Nikitara Street, off Themistokleous Street and near Omonia Square. Although the waiters wear white jackets, it’s not the kind of place that does reservations.

And for dinner? > The best-known souvlaki place is Baïraktaris in Monastiraki Square, (210 3213036), with outdoor seating year-round. An excellent old-fashioned ouzeri is To Athinaïkon (2 Themistokleous Street, near Omonia Square; 210 3838485).

Greeks pay more attention to food than drink and you don’t have to order ouzo, there’s good wine from the barrel. More up-market for mezedhes, the variety of starters that easily becomes a whole meal, is Alexandra (Alexandras Avenue and 21 Zonara Street; 210 6420874).

Where would you send a first-time visitor? > The Acropolis and the National Archeological Museum. The Kerameikos, the city’s ancient cemetery, is a contrasting place of calm (Ermou Street, near Thission metro station).

What would you tell them to avoid? > Fish restaurants on the coast, plus nightclubs, they are ludicrously expensive.

Public transport or taxi? > Both. The Metro, suburban railway lines, trams and buses are cheap and reliable: you buy tickets in advance from a kiosk and cancel them on board. Taxis are good value, just make sure the driver starts the meter when you get in.

Handbag or money belt? > Athens is pretty safe, apart from the backstreets around Omonia Square late at night. As in any city, don’t flaunt it. Pickpockets do operate, particularly in tourist hotspots like the Flea Market in Monastiraki.

What should I take home? > Five or seven-star Metaxas brandy is good, as long as you aren’t expecting Cognac-quality. You can find traditional Greek cheeses, cured meats, vine-leaves, olives, and olive oil in any supermarket, as well as at the airport. Don’t be shocked if prices are on a par with those back home. The cost of living in Greece has risen drastically.

And if i’ve only time for one shop? > Politeia Bookshop (Asklipiou 1-3 and Akadimias Streets) has discounted prices and a good selection of English books. There are also high-quality coffee-table books covering many aspects of Greece and the Greeks.

Paul Johnston has been visiting Greece for more than 30 years. His latest crime novel, The Death List, (Mira, £6.99) is out on Friday 15th June 2007.

Source and Copyright > The Telegraph, United Kingdom.

Surfing in Naxos mixes with the Greek mythology June 11, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Aegean.
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The Greek mythology > Beautiful she was, and of Royal blood > Ariadne, the daughter of Minos, King of Crete. Many men sought her hand. She decided on Dionysus, the God of Wine, who had a magnificent Palace built for her on the island of Naxos.

Little is left of the Palace today. But Ariadne’s Gate still stands, crumbling, near the island’s capital and chief port, which is also called Naxos. In the evening it draws numerous couples in love. But ancient ruins are not the chief attraction for most visitors to the island. Windsurfing is, especially off the beach south of the capital.

Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea. It has an area of 428 square kilometres, and 148 kilometres of coastline. At Agios Georgios beach and in the adjacent lagoon, the wind direction is mostly “side-shore” or parallel to the shoreline.

“That’s ideal for a windsurfer,” explained Jan Andres. A 42-year-old German, Andres came to Naxos 12 years ago to start a new life as a hotelier and restaurateur. He transformed a forlorn windsurf station in the lagoon into a bustling windsurfing spot with a windsurfing school, bar and equipment-rental business. Naxos fills the bill for both beginners and experienced windsurfers.

“The lagoon is large, and shallow enough to stand in. What’s more, beginners can’t drift off,” Andres said. “For experienced windsurfers there’s the Meltemi, a north wind with a force of up to six or seven, “strong breeze” or “near gale” on the Beaufort scale.” In addition, there are numerous offshore reef flats that break the waves and give the pros an even more exciting ride on their boards. Off the adjacent beach, directly in front of the beach bar, strong winds can kick up big waves. That is where the real experts romp.

One of those is Michalis Roussos, a 35-year-old native of Naxos who hops on his board as often as he can. “Windsurfing’s the best way for me to relax,” Roussos said. He started windsurfing at age 17 and is one of the locals, who is interested in water sports. 

Someone else whose life revolves around water sports is Hans-Joachim “Kutte” Priessner, 58. A one-time professional materials tester and ex-editor in chief of a well-known surf magazine, he lives on Naxos from April to October and organises day sailing trips for tourists. “There are plenty of interesting spots on Naxos,” Preissner said. “When there’s no wind, visitors can enjoy horseback riding, hiking and cycling.” His personal tip for windsurfers is Azala beach near Moutsouna.

People who live on the island say the “Naxos virus” is what makes many tourists keep coming back. “Most of our guests are regulars,” Andres said. But mass tourism is unlikely to swamp Naxos anytime soon, because getting there is no simple matter. It is one of the few Greek islands not served by scheduled flights. The airport runway is too short for large planes, and there are no plans to lengthen it in the near future.