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Milan Živić

Milan Živić

nedelja, 02 avgust 2015 09:51

Thassos Island Today and Before

The age of this blog is both old, in a sense of fast maturing of internet and IT technology in general, but also very young if we are counting human age in old fashion way. When we fist visited Thassos island dozen of years before, internet and social sharing technology were about to enter their unstable teenage years, so to speak. It was the time when I bought my first digital camera, HP PhotoSmart C850 with it's state of the art optics and digital technology from the time. Pictures from Thassos back then in the summer of 2003 were probably my first attempt to take more artistic landscapes from our Greece vacations and today is perhaps the time to compare both what changes in photography gadgets and also with Thassos itself after full 12 years.

 
 
 


Let's start with images first. After 12 years in time distance, I decided to choose the same number of images for this post - half of them shown above, all taken with HP Photosmart C850 with 4 megapixels CCD sensor and half below taken from this summer vacation with Nikon D5200 and CMOS sensor with approximately 20 megapixels more than in old HP. It is insufficient to say that 12 years of technology in optics, hardware and software is easily noticeable.

 
 
 


As for Thassos island, very little changed over the years. Local people are still the same, very hospitable and friendly, beaches are the same as they probably were hundreds of thousands of years before, the Aegean sea is still crystal clear, just like in the time of Zeus and the company and the Sun is the same hot, like in all Julys in previous millenniums and eons.


What is little different are the people who are visiting Thasos - this year there were more tourists from Eastern European countries, like Romania, Bulgaria, Moldavia, Ukraine and Russia and less from the Western Europe which is probably the result of the anti-Greece media campaign due to political conflict between Greek government and EU and financial crisis in Greece these years. I have to say that at least during our stay on Thassos I couldn't notice any crisis or any problems whatsoever. Man-made crises are always like that, they always have profusely enhanced exposure in media and the truth is never on either side in conflict and never in media. I know it is a cliche, but you probably heard the phrase "trust no one" and if you ask me, it is always the ultimate truth when it comes to raw propaganda, news in media, especially if it is related to some political affairs like current one in Greece vs EU (and by EU you can freely read Germany).

Usually, our thanks goes to our local Big Star travel agency and their forum called Putopis! which hosted couple of my post from this blog. Also to the Greek agency Mouzenidis Travel and the perfect Filippos hotel we spent our entire vacation within olive groves near the village of Rachoni and its stairway (Greek: σκάλα) to the sea.

O
riginalni post:
http://www.milanzivic.com/2015/08/thassos-island-today-and-before.html

četvrtak, 14 maj 2015 07:56

Streets of Corfu

Long ago I had that one extremely memorable dream. One of those that doesn't fade out with first morning sunshine. Instead, it was regularly popping the surface of my mind making me wondering if these vivid images, haunting me every now and again, are just product of my imagination or perhaps there are something more hidden beneath. In the dream I wander the narrow streets of an unknown city one after another and after a while I stumble to the big square with large monumental building decorated with dark reddish bricks with no signs or any familiar markings I can recognize. I was always wondering where all these colorful images originated from and somehow always had that feeling that I am probably missing an important link to fully understand the whole picture.

četvrtak, 14 maj 2015 07:28

Fishermen and Pirates of Evia

The road this summer took us approximately 700km south to the Greek second large island of Evia (Εύβοια). Starting from this year we decided to leave Macedonian Greece and start spending our vacations and visiting other regions of the country and this southern part of the Balkans. Our vacation resort was located only about 100km from the spot where famous 'Battle of Thermopylae' took place and where in late summer of 480 BC, king Leonidas of Sparta confronted large army of Persian Empire lead by Xerxes the Great, who was trying to occupy ancient Greece in Persian second attempt. The Greeks was vastly outnumbered and faced with imminent collapse after the betrayal during the second day of battle, Leonidas dismissed majority of his army and in the most famous last stand, remained to guard the narrow pass of Thermopylae only with 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians and 400 Thebans. We all know what happened next. At least many of you saw the movie and although it was diverted from the real happenings and portrayed Leonidas defeat in more or less artistic way, this was one of the most striking battles of them all. In following months and years Greeks managed to stand on their feet and finally in couple of naval battles forced Xerxes to withdraw and to finally end the war.

četvrtak, 14 maj 2015 07:25

Mammoths of Moesia Superior

Once, long, loong, loooooong ago in the days of Late Jurassic period in the world of Pterodactylus, famous flying dinosaur, mother Earth was pretty busy with the works of creating continents, large mountains, seas and oceans like we know today. At the time the place we know as Europe was mostly covered by large sea by the name of Paratethys. About hundred millions of years later, dramatic tectonic changes started producing large mountain formations today well known as Alpes and Carpathians, which made Paratethys to loose connection with Mediterranean to the south and to form separate large inland sea in today's central Europe. Millions of years later, there are two remnant seas that still exist with names of Black and Caspian Seas. But there was one more in nowadays Pannonain basin, that lasted almost 9 millions years and finally disappeared in the middle of the Pleistocene Epoch, about 600,000 years ago with remnant lakes here and there especially in Hungary today. During its long life, Pannonian Sea followed Earth's tectonic events and once was covering almost entire territory of nowadays Serbia. Even the place when I am located right now, was once pretty watery and wet. When I was a kid, I played a lot with digging our front yard and from time to time got lucky with couple of snail shells that sometimes forced me to think about their origin. There were small and white and even though I doubt they are that old, they were very much familiar to the ones you can find in nowadays salty seas. Nothing like you can see today in our neighborhood.

Viminacium's Vika
četvrtak, 14 maj 2015 07:16

Scientific Copenhagen

Do you have that strange feeling when you are about to visit new city abroad and little afraid of what you would stumble to when it come to simple things? Like how to use metro line or how to buy a bus ticket or how to identify your next destination? Or how to book your flight back to your home? Or how to handle a simple dilemma of should you exchange the money to the local currency or is it wise to put your card in every ATM or any other 'slot' machine on your way?

Hello™ at Microsoft Campus Days, 2014

Ericsson, a Swedish multinational provider of communications technology and services, has the answer for you. And me too. Last week, I took my entire family to the trip to Copenhagen for both, business and pleasure hours in the Danish capital. During my previous visits I didn't have much time for tourism and any off work activity for that matter. So I took a little research this time and Ericsson's "Networked Society City Index" helped a lot. Within the well-developed ICT infrastructure, economy and social development as well as environmental progress, Copenhagen is located in the top five within the NSC index, among 31 well developed worldwide cities. After our visit we left Denmark with a feeling that everything, or most of it, went perfectly smooth and applied IT were extremely helpful, simple and useful. Unified communications (UC), integrated into people's business life from within smart gadgets and laptop computers were also big part of it and I can proudly say that, in a way, I took a part in active development of Rackpeople's* Hello™ for Microsoft® Lync® - UC software that integrates with Microsoft's Lync and Exchange and presents video conferencing within a single click on wide variety of screens and devices. The business part of last week Copenhagen's trip was to visit Microsoft Campus Days where Hello™ had a big feature presentation and successfully presented what it can do in current edition. From developer's point of view I have a good feeling that this project will have long life with plenty of room for more versions in the future especially if Skype and Lync integrate and create space for non-business users as well.

However, Copenhagen, beside business side of the medal has plenty more to offer. History, arts, sport and music events, amusement parks, museums, royal and naval sites, shopping streets and malls, restaurants, walks along the canals, sightseeing from the sea and many more, but this time we chose to glimpse the city's unique scientific side. With seven years old boy in our small family, along with me, being a big fan of science and skeptical society, our stay was really special. If you add a last week's Black Friday hysteria, which brought enormous smile on my wife's face all-day-long, I can safely say that we spent one of those memorable times you never forget.

The Rundetårn, a 17th-century astronomical observatory**
ponedeljak, 04 maj 2015 17:11

Πάργα

In our part of the world summer vacation is the most important one for most people. There are several reasons for this and probably the major one is that during July and August in this part of western Balkans, where we live, temperatures can go as high as 45C (113F) degrees and the obvious solution is to pack your bags, jump into the car and go to one of four nearby seas for couple of weeks to cool and enjoy (and also to change the everyday's scenery and recharge your inner batteries which are always seriously depleted when summers come).

Due to the shortest distance and good roads Greece is probably the best destination for a car trip to the seaside that takes less than 10 hours of drive. Unfortunately this is one of few routes for all those "gastarbeiter" people who mainly work in Germany and other western countries and during summers form very long river of vehicles toward their home destinations in Turkey and other countries. When they hit borders along the way this is a nightmare you want to avoid. Once we had bad luck and stuck in one of 7 lanes between Serbian and Macedonian (FYROM) borders and waited 4 hours to pass through. This is why we always travel half a way during night and cross the borders around dawn or so to avoid crossing peeks and giant waiting times. Returning way is always smoother and we mainly use borders for rest and shopping. Like I already wrote in the post Aegean Sea before, short car destinations in Greece are all connected to Aegean sea, but this time we chose to check out Ionian basin and try relatively new motorway Greeks built not so long ago. Only once I spent vacation in this part of the Greece and I remember it was hard job for my father as the curvy road from Aegean to Ionian sea included one mountain after another and driving them through required full concentration all the way with frequent resting points. Today, this is different story with new modern freeway and the same destination is now reachable within 3 hours or so. Believe it or not, this new route includes about 60 tunnels almost 50km long combined and during summer heat driving through all the tunnels comes extra handy and relaxing.

Since this was the first time for me driving this road I decided to use little help from modern GPS navigation. It was only needed for last hour of the trip where we needed to leave motorway and find our way to the final destination in Parga, small and old town located some 40km south of Igoumenitsa port across the Corfu island. I didn't have any specialized GPS car device before and I decide to risk it a little and use the smartphone instead. I bought cheap navigation software called "Navi Ninasus" despite not so many recommendations online. To my surprise it handled all the situations extremely well and pointed us exactly to the front gate of our villa without any problems. Rerouting was perfect and fast and it proves very well on the ship and foot as well. You can see it in action in bellow photos and if you want to save some serious money in the big GPS market, this one is a very good solution.


When we visited our travel agency (Big Star Niš) and told them that we decided to go to Parga this year, Stefan, one of the agency owners, while describing the house we wanted to hire said something about nearby olive forest that looks exactly like the scenery from "The Lord of the Rings", fantasy trilogy based by J. R. R. Tolkien famous book. Of course, I was little skeptical about this but in the same time very curious to explore. The moment of our arrival, when I saw first large olive tree just above our villa I was eager to go to the forest as soon as possible. So we did very next day and if you look next couple of photos from the woods when we shortcuted our way to the Lichnos beach I am sure that, like me, you will agree that old olive trees are something special to see and to tell you the truth if Bilbo Baggins or Gandalf jumped out of some tree I wouldn't be surprised at all. My only regret is that we didn't hit the time when olives are being collected with large nets villagers are using for this purpose. I am sure this would be something worthwhile to see. Needless to say, our landlady on our last day gave us a bottle of olive oil as a present, made exactly from the olives collected right from the woods we saw and photographed and with this blog post I thank her for all her hospitality and kindness. The same level of gratitude goes to Stefan and "Big Star" which is one of the best travel agencies in Niš.