Monthly Archives: November 2017

Different Kinds Of Air Ducts Used In The Hvac Industry

In every HVAC system, one of the most important elements to check is the Duct system or what is known as ductwork. Ducts are passages that are used in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning to provide and remove air. They are used in different HVAC elements like air supply, air processing units, air return, diffusers, and more. To be able to achieve a high efficiency HVAC system, the type of ductwork should be adequate enough and sized correctly for the system.
The types of ducts that are installed depends on the quality of the installation since their benefits vary from energy savings to the acoustic properties of the system. Four common types of ducts are flexible ducts, metal ducts, glass wool duct boards and plastic ducts.
Flexible ducts
Flexible ducts are made up of two aluminum and polyester concentric tubes, wherein a glass wool layer or fiberglass wool is inserted in between the two tubes to serve as thermal insulation. Their main use is to connect main air ducts and terminal units such as diffusers or grids. An example of a high quality flexible duct is the Gulf-O-Flex Flexible Insulated Duct by Rubber World Industries (RWI), a rubber insulation manufacturing company based in the UAE. It makes use of triple lamination of aluminum foil, polyester as well as metalized polyester film permanently bonded to a coated spring steel wire helix. The external part of the duct is wrapped with a blanket of fiberglass insulation.
Metal ducts
Metal ducts are made from different kinds of sheet metal, like galvanized or stainless steel, copper and aluminum. They are cut, and shaped into the required measured shape for the duct system. Being a good thermal conductor, metal ducts require thermal insulation as well. The most common material used is fiberglass wool that is wrapped around the outer duct wall. Insulation can be installed on the inner wall of the duct as well using fiberglass wool duct wraps or duct slabs that are faced with glass matting or mesh. These provide acoustic insulation and strengthening the inner part of the duct.
Fiberglass Duct boards
Fiberglass Duct boards are made from high density fiberglass boards. The ducts will be shaped from the boards by cutting and folding respectively to get the needed shape for the system. The side of the board that has contact with the air stream after the duct assembly is called the internal face, while the other face is called the external face.
The external face of the duct will be installed with a strong reinforced aluminum foil that will act as a vapour barrier. On the other hand, the internal face will have either an aluminum coating or fabric layer depending on the requirements needed.
Plastic Ducts
Plastic ducts which include ducts that are made from plastic or foam boards, are made by cutting and folding the needed shapes to create the cross-sectional shape of the duct system.
The internal and external board faces are usually installed with aluminum coating

Tourist’s Choice – Post Card Photo Ideas For Tours and Guides

Like eyes, pictures are our windows to the real world. Promote your tours and guides business using postcards. Put photos of famous tourist spots in the world. Entice your customers by featuring the best places chosen by world travelers. Use photo postcard subjects that will attract interests of your consumers. Here are some photo postcards subjects you can use as printed material.

World’s Wonderful Places in Post Cards

* The ancient Italy. Old churches, stunning medieval towns, marvelous museums these are some of the features where Italy exemplifies. You can put our on your postcards pictures on famous landmarks in Italy. Athens, Coliseum, the romantic Venice, holy Vatican and more amazing place long existing since the early period, this postcard subject will help you in advertising and promoting your tours and guide services by getting interested customer who wants to have a euphoria of the past.

* France: the home of Eiffel Tower. The City of Light, Paris is found in France. The charm of this city made it as one of the most famous landmark in the history. But aside from Eiffel Tower you can also put other famous land mark in France on your postcards like Notre Dame of Chartres, a gothic cathedral from the 12th century, Chateau de Versailles which reflects the historic French Monarchy and more landmark photos for your post cards.

* Germany: relived post-modern fairytales. Post cards of mountain Alps, castles and old town house will give the feeling of euphoria as it reminds the target market of the stories told in story books. Use these landmarks to invite tourists to visit these famous places. Invite them using your post cards.

* The rich and religious Spain with its landmark. The prestige of the country’s life during the time of kings and queens of Europe remain in the relics on its old landmarks. Famous churches in the countries are good subjects for post cards. They are living symbols of the rich religious culture of Spain. Spectacular museums are found in Madrid while cathedrals and medieval palaces are found in Seville Andalusia. These postcard subjects are very enticing that can boost the want to explore and see these places.

Post cards are good in displaying famous landmarks. This print material is great for promoting and advertising tours and guides businesses. Invite more tourists with excellent postcards landmark subjects.

Kerala – A Popular Tourism Destination in India

Kerala is beautiful destination situated in South of India. Kerala encompasses the Western Ghats with dense tropical forests, beautiful beaches, backwaters and hill stations. Kerala has interesting wildlife and bird life. Wildlife tourism is very popular in many National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

Kerala is culturally rich society and has the highest literacy rate in India. It is place of origin of many dance forms in India. The famous classical dances that have originated from Kerala are Mohiniattam, Kathakali. The native performing art most popular in the state is Koodiyattom. The ancient Carnatic music dominates Kerala though film music is as popular.

Kerala is popular for its beach resorts and spas. The spas are popular for Ayurvedic massage that are based on the principles of ancient system of medicine called Ayurveda. The massage is done by experts who use combination of oils like sesame, mustard and coconut. Often a mixture of various oils are used during the massage. The massage is based on the regulatory principles Doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Yoga and meditation are also conducted at most of the spas in the state.

Periyar wildlife sanctuary is south India’s most popular wildlife sanctuary; its area includes 777 sq km with an old 26 sq km artificial lake created by British in 1895. Wide variety of animal and birds are found in the reserve.

Kerala is very famous for sea foods which are prepared in various styles typical to Malyali cuisine. Kerala is a gastronomic paradise and one can enjoy World’s best food here. Famous dishes are vellayappam, uppuma, iddli, puttu, masala dosa and appams.

Unique aspect of tourism in Kerala is the backwater cruise. In the backwater boat rides, the houseboats offer modern facility and exciting Malayali food.

House boats attract tourists to serene backwaters. Earlier the boats were used as houses for royalty. Popularly known as floating cottages the architecture of the boats is as follows:

Sleeping area, baths with western-style toilets, dining area and sit out on the deck. Large house boats offer night accommodation as part of the package tour at backwater.

Tourists can hire a houseboat as per the size of their family. Many houseboats provide one or two nights package for tourist. The house boat tours usually start from a point and return back. Some cruise offer long distance rides from one destination to another.

Kerala is God’s own country as advertised everywhere and nothing can be far from truth. Experience the state, its culture and its people to realize the truth.

Athens International Airport: Traveler’s Information

The Story

Tuesday March 27, 2001 was a special day for the city of Athens. After six decades the capital of Greece acquired a new International Airport. Relocated from Elliniko areato Spata with modern facilities and a new name the new airport established the new era for the Greek aviation sector. The construction of the new airport has been launched in July 1996 and it was brought to completion just five months before project’s deadline, in September 2000.

On March 28, the first plane landed. It was the Olympic Air flight from Montreal, Canada.

One day later, the 1572 flight of KLM to Amsterdam was the inauguration departure flight from the brand new El. Venizelos International Airport. It’s been more than ten years after those opening flights and the Athens International Airport El. Venizelos continues to receive millions of visitors to Greece each year.

The name

Athens International Airport was named after the Prime Minister of Greece, Eleftherios Venizelos (1864-1936), considered one of the greatest prime ministers of modern and contemporary history of Greece, who was also a Minister of Aviation.

The location

The Athens International Airport is located near the town of Spata, 34 km from the city center of Athens and 25 km from the northern suburb of Kifissia (GPS Data 37.93,23.945).

Some intriguing numbers

Αround 15 million passengers arrive and depart from Athens International Airport every year and approximately 17 thousand flights are annually served.

Connection to the city and the suburbs

The connection with the city of Athens and the suburbs is frequent and satisfying. There are several public transportation options apart from taxi service, which prices start from 35 euro for the city centre. You can use the Metro line 3 (Agia Marina – Airport ) and the Suburban Railway.

Buses depart from the Syntagma Square (bus line: X95), Piraeus (bus line: X96), Metro Station Elliniko (bus line: X97), the Central Bus Station of Kifissos (bus line: X93) and the suburb of Kifissia ( bus line: X92). The average duration time of a journey from/ to Athens airport lasts (is) 45-50 minutes. The price for the Metro and Suburban Railway is eight (8) euro and the bus fare is five (5) euro.

Facilities (in, out and around)

The International Airport of Athens has won many awards and distinctions throughout its operation. With the arrival and departure areas you will find restaurants, cafes, shops, beauty services, travel agencies, a post office, car rental agencies, tour organization, ATM, luggage locks and everything you need to make the wait for your flight pleasant and the expectations of your beloved enjoyable.

In a close distance from the airport you will find a large chain stores with furniture, electrical equipment and outlets. Also, just a few kilometers the McArthur Glen mall is situated. This is an entire village with shops, cafes, restaurants and playgrounds. The Attica Zoological Park, with animals from all around the world, is at close distance.

Where to stay in Athens

Enjoying the Athens International Airport facilities? Wondering where to stay? The suburb of Kifissia in the northern part of Athens is known for the beautiful mansions and villas, the excellent climate and the fashionable shops. Fancy restaurants, stylish cafes and bars, considered among the best in Athens are all over the place of Kifissia area. Plus, the roads in Kifissia are never too crowded for a pleasant walk.

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Athens, Greece: Things to Do, Places to See, and How to Get Around

Athens, Greece is an astonishingly beautiful city steeped in history and culture. Tourists flock to Athens all year round, because of the sheer number of tourist attractions to see and experiences to be had in this ancient city. Athens is warm and dry all year round, although it’s typically cooler in the winter, which means that tourists can be found in Athens every month of the year.

There are so many sights to see, places of cultural and historical significance, gardens, museums, and more, that discussing them all in one article is nearly impossible. This article will discuss a few of the most famous sites in Athens, for you to be properly acquainted with them before you embark on a trip to the city of Athens, Greece.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a vast theatre made of stone. It dates back to Ancient Greece and it has a seating capacity of 5,000 – 6,000 people. It was built by Herod Atticus and dedicated to his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilli. It is one of the primary venues of the Athens Festival and often houses concerts, events and shows. It is located on the Southern Slope of the Acropolis. It’s a remarkable sight, especially in the evening during a concert or an event, when floodlights illuminate the entire structure.

Constitution Square

Constitution Square, also known as Syntagma Square, houses the Parliament Building. The Memorial to the Unknown Soldier can found within this square is guarded by Evzones, guards similar to those at Buckingham Palace. You can watch the Change of Guards here every night at 6 PM.

The National Library

The National Library is a beautiful example of neo-classical architecture. It is part of the Danish architect Theophil Feiherr von Hansen’s Trilogy, which includes the Athens University and the Academy of Athens. The National Library has in its possession 4,500 Greek manuscripts and is a must-visit for scholars, book lovers and history buffs alike. It is located at the right-hand side of the University of Athens, on Panepistimiou Street.

The Academy of Arts

Situated next to the University of Athens, the Academy is also part of Hansen’s Trilogy of neo-classical structures. The building features Ionic columns and sculptures of Plato, Socrates, Apollo and Athena.

The National Garden

Formerly known as the Royal Garden, the National Garden is home to several species of plants and flowers. It is located behind Parliament House, and a gate connects it to the Zappeion, a building that was used as a fencing hall in the first modern Olympics. The National Garden is an ideal place to visit if you feel the need to get in touch with nature while remaining within the city proper.

Ancient Agora

In Ancient Agora, you can find a number of ancient ruins such as the Odeon of Agrippa, massive statues of Tritons and Giants, the Church of the Holy Apostles, the Thesion, the Royal Stoa, and the famous Altar of the Twelve Gods.

Thiseio

Need a little pick me up before you continue with your tour of Athens, Greece? Grab a frappe (an iced coffee drink many Greeks are fond of) and relax in a sidewalk café on Thiseo. Thiseo is filled with quaint coffee shops, eating-places and resting areas; making it an ideal stopover on a busy tour.

Temple of Poseidon

Located in Cape Sounion in Attica, the Temple of Poseidon overlooks the beautiful waters of the Saronic Gulf. Although the famed sunset at the Temple of Poseidon is every bit as breathtaking as they say, if you want to beat the tourist rush, visit early in the morning. The cool air and tranquil atmosphere at the Temple of Poseidon during an early morning visit is balm to the senses.

Acropolis and the Parthenon

You can’t visit Athens without dropping by the Parthenon. Located on Acropolis, the Parthenon was a temple for the goddess of wisdom, Athena. The Parthenon was built in the Doric architectural style, and some say it’s the finest example of Doric architecture ever made. Only 15 Corinthian columns from the original 104 remain standing; one other column fell down in 1852. Nevertheless, the majestic beauty of each column is guaranteed to make any viewer breathless. The Parthenon can be seen from a distance, especially in the evening, when the entire structure is illuminated by floodlights. Acropolis Hill also boasts a spectacular view of the city of Athens.

Lycabettus Hill

Lycabettus Hill or Mount Lycabettus is the highest point in the city. You can find the Chapel of St George and an open-air theater on its peak. It features a breathtaking view of the city of Athens.

Plaka and Monastiraki

If you want to give yourself a break from sight-seeing, shop for unique souvenirs in Plaka and Monastiraki. Stroll down Ermou, a pedestrians-only street, and browse through the wares of queer little stores that sell everything from vegetable molders to statue replicas to funky shirts to handmade silk roses. You can also find well-known stores such as Armani, D & G and Gucci, along Ermou. Before you embark on a shopping spree in Plaka or Monastiraki, make sure you eat a big meal beforehand and wear comfortable shoes, as you may find yourself staying at the shops for far longer than you think! On a side note, Plaka was built on the site of the residential areas of Ancient Athens.

Getting Around in Athens Greece

Travelling in Greece and taking in the sights can be an extremely rewarding. It can also be quite exhausting. When visiting Athens, you have quite a few options as far as getting around is concerned. You can rent a car or a moped, or you can take the bus. However, rental vehicles are expensive, and taking a bus can prove to be inconvenient, what with all the waiting around at bus stops and having to walk the remainder of the distance to the destination where you’re headed. Taxi tours in Athens are a comfortable, inexpensive and entirely novel way of getting around Athens. Athens Taxi, in particular, offers half-day and whole-day tours in Athens, and they also offer tours from Athens to Mycenae and Epidavros. Athens Taxi can also provide a personal guide for you and your group. If you prefer walking tours, Athens Taxi can also arrange for a personal guide to accompany you and to point out the landmarks and provide mini-history lessons and interesting facts.

Pick Out the Best Time of the Year to Experience the Vibrancy of Athens

A trip to Athens is exciting, exhausting, exhilarating! With its iconic temples, gods, goddesses, over achieving athletes, there’s just so must history, culture and architecture for a tourist to cover. But this is a city that may prove hot to hurry about in. It would be smart to choose the best weather to visit in so that you can explore the cradle of Western Civilization without breaking into a major sweat. Remember to set an easy sight seeing itinerary with your Athens guide; any rush will only serve to tire you out.

The best time to visit Athens begins in May, and carries on through to June and July. This is when the weather is at its best, temperature and rainfall wise. In May, the mean temperature is 69 °F (21 °C) and rainfall less than 0.6″ (1.5 cm) and June sees a mean temperature 77 °F (25 °C) with rainfall less than 0.2″ (0.5 cm). July has a mean of 82 °F (28 °C) and rainfall less than 0.2″ (0.5 cm).

Make sure to skip August; with temperatures pushing 100 °F (38 °C), most locals abandon the city in the first two weeks of this month for their annual vacation. For this reason, it is common for many establishments in Athens to be closed. The city at this time belongs to the tourists, but if you can’t stand the oppressive heat, it is best to avoid Athens at this time of year. Most tourist locations require one to walk over dry hilled areas, and in a lot of cases, many steps; so it can be extremely exhausting for anyone who is not used to the heat.

Late April and the first two weeks of June provides for a relaxed atmosphere- sunny and warm, with little clouds of rain.

September, with a mean temperature of 76 °F (24 °C) and less than 0.4″ (1 cm) of rain is also a good time. By mid September, temperatures begin to cool and the summer crowds have left. This is a lovely time to visit if you want the city to yourself – the kids are back in school and the weather is only slightly nippy so you can dine at the many outdoor cafes that line the streets.

Even during the good months, temperatures tend to be at their peak during midday, so its best to sight see in the mornings and tour the city by night. Not all hotels are air conditioned, so in case you’re traveling in July, make sure your hotel is.

November to February would classify as winter in Athens. Winter in the city is mild, compared to the other cities in the northern hemisphere. It snows not more than once a season, and the sun shines throughout the day. It can be windier than you expect. Outdoor cafes remain open to serve tourists hot tea and coffee. But this is definitely not the best time to make the trip.

With the weather detail sorted out, pick out your Athens tour guide and start exploring the city. Remember to visit the Ancient Agora, the Anafiotika and of course the Acropolis. Shop for jewelry at Byzantino, take a round of the Benaki Museum and climb up onto Mount Lycabettus for a grand view of the city. Catch a classic Hollywood flick at the open air Thiseion Cinema. Follow that up with an evening at Gazi, Athen’s coolest nightspot. And oh, keep your Sunday morning free for a trip to Monastiraki Flea Market.

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Athens Could Be The Best Vacation You’ll Ever Take!

Quick Tips/Suggestions:

If you’re going to enjoy yourself in Athens, you better get in shape and bring comfortable walking shoes and plenty of water. Most of the famous sites in the city require either walking uphill, or walking along a stony path. And beware of the marble stairs, wherever you go: they are dreadfully slippery!

I took a city bus tour on my first day in Athens and it was worth the money. The tour included the Acropolis, and took in the region of to the Olympic Stadium, Syntagma Square, Zeus’ Temple and other important tourist sites. It was a nice way to make introduction to the city and plan out the rest of my trip.

How about the food? Modest neighborhood restaurants are your best bet. They dish up inexpensive, delicious and truly local fare. Fancier restaurants in spots like Plaka are expensive, and you’re more likely to see fried chicken on the menu, than a gyro or souvlaki. And a word of warning: go easy on the OUZO! That stuff goes down way too easy, and after finishing half a bottle with dinner, I slept for 12 hours and had a hangover the next day.

Where to stay? Hotels and hostels are plentiful in Athens. Rooms do get booked up during high season – so book early. Quality and standards may vary just like any other destination. Location and price should be you main priorities. A good website for client reviews is http://www.tripadvisor.com. For good deals on a range of Athens hotels and other Greece hotels check out Cybertravel Network’s Greece

How to Get Around:

Athens has allegedly more taxi cabs per capita than any other city in the world. Having said that, the fact is, it’s almost not possible to hail down an empty one during the rush hour. Often a cab will slow down and pull up to a curb and cabbie will ask ‘Pou?,’ which means ‘where.’ Just yell out where you want to go to (in Greek preferably), and if you’re fortunate it will be on his way. I can’t say anything in good faith about the truthfulness of cabbies in Athens. I took a cab three times, and twice I got ripped off, so make your own conclusions.

In my view the best way to get around Athens is by bus or trolley. The tickets are not expensive and available at kiosks along any street. Just make sure you cancel the ticket in a ticket machine immediately after you enter the bus or a trolley. There are plenty of ticket controllers around to catch you if you travel without a ticket, or if you forget to stamp it.

Things to see in and around Athens:

Acropolis

The Acropolis is Athens’ most recognizable, breathtaking and astounding site. The Acropolis is in fact the name of the hill upon which there are three main temples: Parthenon, Erechteion and Temple of Athena Nike; as well as the Acropolis Museum and Propylaea, which was the original entrance to the Acropolis.

Being a fan of archeology and Greek classical studies, I was absolutely enthralled by the place. The total size of the Parthenon is extraordinary, when you comprehend it was built 2,500 years ago. The museum houses artifacts found in the temples on the Acropolis, which were put there to avoid weather damage.

Acropolises is a hill, and a pretty steep one, so take good quality walking shoes and bottled water with you when you go. And take careful steps, because the marble steps are very slippery. I introduced myself to the marble the hard way: face first, and let me tell you: it’s not an enjoyable experience.

On the path to the Acropolis there are many souvenir peddlers that sell postcards, papyrus drawings and other trinkets. They sell the same type and quality of souvenirs as the museum gift shop but at half the price. I recommend loading up on souvenirs from them on the way out of Acropolis.

Temple of Olympian Zeus

The temple is one of the only two remaining parts on the Olympieion site. The utter size of this monument is incredible! There is only a few of the original Corinthian columns left of the original 104! This is an ideal site to sit down on a sunny day with a gyro in your hand and just admire its beauty.

Interesting fact about the Temple of Olympian Zeus is that it took almost 700 years to construct. It was started in 515 BC by Peristratos and completed in 125 AD by Roman emperor Hadrian.

Close to the Temple, on Amalias Avenue you can take a closer look at the other remaining monument – Hadrian’s Arch, built a few years later by the same emperor. During my visit it was all covered in cellophane for reconstruction, so wasn’t very inspiring.

The Agoras – Ancient and Roman

Ancient Agora (Arkhaia Agora) was the gathering place of the ancient Athenians. It’s hard to tell now, considering almost nothing is left from the original structures. Hephaisteion (Temple of Hephaistos) is the exception. It’s quite a monument and probably the best conserved of all Greek temples in Athens. Stoa of Attalos, which was entirely reconstructed, houses the museum of Ancient Agora and is a resting place for most of the artifacts found here.

Roman Agora (Romaiki Agora) is situated near the other one. It is much smaller, and a much younger site than Ancient Agora. A couple of interesting things to see here are a Turkish mosque: Fethiye Djami, and Tower of the Winds.

I marked this site as Recommended, not Highly Recommended because unless you have a real interest in archeology or history, you might simply get fed up here. There isn’t as much to see, besides the Hephaisteion, because most of the monuments are almost completely ruined. But if you are a history/archeology buff, have an extra day, or happen to get bored in Plaka, than by all means stop here and do a little exploring.

Panathenaic Stadium

Panathenaic Stadium was the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Its name, Panathinaikon, stands for “All Athenians Stadium”. It has been reconstructed in the place of the original stadium. This stadium is one of those places that just give you a good quality feeling inside. You’re welcome to run laps around it, or to take a look at marble slabs documenting all the modern Olympic Games. At the front of the stadium is a statue of the Discus Thrower.

Kerameikos Cemetery

This one was quite a stunner! Traditionally I was used to cemeteries being rather solemn places where people come to worship or recollect. Not Kerameikos. In fact, judging by people sitting on gravestones, or lying around in bikinis getting a tan, you’d hardly know it’s a cemetery. But you can’t fault anyone; no one has been buried here for over thousand years.

So against my original feelings, I’d have to suggest this site as a nice relaxation place: a place to sit down and read a book, stretch your legs and relax or just get a tan. Oh… there is a museum here as well that exhibits some burial items, gravestones, urns etc.

The Ruins of Delphi

A visit to Delphi site is an absolute must for any history buff. Plan a whole day for the trip as it is around three hours away by bus or car.

The Temple of Apollo is the main pull of the site. This magnificently preserved temple is where Pythia, the High Priestess of Apollo would be asked to predict the future, and in return she would give very inexplicable answers (and they weren’t always good).

The Theatre of the sanctuary and The Stadium are located higher up on the site (approximately 10 minutes walk). Not quite as eye-catching, and can be avoided by those for whom the climb proves too much.

And of course you cannot miss the Archaeological Museum of Delphi, which houses the valuable artifacts found at the site. And fortunately it is situated at the base of the site, so no climbing is necessary.

Plaka

Plaka is the tourist’s heaven. It’s very similar to Paris’ Montmarte district. There are hundreds if not thousands of modest souvenir stores, taverns, liquor stores, small churches and open air stands where you can buy everything from produce to ceramic vases to olive oil soap. It’s a place you have to visit on your last day in Athens when you want to load up on cheap souvenirs. You’re not really going to see all that many locals here, at least proportionally to the thousands of tourists passing by every minute. And by Goddess, don’t forget to bring a map! Plaka is a labyrinth, a network of streets that all look alike.

There are plenty of places to eat in Plaka, but most of the fancy looking ones tend to be terribly costly and don’t really offer that good of the local fare. Little take-out places or little restaurants are the best bet for food there. Their gyros might grease the wrapper, but they taste fine and you’ll have money left over for those souvenirs.

One thing I discovered when buying souvenirs in Plaka, that the price of the item is almost never the price you’ll pay if you play your cards right. In some stores, the owners will tell you right away ‘Today discount 20 percent’ or ‘More you buy, bigger discount’. But as a general rule, you should barter. You’re stupid if you don’t, because you’ll simply overpay for everything. Everyone bargains here, both locals and tourists. And if the store owner is reluctant to make a deal, put down the stuff you’re looking at and say you’ll look somewhere else. They will most likely change their tune and offer you money off right away!

National Archaeological Museum of Athens

If you’re going to see any museum on your trip to Athens, see this one. It is the largest and most inspiring archeological museum in Greece. Even the building itself is quite something to look at. The museum has quite a few different exhibits, but obviously the most interesting ones are the Greek pottery and sculpture, which also happen to take up most of the space. There are also exhibits of Egyptian arts and prehistoric and bronze age artifacts.

The Museum is easily reached by various buses from any point in the city. It’s huge and can easily take up a whole day, but dissimilar to Louvre in Paris, this museum contains such a diversity of things, that I found it very easy to spend several hours there without getting weary of admiring the pieces.

One final note, even though the Type of Museum states it’s an Art Museum, it really is a mixture of an Art/History/Culture Museum. I want to make that clear, so I don’t frighten away art-unconscious people.

National Gardens

National Gardens, which are accessible behind the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, offer a nice escape from all the hustle and the bustle of the city. Looking at the crowds present, I have a feeling they are a trendy hang-out spot for the locals. This is a nice place to take a leisurely walk or eat a brown-bag lunch. In the heart of the park there is a neoclassical structure called Zappion, which I’ve been told is used for important political and cultural events (a security guard told me Greece’s entry into European Union was signed here). It’s quite an eye-catching structure worth checking out if you appreciate architecture.

It is also a fine place to talk to the locals if you so desire. I stopped at a pretzel stand run by a Kurdish immigrant and immediately got into a discussion about the fate of the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan (who was being incarcerated at the time by Turkey). Not that I spoke any Kurdish or Greek, or the stand owner any English, but amazingly enough using hand-gestures, and a combination of English, Greek, German and a word ‘caput’, we somehow came to an understanding that he was a goner and we both supported his cause. Afterwards, I was promptly ripped off for a pretzel, but… it was for a good cause.

Constitution Square

Syntagma (Constitution) Square is centrally positioned in Athens and a pretty good starting point for tourists. There are banks here where you can exchange money, travel agencies where you could pick up information on what to see in Athens or book a bus tour and some rather luxurious hotels.

Top tourist attraction in the Square is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which is watched over by guards wearing EVZONE costumes, which is the customary male Greek costume comprising of a white skirt and shirt, red vest and hat and shoes with pompons. They look rather attractive! The best time to see the changing of the guards is Sundays at noon, when the big service takes place. I believe that the early event starts at around 11 or 11:30 am, when a battalion of soldiers starts marching down the street with a military band playing. When they approach the Tomb, they stop in a systematic fashion, wait until noon, then the ceremony of changing of the guards begins. It’s really quite interesting as there is so much custom and ceremony involved. The soldiers take these long careful steps: I was amazed to see how they keep their balance while standing on one leg.

There isn’t much else to see in Syntagma Square itself, but from here you’ll have easy access to the National Gardens, as well as Plaka and Omounia Square. Somehow, my every day in Athens started and ended here.

Three Island Cruise

This was well worth the time and money. I booked the cruise through Cybertravel Network http://www.hotels-greece-athens.com one of about a dozen travel agencies offering the identical tour (later I found out many tour agencies use the same boat, which can carry several hundred people). It was very well planned: in the early morning a van picked me up from the hotel and dropped me off where air-conditioned coaches took us to the harbor. From there, it was a couple hours of sailing to our first port of call: Hydra. What a magnificent, laid-back small place! White houses, red roofs, blue water and the sky, about 25 Celsius… and that’s in February! Shopper’s paradise of course with souvenir shops everywhere. We moved on to Poros, during which time lunch was served on board. Poros, wasn’t as tranquil as Hydra to me. It was more commercialized, reminded me a bit of Honolulu, Hawaii. But it was a nice place to grab a bowl of ice cream and just lounge a bit on the harbor. From there we moved to Aegina and were offered to pay for an optional bus tour on Aegina to the Temple of Aphaia.

The bus tour was well worth the money. Temple of Aphaia at Aegina is very well preserved and an outstanding site to take a look at. Aegina is also a very good place to purchase pistachio nuts: there are vendors all over the place, so pick up a bag or two on the way out!

The cruise back was very laid back. There was on board entertainment: live band, comedian, Greek folk dancing etc. I chose to just kick back with a bottle of Retsina (Greek wine) and watch the display which was quite pleasurable. Upon arrival, the coaches dropped everyone off back at their hotels.