Athens – Greece

Arriving in Athens, I had made reservations at Athens Easy Access hostel, 18euros per night. From airport to Syntagma square there are regular buses, bus number X95. From Syntagma square to Omonia is a 15mins walk. Behing the big building of Hondas center you can find the hostel. Omonia is by no means the best areas of Athens. Its got drug pedllers, pimps, prostitutes. There are cops round the corner but it does not feel safe to walk through the people sitting in the big area.
Once inside the hostel its a good place to be in. They have a bar where food is also served. A welcome drink for everyone. This is a great place to meet fellow travelers. I did go out with few of them whom I met in the room/bar/reception area. 3 computers for internet access and also wifi enabled.
Athens is a place with lot of history. There are lot of similarities between Greek Gods & Indian Gods. We both have Gods for each & everything. Also, ancient civilisations, philosophers, mathematicians. Most structures and buildings in ancient times had reference of geometric figures.
In some time Before Christ, they were famous for Kouron & Koroi sculptures. The Kourons are the males who are naked with left foot forward. This is also a symbol of power. The Korois are the female sculptures who are modest and fully dressed.
The evening after reaching Athens, I went to Mount Lycabettus with French guy. He teaches history in school in Paris. When we returned to hostel it was late in night.
Next day morning, I got up by 9:45am and went to have my breakfast which would be served till 10:00am and its part of the stay package. But surprisingly they were cleaning all the dishes and place was almost empty. When I looked around I saw a clock showing time as 11:00am. There is 1hr difference between Germany & Greece. Missing breakfast was better than missing flight or ferry.
A short tour of Athens should definitely include
1. Acropolis

2. Ancient Agora

3. National museum
4. Mount Lycabettus
5. National garden
6. Athens flea market at Monastiraki
7. Aero Park

The metro tickets are available at all stations and is cost of 1euro per ticket. Dont forget to validate the ticket.
Dont forget to have dinner at Scholarhio near Acropolis. Its not expensive. its got tasty food.
Syntagma square also houses the Parliment. Outside the parliment every evening there is a marching by security guards all through the night. After rounds of marching, they reach the sentry post finally. Here there is a guard who makes adjustments of their rifle & dress. He also swipes the sweat of their faces.

For rest of the photos, click here.

Lesvos Island – Greece

From Mitilini (capital city of the island) port to the bus station there is a bus which starts few minutes after arrival of ferry. I took the ferry (12hrs, slow one) from Athens. This bus is free of charge. The bus to Molivos from Mitilini starts at 9:00am at every 2hrs till 15:00hrs. The journey is about 2hrs for 60kms since the route is up the mountains. The cost for one person is 6.20euros.
In the ferry to Mitilini I took the deck ticket and it costs 27euros. Well, I would not suggest the sun deck during the night time. It gets too cold and you need lot of measures to keep yourself warm.

Are you a traveler interested in camping. Then head to Molivos in Lesovs Island, the 3rd largest Greek Island. The rent per person is 5euros and rent for tent is 7.5euros per night. I made my first ever tent here. If you are interested in meeting new people and talking to them, you can do so here. Dont disturb families since they would prefer privacy but starting a conversation with other campers is pretty easy.
It was so hot during the day I slept for most part of the time and from evening till night went around towns to the mountains & to the beaches.
There are amazing scenery and one should not miss them.
When going up one of the mountain I had scariest experience. I was almost on top and just few meters seperated me from top. Suddenly one eagle got into the sky from somewhere. Then there was a group of them flying and making sounds. It was very similar experience to watching the movie birds. To prevent further intrusion into their area and be attacked I ran few meters down. I do not know what would have happened if I continued climbing towards top still more.

But from castle above and from beaches below I had some amazing shots for picture.
Sunset shots:
Sunset 1
Sunset 2
Sunset 3

If you want to go around the island one can rent motorbikes and cars. Also, dont miss out food in small place called FRIENDS. Its more like a fast food joint. Try kebab pita and Greek salad with ouzo anywhere in Greece.
There are other traditional hotels where one can fill stomach with some nice food.

This cat near the port, dont know whether it was checking the depth for jumping down the wall. It was pretty high and it would have been terrible. After few minutes it looked like the cat was enjoying the view below. Maybe it was a smart cat!
And it looked straight into the lens as if trying to tell me something.

The other view from the castle is just beyond words.

Greece is also famous for donkey treks. Unfortunately it did not happen when I was there on the island. Its not a long journey but one need not know how to ride a donkey. But it would have definitely been fun.

For more photos click here.

Cycling in Germany

To keep myself fit and not gain too much weight, I continued cycling here in Germany also. Its not in any terms difficult like cycling in Bangalore fighting the traffic and dis-respecting drivers/riders. There is a seperate lane for cyclists and very comfortable. With fresh air from forests.

Daily a distance of 25kms apart form running few kms. Its so refreshing.

Bonn, Germany

Formerly West Germany capital and one of the cities along the Rhine river, Bonn is small and beautiful city. Its a long journey from Heidelberg. Apparently last saturday 4th Juy happened to be a music festival in Bonn. Its one of biggest open air music fests in Germany. In the train there are all these people from all over making lot of noise, dancing, singling. Well, its so much fun but not possible to join them due to communication problems.
After spending some time inside the main areas of the city I take a space for the night in Max Hostel @ Maxstrasse. Its easy to find this place. 25euros for the night.
Later we walk towards Rhine river and spend sometime sitting on the grass and relaxing muscles. Before feeling its time enough to get moving to the festival.
I was not able to understand what the band was singing or announcing but the music was good. And the mood was ecstatic. There were so many people all over. Was there till hunger overcame the thirst for more music.
There is nice Italian restaurant “Vapiano“. The system in this restaurant is amazing. Once you enter they give you a card which looks similar to ATM card. You go to the food counter swipe the card and order whatever you want. Now they give you a small circular object. Pick it up find a place for yourself. Once what you have ordered is ready, the light in circular object starts blinking. Pick up your food. When you think it is time to leave, give the card to cash counter. They tell the amount to be paid, pay it and leave.

Next day I again spend some time by Rhine river side and some time up the City Memorial Center before catching the train back to Heidelberg.

One can also do hiking on the mountains, maybe that can wait for next time.

For photos click here.

Heidelberg, Germany

After the Heidelberg bridge across Neckar if you still keep going down towards end of town, you will find water flowing with strong currents. I was wondering why the currents are high in this area You will not find anything out of ordinary here. The towns look the same as in other places over Neckar.
There is just one iron based long cylindrical object which causes such currents. At the other end of bridge you would notice two sets of three gates. Turn around and you will find a board on the wall. This is Hydro-electric power project by Neckar AG. started in 1991.
Why are there three gates parallel to each other. These are for the boats and ships to pass through the river. The boat crosses one gate and second gate. Now, they need to stop between the second and third gates.

Water is pumped in between the two gates so that the water level is same as the river on the other side.

One the level is reached the third gate is opened and the boat passes through. There is one guy manning the gates from the shore.
Pretty interesting how well managed it is. Photos later after uploading them.