Need a hug?? :)

It all started when a guy called Juan Mann (pronounced "one man") was standing with a poster that had written "FREE HUGS" on it in Pitt Street Mall, Sydney. It took some time for the first person to take the initiative, but afterwards it just happened on and on.

Now the Free Hugs Campaign is spreading as fast as light all around the world. People, mostly younger ones, from different continents are going out on the streets with a "free hugs" banner and are gladly offering a warm hug to anyone who wants one!

It seems that a bit more love and compassion is what the world mainly needs...

The future of airport security...?

Airline tickets may soon be RFID-enabled and contain a snapshot of you that was taken at check-in. So everyone working in the airport, from the security guards to the gate attendant, will be able to identify you instantly.

Nicole Tricoukes of Symbol Technologies describes the process:
"At the kiosk you get a boarding pass and you get your photo taken. As you approach the boarding gate, you can be verified by your pass and your face, and enter the gate. This is great for security, and for the passenger."

Pioneer ideas (from a Greek!) at NextFest in New York.
Article from BBC News.

Proud to be Greek!

Why we can be proud for being Greek...
  • Because we are European Champions in Soccer
  • Because we were European Champions in Basketball
  • Because Paparizou (singer) made us Eurovision Champions
  • Because we buy whole watermelons and not in slices
  • Because we buy whole lambs and not in pieces
  • Because when we buy feta we buy at least a kilo and not 150gr.
  • Because nights in Greece finish in the morning
  • Because flirting is our national hobby
  • Because we are world champions in sex
  • Because we always moan about the public sector and everyone seeks to get a job in it
  • Because we go out almost every night even if we are penniless
  • Because we know how to spend better than we know how to save
  • Because we never visit others empty-handed
  • Because there is no way to explain to foreigners what "kapsoura" is... (a burning desire for someone)
  • Because we do not share the cost of petrol with those we give a ride
  • Because for the sake of a woman we would wage war for 10 years (Trojan war)
  • Because we are everywhere around the planet
  • Because we love and hate with passion
  • Because the word "filotimo" (a synonym of honor, helping someone because it is the right thing to do) doesn't exist in any other language
  • Because whenever the foreigners cannot find a word, they bloody steal one of ours
  • Because we spend our high and low times with our friends and family, not with therapists and counsellors
  • Because Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were Hellenic and the whole world still quotes them
  • Because we invented theatre
  • Because we gave birth to Democracy
  • Because we discovered logic
  • Because we jump started science
  • Because we are proud of our culture, not of our wars
  • Because Jesus Christ's best friends were Greeks
  • Because when others were discovering meat, we already had
  • cholesterol! !
  • Because when we were building the Parthenon, the others were still sleeping under trees
  • Because when others created wars, we created Games to stop wars
  • Because we have a distinction between Eros (falling in love) & Agape (innocent love), while we feel both passionately
  • Because we don't use ketchup or mayonnaise with our food . It tastes damn good anyway!
  • Because we tossed our ancient alphabet to the Romans and our medieval alphabet to the Slavs
  • Because we get angry quickly but forget all about it even quicker
  • Because we are not ashamed to cry
  • Because we dance when we are sad and party when w e are happy
  • Because we work to live and we do not live to work
  • Because 97% of the stars' names are Hellenic
  • Because we always talk about getting in a diet after we had our meal
  • Because although we know danger well, we dare
  • Because when you shout "brother" in the streets, everyone turns around
  • Because "Greeks do not fight like heroes, heroes fight like Greeks" (Winston Churchill, 1941)
  • Because we speak loudly and laugh even louder!!!

Madrid and its angels

Madrid is a rare mixture of people, from elegant businessmen to total freaks. It's kind of like the New York of Europe, I dare say!

Things to see and do in Madrid

Tour of the city:
  • You can take a tour of the city with the tourist bus that goes around.
  • If you want to try a new alternative way, try a tour on Segways.

Buildings and Museums:
  • Prado Museum & Reina Sofia Museum, with a wonderful collection of paintings, including Picasso (Guernica), El Greco, Rembrand, and other famous artists.
  • The Egyptian temple of Debod!
  • The Royal Palace, the Opera, the Cathedral and its crypt, all located next to each other.

  • El Retiro park, for a walk in the afternoon - don't miss the Crystal Palace. If you are with your couple take a romantic rowing boat trip into the small lake.
  • Botanic Garden, an amazing park-museum with plants and flowers from all over the world, scientifically named, orderly categorised and beautifully distributed.
  • Casa de Campo, a huge area-park in the outskirts of the city with various things to do.

  • Gran Via, THE place to go for clothes, going through Zara, Springfield, Berska, Lefties and other shops.
  • EnJabonArte, a very small colourful and full of smells shop in Gran Via selling natural soaps, that look more like cheeses to me! - Half a kilo please!!
  • Rastro bazaar in La Latina area during Sunday mornings - you can find anything you can imagine! Be careful of your wallet and bag though...

  • The best Chinese food around is actually underground... Look for the Chinese restaurant under Plaza de Espana, with very good and cheap Chinese food, which many Chinese people trust.
  • La Gracia de Montera (near Metro Sevilla), as a non-expensive choice for nice food. It's usually full but service is fast.
  • Madrilia,for a more expensive and classy dinner. Don't miss trying the carpaccio.

Going out:
  • Museo del Jamon, in various locations around the city, a cool and cheap place to taste some Spanish "jamon" and have a few beers at any time.
  • El Tigre in Chueca, known as the gay area of Madrid, is a famous for generously providing you with very good tapas when you order beers or cider.
  • El Imperfecto, a very small but cosy bar that makes incredible mojitos and other unique drinks, alcoholic or not.
  • If you are feeling your throat a bit soar, a large Caipirina full of slices of natural lemon is the best medicine! You'll find it in a small, traditional looking bar in Huertas area.
  • Palacio de Gaviria, probably the best club you can go in Madrid, is using an old building that looks like a small palace still preserving its original decoration, having several rooms with different music and changing themes every night.
  • Chocolateria de San Ginés, the best place to go to have "churros" with a hot chocolate drink, especially in the morning after a long night partying out.

Links about Madrid:

A day in Toledo

A strong and rich city inside the clouds, Toledo is one of the most pretty towns in Europe. No wonder why El Greco chose to live and create there, as shown in his relevant painting.

A day around the narrow streets with some clouds running through the sky is a wonderful experience. A tourist can visit the breathtaking cathedral, the jewish synagoges and muslim mosques, characteristic of the cultural mix in the old times. Be careful of the knights!

In the restaurant opposite to the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, a wonderful example of peaceful and medieval architecture, you can try the delicious traditional plate "carcamusa".

And of course do not miss visiting the House-Museum of El Greco, containing his paintings of Christ and the 12 Apostols, and seeing his famous painting "El entierro del Conde de Orgaz" in the Church of Santo Tomé.