Two octopuses in love straggle to escape a tyrannic taverna cook :)
Oscar 2009 - Animated Short Film

If you can't see the video above click here or visit the blog.

Zero star hotel

Do you want to spend a night cheap in your roadtrip?
Do you want to sleep (and not only sleep) underground?
You don't care much about comfort?
Or are you just missing your army days?

Then Null Stern Hotel is the choice you MUST take when you're having holidays in Switzerland.

A converted nuclear bunker in the Swiss town of Sevelen, embellished with artistic decoration and real hotel duvets, is aimed at guests with a modest income. The price per night is between €7 and €20. The shared bathroom has been converted into a fountain with swimming flowers, and a live cam is sending images from the outside onto a large screen in the windowless building.

"Using the weapon of art, we have created a low-budget hotel, which has charm, takes into account guests' individual wishes and thus becomes quite something," said the artistic twin brothers Frank and Patrik Riklin, who were given the project.

The Null Stern Hotel can host 14 guests in a configuration of 6 single beds and 4 double beds. Larger groups (from 14 people) can also be accommodated in an adjacent room with original military-style bunk-beds.

In case of emergency, the hotel could be converted back into a nuclear bunker within 24 hours, in line with a Swiss law that says all civil defense buildings have to be ready for use within one day.


I liked this definition of optimism, by Noam Chomsky:

Noam ChomskyNoam Chomsky

“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, it’s unlikely you will step up and take responsibility for making it so.
If you assume that there’s no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, there are opportunities to change things, there’s a chance you may contribute to making a better world.
The choice is yours.”

Are you optimists?

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Want to be Halara?

Dear friends and readers,

I would like to invite you to be guest-writers in the Halara blog!

Be Halara!

Do you like to write about:
  1. Your trips and odysseys
  2. Experiences in other countries
  3. Culture of your country
  4. Nice places you have been, that are worth visiting
  5. Cool things you have done
  6. Tips about improving life

Contact me and let's join forces! ;)
You can leave a comment below or find me on Twitter.

How long is 5 Greek minutes?

It's a very good question, don't you think?

Well some friends of mine just invented a formula to calculate Greek time approximately!

GT = T*[1 - T/(HS*60)] + HT*dwf*ff

GT - Greek time[min]
T - Time as the rest of the world understands [min]
HS - Hours of sun [hours/day]
HT - Halara time needed for average Greek native [min/day]
dwf - day of the week corrective factor [0; 1]

All rights reserved (c) vikachuubeta

As an example, on a normal Friday in August after lunch/dinner, 5 Greek minutes would actually be...

GT = 5*[1-5/(12,08*60)] + 240*0,9*0,2
GT = 48,17 min

I'd say it's pretty accurate ;)

Driving on ice!

If you've been to Estonia, or the nearby Baltic countries, you might have heard a lot of times about it. Well a friend of mine has the luck to actually try driving on ice!

Check out the video Driving on Ice in Estonia from Joao Rei on Vimeo.

According to Joao, "you’re not allowed in if your car weighs more than 2 tons. Also, once you start driving, you can’t stop and you must keep a constant speed of between 10 and 25 km/h or you must drive above 45 km/h.[...] You’re supposed to drive without a seatbelt, so that, in case the car goes under water, you can get out quickly. But today’s cars start beeping if you remove the seatbelt, so you have to attach it behind your back."

I'd love to try it! Any others had similar experiences?

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Mirrors of rice

Rice terraces in Yuangyang, China

What has saved the rice terraces built by the Hani people in China’s Yuangyang County so far is their relative remoteness. They are located in Yunnan province in southwest China, a region not easily accessible and therefore not exploited for tourism but rich in natural beauty and untouched scenery. The spectacular rice terraces drop from almost the summits of the nearby, 2,500-m-tall Ailao Mountains to the bed of the Red River.

The rice farmers who built the terraces almost by hand more than 1,000 years ago had to know about ecology and land preservation long before those concepts had names. Otherwise, without the hard work of maintaining the terrace walls as well as the ancient irrigation system, the precious top soil would have washed down the hillsides into the rivers.

Even today, the Yuangyang rice terraces are a self-sustaining eco system, perfectly in sync with nature like it was a thousand years ago. Just like the Banaue rice terraces, the Yuangyang rice terraces are irrigated with spring water from the rainforest above. The water then evaporates from the rice terraces and forms clouds whose rain water is collected and trapped by the rainforest, from where it is used for the irrigation of the rice fields again.

Article and photo taken from "20 Incredible Pictures Of Rice Terraces From Above" by EnvironmentalGraffiti.com

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What is the Halara spirit?

Lately I'm getting this question by a lot of people, so I decided to answer them all here. I'm actually honoured to have the chance to answer this question on behalf of all Greeks. I will not pretend that my answer is the absolut truth - on the contrary, it's my own perception of the halara spirit that I will present.

For me, Halara is:
  1. to drink a coffee with friends in a cafeteria under the sun for 3 hours
  2. to arrive 10-15 mins late at a friends' meeting and no one complain
  3. to play tavli (backgammon) for 5 hours in a row with your best friend
  4. to drink hot chocolate and read a good book next to the fireplace in a cold winter night
  5. to walk slow along the beach side
  6. to swim under the rain
  7. to watch the sunrise on top of a mountain
  8. to watch the sunset in the sea
  9. to find that shaking Nescafe with cold water and icecubes is better that the hot one
  10. to drive in the traffic jam without getting angry while listening to music
  11. to ride a bike or go jogging with your MP3 player in the ears
  12. to go out for clubbing at midnight and come back at 7am
  13. to dance and sing with every chance you get
  14. to say goodmorning to everyone you meet with a smile
  15. to love someone for what they are and enjoy every moment with them
  16. to be on time with work deadlines but not stress about them
  17. to find a smarter way to do something
  18. to work with a laptop and wifi on a hammock under the shade of a tree
  19. to have time for your wife and kids every day
  20. to enjoy life in all aspects!

Now it's your turn: What is "halara" for you?

The Love Matress!

Now here is a concept mattress all couples will want!

Designed by Mehdi Mojtabvi, the "love mattress" is actually made up of single slats, each covered in with a smooth fabric. The slats allow you to dip your arms to better hug your partner in bed.
Fragmented bands design lets you easily mattresses will be “separated” from the pitch arm in the gap. This mattress was designed for those people who want to hold their partner in their arms all night long without feeling the pressure in the arms. You can also pitch feet in the slot and easily find the most comfortable sleeping position.

Found and copied from freshhome

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Living life backwards!

Woody AllenWoody Allen

We all know the new movie these days "The curious case of Benjamin Button" where the boy is born old and grows younger and younger until he dies a baby.

Well there is a wonderful quote by Woody Allen long time now that he describes how he would like to live his next life... backwards!

"In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way.

Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day.

You work for 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, and then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, and you play. You have no responsibilities; you become a baby until you are born.

And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!"

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Confess online!

You did a bad bad thing? Now you can confess your sins online!

I don't need to tell you more... Just write what you did in ComeClean.com and it will tell you what to do (in a funny sarcastic way)!

P.S. No need to say that I tried it already, but I ain't gonna tell you what I confessed!!

Your slogan, your T-shirts!

LONDON - MAY 16:  In this photo illustration a...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeAfter a notion from a friend, I joined Threadless.

Threadless is an online T-shirt store with a unique quality: anyone can submit their own design or slogan, which is then voted publicly. Only the best voted designs get printed!

I submitted some of my own slogans, not too successful for now. You can join and vote for them!

Here is the one slogan-Tshirt for you: Halara! :)

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Imrov Everywhere: "Life's for sharing"

Have you heard about Improv Everywhere?

After the Freezing stunt in New York station, the hit again this time in Liverpool, UK! ;)

If you can't see a video above, click here

Submachine: dive into the adventure!

I like games! :)

Here is a small online puzzle game, called Submachine.
You're "lost" in a silent place with rooms and you're trying to figure out how to get out. It's supposed to be one of the most popular flash games lately. Enjoy and leave me a comment how much time it took you!

Ice windsurfing!

Guys doing ice-windsurfing in the middle of winter in Maine, USA.
I wouldn't want to fall doing that!

If you can't see a video above, click here.

4 days in Finland: Tampere

The 2nd day of our trip in Finland we took a train and landed in Tampere, a bit more north and into the mainland.

Tampere is mainly an industrial city built between 2 lakes, Pyhäjärvi and Näsijärvi. The remarkable thing is that the two lakes are connected by rapids. This uniqueness, apart from a charming environment, it has also attracted industries, who take advantage the "green" power from the rapids using turbines.

The nicest part of Tampere centre is the main street, Hameenkatu, full of lights and stores. Starting from the train station and passing by the bridge with the huge worker statues and the central square, it is definitely the most lively place in Tampere in all seasons.

A walk between the rapids and the old industrial buildings is a must. At night the red-brick buildings shine magically above the waters.

Find some time for a small walk a bit outside the centre: there is a wonderful viewpoint on the top of the Pyynikki Observation Tower, located in the park-forest area in the west of the centre between the lakes. The 360 view is just amazing, not to mention the home-made tea and donuts with herbs!

In Tampere there are plenty of places to eat and drink. We took advantage of the cheap "lunch-time" for the company employees to eat the cheap buffet (around 8 euro per person) at the Viking Restaurant Harald (named after a Viking cartoon hero). For lovers of Chinese food, there is a great place with very good food and good prices called Nguyen Cao Su or "that tiny Chinese restaurant". Finally if you like a cozy bar to play some table games, I totally recommend Konttori bar (which means Office). A combination of Railroad game and a glass of good beer is perfect to conclude a nice day.

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