"Journal of an English Teacher in Athens, Greece" janetanne's Profile

Spring in Greece!


Spring in Greece can arrive suddenly without warning when the winter winds and skies still linger. Spring bursts forth in full colour. The hills and fields become blankets of flowers and brilliant colours. To be in Greece in the Spring is to experience the rebirth of the World.

Take a drive through the countrysides of Greece. Travel deep into the Peloponnese, where the landscape is so breathtaking that you may feel like you have landed on another planet. Drive to Neopoli and take the small ferry boat across to Elafonisos where you will find a World Heritage protected beach at Simos. Drive from Neopoli to Monemvasia where you will be transported back in history when the Byzantine Empire was strong. Walk through the castle's narrow roads and feel the living spirits of a time gone past. Spring in Monemvasia is too beautiful for words. Even a picture does little justice. You must see for yourself.

If you are in the City, in Athens or even in the small villages, there are unique and interesting museums and historical sites to visit. Greece is after all, the beginning of history. Reminders are everywhere.

Perhaps the best time of the year to visit museums is in the Spring. The weather is mild and a cool breeze is always felt. Get out, walk and see the sites of the city, absent of crowds, tourists and hot sweaty bodies!

If you happen to be in Athens this time of the year, don't miss the New Acropolis museum where new exhibitions are always being shown:

After much anticipation and many months of preparation, the New Acropolis Museum has opened its doors to visitors. If you are in Athens, don't miss this superb exhibition! For more details about the museum and its exhibition, see my new tips on my Athens pages.


I hope you enjoy traveling through my pages and that somewhere along the line I may inspire you to travel to the country of Greece, where the light is something unique and special. Even the ancient Greeks were aware of the significance of 'light' and built their most famous temples with respect and consideration of the positions from which the sun 'rose' and 'sat.' Today, we can see the modern respect and importance of the 'light' in Greek Art by the amazing presence of the New Acropolis Museum. At a certain time of the day, the shadow of the Acropolis is reflected on the side of the the new museum's walls presenting the contemporary traveler to Athens a unique and awe inspiring realization of the 'light' in Greek philosophy of spirit, body and soul.

Check out some of my tips for a few of the most popular Greek islands.

You can start with Crete, which is so big, it hardly seems like an island!:


and Plakias to see the Monastery at Preveli:





My latest updates on my Spetses pages:


See you there!


WINTER Greece is FREEZING, BLOWING WIND, unbelievable LOW temperatures! In Thessaloniki, the sun is shining, but 'shining with TEETH!' What a rich language Greek is! A sun with 'teeth!' Don't you just love it!


DON'T COME TO GREECE IN WINTER! Not unless you are a masochist. Just as an afterthought, masochist is a Greek word..so, this tells something of the Greek character! In fact, the average Greek person on holiday, cannot stand to be alone! They thrive in crowded areas! It's as if they would feel left out and abandoned and tremble with fear, if they found themselves on a secluded, quiet, peaceful beach! No!

I, on the other hand, revel in the discovery of a hidden cove, where no one else has set foot from the last time I was so quietly bathing in the same spot. Give me peace, quiet, and a clean, uncluttered beach. No racket-balls landing on my head! No plastic bags full of the left-overs from the picnic lunch of yesterday. No cigarette butts felt under my feet as I try to make my way across the cluttered sand and manouver between beach towels layered one upon the other.

In fact, give me the cool waters of October, November and December, to sooth my weary and tired muscles.

Give me the lake in January, with the steam coming off the warm water into the cold air. Give me the sight of the Kingfisher, swishing just two inches above the surface of the lake, searching for its lunch.

For those of you lucky enough to be able to take a holiday in October or November, Greece is an ideal destination. Prices of accommodations will have come down, beaches will be less crowded and temperatures are just right for walking. For the hearty, the sea is at its best for swimming; brisk and clear. For those who may not take to the sea when the temperatures have dropped, the Lake of Vouliagmeni is absolutely Perfect! Don't hesitate...for you know that is my motto..."Those who hesitate are lost!"

For the rest of us who live here, we can still find the weekends to escape to a near by island of beach:):)

So, be sure to check out my new photos of more sunsets at Sounion


and Please have a look at my newest pages with photos of the famous ARMATA celebration held every year on the Island of SPETSES


Also, because they are two of the closest island to the Port of Pireaus, have a look at my pages for Aegean and Poros; always a good idea for a short day or two trip away from Athens.


See you there!
For things to do and see just outside of Athens, See my Attiki pages and more Flowers and Plants in and around Attiki...Plus FRED'S BUTTERFLY is flying around these pages somewhere too!!! Can you find it? FLOWERS OF ATTIKI


Here is a very useful link that I just happened to come across when I wanted to know how much I weighed in 'Stones!' Here you can convert just about every possible thing that you want to convert from one measurement to another...Just wish I could find a quick and easy way to convert all my fat to lean muscle:):)

Michigan Motorcars

Do you remember that first car you owned when you were only 16 and a Jr. in High School? Mine was a beautiful, all white 1959 Chevy; baby blue leather interior, power steering and windows! What a dream! Now, I love to go to the Antique Auto Show at Houghton Lake, Michigan every summer when I visit my parents and I always ask the same question: "Why did you ever sell that car???"
Check out my new pages on Michigan and Houghton Lake:

soon to be added (so keep checking in )and drool over some of the most beautiful 'old' cars around....

Fall Back

When the seas are high and my life gets rough from the daily pressures of driving two hours a day through the treacherous traffic in Athens, you will find me here! Here, in the calm waters of the therapeutic lake of Vouliagmeni. When the wind blows, and your heart aches, just relax with a swim in the lake!
This is what this beautiful lake in the southern-most suburb of Athens looks like as the sea gulls swoop across to their coves carved into the cliff above the water. Vouliagmeni my love!
If you are coming to Athens, instead of waking up to noise and pollution, why not stay in one of the hotels that are within walking distance of the lake? There are several nice hotels in this area; The Ira,an older family run hotel, a newly renovated hotel called' Vouliagmeni Suites' and the Margie House. If you really want to splurge, the Asteria Beach complex is where Diplomats, Kings and their families have stayed. Millionaire's Yacht's can be envied from the docks of Moorings. For those of us who are normal...we can walk along the white sandy beach and swim in the sea for free...where else would you rather be? Oh, yes, across the street sitting in one of several small taverna eating fried squid or fresh Dover Sole, Horiatiki Salad, eggplant dip or Tzadziki. Would you prefer white wine or Ouzo? Who's driviing? Just walk to your cool hotel room and leave the cleaning-up to the maid. Tonight? Why not wander on up past the main public beach and sit outside at 'Emplo' the chic cafeteria-cum-bar-cum-restaurant. The moon will be shining on the water and you will be in love with Vouliagmeni too.


Here are some very useful links for travelers wanting to come to Greece for holiday:

Holiday in Greece
Indigo Guide > Greece INDIGOGUIDE

A Comprehensive travel and tourist information on Greece and all the Greek islands. Accommodation, night life, car rental and much much more.

Greek National Tourism Organization GreekNational TourismOrganization

A great source of vacation information
Go Greece GoGreece

A great online guide for the discerning traveler

Snow, Lemons and Ancient Wisdom

February 2008 was what may have seemed like the coldest winter in forty years. On 17th February, 2008, it was even snowing on Mykonos! No nude beach goers that day! One day I was looking at the lemon trees bending from the weight of their fruit, wondering if I should take the time to pick the lemons and freeze the juice for later. 'He who hesitates is lost..' The next day, the weather man had done the job too well for me! Snow covered everything; the lemons were frozen on the limbs. Sweet and sour are our lessons in life.

Last year I started swimming in the sea on March 28th. This year, as the cold winds and rain drenches our paths, I have found the lake at Vouliagmeni with temperatures of 23 degrees Centigrade where the warm water soothes my tense muscles and aching bones.

Athenians prepare earlier and earlier each year for the Christmas holidays. When I first came to Athens, in 1979, I didn't know anyone except a few expats, who had a Christmas tree. Now, the commercial interests have invaded from both East and West. When an opportunity to
'sell more' is seen by merchants, the shops open on every corner for business. The fake trees, made in China, the plastic ornaments, made in India, and the 'desire to spend, spend,' made in America...unfortunately have permeated the minds of unsuspecting Greek homes. The first day of November has seen the open doors of the 'Christmas ornament shops!'
Bah! Humbug! What's all this leading to? What happened to the lovely little wooden boats down by the sea-shore decorated with lights, awaiting the Greek Holiday of St. Nicholas? The holiday when the seafaring Greeks gave thanks to the humble Saint who watched over their sailors, far out to sea? One day in November, December or even January, the winds can be flowing fiercely and the rain flooding the streets, making it safe only for those little boats to be floating to safe-harbour; the next day, brings the winter sun of 'Halcion Days,' and sitting outside in the local cafes drinking hot Greek coffee. Is that why we stay here?

Today the sun is shining. The born and raised Michigander still finds hope in our Michigan motto, 'if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute.' Ancient wisdom endures.

Want to know what the weather will be like while you are in Greece???? Have a look at this very cool site:


Have a look at some of my pages with photos from the Acropolis; no matter how long one has lived in this ever growing European city, it never ceases to impress...the wonders of the Ancient World:


There are also some fascinating tips and photos from Epidavros, where once a female cult danced in drug-induced trances:


Greece is still full of wisdom for those who are able to get off the beaten path. Take your time and explore the smaller roads. Remember, Greece is not only islands...

Yasou, from your new friend in Greece, Janetanne

Colourful English and Greek Phrases


Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the
frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and
you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Petrty amzanig, huh?

NEXT QUESTION...So why does spelling count so much?????

Here is an excellent link for VT members who would like to check their English Spelling, find the meanings of words, idioms, proverbs, style, grammar and many other useful sources for writers


If you have an unusual Phrase in English that you would like to know the meaning and or origin of, please send it to me and I will try to find the answer for you. I will post the most colorful and interesting English Phrases here on my Homepage every week, just to give you a little 'free lesson,' in the English Language and English Culture. So, send me those questions, Students of The World:):)


Requested by Robertgaz

A bee's "corbiculae", or pollen-baskets, are located on its
tibiae (midsegments of its legs). The phrase "the bee's knees",
meaning "the height of excellence", became popular in the U.S. in
the 1920s, along with "the cat's whiskers" (possibly from the use
of these in radio crystal sets), "the cat's pajamas" (pyjamas were
still new enough to be daring), and similar phrases which made less
sense and didn't endure: "the eel's ankle", "the elephant's
instep", "the snake's hip". Stories in circulation about the
phrase's origin include: "b's and e's", short for "be-alls and
end-alls"; and a corruption of "business".
Source: [Mark Israel, 'Phrase Origins: "the bee's knees"', The alt.usage.english FAQ file,(line 4407), (29 Sept 1997)]

Here is another source for finding the meaning of some obscure phrase in English, such as 'The Bee's Knees!' which my friend RobertGaz asked me about. He says there's a beer in Austrailia called 'Beez Neez!
BEEZNEEZBEER and tastes like honey...sounds good to me! But here is a source for the probable explanation for that phrase: PHRASE ORIGINS IN ENGLISH

Now that I've got you thirsty for a cold beer...or if you are one of those 'teatollers' who think there is no redeeming qualities in drinking beer...just have a look at another VT friend of mine, who shows us how Drinking Carlsburg Beer is Helping Art!...:
BEER AND ARTHere's to you Allan (TheView)Cheers! Stin 'Yasou! And how about LoriPori's Antwerp tip on DRINKING BEER FROM BOWLS? BeerBowls

Here is a beer called 'Kwak' ! KWAK BEER on Gili S's page of her top 8 beers. I wonder if after you drink this beer, you will waddle around kwakking like a drunk duck?? hehehe


When you leave Greece, you will take with you the memories of the sounds that you heard. Greek music permeates every country in the world. The songs have floated across seas and over mountains. One of my favourite contemporary Greek singers is Mario Frangoulis. Please listen to this lovely song accompanied by a video on youtube:


Here are the words in English:

Canción Hay Más incluida en el album de Mario Frangoulis 'Follow your heart'.
Se unen las voces del tenor griego Mario Frangoulis y del cantante mexicano Alejandro Fernández.

How much ground I've traveled, how much life I've seen.
Airports and train stations, city people in a hurry,
everyone with their own destiny, and, behind all those glances,
a question...

There's more, much more, but I don't know where to find it.
I want more, much more than this monotony

Where does madness come from? What's the reason for love?
And beyond appearances, what is life?

On the other side of you, beyond what you see,
besides the scarlet sunset, besides the sea and rain,
There's more to understand and you'll get it if every day
that passes by you'll let the answer grow inside you.

There's more, much more than all they teach you.
There's more, much more you'll find out by yourself.

For pity gives up, faced with an ideal.
Why keep so many secrets, when you could talk them over?
Why require so much effort, you could ask yourself,
when you have a whole life to learn that.

On the other side of you, beyond what you see,
besides the scarlet sunset, besides the sun and wind,
there's much more to understand and you'll get to it
if every day that passes by you'll let the answer grow inside you.

Then all they teach you
you'll find out for yourself.

You can visit Mario's Official site at:http://www.mariofrangoulis.com/

Haven't been to the Acropolis yet? Come have a look at my newest pictures...

What's Behind the BLUE Door?

Have you ever wanted to go into a private house on one of the islands and see how the local people have decorated their house? Well, here is your 'virtual' chance to come in this door and see what lies behind those imposing walls!
Come to Spetsis and take a look at my new 'off the beaten path,' to see my friend's beautiful house in SPETSIS and NOW with its brand new FACELIFT!

Here is a great connection FOR BOOKING YOUR SUMMER AIR FLIGHTS within Greece:


  • Intro Updated Apr 4, 2012
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Janet Hellis
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