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Visiting the remote monasteries up on the cliffs of Meteora has been a truly humbling experience. We've booked a guided tour so we wouldn't have to walk all the way up there ourselves and went into three of the remaining six inhabited cloisters. Apart from them being insanely inaccessible until modern times the sheer architectural accomplishment of their construction is stunning. Even more so when you see that all the buildings are super beautiful and they host a dazzling collection of relics and artifacts. Like the skull of a burned to death monk that's supposed to perform miracles of sorts and smell real nice. Also there were many other interesting exhibits like engraved weaponry dating from the battles against the Turks and Germans, old robes, crowns, traditional costumes and countless paintings of orthodox icons. The view over the villages and the now barely existing Pindus river lost in its large sandy bed into the plain of Thessaly was nothing short of magnificent and feeling the height down the vertical faces of the supporting rocks made me numb at times. There were some monks/nuns going about their daily business caught in the dilemma of retaining their solitude while making money off tourists to sustain and renovate the sites. At one point in-between monasteries our luxurious minibus stopped on the road and our guide told us that the scenery we were looking at had been used in the matte backdrop of a prison in the Eyrie from Game of Thrones!

Returning to earthly grounds we feasted - did I really fail to note that Greek food is splendid? - and rested before we explored Kalabaka (sorry, no definite transcription for Greek script) a bit more. It's obvious that people around here are a bit more well off because of the two million people coming by each year and the locals really endulge in decorating their gardens with as much flowers as they can. No shortage of stray cats here, either.

Yesterday then we took the train … oh wait, it's actually two trains and we have switch midway at some random station? We made a habit of asking several other people before we enter public transportation, cause all the folks behind the counters can go suck ass. I mean it. Despite the ongoing information ban we made it to Greece's second city Thessaloniki and moved into another penthouse apartment, seventh storey of an old industrial building with the waterfront just ahead of us, checks out :∆ After a hefty meal we dozed off during the heat of the afternoon. I was unable to do anything else, really. The simmering heat wouldn't be bearable without the AC on, even at night.

Then for the first time in a whole week the sun was covered by clouds, alas just for a mere thirty minutes or so. We spent the evening and following hours walking along the Sunset Strip explorin the city center and its randomly occurring leftover ruins. I'm a sucker for all things Byzantine since Age of Empires II and I love beholding the many small and big churches that are still around virtually everywhere.

Now we've got two days left to see the rest of the city, which strikes me a tad bit less hectic and dense or narrow than Athens. We heard there's a lot of stuff going on earning it comparisons to Berlin in that regard. Let's see if that holds true.

26717   |   travel
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Disclaimer: lengthy vacation report ahead, will format reasonably and add illustrative pictures when back home.

Me and my gf are traveling Greece right now, haven't come around to write a bit, yet. We've spent four days in Athens and it's been a tremendous experience! The penthouse apartment we rented boasted a huge terrace and almost 360 degrees of awesome view over the endless ocean of white houses and hills of the capital. So we had a comfy spot where we could retreat from the heat of the afternoon and went out early and late to dive into the narrow streets and alleys and get carried away by the bustling charme of the city. There's a lot to discover just by strolling through the different neighbourhoods, dodging fat guys drinking iced coffee on their motorcycles, pushing through the hoardes of Panathinaikos fans at the stadium around our corner, dealing with employees totally indifferent to their job and getting used to the constant rattling cicadas everywhere. Did I mention that it's fucking hot here? The apartment blocks look way different than what I've seen in other countries so far, maybe Spain comes closest. Literally every sibgle apartment has at least one 4m² balcony of sorts, stuffed to the brim with all kinds of plants. I've been in charge of watering "Autonomy" - a very green, supposedly magic plant, that grew on our balcony (:

Of course there's lots of ancient rubble and history oozing out of every corner and it's nice to finally set foot on the Akropolis and behold the Parthenon, but kinda to my own surprise I found it much more interesting to see how people are coping. Youth unemployment is at some 51% and rising and it shows. Lots of poor folks wandering about, taking all kinds of measures to score at least a meal. We've seen kids being loaded up onto a pickup and driven trough the city to play accordeon and what not. Old folks offering every last piece of crappy toy or old book they had on the pavement, selling napkins or pencils. Yesterday we've been waiting for the bus next to a park where everyone (it was a lot of people, mostly under 30) was busy either getting the supply, preparing their poison, shooting up, being straight up on cloud ten and half or already strung out wasted. Shit, man, the future sometimes really feels bleak around here. But luckily on the other hand there's a lot of vitality and uplifting spirit in most of the Greek people. They love to be outside, drinking their coffees, eating souflakis, chatting loudly and enjoy the summer. A bit weird that everyone looks like he's on vacation, though ;D So apart from the regular When-In-Athens-You-Can't-Miss-X-Itinerary we've been to the museums of Ceramics and Kykladic Art - both very interesting - topped all the mountains of the city proper, met myriads of dusty stray cats and went to Schinias Beach near Marathon.

That is, we tried to, really. We've been waiting at our station for the Attika regional bus to pick us up, but this being Greece, of course the destinatinis not written properly on the bus, the driver's door doesn't open and if you knock to ask if it's the one … nah dude, they won't open that door and give you any information. We tried three buses, same shit. Let me tell you that was really something pissing us off every now and then here. Not even on the operator's website is it possible to find any numbers or stations. Athina 7:30, that's as much as you'll get. In the end we asked someone working at the subway and headed to where the busses started just to make sure we'll be able to ask. That cost us two freaking hours and more asking, asking, asking the same person again thrice, because nobody's actually listening to your whole question. Some people here really need to get their shit together, even more so when tourism is really the single readily available opportunity to get out of the debt spiral. But hey, i'm only visiting, who am I to give advice here …

Finally on the bus we couldn't tell neither why it takes two people to operate a bus (one drove, the other sold tickets and shouted out the next station) nor why it takes anyone two hours to cover those 40km in a motorized vehicle. Anyhow, despite some drawbacks we had an awesome day at the beach, super warm water, an island in the far background, mountains all around and a pine forest growing right up to the beach. It's actually supposed to be part of a National Park with wetlands, where rare birds and other species dwell, but sadly it was just as piled up with cars, cig butts and trash as the gutters in central Athens.
Sometimes I just don't get it :(

Today then we took the train to our next destination: The lovely town of Kalampaka right in the famous Meteora region. The five hour ride took us through insanely beautiful and diverse mountain ridges and valleys and took us all the way up to the region of Thessaly. We've got a charming little housy to ourselves and spent the evening walking around the surreal shapes of sandstone monoliths and boulders that Hephaistos himself might've hammered into place. We could spend days just gazing at the greyish structures now smooth and elegantly curged, now carved out by aeons of rainfall and wind. The vibe amongst people here is a bit different, of course, kinda like in a village where people know and greet each other and everyone sports two full spectrums of flower in their tidy gardens. It's lovely and a good change after navigating the white ant hill further south. We even met two tortoises on our hike! And tomorrow we're gonna visit some of the famous monasteries up one the high spires, I'm super stoked!

23717   |   travel Greece Athens
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14717   |   illustration digital.art human man beard music instrument hand
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Yllis - 

20617   |   music electronic video music.video digital.art 3D city street car flight wtf
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19617   |   painting surreal head clothes wtf
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19617   |   gif pixel.art human text building
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19617   |   photo black.white robot clothes circle light
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19617   |   photo animal sea.creature fish anatomy water
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19617   |   pottery painting circle
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see me run then you're gone
dream on
Massive Attack - risingson

1617   |   digital.art painting astronaut alien human woman symbol weapon gun
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Check this out,  W:Blut wrote this wicked WebGL shader that smoothly runs in any browser window:

V1
V2

28517   |   programming digital.art pixel.art noise geometry
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21517   |   Cinema4D 3D sphere black.white pixel.art
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New Soulwax Essential is out, peep it!

20517   |   music electronic mixtape
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20517   |   digital.art Cinema4D 3D rainbow
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It seemed like a fairy tale on that day twelve  years ago when the remnants of two legendary great bands went on stage before me. It had poured the whole day and afternoon, but right as the first chords to Black Hole Sun where strung the clouds pried open just enough to let a bundle of rays through to enlight the stage and twenty thousand people. And just as the song was over everyone, struck in awe, embraced the returning rain.

Thank you, Chris Cornell, for that special moment and all the ones before.

And my youth I pray to keep.

18517   |   life death music
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Long time no music. Took quite awhile for everything to get in its place, but I finally assembled my setup again and went right at it.

17317   |   music beats electronic SP-404 Ableton.Live
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Stephan van Fleteren - The Swan, 2016

17217   |   painting animal bird death
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