In addition to everyone (Barb, Mike, me) choosing daily favorites, we made lists of 10 Things.
Our first 10 Things list is “10 Ways Greece is Like Italy,” in no particular order. A few years ago, we visited Italy, you see.
Obviously, this is based on first impressions of Greece. So . . .
10 Ways Greece is Like Italy
1. Rooftop and balcony gardens – Wonderful oases, no? Only way to live in a city, if you ask me. I want to house/pet-sit such a place—in Venice, ideally, but I’m open to other cities and possibilities. I’ll take great care of your garden. And your house. And your pets. I have references!
2. Narrow streets, tiny cars, tricycle cars – Like rats in a maze! Driving these is best left to Barb, but walking them is great fun.
3. Hawkers – the restaurateurs here and women selling needlework blankets. Nope, I’m not a fan.
4. Cats in ruins – Kinda makes me want to be a cat: They ignore the ropes and signs. What else is down there kittycat?
5. Ruins poking out from under the city – My imagination runs wild with this reality. What worlds might exist under our feet?
6. Roman brickwork – The kind of brickwork I’m showing here is called “opus testaceum,” and, yep, we learned about it in our Ancient Engineering class. The professor even demonstrated with Lego-sized bits! It’s pretty clever.
It’s brick-faced concrete work. Triangular pieces of brick, with points inward and long sides showing, were mortared together with concrete.
7. Minimal water and electricity in daily living – I’m all for conservation, but showers and laundry here seem really inconvenient to me. They’re much more of a hassle than they need to be, but the Greeks and Italians don’t seem to care.
8. Architectural details – We have
hundreds thousands of pictures to illustrate this. Mike, I have some ideas for our house that I’d like to discuss.
9. “Walking the shit out of . . . .” That’s a phrase we use after a long day of hoofing it over a lot of ground. We wind up using it often. I’m grateful for functioning legs and feet.
10. Public smoking – From the DK Eyewitness Travel Top 10: Athens guide book: “Greeks smoke almost twice as many cigarettes per capita as the European average. Although smoking was officially banned in all enclosed public spaces in 2002, this was widely flouted.”
I’d say it still is widely flouted in both Greece and Italy. At the train station in Rome, people were standing under “No Smoking” signs smoking! Here, workers are stocking bins at the fruiterer with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths. Ew!
One problem that no one addresses is the issue of “enclosed spaces.” We need to define what these are. I maintain that narrow roads hemmed in by tall walls are enclosed spaces, despite being outdoors. Same with crowds of people. At the tree-lighting ceremony in Lakki last week, a mass of people crowded into the square to see, hear, and mingle. It’s outside, but it’s “enclosed” nonetheless, and smokers force everyone to breathe secondhand smoke under those conditions, which sucks. It’s inconsiderate, unhealthy, and rude.
Soapbox? Really? Dude, I’m just getting started.
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