Category Archives: Away

Black Forest travel tips: Guide to Freiburg’s Farmer’s Market and how to make the most of your visit

Check these beauties out - hello spring!
Check these beauties out – hello spring!

One of my absolutely favourite things to do when visiting a new city / town / village / neighbourhood is finding out about the local market(s) and spending a good bit of time (and money) exploring. I love the bustle, the smells and the colours, checking out how people trade and purchase, taking note of what is on offer and what everyone is eating.

I’m already thinking of a future top 5 market blog list but for this one I thought I’d bring you a fresh post, straight from a recent weekend away in Germany. This is the second time I visited the particular market in the space of two years and again it didn’t fail to impress. So if you’re planning a trip to the Black Forest or to Basel and the nearby area, make sure you add the city and the market to your list: Freiburg Münstermarkt – open all week except Sundays and circling one of the few buildings that survived the Allied bombing in the vicinity – the Münster Unserer Lieben Frau.

The market as seen from the top of the Minster
The market as seen from the top of the Minster

Continue reading Black Forest travel tips: Guide to Freiburg’s Farmer’s Market and how to make the most of your visit

Me make comeback one day

Found somewhere on the internet, credits to the genius who came up with it
Found somewhere on the internet, credits to the genius who came up with it

Dear Sticky Notes reader,

I know it’s been a while since my last post and also a while since I last made this a regular thing. Forgive me for that as my FOMO has kept me running around enough to lose track of my writing. A few amongst you urged me to get back into it and I ashamedly agreed I should do without actually doing anything about it. It’s not that I just procrastinated (although I did finish Breaking Bad, OITNB and have almost managed to re-watch 9 seasons of the X-Files, any minute now!).

It’s just that so many things happened in a short space of time and I needed time to process and distil them into something I can take a sip of that doesn’t make me drunk and crazy like absinthe. Maybe one day I can tell you all about it.

If you’re wondering what’s been going on in my life, I can give you the gist of it: Continue reading Me make comeback one day

Blink and you’ll miss it

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Say you were born during the mid-eighties in Athens (or most of Greece for that matter). Say that like most of the kids of the same age, growing up you probably had not only one but two television sets in the house – those bulky TVs that took up almost as much space as a small piece of furniture (I remember ours had gum stuck on the door of the compartment where the control buttons were). The chances are that anything you watched that wasn’t Greek was most probably American. The chances also are that almost all of it was either filmed or set in New York.

Continue reading Blink and you’ll miss it

Home is where?

About a a year ago, during a rather dull layover back to London from Athens, a bored Dutch border control employee asked me what the purpose of my visit to London was.
I must have been taken aback by the unexpected exchange that constituted something more than ‘Hello!’, ‘hello’, ‘thanks’ and a nod to proceed. I replied the first thing that came to my head:

For work.

While she checked my passport, I quickly pulled my thoughts together. Concentrate, what the hell did you just say? I tried to think fast how I could remediate what I had just uttered. It’s not that it wasn’t true but it felt like an incomplete statement.

I live there.

I left the border control with a sense of disappointment, my own instinctive responses surprised me.

I remembered that day tonight while coming back from a work trip in Switzerland. A clear sky awaited our descent into City airport and as I watched the lights twinkle and the city so beautiful and vibrant, I thought to myself, I’m glad I’m coming home.

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Mother of arts/And Eloquence

Written on an Athenian wall

As I read about the election results in my troubled hometown, my feelings are mixed. I struggle to remember who I voted for the last time round but this memory eludes me at this moment. Perhaps it’s been suppressed by the feeling of disappointment I was experiencing a bit before I left. My once beloved Athens was beginning to feel like a place I didn’t long to be in. It was time to go.

Continue reading Mother of arts/And Eloquence

The Big Blue(s)

Summer: warmest season of the year, between spring and autumn. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is usually defined as the period between the summer solstice (year’s longest day), June 21 or 22, and the autumnal equinox (day and night equal in length). Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online

My very own definition of summer has varied over the years somewhere in between the one mentioned above and a personally constructed one based NOT on geographical and climatic conditions; the beginning of summer was almost always undoubtedly marked by the arrival at the port of Piraeus. The day when the luggage was loaded onto the car while my dad was complaining about how heavy they were, asking repeatedly if we needed every single thing that was in the bags. The day when we’d get into the car with a mixture of anticipation and sleepiness; it seems like our parents always preferred the early departures which meant we usually had to be on the road well before 7 to avoid the hordes of Athenians that were escaping to the islands as we were about to do.

In the car, us kids on the back seat with our travel bags packed with magazines, books, walkmans or discmans (depending on the year), would listen to our mum talking to herself ‘Did I get the tickets?’ while she would frantically go through her purse only to find them a minute later. Our dad would be on the phone calling to see if the rest of the pack was at the port and we’d shout ‘hellos’ to our friends who were in different cars stuck in traffic in some other part of the city.

The excitement was always indescribable when we’d finally meet outside the ship anxiously waiting to get on it and wave goodbye to the port which was always busy as hell. That used to be the first day of summer for me, when I would hear the anchor being rolled up and I would see the port becoming all the more distant and everyone would run off to the ship’s balconies to watch while our hometown got smaller and smaller and all we could see was the white trail the ship left on its path. There, getting a whiff of the sea which had salted every inch of the banisters, my hair all tangled up in the breeze, summer was finally something more than the warm season, it was my favourite time of the year.

2 or 3 weeks later – depending on the family’s finances that year – I would get out on the balcony reluctantly as the white trail the ship left behind would mean we were heading back home, to the summer heat in the city, to the mundane reality of school and other obligations. Every year I’d be hit by an unfathomable melancholy while looking at the sea from the same balcony that had brought me such enthusiasm only a few weeks ago. The summer was over even if it was still mid-August. For me, it was over. Not the warmest season of the year, but that escape from home to exciting new worlds that existed outside our city, in small villages and towns on the islands I was visiting for the first time. I had to go back to the year’s routine, in the linear reality of school where things resembled ‘Groundhog Day‘ a bit.

This year, the melancholy hit me on the plane. It was the exact same feeling almost like having a deja vu of my childhood and adolescence but with no wind to mess up my hair and not the salty texture of the sea breeze in my mouth. I was sitting in my seat looking outside the window at the blue sea that I was leaving behind to go back to the year’s routine, not a carefree student any more but a full-fledged wage-earning adult.

Oh crap, how it sucks being a grown-up. Especially when the summer is over.

Out of office automatic reply

http://www.cinefilip.gr/gr_epikairotita_001.htm

This sign was a common and seasonal sight where I grew up. Every summer, our local cinema would put a similar one on the preface of the building and announce that the winter season was over. ‘We’ll meet again in September’ and that’s how we knew it was time to catch up on anything we’d missed during winter in the summer cinema under the stars.

Continue reading Out of office automatic reply