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A wonderful encounter in Athens!

Friday, March 01, 2013

Hello dear Sparkfriends!

I am back home! It was mostly a tough week, with long, sometimes difficult meetings, and I am sad I didn’t see more of Cyprus. Yet, I can’t complain as I was able to go on a walk on the beach yesterday evening...

Today, I flew back to Paris via Athens, Greece. And as you guessed from the title of this blog, I met someone in Athens during the hours I spent there between my flights! :)

Actually, I met two lovely Sparkfriends!!!


I was so happy to meet them both! They are just as warm and kind in person as they are on Sparkpeople. It was wonderful to chat with them like with old friends. They had chosen a café which had the most amazing view on the old Athens and the Acropolis (in case you have been to Athens, it is just outside Monastiraki metro station, which was very convenient for me as it is a direct line from the airport!)...

Isn’t it just gorgeous? And yes, the sun was shining bright and it was warm! (I didn’t want to go back to Paris and the freezing weather that was waiting for me there!)

After I left BLOOMINGLENA (who had to go back to work) and NUOVAELLE (who had to pick her girls up from school), I was feeling their worries after they shared how dreadful the situation is in Greece these days... Many people lose their jobs, taxes go constantly up, crimes are on the increase, educated young people leave the country to find jobs elsewhere... Please remember Greece and our Sparkfriends in Greece in your thoughts and prayers.

I went on a short walk in the area and went into this pretty church...

People were constantly coming in to light a candle or pray for a few minutes.

Outside the church, on the little square, there was a fun shop selling all kinds of cheap old things.

I took a picture of the sign to convince you I was in Greece indeed! I cannot really translate it all for you, I only learned old Greek and that was ages ago! :) (The only bit I understand is that it says 2 euros per piece at the bottom of the left column!)

Then I walked in the streets in the area...

... with the view on the Acropolis above (and oranges on the tree!)...

I had a look at the amazing Roman agora (I saw so many gorgeous sites in just a 30 minutes walk!)...

... and also the Ancient agora area...

A young man was reading a book nearby, enjoying the sunshine!

And then it was time to say goodbye to Athens and head back to the airport to catch my flight to Paris!

I am remembering with gratitude the lovely time spent with my dear Greek Sparkfriends. This stop of a few hours in Greece made the tiring few days in Cyprus well worthwhile! Thank you so much NUOVAELLE and BLOOMINGLENA!!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    1065 days ago
  • 123ELAINE456
    A very Beautiful Place. And Beautiful Pictures, Thank You for sharing this with us. Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    1321 days ago
    Beautiful. Your photos make me want to go to Greece. They are not so touristy looking and they give a sense of the life there. You are really an excellent photographer! emoticon

    Greece and all the struggling Euro-zone countries - in my prayers for sure. Italy as well although it is so in the grip of corrupt politicians... We fight it here too but it is much worse in these parts of Europe.

    How fun to meet up with Spark friends! emoticon
    1922 days ago
    I've never been to Greece. Your pictures were wonderful. I felt like I was there. Thanks for sharing.
    1924 days ago
    1925 days ago
    Amazing pictures of my City and amazing story!
    I am glad that you had the time to met our sparkfriends BLOOMINGLENA and NUOVAELLE!!!

    1930 days ago
    How lovely Claire, I can feel the sun shining through the lens. The beauty of the ancient world, with the craftsmanship of details and the church with it's icons and the sense of peace. I'm glad you had that break from work related strife.

    1931 days ago
    Thank you for taking us along a wonderful journey through Greece! The photos are just gorgeous - I am so glad you had the opportunity to go, even though it was for work - and to meet a couple of Spark Friends as well. It's amazing how much you saw and captured on camera in that short walk. I too hope life will improve for the people there/ Wonderful blog, Claire!

    Hugs and blessings, Nattacia

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    1939 days ago
    Absolutely INCREDIBLE!!! emoticon

    When I was in Athens I didn't like it at all! You gave me a new perspective and added some beauty that I didn't see. emoticon

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    1939 days ago
  • KAREN91
    Claire, Thanks so much for the lovely pictures. I always feel like I get to travel with you through your talent with photography. I'm glad you got to meet some sparkfriends in person. Greece is beautiful, I pray things get better there. You know some Greek, speak French and English. How many languages do you know? Do you still study languages? Ive always wanted to learn French because I think it sounds beautiful. It was great reading your blog. Your blogs are something I always enjoy! emoticon emoticon
    1939 days ago
    I love reading all about your adventures! You get to see the most beautiful places. The beach is so pretty. There is something so calming about the beach.
    Your pictures of Greece are amazing. It is simply beautiful there. I am so happy you had good weather for your short visit. And, the icing on the cake was that you got to meet some lovely Sparkfriends. What a special treat!!
    Thoughts and prayers for the people of Greece.
    1939 days ago
    Lovely! Lovely! Lovely! Amazing sights and nice encounter!
    One day there will be a nice blog with pictures of us meeting somewhere...
    emoticon your way!
    1940 days ago
    Oh Claire I so enjoyed Greece when I was there years ago. I was at the Acropolis we were just there for a day as we went to Israel. Yes I know of the hardship In Greece & will be praying for your two friends & for their country.
    There is so much going on in our world we need to pray for our World leaders & for the people of all the Nations. Thank you Claire for the photos I pray your up & coming week will be less stressful for you. I wanted to tell you Mom & I are going to the Philadelphia Flower show. The theme is England this year I thought of you & that is the main reason I am going because of your past pictures of England & all the beautiful flowers you show us.We go this coming Tuesday for the entire day it is 3 hours away from my home we will be taking a bus trip.Have a wonderful week!!!
    1940 days ago
    Claire, what a wonderful visit. You always find a way to make the best of everything! Glad it worked out to meet your spark friends. Greece has my prayers. Hope you get caught up on a little rest over the weekend.
    1940 days ago
    Lovely blog and photos! You are so lucky, I have always wanted to visit Greece. Beautiful views of the Acropolis and the Roman Agora.
    I have missed your blogs! Back now!
    emoticon Ellen
    1940 days ago
    I almost didn't recognize you with straight hair!

    Glad you had such a lovely stopover.
    1940 days ago
    I'm so glad you got to meet up face to face with them! Your pics of the area are beautiful! I have an SP friend in Athens who also has talked about the turmoil they are in. So sad about what they struggle with daily.
    Thanks for sharing the beautiful pics of Athens and also of your walk along the beach!
    1940 days ago
    CLAIRE , That was such a wonderful Blog. Your pictures of the acropolis are very well planned. I love it. I am happy you were able to meet up with Spark Friends, It is always a good encounter whenever I am able to meet up with one too. HUGS I hope you can rest at the weekend. HUGS Pat in Maine. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1940 days ago
    Dear Claire - I'm so glad you were able to meet up with your Greek friends. I absolutely love Athens, and have even been in the church you photographed! I especially like the tall candles, so different from the short, squat candles we find in most churches here.

    The economy in Greece is very scary, and I have read quite a few articles about the massive increases in prices of every-day essentials, the jobless rates, and people losing their jobs and homes. I would dearly love to go back to Athens someday.

    I hope it wasn't too horribly cold when you arrived back in Paris, and that you are able to get out for a hike, or a power-walking excursion.

    Enjoy the rest of your week-end,
    Gail emoticon
    1940 days ago
  • NAN041
    Dear Claire,
    How fortunate we all are, having you to
    share your time with us.

    Meeting up with others on your travels..your
    love of LIFE constantly showing up..
    Many thanks dear friend, .Nan
    1941 days ago
    My dear friend Claire I am so happy we met yesterday. You are such a warm and kind person! Lovely personality and a pretty woman with a big bright smile that made your face shine! Thank you for your kind words for sharing your thoughts about the greek people and thank you all for your prayers. we hope things change for the better for the generations to come.

    Claire I love the pictures and I am glad you took that short walk in Athens to make the most of your short visit in Athens. I agree with Elle that hopefully we will see you again in the near future to show you the greek hospitality as you could spend a few days with us. You are always welcome any time!

    Take care of yourself and have a relaxed weekend!

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    1941 days ago
    Isn't it amazing that you have common ground, the same goals, dreams, responsibilities, and life experiences as people so far from you? From me. No matter where we go in this world..we are still humans facing life...
    I love the pictures. I think of Bible stories and how the people lived and traveled and looking at what you saw on your walk just reminds me that through the ages of time we really don't change much at all. Thank you for continuing to show me what the other side of the world looks like.....and it still looks like home...Love this...
    Be blessed and keep Sparkin'!!
    1941 days ago
  • BAKER1009
    Beautiful blog Claire!
    I'm so jealous of you having coffee with Elle and Lea! If I had known I would have flown over, LOL! Thanks for sharing the pictures of both Cyprus and Greece. You are so right, that we need to pray for them. I worry about Elle and Lea all the time.

    Hope you have a restful weekend!
    1941 days ago
    Lovely pics and how wonderful to meet spark friends! I visited Athens once, but with a huge group, so not as fun as just wandering round the streets.
    And you're right about the freezing weather here, though this morning it's 4°C!! Progress.
    1941 days ago
    Nice! How lovely to meet new SparkFriends!
    I loved your pictures, especially the ones of Cyprus.
    Enjoy your week-end!
    1941 days ago
    How wonderful that you were able to meet up with some SparkBuddies in Athens! I love seeing familiar faces together. I hope to meet some of my SparkFriends in person during my travels as well. Thanks so much for sharing the great photos and for spreading the word about the economic troubles in Greece. One of my best friends and her husband live there and the situation is pretty bleak for many people.
    1941 days ago
    I'm so glad you enjoyed your short walk, Claire! It's great that you walked all the way down to the Ancient Agora. Your pictures are amazing as always. You've managed to capture the best details of everything.
    Thank you again for this wonderful encounter. I wish we had more time to spend together and really show you what Greek hospitality means. Hopefully, we'll be able to in the near future!
    1941 days ago
    The photographs of the Ocean is so pretty. Love the reflections. You did indeed find a lot of beauty in 30 mins. I would have been there forever taking pictures lol. That's great you had the chance to meet more Spark Friends. emoticon I hope it warms up soon in France. I can see why you didn't want to leave Greece! emoticon
    1941 days ago
    Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful pictures.
    I'm so glad that you enjoyed Athens and met up with
    your Spark friends. Thank you for giving a positive
    picture of Greece and acknowledging the plight of the
    Greek people. I hope people who plan to visit don't get
    discouraged about going as the country needs tourists
    at this time. Your pictures have put me there when I
    met up with 4 Spark friends two years ago. You even
    got a lovely walk in between flights. Good on you!
    emoticon emoticon
    1941 days ago
    1941 days ago
    Hi, Claire! Thank you for the beach in Cyprus and the beautiful pictures of Athens. It brought fond memories back of a trip I took there many years ago. As wonderful as all the sites are, it is the Greek people I remember with such warm thoughts. They were absolutely lovely. I feel so badly for their economic distress now. Their leaders have let them down. They are a resilient people, which they will certainly need now.
    Another memory was sparked by your church pictures - the smell of the beeswax candles... I shall never forget. What a lovely, calming fragrance.
    1941 days ago
    Glad you had safe travels. What a gorgeous place and your pictures . . . breath taking!

    How WONDERFUL you met up with 2 Spark friends. Tje economic situation everywhere is in such a state! I certainly will pray for economic recovery. **SIGH** '

    Hope you have a good weeknd.
    1941 days ago
    Dear Claire in Paris - I always love your blog posts and seeing the world through your camera. Thanks so much for putting it out there for us. I love the icons (IKONS) in the church that you photographed. I hope to paint some just in that same style, sparked by your inspiration. Best wishes to you!
    1941 days ago
  • YIWEN39
    What a beautiful city! Not at all what I imagined...
    So great that you took the time to meet your lovely Sparkfriends, that's awesome!
    Have a good rest this weekend... is it still snowing in Paris?
    Take care Claire :-)
    All the best!
    1941 days ago
  • JACKIE542
    It is so nice that you were able to do some enjoyable things, walking on that beautiful beach, and what could be better than to meet some spark friends.
    Too bad about all the trouble in Greece, sure looked beautiful. Loved the colors on the buildings
    Hope it is not too cold back home, have a good rest. emoticon emoticon
    1941 days ago
    so glad you met up with more Sparkfriends. I think you should be given a special merit badge from Sparkguy for introducing us to people.
    Hope you found your flat nice and warm after the travels to warmer places. It's always nice to get indoors and put the kettle on!
    1941 days ago
  • DNRAE1
    What a treat to meet friends in Athens, even for a short time. A beautiful warm respite from the exhausting trip to Cyprus, and the cold awaiting you in Paris. That was a charming memory and a great photo of all three of you! Simply lovely!
    1941 days ago
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    1941 days ago
  • LINDAK25
    What a wonderful side trip after a busy and tiring week. The beach at night is lovely. Athens is gorgeous. Lucky you, to be able to lunch with Spark friends and then go on your walk. Your pictures of the balcony reminded me of my brother-in-law. He's an architect and when he went to Rome many of his pictures were architectural details. Like you he's also a talented photographer. Spring will come to Paris soon enough. Have a wonderful weekend.
    1941 days ago
    1941 days ago
    What a lovely, lovely place! Thank you for the pictures. I hope someday I will be able to visit Greece. And, I'm so glad you had a pleasant time there.
    1941 days ago
    So thankful you shared your trip to Athens. My Mom's family is from one of the distant islands and the Greek Orthodox Church is similar to ones I have been in. Always love your adventures and with Sparkfriends as an added bonus! emoticon
    1941 days ago
    Lovely, and meeting spark friends too, a treat.
    I remember living in sweden many many years ago ,and a lot of young people left Greece then too to work elsewhere due to the same problems .Still Greece seems to survive
    anyway I am glad you shared this with us.The main reason I miss Europe is the openness
    of people spaces and churches. emoticon
    Thank you for sharing emoticon
    1941 days ago
  • RAMONA1954
    Such a lovely surprise! I'm so glad you had a wonderful meeting with your spark friends and got to enjoy the sunshine and warmth of Athens. Thanks for sharing those photos. I felt like I had a mini vacation with you!
    1941 days ago
    Wonderful blog to read and I am so glad you got to meet your two spark friends.

    Thank you once again for the gorgeous pics.

    emoticon emoticon
    1941 days ago
  • MILLIE5522
    What a lovely surprise to meet up with such great SP friends! I love your pictures of Greece. I had a wonderful holiday there many years ago and would love to go back there. Thank you once again for a great blog emoticon
    1941 days ago
  • QTEALADY20031
    Claire, how wonderful that you were able to meet up with your two Spark friends! How exciting for you! Interesting that you should end up in Athens as my granddaughter Michelle, who married this past October, they were in Athens for their honeymoon and like you have some beautiful pictures. She said they could sit on the balcony of their hotel room and see the Acropolis, a beautiful site at night too. They were there for several days and then took a very large and beautiful sailboat around Italy's islands and then on to Rome where they flew home. I told Michelle and Tom, many only see the Acropolis in pictures. Claire, you were so fortunate to visit Athens. Yes, Greece friends do need out prayers for their financial situation. I am sure that your visit to Athens and Spark friends made up for the first part of your visit with your meetings with work. Thank you for sharing your pictures, I so enjoy looking at them. I love the church pictures! I am so happy for you and again the pleasant memories you will always have with you. emoticon June
    1941 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/1/2013 4:54:11 PM
    emoticon back!!! You pictures are simply beautiful :) emoticon for sharing..
    1941 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    Oh, thanks so much for taking us with you for a walk around Athens. It has been several years since I was actually in Athens and it is such a beautiful place and the Greeks are such warm people that take you in and show you such warm hospitality.
    I am so glad you got to meet up with your sparkfriends in Greece! How awesome that must have been. And you all look so great in that picture!
    Greece is such a great Country and I do pray for it's recovery every single day since I know so many people that live there and their story. It is so hard to know what they are going thru.
    Thanks for all the beautiful pictures and I am glad you are home safely and I hope Spring comes to Paris soon. Have a great weekend recovering from your week in Cyprus.
    I am glad you were able to get some walking in while you were there and what a great sunset.
    Have a restful weekend!
    emoticon emoticon Holly

    1941 days ago
    WOW, amazing sights from your walk! The beach is beautiful -- but the ruins and the city are AMAZING. I am glad you met your SparkFriends in person. It is so fun to interact with people from all over the world! The situation in Greece is very difficult and very scary. And of course here in the US we are headed into yet another government created fiscal cliff because the Republicans and the Democrats can't compromise and agree on a budget.
    1941 days ago
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