Friday, April 30, 2010

Sing a song of sixpence...

Just a blackbird caught singing in the garden...

This is the Common Blackbird, Turdus Merula, also called Eurasian Blackbird. The male is all black except for a yellow eye-ring and beak. It has a rich, melodious song.

This photo reminds me of the nursery rhyme with the blackbirds in a pie. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Old ambulance

This is a Bedford CA ambulance from the 60's, now living on the side of the road in Exeter, SW England. Someone must love it very much to still pay the road tax!

Bedford Vehicles was a subsidiary of Vauxhall Motors, itself the British subsidiary of General Motors (GM), established in 1930. The company was a leading international truck manufacturer and the CA was one of their biggest sellers. Its chassis became a popular basis for ice-cream vans, ambulances and camper vans.

I wonder how many people's lives were saved by this now derelict piece of metal...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sping has sprung

The extra cold winter we had this year means that the arrival of spring has been delayed by a few weeks, but now that it's here, it's really colourful.

I took this picture at a park near my home. As you can see, the tulips are out in full force.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Athens by night

Tonight I met up for drinks with a friend in the centre of Athens. I had my little camera with me and took some photos to show you what the city looks like after dark. You may have to click on the photos to see them properly.

Shops in the centre stay open from 9 AM to 9 PM. I took this photo at 9:16 PM, just as Ermou street, one of the main shopping areas, was starting to quieten down. The lit-up building in the distance is the Parliament.

Shop windows are brightly lit and imaginatively decorated.

In between the cement and the traffic, it is possible to catch glimpses of the Acropolis.

Monastiraki is a popular destination for diners looking for a cheap and filling meal. The weather is very mild at the moment, so many people choose to dine al fresco. Greeks tend to have dinner late, so although it was almost 10 PM when I took this photo, all the tavernas were packed.

No need to worry if you're too late for the shops. Street kiosks sell everything from travel guides to loo roll.

We had a drink at this little bar. It wasn't very busy as it's mid-week and we were a little early. It was more lively when we left just before midnight.

Rows of taxis are waiting for customers at Syntagma Square.

I opted to take the metro, so walked through the square to the metro station. Can you make out the couple kissing by the fountain? Sooo cute!

It seems that lots of other people had the same idea, as the platform was pretty crowded, considering it was past midnight.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The plain of Thessaly

Greece is a very mountainous country and large stretches of flat land are both rare and agressively cultivated. The lowlands between the towns of Trikala and Larissa in Thessaly (central Greece) form a plain surrounded by a ring of mountains. The area has a distinct summer and winter season, with summer rains augmenting the fertility of the plains. This has led to Thessaly being called the breadbasket of Greece.

This photo shows part of the plain of Thessaly close to the mountain village of Domokos. We were driving down the mountain when I took this photo. It was early evening and the light was very poor - I only noticed the Avin fuel truck when I uploaded my photos on the computer.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dancing in the streets

Easter is the busiest time of year on Greek motorways, as many people travel significant distances to spend the holiday with their families and friends. Smaller roads tend to get clogged up with local shoppers and through traffic, so traffic police often have to intervene to keep cars moving smoothly and safely.

These traffic policemen were tasked with controlling the flow of cars at a busy junction outside the town of Lamia in central Greece. I snapped this photo from inside a car with a dusty windscreen - I guess you could say I used a filter. Although the colours aren't quite right, I like it because their movements almost look choreographed.

I felt very sorry for them as it was really hot that day. We were barely comfortable sitting in our car with the windows down, whereas they had to stand in the hot afternoon sun, wave their arms and blow their whistles. It's not a job I'd ever want to do!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Numismatic Museum

This is the Iliou Melathron (The Palace of Ilion), once the house of Heinrich Schliemann, now the Numismatic Museum of Athens, on Panepistimou Street. It's one of my favourite buildings in Athens, often neglected because of its position on a busy street, far too close to other buildings of architectural and historical insterest, namely the Parliament on one side and the University on the other.

It was built in 1879, designed by German architect Ernst Ziller in the style of buildings of the Italian Renaissance adapted to the neoclassical spirit of the late 19th century. The detail on the ceilings is amazing.

I took this photo after the 25th March parade, this is why there are people strolling where cars should have been wizzing past.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hondos Centre

Hondos Centre is a large department store in Greece, selling cosmetics and accessories. This is their flagship store on Omonia Square, in the centre of Athens - a stone's throw from the Town Hall building I showed you in my previous post.

I took this photo because the huge poppy mural caught my attention. Poppies are everywhere in Greece during spring, and although it's a little too early for them at the moment, soon the green fields will burst with red colour.

If you're ever in Athens, there's a very nice cafe on the top floor of this Hondos Centre store.