Thursday, September 17, 2009

One of my favorite people visited Kalamazoo last week as a guest of the Arcus Foundation. Bishop Gene Robinson spoke to area religious leaders about his life, his faith and his work to make sure lgbt folks are welcome in the Episcopal Church. I hadn't been planning to photograph the event, but after I got there I learned that Arcus hadn't hired anyone to cover it and so I offered to take a few photos for them. Here Bishop Robinson is engaging in conversation with Mr. Tom Kam, the director of the Religion and Values program at Arcus. Kalamazoo, Michigan. 11 September 2009.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

After a visit to Delphi we headed east briefly to see the 11th century Ossiou Louka Monastery. It was definitely our favorite monastery, at least partially because they give free reign for taking photos/ videos. There were stunning icons and frescoes, and I particularly liked this cross that had sunlight falling on it from a nearby window. Near Kiriakio, Greece. 4 August 2009.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

From Athens we drove north to Meteora in Thessaly (central Greece) to have a look at the monasteries that perch on the top of some remarkable pinnacle rock formations. We'd seen cats (and some dogs) everywhere on our trip, but this one trying to get a few drops of water out of the gutter was particularly photogenic. Meteora, Thessaly, Greece. 2 August 2009.

Monday, September 14, 2009

We weren't in Athens for long-- about 48 hours-- but it did include an opportunity to watch the full-blown changing of the guard at Syntagma Square in front of Parliament on Sunday. The guards uniforms are beautiful, with lots of interesting touches. Their kilts/skirts (yes, these are men; the Greeks claim to have invented the Scottish kilt), known as a fustanella, include 400 pleats-- one for each year their county was occupied by the Turks. The soldiers have professional steam irons in their barracks and have to iron them themselves. The requirements for this detail-- the Presidential Guards-- include being under the age of 25, over 5' 11" tall and having an outstanding an unimpeachable character. Apparently they are also tabloid fodder because of their romantic entanglements with politicians. Athens, Greece. 2 August 2009.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A seaside convent on the Island of Patmos. We arrived here after visiting hours, but it wouldn't have made much difference. Women wearing shorts or trousers are not welcome to visit, and we were both wearing shorts (never mind that these were knee-length shorts!). We visited several monasteries and convents in Meteora, on the mainland, where the same rules apply, but they supplied wrap around skirts for you to put over your shorts/trousers. If you had a sleeveless blouse they would provide a shawl for you to cover your shoulders. I've encountered 'dress-code' sorts of things at mosques in my travels, but not this sort of thing in a church. As you might imagine, there were no similar rules for men. Island of Patmos, Dodecanese, Greece. 30 July 2009.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lambi Beach on the Island of Patmos is supposed to have lovely colored pebbles, but we couldn't seem to find them. We did find pebbles, but they were just different shades of brown (perhaps we weren't using our imaginations enough?). We had gone there at the end of the day to investigate a possible restaurant for dinner. We ended up at a restaurant in the town square of Kampos, where we watched tractors, vegetable trucks, motorcycles and children go by. The restauarant mostly didn't have a menu-- just a waiter who suggested things we might try-- we enjoyed an artichoke dish, some Patmos cheese pie and some lamb. A fantastic meal! Lambi beach, Island of Patmos, Dodecanese, Greece. 29 July 2009.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Besides being a reasonable place to stay, the Australis hotel on the Island of Patmos had many nooks and crannies that would make a perfect postcard of Greece. On the islands we saw nothing but deep blue sky, beautiful bougainvillea and lots of sky blue trim. At the Australis those things seemed to have been arranged with additional little touches like a basket of shells or a ceramic urn. It was quite stunning. Skala, Island of Patmos, Dodecanese, Greece. 29 July 2009.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Island of Patmos has a number of convents and monasteries. For that matter, it has a lot of churches-- something like 400 on an island that has only 3000 inhabitants! There was a church on the property of the guesthouse where we stayed that celebrated its patronal feast the day we were there.
We passed this priest as we were wandering about the town of Chora, trying to get lost. I asked if I could take his picture so he stopped long enough to get a quick shot. It was a beautiful area, not far from a convent. Chora, Patmos, Dodecanese, Greece. 29 July 2009.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Looking southeast from the monastery of Áyios Ioánnis Theológos. Island of Patmos, Greece. 29 July 2009.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

From Samos we took a hydrofoil to the Island of Patmos (made famous by the possibility that John wrote the Book of Revelation there). It's a much smaller island than Samos, and gets some cruise ship day trip traffic, but still quite beautiful. This was taken at the monastery at the hill-top town of Chora. Lots of people there (though you wouldn't know it from this image), but fewer at the cave where John dictated the words of Revelation to his scribe. Island of Patmos, Greece. 29 July 2009.

Monday, September 07, 2009

We enjoyed a late afternoon and two early mornings in the town of Pythagorio (guess what famous mathematician was born here?) when the light in the harbor was absolutely gorgeous. Each time we strolled the docks and back streets of town, and each time we noticed different things. On an evening stroll on an out-of-the-way street a local shopkeeper practically dragged me into his shop to see some swallows that had taken to nesting in the rafters inside. With very basic English he told me that they had been nesting there every year for 11 years. His wife told me that they had owned and operated that small grocery story for 61 years. I'm thinking they were at least 80. Pythagorio Harbor, Island of Samos, Greece. 27 July 2009.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Driving back to our hotel after a lovely day on the north coast of Samos we drove through the town of Marathakampos. Out of nowhere came this view. We decided to search out the church and ended up on a tiny dead end street where a group of elderly gentlemen seemed to be enjoying a smoke, some late-afternoon ouzo and several games of chess (in that order, I think). Boy did they enjoy watching two women try to turn their car around (but probably not as much as we enjoyed watching them watch us turn the car around!). Marathakampos, Island of Samos, Greece. 25 July 2009.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Finally! Some Greece photos. I processed them soon after returning in August, but for one reason or another it has taken me forever to get them posted here. I initially picked out two dozen images for this blog, but realized that that might get a little tedious (besides, I'll be going to Maine at the end of the month and there will be tons of ocean photography opportunities!). So I've narrowed it down to twelve of my favorites which, hopefully, will appear here over the next two weeks. This was taken on the Island of Samos, a relatively-unvisited (at least by those from the US!) island in the northeast Aegean. This goat just looked so darn curious, wondering why a car had stopped beside the road to take its picture. Near Manolotes, Island of Samos, Greece. 25 July 2009.

Friday, September 04, 2009

I think I like this version of the 'bee on the chives' shot better than the one I posted on September 1. But only barely-- I like the dark and somewhat mysterious background in the September 1 post. Texas Corners, Michigan. 1 September 2009.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The butterfly bush is edging past its prime, but that doesn't seem to stop this guy. Texas Corners, Michigan. 1 September 2009.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

I don't know if this is a variation on a theme of lavender or not, but the garden has several varieties-- some of which have been blooming all summer. Texas Corners, Michigan. 1 September 2009.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Maybe it's because I'm deathly allergic to these guys, I don't know, but I love to take photos of bees having a jolly old time on a pretty flower. Today I ventured out to the garden at lunch time and couldn't resist taking a few more photos for a "Bee on Flower" series. Texas Corners, Michigan. 1 September 2009.