Reconstructing Athens

Athens has had its share of turmoil over the years. While we were there streets were closed for protests. Most recently they have had some terrible problems with their economy that required a bailout.
Fortunately, even with all the issues, they still make sure to preserve their ancient assets.
When we visited the Parthenon for our honeymoon in 2009. We saw the marvel of the Parthenon being carefully reconstructed to look as it once did.

Metal frames to hold restored and new stones in place.

Side before reconstruction

Notice the difference in color between the original and new stone. In time the difference will fade.

Other parts of the acropolis 

Newly wed couple. Not too far from this location I slipped on some rocks and fell hard on my rear end. Teenagers laughed loudly at me. Be careful around these rocks!

Great views from the acropolis.

Theatre of Dionysos

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Acropolis from below

More views

Later on we went by the Olympic stadium where olympics where last held in 2004.

I noticed these pretty Athens flowers all around.

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Temple of Olympian Zeus – notice the how the columns were formed.

Pretty Athens churches

Nice restaurant hideaway in Athens.

Turtle at the Roman Agora

Statues from the Ancient Agora.

Temple of Hephaestus

Garden Update : Late April

The ladies are back. They seem to like the grape vine for now. The lady above is wearing spots but the one below is in plain attire.

Muscadine grapes are starting to grow. Looks like we will have another good year for grapes. It looks like the little black bugs are back as well (see blurred leaf). They are there every year but appear to be harmless so I let them be.

One of the watermelon seeds germinated. I have yet to have a successful crop but I keep trying. I got these seeds from a watermelon purchased at whole foods a year or so ago.

We haven’t had much rain and days are getting hotter and longer. I am watering almost daily my seedlings. I hope they grow to a stable size soon so they won’t need as much attention.

Brazil: Salvador da Bahia

Our last stop in Brazil was in the fascinating city of Salvador.

We arrived just in time for the Pelourinho street party that happens every Tuesday night after 6:00pm mass. The streets are lined with stages and one can view various local acts. Dancing in the street is encouraged.

We were slightly worried about the crime in Salvador (not as much as in Rio) but we had no issue since we stayed in the “tourist” zones and never strayed outside those areas at night. We always made sure to know where we were at all times. People are pretty friendly here. We befriended one kid in particular who was helpful with advice. He wanted to continue to do favors for us, of course for some money. But even we really didn’t give him any money he still stuck around and greeted us whenever we ran into him again.

Old Portuguese style buildings.

Capoeira is huge in Salvador and it is a great place for viewing it. We had many opportunities to see it on the streets.

The importance of religion in the cities past is seen in the ornate churches seen around town.

The past of Salvador is evidenced in the architecture of the lavish homes of Portuguese plantation owners. Now some abandoned buildings lost in time between current dwellings. We witnessed quite a bit of activity in rebuilding some of these abandoned buildings.

Candomble is an afro-Brazilian cult. While in Salvador we were able to go to one of their ceremonies. They usually start in the evening and consist of song and dancing rituals to bring on a trance induced state where some are possessed by one of the many gods or goddesses of the religion. While in the trance, the person changes into costume and takes on the characteristics of that god. During the ceremony there was a break where afro-Brazilian food was shared with all. Due to the intimate nature of the event, we were unable to take photos. I recommend anyone with an open mind to go to one of these events as long as you respect their rituals.

Tuscany: Pisa

A short trip by train from Florence (1.5 hours) gets you to the university town of Pisa, Italy. The historic Italian town is famous for its leaning tower. It proved a great day trip from Florence.

The stairs are worn from usage.

Shadow of the tower

Halfway through the climb


Pisa Baptistry of St. John

Love the river cities

Great mountain views

Romulus and Remus fed by a wolf

What I am trying to keep alive this summer

The following is a list of what I am going to try to keep alive this summer. But it is only April you say? Yes, mid-April pretty much means summer has started in Central Florida. Only few things can make it outdoors in the summer heat. I have some leftovers in the garden from winter/spring and some new seeds planted. Some are gambles but you never know for sure if something will work unless you try.
The following is what is happening:

The plans for the summer garden. And yes I know I plant things too close together. I do it because I never really know what is going to make it. It is easy to just thin out what you don’t want. Did I misspell carrot, ha!

Seeds in and ready to go.

Trying a new type of basil. See if this one can tolerate the sun better. It is supposed to taste the same as traditional basil. Why can’t I ever get organic basil ?

Tomato plant leftover from the winter/spring tomatoes. I never have luck with summer tomatoes but why not try again. It is too healthy to pull out.

My Charlie Brown Key Lime tree. It is dying, like the lemon did, but it has looked sad like this for two years so I am holding out hope that it may make it. It has produced some great key limes.

Muscadine grapes are coming back. I am confident they will do well (they always do). The goal this year is to keep it trimmed well so the trellis doesn’t lean forward again this year.

Spring flowers (planted last fall).

I love these guys. They are going on their second year and add great fragrance to the yard.

Mint and rosemary
Who doesn’t love a mint infused cocktail?
Wish me luck!!!

Another day in Edinburgh

For my visit to Edinburgh last year I only scheduled a couple of days dedicated to sightseeing. I wish we would have scheduled more. The beginning of our trip is documented in this post.
I think we would have been able to see more if the weather was slightly warmer. I think the frigid temperatures kept us snuggled at our B & B longer than we normally would have.

Our B & B was wonderful. After reading many reviews, we chose the 94DR. The facilities were at a luxury level but at a 3 star hotel price. Each room is charmingly named after scotch whiskies. We happened to stay in the Macallan. The owners and the others who run the B  & B were extremely friendly and welcoming. They gave us great sightseeing advice and the breakfasts were amazing.

 Honor Bar

One of the popular things to do while in Edinburgh is climb Arthur’s Seat. Arthur’s seat was in walking distance from our B & B and one day we decided to make the climb.

Later in the day we decided it was a good idea to do some more climbing. We ascended up to Calton Hill to see all the monuments and views from there.

Cemetery on the way

As I said earlier, we should have scheduled more time in Edinburgh. We didn’t even get to explore the new town. I guess we have another excuse to go back. See you again someday Edinburgh.