Thursday, October 20, 2011

Segwey into Austerity

The relaxation in the Eagles Nest mountain retreat at the secret location (Ag. Iannis) was complete so we moved  to Athens to a meet long lost cousin visiting from Australia.  We had not anticipated public transport strikes, segweys and tear gas.

The Eagles Nest - far from the maddening crowd.
Pretty Peloponnesian Petunia

The maddening crowd - Athens  - what cannot be imagined from this view from Pnyx (the birthplace of democratic principles) is the simmering resentment of the Public service employees whose  renumeration packages are being trimmed down by austerity measures.  The tear gas doesn't smell so good either.
Would you believe it...
The three cornerstones of Greek life - can you spot them?
As part of the Government's austerity measures, BMW R1200GS motorcycles issued to office clerks are being swapped out for Royal Enfields.
In happier times this delightful little harbour was known as Tourkolimano.
In earlier times a dictator was in charge
Food at Doris!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wishful Thinking iGreek APP Newsflash

George Papandreou
ήρθα μόλις

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Crocs (tm) in the Aegean

This year we did not have enough time to drive to Greece for the annual holiday at Mrs Nikos' mountain house (aka the Eaglets Nest) high up in the mountains of Arcadia  at a secret location (Ag. Iannis) , so we flew to strike torn Athens and hired a car, and drove to the Peloponnisos and up the mountain.  Last year we had use of a motorcycle but this year we had a battered Hyundai. Last year it rained quite a lot but this year it was mostly sunny and hot.

The road to the secret location (Ag. Iannis) - the countryside is very green - it rained heavily in June - I dream of riding the GS and not looking over the unprotected shoulders.
Within 10 minutes of arriving at the Eaglets Nest pussy #1 arrives for lunch - thought to be a pregnant female according to eagle eyed Mrs N.  Many more pussies subsequently came.
First Sunset
Nikos Top Tip #1 - Every morning check Crocs(tm) for resident scorpions.
The rain in June had ruined the grape harvest - wasp nuisance was down too.
Mrs N revealed that this loo had actually been used by Elvis Presley whilst on Military Service at Bad Nauheim. It had been recovered from the barracks following demolition, restored and brought to Greece. I had always wondered why the seat rocked and rolled.
Second sunset
The Mankell memorial reading chair
The little chapel at Astros
croc paving
Toothpicks (οδοντογλυφίδα) are a big seller in Greece
Nikos World project - please send money
A simple breakfast
Pasha, self appointed head cat and thought to be father of Ginger El Greco (the abandoned pussy last we rescued in 2010) according to Mrs N who studied anatomy during medical training.  95% of pussies in Ag Iannis are thought to be sired by him.
Crocs(tm) in the Aegean
Naplion, the nearest big town had been the capital of newly liberated Greece for a period in the 1800s.
Naplion is dominated by a Venetian castle Palamidi built in the 1680s
As Noel Coward pointed out it's only mad dogs and Englishmen who go out in the midday sun.
Proof that Greece is for sale
The unusually high September temperatures ended with a huge thunderstorm with spectacular lightning sent by Ἄργης, Βρόντης, and Στερόπης Gods of thunder and lightning.  Sunset that day.

To be concluded....
In part 2 we withdraw to Athens to sample tear gas first hand.

PS I forgot lunch:-

Healthy vlita and peasant salad

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Eine Fläche spotter' s-Wochenende in Deutschland

It is to be expected that when I ask babelfish to translate "plane spotter" I am given the word for plane in German followed by spotter auf Englisch.

Not to worry, we took the opportunity of a journey to Stuttgart to drop in at the Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim, located in the state of Baden-Württemberg.

This museum ticks all the boxes for me as it has several tea rooms, extensive gift shops and a football stadium next door where all the morons that normally clog up the exhibits can stay out of harms way.

First things first, the Urimat automatic urinator at Lorsch-West services - baffling as instructions only in German. Fortuitous that there was a Greek bathroom style drain entry on the floor nearby.
Quick snack of bangers and potato salad - instant indigestion followed.
This collection is unique in aircraft terms as it has both a TU144 Conkordski and a Super Caravelle, sorry, a Concorde on display.
this general view of the first of two main halls features the Belfast built DMC car
Out of over 6,000 Ju87 Stukas built betwen 1936 and 1944  this is one of 7 remaining, recovered from under the sea at St Tropez
  Part of the joy of writing this blog is the retrospective research that I do, and reading about the Stuka reveals what an amazing aircraft this was and why there was a window below the pilot's feet (faithfully reproduced in the excellent Revell 1/32 scale model that I built in 1972). Read about it here but I quote from Eric Winkle:

"I had a high opinion of the Stuka because I had flown a lot of dive-bombers and it’s the only one that you can dive truly vertically. Sometimes with the dive-bombers, pilots claim that they did a vertical dive. What a load of rubbish. The maximum dive is usually in the order of 60 degrees. In a dive when flying the Stuka, because it’s all automatic, you are really flying vertically. You feel that you are over the top and feel you are going that a way! The Vengeance and Dauntless were both very good but could dive no more than 60 or 70 degrees. The Stuka was in a class of its own"
A BMW combination probably captured at Falaise
Boarding the Tu 144 Concordski one sees the inefficient Kuznetsov NK-144 turbofan engines that required afterburners to maintain supersonic flight.
Both supersonic airliners are displayed on the roof of the second exhibition hall in tandem.

The corrigated aluminium construction of the Ju 52 provides longitudinal stiffness with light weight.

The AMO ZIL ZIS 150 of Josef Stalin
Albin Liebnisch's 1938 creation the 4 seater Bohmerland 608cc twin gearbox motorcycle was never ordered by the German military.

Joy on two wheels

Back on the roof again to see the Canadair water bomber.

The "bomb" doors of the Canadair from where scooped up water is dropped on forest fires.
I point out the swastika to Mrs Nikos shortly before being arrested.  I am confused whether this is allowed in Germany these days.
Heinkel 111
A well deserved Kuchen

More photos ---->here.

The next day I am subjected to a joy flight in a helicopter at the Reinsdorf airshow.  I had preferred to try Helmut Kolditz's somewhat more sedate Antonov 12 biplane but was overruled by Senior Management.

There is nothing  quite as joyous as hanging 3000 ft over the beautiful Baden-Württemberg countryside suspended exclusively by a jesus nut.
Advice:  Eat this stuff if you must after a helicopter flight over the Baden-Württemberg countryside suspended exclusively by a jesus nut.
Site Meter