30/04/2017

I have added a new category to the weblog: “Photo’s we love”. The idea behind this new category is to create an collection of photo’s made by the authors of the articles on this weblog that has a special meaning to them.
This special meaning can be because the photo is of very high quality, a very special location where the photo was made or anything else that makes the photo special.
It is not important with what kind of device the photo was made. DSLR, system camera, iPhone/Android phone or whatever. It is the photo that counts, not the manufacturer of the device that was used.
The quality of the photo should be reasonable. Some photo’s that means a lot to someone are just not of the highest quality. That is why.

Apart from what is said above, there is one import rule: The person who posts the photo (which are the authors here on the weblog) must have made the photo themselves.
And they must explain why this photo is so important for them. Just explain why or tell the story behind it. All is fine.

And so I will start myself:

This photo (on which you can click to zoom in) was made in 2015 during the trip Marion and I made to the Greek isle of Lesbos. The location where the photo was made is the beach of Eftalou. The beach of Eftalou can be found in the North of Lesvos, as the Greek called Lesbos themselves, close to the town of Molyvos (Mithimna). You can see this on the picture below.

The beach of Eftalou is amazing. Beautiful rock structures along the land side of the beach rising high in to the sky. The rock structures have the most wonderful colours, I suspect that is caused by the volcanic origin of the island.
The beach itself is a pebble beach. A beautiful area to make long walks after of course having visited the well known hot springs of Eftalou. Nearby a restaurant where you can get delicious fish dishes. When you look over the sea you can see in the distance the coast of Turkey. As said, an beautiful area where can quickly forget everything around you.

Eftalou

But Eftalou has been in 2015 and 2016 (in 2017 a lot less) for another reason in the news.

The distance between the coast of Lesvos and Turkey is at Eftalou very short (less as 6 kilometres). And it is here were many Syrian refugees travelled from Turkey to Greece to find a better and most of all a saver placed to live.

We have seen them arrive at Eftalou, desperate people who have left everything, apart from what they could carry, behind. Many of them tired and weakened. And yet, happy they made it this far.

During our walk on the beaches of Eftalou we saw many evidences of the arriving of refugees like rubber boats, life jackets and many personal belongings. And we found this drawing of stones on the beach…

This drawing made a deep impression on us. We assume that is made by a child that just arrived on the beach, displaying his or her family with the shining sun above them. Now everything would become better, now they were safe…
Very ashamed we were thinking that this was not the end of their journey. Now they had to travel through an Europe where for many they were not welcome. Where there is even pure hatred against them, very often by misinformed people and maybe driven by fear. There was very often no real welcome for the refugees in Europe.

I could now dive into a social and political analysis about the status of refugees in Europe and how the government and the public reacts and handles towards them. Maybe one day I will do that here on my weblog, but not now. It would take away the focus from my photo with the drawing made with stones.

At least we hope that this family are now somewhere in Europe on a safe location rebuilding their lives and looking forward to a brighter future.

Rob

 


(Credit photo: Rob
Credit map detail: Google Maps)


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Visitors to this weblog

by Rob on

Just for the fun of it. Below a map with the locations of the last 200 visitors to this weblog. It is interesting to see the origin of the visitors.
If someone visited the weblog more than once, there will only be one marker on the map.
Also be aware a marker on the map may be a little off the real location.

200 Last visitors

It is also interesting to see from which area’s there are no or just a few visitors. For some area’s there is a logical and obvious explanation, but others make me wonder. Well, I leave it to everyone themselves to have an opinion on that.

Rob

(Source map: Detail Google Maps)


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GemberHow does one get the idea to write an article on our weblog here about ginger (or “Gember” as it is called in Dutch)? Well simple, you walk in the kitchen and look at the shelf were Miranda keeps all her herbs and spices that don’t need special storage. You see there a ginger root and you notice something special about this root. But more about that later in this article.

Lets have a look at the plant that gives us the ginger root. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a flowering plant whose rhizome, ginger root or simply ginger, is widely used as a spice or a folk medicine.
It is a herbaceous perennial which grows annual stems about a meter tall bearing narrow green leaves and yellow flowers. Ginger belongs to the family Zingiberaceae. Ginger originated in the tropical rainforest in Southern Asia. Although ginger no longer grows wild, it is thought to have originated on the Indian subcontinent because the ginger plants grown in India show the largest amount of genetic variation. Ginger was exported to Europe via India in the first century AD as a result of the lucrative spice trade and was used extensively by the Romans.
Ginger produces clusters of white and pink flower buds that bloom into yellow flowers. Because of its aesthetic appeal and the adaptation of the plant to warm climates, it is often used as landscaping around subtropical homes. It is a perennial reed-like plant with annual leafy stems, about a meter tall. Traditionally, the rhizome is gathered when the stalk withers.

Apart from the fact that ginger is a very tasteful spice that can be used in many wonderful ways by the preparing of all kind of dishes, there are many other reasons to use this spice.

Chronic (hidden) infections underlie many of nowadays chronic diseases. Often, you do not feel these but they slumber in your body. Ginger is known as a powerful anti-inflammatory inhibitor and can help you with a wide range of chronic complaints and diseases. This active ingredient in ginger is called 6-gingerol.

It has been a herb for many years has been used for all kinds of pain including menstrual pain. Ginger also proved to be a good remedy for muscle ache after sports.

A lot of people get somewhere in their life problems with their joint. Research seems to find more proof that isn’t related to age, but chronic inflammation. Ginger helps to counteract these chronic inflammations, but also combats the pain.

Ginger improves the efficiency of insulin and your insulin sensitivity. It is able to increase the absorption of glucose from your muscle and fat cells, which will decrease your blood sugar levels as well as the insulin content in your blood faster

Ginger stimulates the pancreas to produce certain enzymes which stimulates the digestion. It increases the contractions of your stomach, allowing your stomach contents to go faster to your intestines. This will stop a bloated feeling. Ginger also improves the peristaltic (contractions) in your intestine, which can reduce flatulence.

Flu and a cold can be cured faster if you use ginger. It has also been shown that ginger can slow down the growth of the stubborn bacterium Helicobacter Pylori. This bacterium is present in your stomach and may be the cause of gastric cancer. There are several bacteria and viruses that are sensitive to ginger and like to clear the field if they come into contact with them.

Ginger has traditionally been used to improve memory. In a study involving 60 middle-aged women, a daily extract of ginger improved their reaction rate and concentration and thinking ability. There are many studies with rats that show that ginger can provide protection against the deterioration of brain functions in ageing, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This probably has everything to do with the anti-inflammatory action of ginger.

One warning though: As ginger thins your blood, you should be careful when using blood thinners.

Gember Loot

Well, the thing that I noticed on the ginger in our kitchen was that it is growing a green shoot. And yes, you can grow your own ginger plant and harvest its root.

Just go to a shop and buy a ginger root. It has be a dry solid and undamaged root. Place it with the buds up in soil. Remember that ginger is a tropical plant, so it is need a warm spot. Give it every day water. The soil should be wet, but not too wet.
The plant needs some care, but not real special care. Watch the plant grow and enjoy the flower of the plant. Then during the winter when the plant is in rest, dig up the root. You will see that the root really has grow. Take the best buds to grow new plants and use the rest of the root in kitchen with some delicious dishes!

The ginger root on the photo? It is now in our green house and hopefully it will start soon to grown and give us in the winter our own ginger.

Nothing so nice as to grow your own spices and herbs :-).

Jennifer

 

 

(Credit photo’s: Jennifer)


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Pasen
For us Easter is always a moment to relax. Maybe with a close friend as Sanne, but no big crowds. In our every day life, Marion and I are often surrounded by quite some people. So some days as Easter are perfect to be for a little away from that. This year we have even chosen to be just with the two of us.

So we took this morning a long and enjoyable breakfast. We spent almost 2 hours at the breakfast table. Talking, laughing, enjoying the good food (see the photo at top of this article with al the nice food). Both of us just one egg, we both don’t like eating a lot of eggs as some people do with Easter.
And of course we were not eating all the time. As said, most of the time we were talking and enjoying tea or coffee.

So really time for us.

Easter flowers

I do know that Easter is for many Christians an important festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion.
And that is perfectly fine with me. As said, as long one respect that someone believes other things that are not in line with you own believes and can live and act in full freedom to his/her own convictions (within the laws and such of course), then I support freedom of religion.

But, as yesterday on a forum, someone claims that I should be not allowed to celebrate Easter because I am an atheist, I will explain calmly that Easter originally had nothing to do with Christianity, but it was the celebration of Eostre, who was the pagan goddess of fertility. The rabbit was her sacred animal and the egg the symbol of rebirth. And there we have it again, Christians use very pagan symbols for their celebrations and that is something that is not allowed according the bible (Not that I care, it is their bible. Not mine).

My point? Very simple… every one should celebrate Easter in their own peaceful way!

Rob

 

 

(Credit photo’s: Rob)


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The danger of fake news

by Rob on

Lately there is a lot going around about fake news. The Internet is an incredible resource for news and information, but unfortunately not everything online is trustworthy. Fake news is any article or video containing untrue information disguised as a credible news item.

Fake news is dangerous as it may influence the opinion of people about certain matters and even may lead to have them make decisions based on wrong information.

Recently I saw the picture below on the Internet. It claims that on certain American schools the students were forced to do Muslim prayers…

Fake news

The moment I saw that picture I , and luckily many others with me, noticed something strange about it.

Muslims always pray in the direction of their holy city Mecca. The children on the picture are kneeling down in two directions! That is not how Muslims pray.

It turned about very fast that this had nothing to with the Islam or Muslims. These children are training how to act in case of a tornado. This is a so called tornardo-drill and nothing more as that!

In this case the attempt to spread resistance, and maybe even hatred, against the Islam was very easy to look through.

Sadly more often fake news is very hard to recognize as being fake. And that makes it of course very dangerous.

An example of this was that in 2015 the news was spread (including by the official media) that the island of Lesbos was overcrowded with refugees coming through Turkey from Syria.
Marion and I almost cancelled our holiday to Lesbos because of that news. Luckily we didn’t. During the 2 weeks we were there the refugees were never a problem and the island was absolutely not overcrowded with them. And the refugees we met were very nice, friendly and thankful people.
Many tourists cancelled their holidays to Lesbos and are still not considering to go there again. The people of Lesbos, who depend on tourism for a big part, are still suffering from that.
The same happened to other Greek isles close to Turkey as well.

The message here is clear: Don’t believe everything right away. Check the source of the news, is it a reliable source? Has the source spread fake news before? Can the news be checked on other reliable sources? And above all, does it sound believable!

Don’t believe everything you hear or read…

(Credits of the photo in this article are with www.greenvillegazette.com)

Rob
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Artis, zoo of Amsterdam

by Rob on

Yesterday Marissa, Marion and I visited Artis. Artis is a zoo located in the city of Amsterdam. The weather yesterday was extreme nice, which added greatly to the mood of our visit. Because of the good weather it was also quite busy at Artis, but luckily not too crowded. It was very nice to wander all over the zoo, sitting down at some places to enjoy a certain view. Have something to drink at the right moments. Or a ice cream or a nice snack.
The ladies gave me a compliment that managed to share my attention between them and my camera in a good balanced way. At time when I have my camera with my I tend to focus to much on my camera. I think that the recent trips to Greece helped to find the correct balance in this.

On this page you can read about the history of Artis, which is a interesting read as Artis is old zoo. When you look around during a walk over the zoo you can see that the zoo is an older zoo. But luckily it is also very visible that they are very busy to change a lot to to the benefit of the animals.

I think I made some nice photo’s during our visit to the zoo. Please find below the photo’s I like best. You can click on the photo’s to see a larger version of the photo.

Enjoy!














Rob

 

 

(Credit photo’s: Marissa & Rob)


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BannerGreece is a country with many customs and manners. It can be quite confusing to a visitor of my country. Today I found by coincidence on a forum the below “cultural faux pas” that one can easily prevent in Greece. Read them with an open mind and a humorous spirit, but also realize there is very much truth in them.

Learn from these “Don’t do this is Greece” :-).

Enjoy.

  1. Greeting someone with a hug, but not with two kisses on the cheeks. When we hug, we kiss, otherwise it’s weird. If you don’t want to be kissed, present your hand for a handshake (or initiate any other form of greeting), it’s quite allright.
  2.  

  3. When dining with anyone but your closest friends, not offering to to pay the bill and not refusing the other’s offer of paying the bill at least once.
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  5. Being in a hurry to leave after you have asked for the bill at a restaurant. You are basically telling them you are not enjoying yourself (ditto for next item).
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  7. Refusing a treat, as a guest at either a private home or a restaurant. Regarded as mortal sin in Crete. We take hospitality very seriously.
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  9. Going out for coffee and being in a hurry or leaving when you have had your coffee. Going for coffee means going to hang out and people expect you to have your schedule clear, unless you have warned them in advance that you have limited time.
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  11. Not wanting to have a late supper or to stay out late (if you’re not obliged to wake up early in the morning). Life in Greece is at night. Eating out before 9 p.m. is early and up to 12 p.m. is not considered late. Night clubs get busy after 1 a.m.
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  13. Arranging a meeting with friends and expecting everyone to show up on time. I have given up on that a long time ago.
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  15. Being in Thessaloniki, Greece and referring to anything from Athens, Greece in a positive fashion. Huge city rivalry, but totally one-sided: the reverse is quite ok, unless you’re from Thessaloniki, in which case you may be considered a jack-ass, depending on how much you exaggerate.
  16.  

  17. Asking for “Turkish coffee”*. We call it “Greek coffee”.
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  19. Referring to Istanbul as “Istanbul”*. We always called it Constantinople. If you get drawn in an argument about this, do not bring up the homonymous song – it is considered lame. A Greek friend of yours may not personally feel the need to correct you, but will feel embarrassed if you do so in presence of others (ditto for the next two items).
  20.  

  21. Referring to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as simply “Macedonia”**. To us, Macedonia with no other qualifiers is the homonymous Greek province. In context of ancient history, it refers to the Macedonian Empire, in which case do not hint that it was anything else but Greek.
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  23. Referring to the provinces of Macedonia and Crete as separate from Greece (and to their inhabitants as something other than Greeks). F.e. saying “I traveled to Greece and Crete”. Use qualifiers: “continental Greece” as opposed to Crete and “southern Greece” as opposed to Macedonia. The reason is that you may appear to not know or recognize that these are integral parts of Greece. It is ok to do so for Cyprus, but etiquette, specially in the presence of Greek-Cypriots, dictates to use “Grecians and Cypriots” instead of “Greeks and Cypriots”, since we consider us both to be Greeks.
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  25. Assuming we are not on par with the standards of a European country, either in terms of hygiene, facilities or culture, without having prior evidence***. E.g. asking if you have to bring your own tp, or if there is any place in Athens you can use wifi, or if it is ok for women to wear jeans in public.
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  27. Wearing socks and sandals. Wearing any kind of sandals away from the beach, if you’re male. They are the mark of the tourist. For women, having bad taste in shoes / wearing fake leather.
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  29. Appearing to be frugal. It is better to appear broke.
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  31. Preferring to cook with anything other than olive oil and not using olive oil at home (unless you’re cooking something oriental and the recipe calls for it). Using olive oil sparingly on a Greek salad. It’s good, it’s cheap, we’re used to it – so use it too.
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  33. Hating the sun. Avoiding the sun is smart and everybody does this in the summer, but if you can bear the sun but simply don’t like it, you’re just not compatible with this country. Also if your Greek friends have to choose between either you or the sun, they will probably choose the sun (ditto for the next item).
  34.  

  35. Not wanting to go to the beach because you can’t swim or you’re too self conscious or have better things to do.
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  37. Asking young Greeks why they are still living with their parents. The most probable reason is because they can’t afford not to – not because they have some sort of Oedipus complex.
  38.  

  39. Not being ready to go when a traffic light goes green. The other drivers will start honking immediately. Driving too slowly (with most drivers interpreting that as anything below the speed limit).
  40.  

————————————–
* Unless you are Turkish, in which case hospitality dictates us to be courteous and to acknowledge that this is how you were brought up and it is just as hard for you to swallow your national pride as it is for us.
** In case a citizen of that country is also present, we expect you to be diplomatic.
*** There are situations where we sadly are not on par with a European country, e.g. environmental protection, or civic responsibility, but this should be judged after witnessing them.

Mel

      
(Credit photo: Constantine Sarilekis)


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The Vampire of Lesvos

by Mel on

In these modern times we know that, apart from the innocent vampire bat, vampires don’t exist.

Vampire bat

Well, the vampire bats are innocent as species. Although they feed normally on the blood of big birds, it is known that they also feed on the blood of humans. Basically there is no harm in that. The amounts of blood they consume is very little. The threat of the vampire bat is that they can spread diseases as Rabies.

Dracula

Anyway as said, vampires as the human alike night creature that drinks human blood doesn’t exist. Books and movies like Dracula of Bram Stoker gave us the image of vampires. In the Dracula-movies Christopher Lee played magnificently the role of Dracula and that had its effects. He really set the way we look at vampires nowadays.

Looking at the real world, often people who were suspected to be vampires were suffering from diseases. Porphyria, also known as The Vampires Disease, is the example for this.

“Porphyria, which is its scientific term is a set of genetic disorders in which an important part of hemoglobin called heme is not made properly which means there is malfunction of the hemoglobin production. People suffering from it face symptoms manifested by mythological vampires. Their skin is sensitive to sunlight, their urine is reddish to purplish in colour, the gums are shrunk making the teeth look more prominent and canine-like and they have an adverse reaction to garlic. Other major symptoms include abdominal pain or cramping (only in some forms of the disease), problems with the nervous system and muscles (seizures, mental disturbances, nerve damage).

Some types of Porphyria can sometimes cause sensitivity to light.”
(Source: The American Porphyria Foundation)

But now back the island where I live, Lesvos. We had our own vampire!

Vampire Lesvos

In the 19th century archaeological work was done on a Turkish cemetery near the North harbour of Mytilini (see the map below this article). Researchers discovered a well-preserved skeleton nailed to his coffin with 8 inch iron nails. The middle-aged man was buried in a stone-lined crypt hollowed out of an ancient city wall. This is already strange, because Muslims normally wrapped their deceased in sheets and bury them this way in graves of about one meter deep.

Vampire Lesbos

The man was nailed through his neck, pelvis, and ankles. It is suspected vampires were nailed to their caskets to keep them from rising from the dead. That a Muslim would be buried this way is of special interest since such burials were a real Christian practice. But even among Christians this practice was very rare and there only a few other cases known (as one in Poland).

With permission of the government the skeleton was taken out of the grave for research. It turned out that this man was suffering from arthritis, but I think this could hardly be the reason why this man was deemed to be a vampire. I am afraid that we never will find out the real reason was.

Vampre Lesvos

But how about that? Not only gods, goddesses and demigods wandered on this island, but even vampires did *WINK*

Mel

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