204 days ago
Feeling rather sleep deprived after our early Saturday morning flight to Greece, Sunday saw a collective lie-in at the Greek Hovel. Even the pest himself, my son Joshua, was snoring until well after ten. Then a morning swim. The pool is full and wonderful. Whatever time you get in the temperature seems just perfect. I am not sure how George the architect managed to fill it as there seems to be a bit of a water shortage. Now before you say global warming as some readers have already been quick to suggest, here are the facts.
279 days ago
Those who read my From Athens with Love dossier on InternetQ (INTQ) in 2015 when it was AIM listed will have been in no doubt that its users and sales were pure fiction. Today there is final vindication for me, this is yet another massive fraud from Greece.
448 days ago
The drama is all over now. The final harvester to depart, heroic K, is on his bus to Athens and I am sitting in the Kourounis taverna back in Kambos waiting for an omlette and preparing to catch up on a work backlog in my last full day here in Greece. But an hour and a half ago it all felt so very different.
457 days ago
The photos below are from the roof of the Athens hotel in which I am holed up after a day of travel hell which I discuss and offer a warning to the trio of bearcast listeners coming to join me for the olive harvest shortly. In the bearcast I look at Inspirit (INSP), 13 Energy (E3E), Eurasia Mining (EUA) which is run by a top banana bt has a joke valuation and FinnCap (FCAP) which has a joke valuation in light of today’s interims and is run by a top er… it is run by Sam Smith.
457 days ago
At last, two and a half days after leaving the Welsh Hovel I have arrived at the Greek Hovel. Can I top last night’s views of the Acropolis? Yes I can!
505 days ago
You will remember our extensive coverage of Folli Follie the Greek fraud exposed by Gabriel Grego, one of my free podcast guests today, How I remember being chased from its HQ 20 miles North of Athens by security guards trying to grab my camera! The ghost of Folli Follie (now in administration) is back in the news as Links of London, a British chain it owns has itself gone into administration. 350 jobs are at risk.
882 days ago
It was not that long ago that burly security guards from Follie Follie were trying to grab my camera and chasing me as I door-stepped the company at its HQ 20 miles North of Athens. I guess they are unemployed now as forensic accountants Alvarez & Marsal have now published a report showing the massive fraud we and, more particularly, Gabriel Grego alleged was indeed true,.
910 days ago
Right now I am in a luxury hotel organised by the Mrs for daughter Olaf's last night in Greece and for me to recover in after a ten hour road trip to drop Miss W off at Athens airport."Baywatch" has a great view, a lovely pool, ouzo is on tap, the internet works allowing Joshua to sit like a moron watching Thomas the Tank Engine without interruption and the Mrs is lolling happily. And there is no wildlife diversity to report. Not so back at the Greek Hovel. Let us start with the scorpion.
917 days ago
This may be the main bearcast or it may be a bonus. It all depends on how I feel and daughter Olaf feels after I pick her up at 4.30 AM Athens time in the Greek capital. In this I look at Falanx (FLX), the red flag of a rapid change in advisers ref Halosource (HALO) but also in more general terms and then at a shameless performance by John Meyer of SP Angel as he is interviewed by Justin the Clown over Bluejay (JAY). Meyer is at best an idiot, at worst he is covering up for what appears to be market abuse by his employer in relation to Bluejay shares. I will not let this one go. The clown's podcast is torture to listen to but can be found HERE if you feel you deserve 20 minutes of torture.
918 days ago
Today's podcast is recorded ahead of an overnight trip to Athens to pick up daughter Olaf. It is not a trip that I look forward to greatly. In it I discuss EVR Holdings (EVRH), HaloSource (HALO) and Frontera Resources (FRR).
951 days ago
I travel Easyjet (EZY) often. In the winter it is Bristol to Athens and back, in the summer it is Gatwick to Kalamata and back. Usually it is no worse and no better than any other budget airline. Not that I really care but I just want to point out a quite obvious scam it inflicts on its passengers.
1006 days ago
Having collapsed by another 25% yesterday to just 4.8 Euro shares in Folli Follie were suspended on the Athens stock exchange first thing today prompting a bearcast ouzo. Initially the company told the Greek media that it was because of all we nasty bears spreading false rumours and creating a disorderly market. Then at 11.30 GMT the awful truth came out.
1009 days ago
For reasons to do with burly security guards explained here I could not record this at Folli Follie. That is probably good as I can now explain the similarities with another Greek fraud (Globo), the looming deadlines and the unresolved questions which make this company likely to implode. That is not to say it does not have some real operations, the photos below are of its flagship store at 19 Ermou St in Athens, which I visited on Monday
1017 days ago
I will today book my ticket to Greece next week.I am not yet decided whether to fly direct to Kalamata and the hovel or go via Athens to shoot some videos outside Folli Follie HQ and at some of its bogus shops. I have not doorsteppoed a Greek fraud for a while. It has been too long. Back to the hovel and you can see we have two doors in the bat room: one for the eco loo and an external one. We have a window, so the room is snake proof, and a wooden ceiling. This week power points and the floor are being installed!
1024 days ago
Folli Folie, the Greek fraudsters, today attempted to refuse claims by Gabriel Grego that they were lying, inter alia, about store numbers and so in a release to the Athens Stock Exchange published a list of 587 stores. It has taken me one hour to prove clear and big lies on this list as I shall demonstrate below.
1080 days ago
You may remember that in a podcast (HERE) on 4th March I recalled a horrific 22 hour trip from Kalamata, via Athens Airport, to Bristol made hellish not just by snow but by the behaviour of EasyJet (EZJ) staff who repeatedly lied to me and fellow passengers. last night I sent that podcast to EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren with a note:
1091 days ago
I leave Kalamata shortly but when I get to Athens will there be a flight to take me home to Bristol or will I be dossing down at the Sofitel until the next flight on Monday? As I ponder that matter I consider the great news for we shareholders from Big Sofa (BST) and the real import of today's shocking news that Beaufort Securities has gone tits up. Postscript from Kalamata bus station: Bristol flights have been cancelled. With frightening efficiency I have transferred to a Gatwick flight. I am now working out how to get from Gatwick to Bristol in the middle of the night.
1192 days ago
My father's mother Lesbia Winnifrith (nee Cochrane) was noted for many things, not least foir me being - as are all Cochranes - a great Hellenophile. Playing rugby with the boys at the Dragon School, being pretty useful at cricket and also the undisputedly best player of mass family games of Racing Demon were some of those things I remember. There is a story from the war, involving travel from when my father, aged three, returned from evacuation in Westmoreland.
1411 days ago
I have remarked many times before on Paddy Leigh Fermor's good Greek bad Greek thesis. 99% of Greeks are generous, honest, good folks. The other 1% are such complete and utter bastards that their actions serve as a stark reminder of how incredibly good their fellow countrymen are. The lying traitor of a PM, Alex Tsipras is firmly among the 1%. So too, are more than a few taxi drivers in Athens.
1412 days ago
I always travel as cheaply as possible searching out the best bargains online although for Greece I try hard to fly Aegean as its service is fantastic even for we peasants in cattle class. For this flight from Copenhagen I briefly considered a real bargain from Air Serbia but an eight hour stop over at Belgrade did not appeal. Likewise even a mere 90 minutes in Istanbul as part of a dirt cheap Air Turkey offer was not something that grabbed me for a host of reasons. And so I went back to Aegean.
1466 days ago
I arrived in good time at Athens bus station, aka the biggest shit hole this side of Mosul. and grabbed a cab for the airport. Within 100 yards the car was stuttering as if it was out of gas. The driver seemed unphased and just played with the gear stick as` if this was par for the course. On a dusty side street I was not too bothered but then we went onto the 4 lane motorway to the airport. He sensed my unease and asked "are you scared?" I lied and said no.
1475 days ago
I had this really cunning plan. And the Mrs thought it was cunning too. What could possibly go wrong? God punished me for my conceit.
1477 days ago
Whenever I say to folks that I am off to Greece they always say "lucky you the weather will be so much nicer than in the UK". Au contraire. True, when I got to Athens airport at 4 AM (2 AM GMT) it was a balmy 9 degrees. I was so hot that i removed oone of my four layers of clothing. But as I headed North things started to change.
1492 days ago
2017 starts off, following the theme of the second half of 2016. It is another related party obituary from the rapidly thinning ranks of my father's generation. They are now the front line. I stand in the second. There is still one Great Aunt who stands in front of my father's peers but she stands alone, her line has all gone.
1549 days ago
I landed at the airport at one in the morning and was aware that the bus from the Athens coach station to Kalamata did not leave until 6.30 AM. And I remembered that the bus station was cold and among the grottiest places in town. And thus I settled in a comfortable arm chair in a coffee shop at the airport, got online and produced three articles and started to feel quite productive. But then share blogger Paul Scott started tweeting me.
1634 days ago
The fifth film in this series, with the simple title Jason Bourne, has won mixed reviews but the Mrs and I really enjoyed an afternoon showing yesterday. For us, naturally, the early part of the movie shot in Greece was a hoot.
1652 days ago
I was waiting this to happen just at it did four years ago as I reported HERE. The EU has claimed that it sits at the top of the Olympic medals table with Team GB, currently second behind the US, submerged into team Evil Empire.
The EU table shows that the Evil Empire has won 223 medals at this year's Games – including 78 golds – compared to the United States' 84 and China's 51. Team GB - on 50 medals and 19 golds - disappears.
Remember that it is your taxes that funds such a pointless exercise. Do you think that in the streets of Athens they are cheering
1799 days ago
Carolyn McCall the CEO of Easyjet (EZJ) is obsessed with how many of her pilots have willies. She wants more women in the cockpit. I dont care who drives her bloody planes she has ruined my day with appalling customer service and I now find myself tired and bad tempered at Athens Airport, not having a stiff ouzo as planned in Crete. As such Ms McCall deserves a bearcast special.
1810 days ago
It would have been an added bonus if Goldenport (GPRT) - heading to zero as Nigel explains here - was to had its headquarters in the same Athens neighbourhood as InternetQ (INTQ) and Globo (GBO) because, as it happens, I am in the mighty Hellenic Republic on the date of its EGM on March 31st. However I have just checked out its HQ on Google maps as you can see below...
1894 days ago
For most of my early December stay in Greece I was wearing a T-shirt all day although at night I needed a sweat shirt and coat as the temperatures plunged towards zero. But on the penultimate day it started to rain heavily both in Kalamata, where I was staying, and up in the village of Kambos in the foothills of the Taegessus Mountains. The photos below show what happened next.
Photo one is of an orange tree just off the main street in Kambos. As we worked in the fields picking olives in quite warm weather oranges were handed out by my friend George. They are just ripening for picking now.
The next two photos are from the Greek Hovel another 50 metres or so higher up into the Teagessus and three miles away from Kambos. Those who have seen the hovel in the summer will associate it with grass burned brown by hot sun. But, as you can see, it is now a lush green - this is the view looking back along the drive. The rains of October and November have left the place looking very much alive. The second photo
1899 days ago
On Saturday, in Athens, I took the short walk (no more than 800 yards) from the former HQ of the now defunct fraud Globo (GBO) to the headquarters of AIM listed InternetQ (INTQ). Join the dots...
1901 days ago
In April 2014 I visited the Athens headquarters of Globo (GBO) to shoot some photos and record a uber-sceptical video as you can see HERE. At the time most Bulletin Board Morons were big Globo fans and I was derided as a mad stalker. Then a few weeks ago we exposed Globo as a fraud HERE whiler the rest of the gutless British press - notably snot-gobbler Dan McCrum at the FT - sat silent until the shares were suspended. Today I thought I'd pop along to see what was left. The answer, as you can see from the photos below, is nothing. Compare these photos with my last lot HERE. Globo's headquarters are walking distance from those of InternetQ (INTQ) and so I recorded a Globo special video which is is also below.
1904 days ago
My series rebutting the weedy rebuttal provided by InternetQ (INTQ) to my From Athens with Love article HERE, continues. You can read Part 1 HERE, Part 2 HERE and now we move on. Do you still believe what InternetQ tells you?
Consider the following pieces of information from InternetQ:
1911 days ago
Today's From Athens with Love report from ShareProphets sent shares in Greece based AIM listed InternetQ (INTQ) tumbling by more than 50% at one point. Finally we get a weedy but all to predictable response and on the back of it I have cut my target price (for the whole company) from 1 drachma to half a drachma.
1911 days ago
The Nomad and broker team that brought us the Globo (GBO) fraud from Greece was RBC Capital Markets and Canaccord. This dynamic duo act for another Greek Company InternetQ (INTQ). And here I am - with a hat tip from a good reader - reporting on the spot in the Hellenic Republic with some very hard questions for InternetQ. The GlobalShortingConspiracy also has agents on the ground in Moscow and Poland as well as myself in Greece. This is, as they say, developing...
2056 days ago
A brief podcast as I prepare to spend a morning on the beach with the Mrs. Then it is off to Athens. She thinks she is seeing a la dee da play. I am heading there for riot porn as the Greece Grexit crisis hots up again. Is Tsipras planning to betray the Hellenic Republic? Will he get away with it? Will Greece be booted out of the Euro anyway by the Krauts? Then a few words on the farce at Sefton as Jimmyliar Ellerton tries to make it go bankrupt via legal means. And then to the con Worthington.
And fear not Champagne Charlie Gibson fans, I had not forgotten about you. Just a reminder of why the Edison analyst is a convicted felon HERE and as a bonus a reminder of how it is not only the poor he screws HERE - and a reminder of why I feel the urge to remind you all HERE
2061 days ago
As I wander up to the most excellent Anthrapology café one last time for a leave Athens on a boat tonight to continue my odyssey, I stroll past three of four banks and they are open. Well sort of.
Pensioners are allowed in but to withdraw only 100 Euro. You can make a deposit if you wish but no-one is that daft. For those not yet in retirement it is the ATMs again and if anything the queues are longer than they were on Saturday and Sunday.
And why not? At the very worst you take out 60 Euro, stuff it under the mattress and in a few weeks convert it into nice new Drachmas and make a quick turn. At best you avoid losing 60 Euro when the bank goes bust or if the State confiscates your wealth via a bank bail-in. And so the ATM lines grow longer and will stay that way all day until the machines, or Greece, just runs out of cash, whichever is sooner
2062 days ago
Oh what drama – the polls here in Greece are close but the governing Syriza party is reporting a high turnout in Athens which is very good news for the Oxi side. I noted earlier that I was expecting 70% turnout here in the Capital (higher than the 67% General Election) but Syriza reckons it could be higher still.
2063 days ago
As I posted a last few photos on line I started chatting to three chaps on the table next to me in the café. Like half the folks in Athens these days they were reporters, photo journalists actually, here for the referendum. They have deadlines. They have to get up at 6 AM (4 AM your time) to capture the polls opening at 7 AM.
Me? I have no such deadlines. I comment. So I have no deadlines. You can get the photos and bland coverage anywhere. I can’t hope to trump that. I comment and observe. I don’t report.
So I can have another beer. Then snore soundly tonight and wander along to a polling station whenever I want. Whose life seems more attractive?
Signomi, ena beera
2063 days ago
Earlier today I reflected on how not that much had changed in the district of Athens in which I am staying. But then it struck me that something had changed: the roads are almost empty.
It used to be like playing high level frogger
2063 days ago
And so I wandered into Omonia Square in Athens, not a place to stroll around for too long. Athens was an all almost white City thirty years ago. I think my white face was in the minority today. There is an air of menace about the district and I was glad to walk briskly back towards Syntagma Square. But as I looked around I was accosted.
The man said in broken English. I am Greek I have no home, no food, no job can you give me money to eat. As I explained yesterday in the first poverty porn piece, thirty years ago Greeks did not beg. This is new.
2063 days ago
It is Saturday morning and if anything the ATM queues are longer than they were yesterday. Between the apartment where I am staying and the café where I am writing from there are four ATMs. I reckon that the line outside each is now 25 long as folks look to take another 60 Euro out of their account before it is too late.
Lining up in the Athens heat is not fun so why not make it a family day out?
2063 days ago
Think Stoke Newington in London. Edgy, lefty but with a stack of affluent middle class Guardian readers among the poor. That’s the sort of neighbourhood of Athens in which I am staying. Everywhere there are Oxi posters – this area is voting No heavily in the referendum on Sunday. Even the businesses display posters – they are not afraid of losing customers because this area is heavily Oxi. One poster (see below) says nothing but says it all.
2063 days ago
Refreshed by a couple of ouzos and with my report loaded I wandered back to the rally in Syntagma square. The party continued well past midnight with a succession of pop stars performing. Each sang and also offered a few thoughts on the political situation. Pop stars are not generally the brightest sparks in the universe but as long as the said Oxi to which the crowd replied Oxi (please each repeat three times) nothing mattered.
There must have been well over 50,000 people at the rally. There were parents
2063 days ago
The Mrs is to join me in Greece on Monday morning but made a bit of a boo boo when booking her outward flight. That is to say she booked it for the day after we return rather than for late Sunday night. Belatedly she realised the error and called the airline having already coughed up £380.
Luckily she had booked with the charming Greek airline Aegean who – for a small admin fee – switched the flight and wished her well.
Just imagine that she had flown with Ryanair:
Ryanair: “Hellow this is Europe’s top low cost airline how can we help you?
2064 days ago
Who said capitalism is dead in Greece? The stalls selling Greek and Oxi flags were doing a roaring trade. In fact everyone who could was draping themselves in the blue and white of Greece. Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. And in a referendum both sides have to claim the patriotic high ground.
One can make a case for both Oxi and Nai being the patriotic side. One stands up to the banksters and evil ECB and Germans. The other saves Greece from bankruptcy. Well sort of. But both camps claim to be the patriots.
2066 days ago
Well that is it. The referendum in Greece is now certain to go ahead on Sunday says PM Alex Tsipras. If Greece of all nations can organise a campaign and vote in a week why can't we do the same in Briatin and spare us all the misery of a 4 week liefest that is the General Election?
But with the vote a certainty and Tsipras campaigning hard for Greeks to show pride and vote Oxi (no) I have booked all my tickets and will land at Athens airport by 9.30 AM in Friday and should be set up to start blogging by noon. I plan to spend Saturday shooting some poverty porn and polling day in and around Syntagma Square looking for riot porn and - I hope - a massive Oxi victory party.
So over the weekend there should be non stop blogging - as I promised earlier here - on ShareProphets.com
2066 days ago
The Mrs has given me the green light and in fact is almost certain to join me as I head off to Greece ahead of Sunday’s referendum for a touch of riot porn and poverty porn blogging from Syntagma Square in Athens.
2070 days ago
High drama tonight as Greek PM Alex Tspiras has called a referendum for July 5: should Greece accept the misery of the latest proposals from the banksters or go bust? Events will move rapidly during the next eight days - we may well see the banks shut down as soon as Monday. Already there are long lines outside ATMs in Athens. Is Tsipras right to call a vote? Yes. What should my neighbours in Greece vote? No! They should vote for default and I hope that Tsipras will lead a campaign for such a vote. July 5th could be freedom day, independence day, a glorious day for the Hellenic Republic. It is time for Greece to tell the EU and the banksters where to stick it.
2081 days ago
I now that this is an automatically generated email based on my past travel experiences but telling me that there are more than a few vacancies at the inns in Athens is just a bit of a statement of the bleeding obvious right now. Do you think that the folks at Booking.com actually watch the news?
2093 days ago
In March 1821 the Greek war of independence began as the folk in the Mani launched an uprising against the accursed Turks. The Mani, where the Greek Hovel is situated, was always quasi independent anyway but its warlike folk started a fire that could not be supressed. The first major triumph was the storming of the Turk held fortress at Kalamata. No Maniots died but the entire Turkish garrison was slaughtered.
Right now I sit opposite that fortress, in Kalamata bus station having just purchased one more ouzo for the road, to Athens. Tomorrow
2093 days ago
The Mrs wants me back in Bristol by tomorrow afternoon and it is nice to be wanted. And so I embark on the journey back from the Greek hovel with a cunning plan given that there are only intermittent flights from Kalamata at this time of year.
2198 days ago
In my snowcast earlier I described my journey today to the Greek hovel. At Athens airport there were small flakes of snow but as I drove up into the mountains of the Peloponnese the snow thickened. The short video below was shot at 6 AM my time (four yours) in the dark of a service station 10 miles shy of Tripoli and only 60 miles North of Kalamata where I crashed into a hotel bed at 7.30 AM my time.
2271 days ago
I posted videos earlier showing the dreadful weather here in Kambos. That delayed the completion of the olive harvest as did the very Greek way we settle up accounts and so my return from the Greek hovel to England has been postponed. I should now be flying first thing Wednesday which means leaving Kambos tomorrow. Taking a bus from Kalamata to Athens and sleeping at a hotel by the airport for a crack of dawn flight.
I will leave Kambos with a cheque for 1779 Euro in my pocket thanks to the olive harvest. Obtaining the cheque was a bit of a kerfuffle. I fished out my Greek tax number – I am a loyal supporter of the Greek state in its hour of need – and wandered into the olive factory. Easy…
2426 days ago
I have just booked my flight to Athens next week. RyanAir (RYA) was the cheapest flight but once you add in the charge for taking one full suitcase the gap between it and British Airways narrowed. And do I really want to trek out to Stansted rather than go to Heathrow on the tube which is much cheaper for me? The cost gap narrows again. And then O’Leary’s website tried to nickel and dime me on insurance and I just gave up and went with BA.
No I don’t want your frigging insurance O’Leary you shyster. It is expensive and pointless. So why have you opted me in for it? Ok you say that if I find a drop down menu I can opt out but try as hard as I could looking on your frigging website I cannot find it. You are not making it easy for me to avoid paying you an extra £13.20 for something that I do not want and which narrows the price gap with BA down to almost nothing.
As it happens the BA flight is at a time that suits me more - it lands at 3 in the morning so that I can drive without facing the Athens rush hour and be in the Mani in time for breakfast and to write my first Quindell article of the day.
I have done my maths
2492 days ago
The Mrs has been to the Peloponnese many times to visit her in-laws but, as far as I can see, has never visited a single site of antiquity. That all changed this holiday and so on her final day we stopped off at Epidavros on the way back to Athens.
As I am sure you are aware Epidavros is an ancient Greek theatre capable of holding thousands of folk which is remarkable because wherever you sit you can hear almost a whisper on stage. The Greeks built this amazing structure when back in the UK we were still living in caves and swinging from trees. It is amazing.
To show her how it worked, the Mrs climbed up high into the upper tiers and I stood centre stage and – in what have must confused a party of Korean tourists – launched into song.
In Dublin’s fair City,
where the Girls are so Pretty
2493 days ago
Globo (GBO) has today served up calendar 2013 results that look as impressive as its luxurious new Athens offices that I visited and filmed yesterday. The numbers have wowed the City – the shares are up 14% at 53p. No doubt the analysts call this afternoon will be a love in with the management. But should any of the teenage scribblers actually want to ask a tough question or two here are 10 to get them started. Many thanks to Matt Earl, the dark destroyer, for this.
2493 days ago
Wandering through the streets of Athens today I happened upon a book stall set up by the side of the road. Pride of place at the top of the heap was the Greek version of one of Jamie Oliver’s works.
Youth unemployment at 65%, unemployment at 30%, massive cuts in the standard of living, corrupt politicians, German imposed austerity, the music of Nana Mouskori, Nazi Occupation in World War Two, a bitter Civil war afterwards and now Jamie. Surely it is time to say that poor Greece has suffered enough and that it does not need this one last misery heaped upon its suffering people?
2493 days ago
Globo (GBO) results out today look superficially good but read deeper into them and they beg far more questions than they answer. Just to give the City analysts a heads up on what questions to ask in the conference call later today I have now published a 10 BIG Questions “Red Flag” special HERE.
But yesterday I wandered down to Globo HQ here in Athens which is located in a respectable residential neighbourhood. The HQ is at 67 Ethikis Antistaseos street and Epistanisou Street. I was hoping to find a car park jammed with Porsches so I could run the headline “where are the shareholder’s porches?” but as you can see the Globo Car Park contains no signs of extravagance.
2493 days ago
Unless I am very much mistaken the poster below advertisers a worker’s day demonstration in Syntagma Square Athens, opposite the Parliament of Greece on May 1st. As you know I want to help the workers at every opportunity and so shall be there to show solidarity.
Of course workers would be far better off and have far more opportunity for material advancement ( i.e. higher take-home pay) if employers were encouraged to take them on by abolishing the minimum wage, scrapping employers NI, abolishing all “employment rights” laws, taking anyone on under £20,000 out of the tax system etc. But I am not sure that I will share my thoughts of anarcho-capitalism with the comrades tomorrow.
Will it be a peaceful demo? Hmmm, I sense that rioting can become a bit addictive.
2494 days ago
The Mrs dropped off at the airport I venture into Athens alone for a few days of peaceful work, doorstepping Globo (GBO) and relaxation. I always stay at the same hotel but cannot for the life of me remember its name or what street it is on.
However the taxi driver dropped me off somewhere in Placa, the ghastly tourist district next to the Acropolis and I trot along streets that seem vaguely familiar, resisting the urge to buy assorted tourist tat which is sold in every shop. Like a homing pigeon it takes me just a few minutes to arrive at the hotel Adonis, a modest three star establishment but it has a hidden gem.
I haggle on price with the man and get a room for two nights for 80 Euro, a 20% discount and then just about squeeze myself and my rucksack into its tiny life. This is the first bad news for Evil Knievil, the son of a distinguished classical scholar who has himself never been to Greece. I am urging him to make a trip but fear that the lift in the hotel Adonis is er….too small for him.
The internet works, my room is quiet and cool. And so to the highlight of a day at the hotel Adonis…breakfast. Bad news again for Evil, there is no “Dublin fry up” it is all healthy rabbit food or bread, cheese and ham. And worse still the old boy would have to walk up 12 steps to the roof terrace for breakfast. But it is worth it….
As you munched your cornflakes this morning what was your view? This was mine. For the utterly ignorant among you it is the Acropolis which stands tall and proud directly ahead of me as I ate, drank coffee and – as one can do here – had a cigarette with my caffeine. This is my perfect way to start the day.
2511 days ago
In a couple of days I shall be on the road again, picking up the Mrs at Athens airport and heading off to the Mani. It is three hours to Athens, an hour to get lost in the City and then five more to the Mani. The Mrs will, no doubt bring CDs so for the last five hours it will be a mix of Nashville with the odd George Michael track (her choice not mine). But until we meet up I will listen to the radio as I love Greek pop.
The beat and some of the strains clearly have a Turkish influence (I hope no-one here is reading this) but there are also very European themes and so I am a big fan. Perhaps that is in part because I do not understand very much of what is being sung.
With English pop I know that 99% of the lyrics are inane piffle. With Greek pop I am sure that the same is true but I can kid myself that the pained lyrics are about the struggles of the War of Independence, the misery of 58% youth unemployment or the tragedy that has been joining the Euro. I know I kid myself but it makes for great listening. Sadly as I start to learn Greek the cost will be that I can no longer kid myself.
The track below from the High Queen of Greek pop Despina Vandi was one that the Mrs and I had on our wedding play list last year.
2556 days ago
Could it be drinks on Shareprophets Editor Ben Turney? Ben is looking good so far on a £50, 120-1 two part bet placed yesterday based on failure for Manchester United.
The bet is a two parter. First up is for Man United to get knocked out of the Champions League by Greek side Olympiacos. After the first leg in Athens the Greeks are two nil ahead. How Ben must be praying for an early Greek away goal at Old Trafford which would leave United needing to score four to win.
The second part of the bet is on David Moyes
2789 days ago
You may remember that last summer I spent a long while as the sole guest of a hotelier in Corfu called Spiros. I am back. He greeted me like an old friend and there was good news and bad.
The bad news is that I do not have his undivided attention. There seem to be two other rooms occupied this year. The good news concerns money. My rate per night has fallen from 35 Euro a year ago to 25 Euro this time. And as a bonus, Spiros has given up trying to quit smoking and so now buys his own rather than smoking all of mine. That is worth another Euro and a half a day.
Sitting in the pool this afternoon (all alone) I pondered the suggestions from our correspondents in the GNSH that is Stoke on Trent that after my experiences in Athens I should abandon Greece and book a holiday in the Potteries. I am assured that Stoke has a brand new bus station, is 30 degrees in the shade and has much else to commend itself. Truly it sounds like the new Athens of the North… well at least in terms of youth unemployment it probably is.
Hmmmm, shall I swap lounging the pool in 34 degree heat with an almost personal service of café frappes from Spiros for an afternoon trekking round the pottery heritage trail? It is a hard call. I promise that one day I shall go visit David and Chris in Stoke for a bit of welfare scrounger porn, but on balance for a summer break, I have to conclude that Greece more than edges it.
2789 days ago
I am now in Corfu preparing for five days of rest and writing before my deluded lefty partner arrives to whisk me off to the former socialist paradise that is Albania. I travelled here by bust from Athens – a 10 hour trip and so feel a little on the tired said as we arrived at 5 AM. Athens Bus station is a total shit hole. It is what I imagine that Stoke on Trent is like. Only hotter.
I arrived early (fleeing the clip joint) to buy my ticket and wandered into a ticket hall with a desk for each location. At that point there were four of us trying to buy tickets and I counted 11 staff manning the desks.
The Corfu counter had no-one behind it but a full ashtray (in a non-smoking building) and cup of coffee suggested that there was life somewhere. But fear not,
2790 days ago
One of my ideas of purgatory is spending eternity driving around the centre of Athens trying to drop a hire car off on time. Amazingly I managed just that today with no problems. With a few hours to kill I asked the nice lady at Hertz where the British war graves were and she answered in a confident fashion. My father thinks his Uncle Francis is buried here although he was killed in North Africa and so off I wandered. It goes without saying that there were no War Graves at all where she sent me but that is another matter.
About half a mile along, in a decent part of Athens a man asked me for the time. I am a nice fellow so fished out my phone and said 4.01. He seemed terribly grateful and happy to meet an Englishman. His brother runs a Greek restaurant in London and please could he give me his address for a free meal.
I did not really want a free Greek meal in London and was rather more interested in the War Grave but he was insistent so I went along ruck sack over my shoulder and entered a small bar where there was one waitress, one young lady sitting reading a book and an Old Man. My old Man said “have a beer” and promptly disappeared. Have a seat said the waitress.
I reluctantly perched on a bar stool but assured her that I did not drink. At her insistence I agreed to have a diet Pepsi. At this point the young lady wandered over and in broken English tried to engage me in conversation.