Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday January 19th 2018

The Tent
(aka Lots of money for a very small reward)


I was making yet another business trip to China and with some smart planning, I managed to get a transfer in Osaka for the same price as transfering elsewhere.

So time to check off another building on the 21-list!


Once I landed in Osaka, I went to my hotel (I had choosed the Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport to save  time), checking in - and then straight out again.

I took a JR train from the airport to Kyoto, since it seemed easiest - which it was.
It took about 65 minutes and no tranfers. I highly recommend this route if you are going from Osaka airport.

Once in Kyoto (oh, the memories came back from when I was here the last time), I took bus 100 (206 will also work) about 15 minutes (cost: 230 Yen, pay when you get off the bus) to the bus stop Gojo-zaka. From here you easily walk to Kiyomizu-dera in 10 minutes.

The entrance to the temple looks pretty nice:

Inside looked ok, less than I expected, but when I came out on the other side I could really see the reparations I had read about that was ongoing.
And this side is the iconic view of the temple when you google it.

What I got...was a tent.

Very disappointing. :(
I am not sure I have ever before spent this much (hotel, train, bus, entrence etc) for this little.
But at least I got the satisfaction off checking something off my list. A very small consolation at this point.

I walked around the area for a few more minutes; checked out the "3 waterfalls", some other temples - and then when back to Osaka and my hotel.

Tomorrow I go back to work in China.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Thursday November 23rd 2017

Athens in Ruins


Got up really early (03:30) to get to the airport and catch a flight to CdG in Paris. There I transfered to another flight that would take me to Athens and make sure I could check off another item on my 21-list.

During the flight to Athens we flew over the beautiful Alps.


From the airport I took the Metro to central Athens,it was very easy find the way and get tickets.

I did however have a hard time finding the hotel; the streets we not easy to follow and the hotel sign was not very big. But eventually I was there; the Home and Poetry Hotel.

The staff were supernice and I got the room Solomos (they have named all their rooms after Greek poets).

Not stopping for long, I headed out again. I passed the Hadrian's Arch and got to the ruins of the Temple of Zeus. For such small remains, it was actually pretty nice. 


I walked on towards the Panathenaic Stadium, where the olympic flame is handed over to the host nation after been lit in Olympia and travelled over Greece to Athens. The tourch was actually handed over to South Korea just a month ago.

It's an amazing stadium where you really could feel wings of history.
And so much marble!

Then I walk across the National Garden towards my hotel. I first stopped at a restaurant (called Saita) where I had Sovlaki and tried the greek beer Eza.
The food was good! The beer not so much.

Back at the hotel just in time for some sleep.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Friday November 24th 2017

Athens - day two!

The hotel has its breakfast on the rooftop and it has a lovely view of Acropolis. A very nice backdrop for your morning tea! :)

Today is the day to go and see Acropolis. This hill has been the focal point of Athens for thousands of years. So many things has happened here.


In this place (Theater of Dionysos, built several hundereds of years BC) is apperently the place where the first greek tragedies were set up.

And this place below (Odeion of Herodes Atticus) was build in 161 AD, but has since been renovated and are now used as a place where many people has performed (like Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Jean Michel Jarre, Diana Ross, Ennio Morricone, and Foo Fighters).
I would have loved to see a concert here!

Finally coming to the top of the hill; I entered (like everyone else) through the Propylaea:

Up here, there is a lot of... stones. Some ruins (standing up mostly due to restoration projects that has been going on for decades), but still a lot of stone and marble laying around from former buildings.

The buildings that stood up, were incredible, but I think I expected a few more.

The most famous of course; the Partheon! Despite the little that is left of it (and the cranes), it's still magnificent!

To the right in the below picture is the Erechtheion. Other than that it is pretty empty up here. But just think how impressive this place must have been two thousand years ago!


The view from up here is also very nice. Below is a picture of Lycabettus Hill, where I plan to go tomorrow.


After this is was time to move on. One more item checked off the travel bucket list! Woohoo!

On my way to the Acient Agora (aka Athenian Agora), I went into the Roman Agora. Not supermuch to see here, but it is facinating to know that this gate (called The Gate of Athena Archegetis) was constructed in 11 BC by donations from the roman emperors Julius Caesar and Augustus.

Then into the Acient Agora.
Just like up on the hill; there is a lot of "used to be buildings here" - stones everywhere, but in the old days; what a sight it must have been.

One of the few building that is actually still standing is the Temple of Hephaestus:

A view over the Acient Agora with the Acropolis in the distance.


Then is was time to leave the ruins for today and I heading into the town.

I came to Syntagma Square and the Parlament.

Here we have the gurds outside the Parlament. They don't walk like regular people.

I stayed and watched the changing of the guards. They walk almost in slowmotion - and wierd. But very disciplined!

Then a slight detour into the National Garden and back to the hotel for a well deserved rest.

In the evening I went to a restaurant (Ta Giouvetsakia) for some dinner. I had a beef stew with a greek Beer (Alfa).
The stew was great, the beer was horribly tasteless.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Saturday November 25th 2017

Athens - day three!

My plans for today was to get to the top of Lycabettus Hill, the highest point in Athens (277m above the city).

There is a funicular going up there, but what's the fun in that?
(usually plenty by my experiences from other funiculars...  :)

However I decided to walk up.

This is how part of the track looked like:

But eventually the walk path got a little better.

It took about an hour to walk from my hotel to the top.
And it was exhausing, at least the first part of the hillside which was pretty steep.

But eventually, I got there.

The view up here is spectacular, you can see pretty much all of Athens. Well worth the walk up.

I spent a few hours here; reading, having lunch (kebab in pita bread) and watching the view. Very calming.

Then I walked down again to the busy streets and back to the hotel where I hovered for several hours.


At night I went out for some dinner; I went to a restaurant (which I never found out the name of) and ate lamb in lemon souce and had a ”black beer”, the greek Fix Dark.
The beer was by far the best here so far, but that does not really say anything. But at least it tasted something!
The food was ok.


When I got to the hotelI went to the bar on the roof for some Ozo and a plate of cheese and stuff. Nice end to this day.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Sunday November 26th 2017

Athens - day four!

Breakfast and then hanged around the room to read before I had to check out.

Then I walked up to the Syntagma Square to take the Metro to the airport.

The same route as going here; first a flight to Paris and then transfer back to Gothenburg.

I arrived at my place at about 22:30.
Home sweet home...

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Omega

I was very into greek mythology when I was a kid, but I don't think Acropolis has ever been that high up on any list I have had.
Not that I never wanted to visit it, I did, but somehow it slipped my mind when thinking of destinations.

That said, I had great time there. The history of the place is amazing.
The people was also very nice, the food was good - the beer...not so much.

To summerise, I don't think I will ever go back there (unless convinced by someone else), but I am very happy to have made the trip.

Moneywise, I spent about 7200 SEK in total.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Saturday October 28th 2017

A day in clay


I was making another business trip to China the other week and this time I had a transfer at Xi'an.

By going one day earlier, I manage to get one day there so I can go and see the Terracotta warriors at Emperor Qin's mausoleum.
It was fairly easy to get there; you just take either the 914 or 915 bus from the big bus station outside the train station at the northern city wall.
It was 8 yuan and you paid it to the conductor onboard the bus.

At the mausoleum (hard to miss the stop, everyone goes off the bus there), it is pretty big; you had to walk a little bit to get to the entrance.
There was a big statue of Emperor Qin close to it - so keep an eye out for that (or just follow the signs :) )

Once inside, I walked to the main attraction; the first pit - the famous one:

Some fun fact; the warriors does not look the same. There is a multifud of differences like the face, clothing ears and hairdo. Amazing the work that was put in this - more than 2000 years ago!

On the side there are one row of warriors facing outward (and backwards at the back) to make sure there are no surprise attacks.

There are about 8000 terracotta warriors here, but far from all has been excavated - or put together for that matter. All warriors found are broken into pieces.
The emperor after Qin raided the mausoleum and took all the weapons made for the terracotta warriors - and they broke them all for good measures. :(

After this I went to the two other pits plus the museum here.

I went back to town with the same bus - and walked around in Xi'an city. On the wall and then to the bell tower. But that story won't be told here (and is really not interesting at all).