I have a very healthy interest in astronomy. I love to read about the planets, the stars, the galaxies, super nova’s, black holes and the universe. It feeds my imagination and triggers my will to learn new things. And the more I learn about this the more I realize we know nothing yet.

But when here on Lesvos my interest in astronomy suddenly gets stronger again and I know why…


It is really simple: Wait until it is dark in the evening and look up to the sky…

When home in The Netherlands I will see just a few stars.

But here on Lesvos, and especially when I move to a spot with no artificial lighting, the sky is covered with stars. Hundreds, no even thousands and more of them. The sky is literally covered with stars. An amazing sight to see!

The reason for the difference is also very simple: light pollution!

Sure, when in a Greek city one will also not able to see all the stars. But there is a difference, The Netherlands is so densely populated that there is literally no place in the country where you can see the real sky with stars, even not in the middle of areas where no one lives.
When I look from my home in the direction of Amsterdam, I see a thick layer of light.

Is light pollution a problem? Apart from the sorry fact that we only can see a fragment of the beautiful stars, yes it is. Light pollution has a negative influence on the balance between day and night. Specially plants and night animals are suffering from this.

Anyway, back to the stars at the Greek sky *SMILE* .

When I see a bright star here, I start to ask myself right away questions. What is the name of that star? How many light-years is it away from here? Is it part of a constellation and do I know that constellation? Is there anything special to know about that star?

Luckily I have two great apps on my iPad that gives me the answers on this questions I might have: “Solar Walk 2” and “Star Walk 2” (luckily it was my iPhone that was stolen this holiday and not my iPad even when the iPad is WiFi only). These two apps are great for any astronomy enthusiast.

So quite often when the others are already sleeping, I sit on the balcony of our hotel room or make a small walk to study the skies, looking at the stars and constellations, looking up all there is to know about them. Great fun.

At home, I use apps also every now and then, but there they tend to make me a bit sad because these apps show very clearly what I should be able to see but cannot see because of the light pollution…

Rob

 

 

 

The pictures in this article are screenshots from Star Walk 2 and Solar Walk 2.


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The small wonders of Lesvos

by Miranda on

That Lesvos is an island that has so many faces to show may be known by now. I mean from the olive and pine trees to the emptiness of the west.

It is so nice that you can wander around, make a turn and see something completely unexpected. And that is what happened today again.

We were wandering west of Agios Isidoros, a lovely small town near Plomari. The small road led us through beautiful views of mountains and olive tree orchards.

So we were enjoying our surroundings while I was having an interesting talk with Richard. We followed the road in a curve around a rock formation and then we saw this…

Stairs

Everyone of us had a “WOW” experience. This is what I call using the surroundings of your house. The stairs up to the house really embedded in the rocks of the mountain. So wonderful!

As I already said, I truly love how this was built, but I don’t want to think about carrying groceries or any alike up those stairs.

Later, back at the hotel I saw the same people laying in the full sun that were there already when we some hours earlier left for our walk. And they were there the days before too.
They will be missing all these wonderful things (and I even don’t want to think about what this amount of direct sunlight is doing to their skin).

Miranda
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The Weather we soon will see….

by Marissa on

The weather we will have next week…

Weather 1

And it looks like it is going to stay that way…

Weather 2

I think just as the last time, the first two days we will have it extremely warm. After two days we are used to it. And as long you keep drinking and protect your head, there is no real problem.

Marissa
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Acting on instinct

by Rob on

Well, here the final proof that in the morning I act by instinct and that I am not using my brains yet…

Schoenen

To prevent this from happening again, I will make sure there is only one set of shoes near my bed…

Guess almost none of my colleagues did notice it… or were too polite to mention it… *WHISTLE*

ps. This is also an invitation to “the authors” not only to publish complete articles, which are very welcome of course, but also fun things like this. Let’s loosen up :-).

Rob
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Most people will know by now that I am trying to lose weight and with a good result so far. On that later a bit more.

A few days ago I was in Haarlem and I decided also to buy some new jeans.

At a shop I found I went directly to the XL, XXL and XXXL section as I used was over the last years. I got a bit frustrated as I could find nothing that fitted well.

A lady working at the shop must have noticed my frustration, she came toward to me and asked me if she could help. I explained that I had problems to find fitting jeans.
She took two steps backwards and looked at me. Then she told me that I should not be looking here at the larger sizes, but should go to the section with the common sizes.
I literally felt a warm glow… back to the “normal” sizes. What an achievement!

The kind lady showed me the part of the store where I should be according her.
I asked her if she could advise me on the size of jeans I should look for.
She looked at me again and said 38/32. I really could not believe this. But there I was a few minutes later, wearing jeans of size 38/32! Completely unbelievable for me!

Why this was a huge surprise for me? Some pants I bought some months ago was of the size 58/32. Yes, you read well… 58… and now 38!

I am so happy with this complete out of the world result.

So yes, I have been trying to lose weight and as it shows with good result. People all around me told me that it showed so very well. There was even one person who carefully informed if I was ill.

In the around two months I am working on this I lost around the 18kg. An average of 2 kilo per week, which is good because losing too much too fast is really not good (and often leads to gaining weight later on again). And I went from “seriously overweight” to “overweight”, but my goal will be of course “normal weight”.
My last concern is my belly. But I know this will be the hardest to get back to normal and it will take time. But I will go for it.

Some folks asked me what my secret was. Well, there is no secret. Move more (10.000 steps at least per day, which sounds a challenge but isn’t) and eat healthy (look at calories, stay away from pre-prepared things, no sauces and alike from the supermarket, focus on vegetables and fruit… but choose wisely :P). My fear was that I only could eat things that weren’t really tasty. What a mistake! I can eat salmon and other fishes, all kinds of beef, poultry, many kinds of vegetables and much more.

What really helps a lot is the support and advices from the people around me. Specially when people react very enthusiastic on the result I have, that really gives a damn good feeling.

Rob
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Some time ago someone said to me that my house is really a collection of memories. I just looked around and realized that this person was very correct.

Let me take you in a number of articles along on a journey of memories. These memories will not be synchronous with when they happened, but more with random jumps along the timeline of my life.

But it has to start here…

17 April 1963, a Wednesday in Amsterdam and the day that I was born. My birth card, which was quite unique because of the photo of my mother and me (yes, that little human being is me *SMILE* )

And from that day my existence in this world was a fact: The youngest of 3, born in the area of Amsterdam that is called “De Pijp”.

The toy rabbit in the photo was made by an aunt around the time I was born. I believe my mother told me once that she was living as a nun. Sadly, no more information about this aunt.
The missing ear of the rabbit was caused by a guinea pig that I had when I was a young boy.

And there is this “Spaarbankboekje” (Savings account booklet). This savings account was opened by my parents when I was born.
There is still some money on that account, in “Guldens” that is, which was the Dutch currency before the Euro was introduced.
I even could redraw that money from the saving account, but that would mean most likely that I have to turn in the booklet and that is something I don’t want.

The glasses on the photo are from the time I was a young lad.
As happy I am with my reading/computer glasses that I have nowadays, so I disliked the glasses over then. I even managed to drop it in the back of a truck that went to the other side of the country. Sadly, for me at that time, they were returned.

It is great to have these items from so long ago. And when I look around in my apartment, there are many items with memories, from long ago or not that long ago, good memories and maybe some not so good memories.

I think there will be quite some articles needed to write about all these memories. But it will be fun and I have all the time of the world to do so *SMILE*

Rob
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As one of the authors tried to post something a little back, WordPress (the software I use for this weblog) crashed.

It took me some time to figure out what was causing this. But I found out, there was still one index of a table that was corrupt. I repaired it manually and now all seems to be back to normal again!

For the authors on the blog, please read the e-mail I sent you yesterday evening.

Rob
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Weblog is back up again…

by Rob on

First of all, my excuses to the authors here on our weblog for the fact that it was almost a month not possible to post new articles.

The reason for this was that one of the database tables was corrupt. Normally this is solved by restoring a backup, but this problem seemed to have been there already for some time without noticing it. Restoring whichever backup would have lead to the lost of articles and that is something I wanted to prevent.

The only solution seemed to be rebuilding the table manually and based on the information available in other tables. It has been a huge task of running queries, collecting data and inserting records in the new created table. But the work is done and all seems to be working as normal again.

So for the authors, please feel free to post again. If you noticed anything strange, please let me know.

Thank you for your patience.

Rob
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Some time ago I took down my photo-site. Marion always found it a pity that I have done this.
Now she asked me if I would be willing if would make photo-books of the best photo’s I made. And especially if I would update and expand the photo-book “Living as Gods and Goddesses on Lesvos” that I already made some time ago.
I promised Marion that I would do this.

Below the first photo of the Church of Panagia Glykofiloussa, which I made on 25 September 2015 (you can click on the photo to zoom in).

“It is in the village of Petra built on a rock, with114 steps curved on it and which have to be stepped by the pilgrim. The first church possibly hase been built in the year 1609 as the Catholic of a women’s Monastery. The architectural style of the church belongs to the Genuate period and this is proved by the existence of a blazon of Gateluses that was curved on a slab of the garden’s cobble paved floor. Inside the church there are wonderful and rare Byzantine icons and an artistic Metropolitan throne. The extremely fortificated site of the church give to the observer the impression that it was probably built during the pirates’ in cursions of the post-Byzantine period. The church has been reconstructed in 1840. A plethora of pilgrims visit the church especially during the first fortnight of August ( the Assumption of Virgin Mary ). We have to notice here that the view from the yard is fantastic as it combines the picturesque village of Petra, with the Aegean Sea and the isles of the area.”
(Source: Imerti
)

Rob
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Lesbos or is it Lesvos?

by Marissa on

The Church of Panayia Glykofilousa
Often when I talk about Lesvos, people correct me and tell me that the island is called Lesbos. When I tell them they are wrong, some people can get really stubborn about it. I was even once told that I had no idea what I am talking about.

Well, what is the idea? I have been to the island with others here and I have now a very good friend who lives and was raised there. That is the idea!

The thing is that the letter “b” in the name Lesbos is not a “b”. We lazy foreigners just made a “b” of it.
It really is a “β”, the Greek letter beta. And the letter beta is pronounced as a “v”. What you see that by Greek people the letter beta is replaced by the letter “v” to get the sound correct.

So Λέσβος will become Lesvos and not Lesbos.

This little piece of knowledge is brought to you by the Lesvos virus that with the upcoming holiday is awaking in me. Oh, and after a nice chat with Mel and Rob.

Marissa

 

 

Photo The Church of Panayia Glykofilousa: Rob (Thank you for allowing to use it)


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