Thursday, January 4, 2018
Today is a rainy day here in Athens and perhaps time to catch up on our activities. This is probably the coldest that weather that Athens will see through the winter, and with nighttime lows around 4C and daytime highs from 10C on cloudy, wet days, to 15C on sunny days it is best described as pleasant. This morning’s forecast for Toronto is expected to see -20C overnight and ‘feels like’ temps around -30C. Athens is pleasant to say the least.
Cycling has taken up a little bit of time, but there is also puttering about the boat to get ready for a short trip over the weekend. Groceries, laundry, food, games and television watching all happen like one would expect on a Christmas break at home.
One morning while the ladies slept I took the time to walk the ‘shoreline’ to find a better cycling route out of this area, while looking over some of the marinas nearby (there are many, many marinas nearby). I mentioned earlier that Megan made the offhand question (joking of course) “why didn’t we get one of those boats?” when we passed by the super yachts. We have been looking over some of the specs on these yachts because they are spectacular to say the least.
A couple of the smaller ones include boats like “Better Place” and “Lady Ellen II”. These are only 20MM-50MM Euros. The real master of the marina is “Al Mirqab. She sits just at the entrance and is spectacular in size. At 436 feet long she is one of the top 20 yachts in the world by length and owned by the former prime minister of Qatar. With room for 25 guests, it takes 55 crew members to operate. That’s one of the benefits of sitting on a lot of oil and natural gas in a world that consumes energy for everything.
We did add in some tourism as well. Yesterday we spent a few hours walking the city and visiting a few historical sites. Just below the Parthenon is the Ancient Agora of Athens and the Temple of Hephaestus. We toured these sites and marvelled at the history here again.
There is a lot of detailed information about this site and its uses for the last six or seven millennia. My fascination with the history on top of history lights up in these areas as you read about group B sacking the town built by group A, then rebuilding the site in their image. Frequently you can see the layers of change, and putting history to it is probably just a little too much to expect on short visits like I am getting now. I will focus a little more over the coming month trying to unravel some of the mysteries.
One thing that remains clear is that the ebb and flow of religion is evident in everything here, the gods, the kings, the people have all been altered over time to suit the needs of the powerful, yet the people in Greece, in Italy and in Egypt all appear to remain overtly religious despite all the evidence around them that it is all temporary and manufactured. It is enthralling to see really.
We also went up to the highest peak in Athens to watch the sunset. Jinhee was quite pleased to be sitting outside in a light shirt, drinking a beer in the sunshine in January.
Today the refrigerator repair man came out and (apparently; hopefully) made that loud noise on the fridge go away . . . may be the best 100 Euros spent so far.
When we are running the boat, we use Raymarine Chart plotters to see the world around us, look for rocks, shallows, set direction etc. Kind of Google maps for a boat, but it can actually drive the boat as well. To do this the system uses digital charts that you have to buy, and the charts in the system when we bought the boat are awesome despite being 10 years old. The bad news is that when we went through the Corinth Canal, the detail was gone. We had reached the edge of our digital chart world. (For those worry worts, we have iPad charts, paper charts and lots of onboard systems that more than cover us for any unforeseen circumstance). Today I updated my Navionics charts for our trip to Kea island over the coming weekend and now I can see where all of the rocks and shallows are. Much more convenient when you can see your boat position in context to the charting information.
Finally I have been trying to figure out more telecom/Netflix/Plex scenarios to make this ship’s entertainment and communication systems run like a baby. I don’t know if I can ever say it enough . . . I hate technology no matter how much I understand it.
When Jinhee and Megan leave, I need to work on my Greek so that I can understand how to interact with Vodafone. They send me SMS messages regularly and I can’t figure any of them out. Next week I will find myself with a lot of spare time I think and the bike will keep me busy during the days but at night maybe I can translate Vodafone SMS messages 🙂
That’s it from Greece.