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Coastal shipping fares to rise March 19, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism, Transport Air Sea Land.
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Coastal shipping fares to rise by 8 percent on regulated routes

Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis announced an 8 percent increase in fares on regulated coastal shipping routes, those subsidized by the state and those where fare liberalization does not apply for lack of competition.

The increase, based on inflation, will be effective from May 1 and is the first hike since May 27, 2005, when it was 6.8 percent. From now on fares will be adjusted every year on May 1, based on the consumer price index of the previous January-December period, the Minister has decided.

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Greece to be featured at the Nye Beach Gallery March 16, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Aegean, Hellenic Light Americas.
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Hillside buildings at Fira, Santorini. Typical architecture on the island begins in caves and extends outward to terraces overlooking smaller islands of the volcanic crater.

Photographs of the Greek Islands and the Acropolis by Elizabeth Atly will be on exhibit at the Nye Beach Gallery and paired with a Greek wine tasting featuring Santorini wines for the gallery’s weekly wine tasting. An artist’s reception will be held at the same time, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, March 15. Nye Beach Gallery is located at 715 NW Third St. Atly’s exhibit will be on display through the month of March.

Through several vocations as a French professor, residential designer/architectural historian, and filmmaker, Atly, who recently transplanted from Portland to Newport, has avidly pursued the avocation of photography, with occasional one-artist shows and inclusion in group shows.

16-03-08_santorini.jpg  The photographs on exhibit at the Nye Beach Gallery were taken in Greece in 1996.

Santorini is the only volcanic island in the Aegean, said by locals to be the site of the sunken city of Atlantis. Prior to visiting the island, Atly considered only black and white photography, nurtured to life in the darkroom to become “art.”

On a walk through the colorful Fira neighborhood the morning after embarking from the ferry, Atly returned to her room and put away the black and white film. This show is a result of that decision.

Atly is a founding member of the For ARTSAKE Gallery, soon to be open at 258 NW Coast St. in Nye Beach. Her work and that of the nine other For ARTSAKE members will be on display at the new gallery. Watch for opening information.

The first thing you notice about Santorini is the whiteness of the buildings, all massed on the ridges of the crescent-shaped island, with green and rocky hills and fields between the villages. Just as the white shapes up close reveal a kaleidoscope mingling subtle and outrageous color, the fields reveal various phenomena. Olive trees and even prickly pear cactus grow, seemingly out of rock, and in springtime, one sees fields on rolling hills, full of what appear to be crowns of thorns. These are the starts of the grape vines from which the remarkable Santorini wines are cultivated. Training them into circular patterns on the ground protects the starts from the harsh winds that can tear through these islands.

Santorini cuisine for the traveler on a budget consists of variations of souvlaki, chicken and potatoes roasted together, Greek salads and spaghetti cooked in a thinner tomato sauce than its Italian counterpart, subtly spiced with bail. Lobster and other seafoods are plentiful, served up with orzo pasta and local seasonal vegetables; and what would a Greek meal be without olives, feta, olive oil, Greek bread, all accompanied by ouzo, or retsina, or best of all, one of the delicious Santorini wines.

For more information contact Wendy Engler at the Nye Beach Gallery at 265-3292.

[Source]

Greek tourism on E!Entertainment March 16, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Greece’s Tourism Development Ministry and the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) signed a cooperation agreement with the E!Entertainment international network serving the sector of entertainment on a 24-hour basis.

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The one-year agreement provides for the promotion of Greece’s new tourism advertising campaign at a European level both on television and the internet, while guaranteeing the GNTO presence in “red carpet” high-level events such as, the film festivals of Cannes and Rome. Moreover, the GNTO will be the main sponsor of the UK, France, Italy and Germany E!Entertainment websites.

Related Links > http://www.gnto.gr

Be a tourist in your own city March 15, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Museums, Greece Athens.
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The City of Athens organizes tours of museums and archaeological sites as well as culture walks. On a sunny Sunday, the tour guide is surrounded by men and women of all ages wanting to find out more about their own city’s past.

The City of Athens sends out an army of tourist guides to help its citizens become more informed and enjoy themselves in the process. The tour guides are nothing like those one is used to seeing on trips abroad. Often bystanders don’t even know what is going on. It’s a great way to get to know your own city’s secrets, its old neighborhoods, the monuments of Plaka and neoclassical Athens.

Every Sunday without fail at 10.30 a.m., and some Saturdays for visits to sites that are closed on Sundays, nine months of the year, apart from the summer months, the City of Athens holds free guided tours of the city’s sites and monuments. For the past 27 years, its tour guides have been introducing Athenians to their city’s past. All they pay is the entrance fee to the sites themselves, wherever these are charged.

This is how it works: Check out the capital’s municipal website [ www.cityofathens.gr ] for the dates and schedules, call the Municipal Art Gallery and Museums Department, tel 210 3231841 or 210 3240762, or go to the city’s Cultural Center, 50 Academias Street, nearest metro station is “Panepistimio”. Every Sunday morning there is a different itinerary, but many of these are repeated over the year.

If the idea of a guided museum tour seems too much like a school excursion, there are always the outdoor walks. One of these met at the “Evangelismos” metro station on a recent sunny Sunday. Within a few moments, the tour guide was surrounded by a crowd of over 150 men and women of all ages, but very few children, for a briefing of the tour they were to take along Vasileos Constantinou Avenue, the approximate course of the ancient Ilissos River. The tour was to end two hours later at the Church of Aghia Foteini.

Some of the original crowd dropped off along the way, of course, as happens in tours. There was a smaller tour nearby the War Museum. Many of those in the crowd make a regular habit of the tours, meeting friends every Sunday.

As for the tour itself, the information provided by the guide is detailed, similar to the kind of information one would find in a Google search or travel guide, only here the process is interactive; then there are always the wisecrackers, providing lighter moments.

The winter program, January to March, provides a selection of 40 different meeting points. Tickets are issued at the entrance to 148 Ermou Street at the Church of Aghia Dynami. The only thing one has to make sure of is the meeting point for each tour. For example, Hadrian’s Arch for the tour of the Olympic Stadium, 66A Irakleidon Street in Thiseion for the walk around Athens, Philopappou Hill for the a tour of the Pnyx. All the tours are conducted in Greek. Every tour lasts from two to three or even four hours, depending on the site.

I think about the four-hour walk and sit down on a bench away from the crowd. The lecture on the Ilissos River surroundings began at Aghios Georgios Rizari. The guide indicates on the map the course of the now underground river. The point is to see Athens through different eyes. Not piled into a bus. We will walk along the Ilissos, not along its banks, of course, but above them, on the sidewalks.

Tomorrow’s tours >
Byzantine churches >
Meeting point at the Aghios Eleftherios Chapel next to Athens Cathedral.

Benaki Museum’s folklore exhibits from modern Greek history > Meeting point at the Museum entrance, 1 Koumbari Street, Kolonaki, Athens.

Kerameikos, Athens’ Ancient Cemetery > Meeting point at the site.

Archaeological Museum’s bronze collection > Meeting point at the Museum entrance on Patission Street, Athens, nearest metro station “Victoria”.

Future tours > Municipal Art Gallery, 19th- and 20th-century Athens, the Athens of Costis Palamas, Ancient Agora, Acropolis, Plaka’s monuments, National Sculpture Gallery, Museum of Cycladic and Ancient Greek Art, Acropolis and Syntagma metro excavation finds, First Cemetery, Pnyx, Old Athenian neighborhoods, Museum of Islamic Art, Elefsina sites. Call 210 3231841 to book.

The Pafos State Forest March 14, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Paphos, Nature.
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The Pafos State Forest occupies mainly the north-western slopes of the Troodos Range and covers an area of 700k square metres and extends from the districts of Limassol and Nicosia and Pafos at sea level – to the north it reaches up to the villages of Pomos, Kato Pyrgos tis Tillyrias and the occupied village of Varisia. To the east it extends up to the villages of Gerakies, Lemythou etc and to the west up to the villages of Lysos, Kinousa, Argaka and Gialia.

Flora > The Pafos Forest is mostly a natural forest, regenerating itself and the most dominant species found all over the area is the Brutia Pine (Pinus Brutia) – the common wild pine. Smaller trees and shrubs occupy specific biotopes of the forest ecosystem.

The riverine vegetation, which can be found at all elevations includes mainly broadleaves such as the plane-tree (Platanus Orientalis) the alnus tree (Alnus Orientalis), the laurel (Laurus Nobilis) the myrtle (Myrtus Communist) and the bramble (Rubus Sanctus), giving the vegetation a unique combination of colours. In the lowland, high trees become sparse and the small shrubs as well mossy and grassy plants, make up a very rich and dense vegetation of high ecological and aesthetical value.

A special place in the Flora of Pafos Forest is held by the Cyprus cedar (Cedrus Brevifolia). It is the only endemic tree of the Cyprus forests and forms the unique natural forest of the Tipylos slopes and the world famous Cedar Valley.

14-03-08_cyprus_cedar.jpg  The Cyprus Cedar grows and forms pure and mixed strands with the wild pine at 600m up to 1,352m altitude. The presence of the Cyprus Cedar gives a distinct and unique character to the forest ecosystem.

In 1984 the Council of Ministers declared the Tripylos and the Cedar Valley area covering 823 hectares a Nature Reserve for the protection of the flora and fauna according to the provisions of the Forest Law.

The number of different plant species found in the Pafos Forest has been estimated to exceed 600. 50 of these are endemic to Cyprus. The existence of a large number of orchids such as Limodorum Abortivum, Orchis Sancta, Ophrys Levantina and Serapias Vomeracea are found only in Pafos Forest.

14-03-08_cyprus_moufflon.jpg  Fauna > The Pafos Forest was declared a Permanent Game Reserve in 1938 and since then it constitutes a perfect shelter for wildlife. The Cyprus Moufflon the largest endemic mammal of the island lives and reproduces in special biotopes of the Pafos forest. The presence of the fox, hare, hedgehog, rare and protected eagles and other birds, many species of the owl, partridge, wood-pigeon, turtle doves along with different species of snakes and lizards and rare butterflies compose a rich fauna of immense ecological value and importance for Cyprus.

Courtesy of the Pafos Forestry Department, Pafos, Cyprus.

Athens’ dirty reputation March 14, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Living.
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Athens third-grimiest city in EU?

Athens is the third-dirtiest city in Europe, according to a survey carried out by the Tripadvisor travel website. Athens did not feature in the top three of any other category such as “most friendly locals,” “best parks” or “most romantic.”

London was voted the most expensive and dirtiest city by more than 1,100 travelers who took part in the survey. Brussels was deemed to be the most boring, according to the British survey. Paris was voted the most unfriendly city in Europe but was also found to be the most romantic.

If you visited Athens, either on a business or pleasure trip, you have concluded your own opinion. Do share it with us, by adding your comments, thank you!

Greece still one of Europe’s foremost tourist destinations March 7, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Greece enters the new tourism season as one of the most popular destinations in the world’s biggest markets, Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos told a press conference here yesterday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a major tourism exhibition which is taking place in Germany, Spiliotopoulos said Greece is the second most popular destination among 80 according to data compiled by the International Federation of Tour Operators. In the German market alone, a survey by tour operator TUI shows Greece to be the most attractive country worldwide, while another joint survey by the European Cruise Council, Euroyards and Medcruise & Europe ranked the country third in the list of the most popular cruise destinations in Europe, behind Italy and Spain.

The course of Greek tourism, said the Minister, is linked to culture and sports, as well as to environmental awareness. There is also emphasis on developing so-called green tourism, with pilot actions at tourism destinations across the country in association with local authorities.

Efforts in this context also include the formulation of a pioneering program of tourism development aimed at protecting the environment, through the creation of eco-camping grounds and eco-marinas, and a series of innovative actions such as special routes, kiosks and observation towers.

Spiliotopoulos said camping sites at Skotina, Asprovalta, Paliouri and Phanari in Northern Greece will be upgraded with more environmentally friendly facilities, while an ecological marina will also be created at Paliouri in Halkidiki.

The upgrading of regional airports continues meanwhile, in cooperation with the Transport Ministry and the assistance of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE). “In a few years’ time,” Spiliotopoulos said, “we will have an ultramodern airport at Kastelli in Crete.” Most international airports in the country are being upgraded, while the airports of Araxos, Nea Anchialos and Kalamata are now also receiving international flights for the April-October period each year.

The Ministry has funds available from the European Union totaling 564 million, which will be used to upgrade the quality of the country’s tourism product.