Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 24, 2017

Airport food

We flew from Rome to Athens and had some time to wait at the airport…time for lunch.

I wouldn’t mind flying somewhere every day.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 21, 2017

Up close with the Karyatids

I was most impressed with the Karyatids (female figures) on the Erechtheion at the Acropolis when we visited last week.

The amazing sculptures are copies, the originals, 5 of the 6, are in the Acropolis museum. One was stolen by Lord Elgin and is in the British Museum.

We visited the Acropolis Museum. It is a huge building located 300 metres south of the foot of the rock. It sits above remains revealed during excavations.

Photos are not allowed in some areas of the museum, but I was happy that find that the Karyatids are not on that list.

The 6 korai are 2.2 metres high. Instead of columns, they supported the low flat roof of the south porch of the temple. They are dressed in pleated robes, like flutes of columns. Their elaborate hairstyles are both decorative and add strength to the neck area of the sculptures.

It is an amazing feeling to be able to walk around and admire these beautiful sculptures that were created between 421 and 406 BC. Oh to have seen them when they were new!

The faces are worn away, but you can see how stunning they must have been.

From the back the hairstyles seem to have survived almost intact. The lighting is giving the sculptures a different colour.

On the third floor of the building is the rectangular gallery housing the Parthenon sculptures. The display is big enough to accommodate the entire sculpted decoration of the Parthenon. As far as possible the friezes are in the position they would have occupied on the Parthenon.

The frieze has a total length of 160 metres and a height of 1 metre and comprises of 115 stone blocks. An actual event is depicted. The Procession of the Panathenia, a festival celebrated every 4 years in honour of the goddess Athena.

This metopes was taken down recently from the Parthenon recently after 25 centuries to be exhibited in the museum. The battles of the centaurs were a favourite subject of the Athenians, a metaphor for the struggles between civilisation and barbarism.

It is difficult to describe the magnificence of the antiquities on display. People have created wonderful things for thousands of years.

What a pity greed, aggression and war have destroyed so much. How amazing the world would be if time, energy and money was put to good use instead of bad. All lives would be better.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 18, 2017

Lunch with Leo

Leo was our delightful waiter at 2 Mazi in Athens. We were not surprised to learn that he has another job as an actor.

Leo is on the left with former chef and current chef.

A friend sent us some restaurant suggestions for Athens and 2 Mazi was on the list. We took a while to find it only to discover that it was just around the corner from our hotel. In our defence, not all street names are written in English and we can’t read the Greek alphabet.

The summer restaurant is beside the winter room in a little courtyard. There are some quirky decorations. I love the hats used as lightshades.

Leo charmed us immediately as he explained the menu with obvious pride and delight. We knew we were in for a treat.

The amuse bouche was delicious, egg whip and fish roe.

There were 2 types of bread, focaccia and carob bread, served with tarasamalata butter.

I ordered pork with celeriac pure. Leo added the egg lemon sauce.

Jim’s lamb was also excellent.

We don’t usually have dessert for lunch, but we expected it to be wonderful and it was.

Jim had chocolate in several forms.

I had apple pie.

Thank you Leo for making our lunch a fun experience and thank you to the chef and his team for the  delicious food. Leo reminds me of our lovely friend Luis, from Paris Boheme in Lucca. It is always fun to be with enthusiastic people.

2 Mazi is creative Greek cuisine. Find it at 48 Nikis St, on the edge of the Plaka district in Athens.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 16, 2017

Greek island sunsets

People gather each evening to watch the Santorini sunset. We joined a cruise for the afternoon and our boat lined up with all the others to watch the sun go down.

The setting sun cast a pretty light over Oia.

Here is the sunset from Fira.


Our next stop after Santorini was Syros. We stayed in the port town Ermoupolis and were treated to a gorgeous sunset on our second evening.

There were 2 completely different sunrises at Ermoupolis.

Isn’t nature wonderful?

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 13, 2017

Santorini white

The first thing that hit me on arrival in Santorini is the dazzling white of the buildings shining under the brilliant blue sky. No wonder the Greek flag is blue and white.

Here are a few examples.

I will never look at white again without thinking of Santorini.

There will be more posts about our impressions of Fira and Oia on Santorini.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 11, 2017

Acropolis now

We are in Greece. What could be a better introduction to this country than a visit to the Acropolis high above Athens? Acropolis means high point of the city and it certainly is just that. It sits 150 metres above sea level on a flat top rock.

Pericles coordinated the construction of the buildings we now see in the 5th century BC. The latest restorations began in 1975 and are still going on.

It looks impressive from below.

Our point of entry was the Propylaea, a stunning building with its columns jutting  towards the sky.

At the side is the lovely little temple of Athena Nike.

We did not have the Acropolis to ourselves. This is the most crowded historic site I have ever visited.


The Parthenon is the most famous of the ancient buildings. Restoration is still happening here.

It is stunning. Wouldn’t it be great to have seen it when it was new?

My favourite building was the Erechtheion with its 6 caryatids, or young women. These are copies. One was stolen by Elgin and the others are stored safe from the elements.

The Theatre of Dionysus is huge. Looking down on it is most impressive.

Athens spreads out behind it.

There is also a smaller theatre, Odeon of Herodus Atticus.

Crowds gathered here for great views.

The entire site offers great views of the enormous city below and some of the many other ancient sites.

It costs €20 to enter the Acropolis, money well spent. Go early.



Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 8, 2017

Portovenere by the sea

Portovenere is one of our favourite seaside towns to visit. Our Australian friends visited this week and we chose one of the fine days for a day trip to this lovely town. It is just north of La Spezia in Liguria.

There is a pretty shopping street above the restaurants that line the seaside. The entrance is through this old arched portal. I have written a few posts about Portovenere so  will try not to repeat myself.

At the end of the street, the wonderful church at the edge of town appears. It was a busy spring day and there were more people about than on previous visits.

Through the opening in the wall leading up to the church, and down the rocky slope is where Byron jumped in to begin his swim across the bay to Lerici.


Nearby the lonely lady is still looking out to sea.

So is this seagull.

Look up to see the fort above the town.

On the way up to the fort is this beautiful church.

The view from the top is excellent.

Portovenere is a place to be visited often.




Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 6, 2017

Horses in the sand

At the beach in Forte dei Marmi we came upon some marvellous horses made from resin and sand. They are by Mexican artist Gustavo Aceves.

The afternoon was glorious after a wet morning. We walked out onto the pier for some stunning views over the beach to the dramatic sky above the mountains.

Board riders were out to catch some waves. They were all in wet suits. I think the water would be quite cold still.

A huge fishing net was not bringing in many fish.

Forte dei Marmi is another gorgeous town on the Versilia Coast. The horses will be on the beach until the end of May.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 4, 2017

Another rainy day

We returned to Pietrasanta with friends…and it rained again. It didn’t matter, Pietrasanta shines even when it is wet. As well as the Red Hot Chilli Peppers there is other art on display in the town.

There are gorgeous old doorways.

…an interesting window.

This fabulous font dates from the 1500s.

Here are a few more chilli shots.

We had lunch at this pretty little restaurant…Ristorante Quarantuno.

The food was excellent.

I have spotted a few things in the lovely shops that need to come home with me…I will return soon. Perhaps the sun will shine.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 1, 2017

Wet art in Pietrasanta

Pietrasanta is one of our favourite places to visit. It is a town of art (and great shops and restaurants) and there is often a display in the gorgeous central piazza.

On a wet and windy spring day we discovered a damp chilli looming large in front of the church.

It is the art of Giuseppe Carta…very impressive. The largest chilli is 16metres long.

The chillies are on display until June 11, 2017.

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