Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Our house had a shaft that allowed fresh air to come from the rooftop down to our bedroom (which was windowless). The big problem was that it also allowed in zillions of mosquitoes. Our room had white-washed walls, so each little beastie that I squished was very obvious, and no carcasses were more obvious that those that had already had a meal on us!! We found we could close the tube up, so we did. While that did reduced the problem, it far from prevented their entry.

Later we discovered a nifty device, a plugin, that somehow keeps the bloodsuckers away. We assume that a chemical is released. If the situation had not been so bad, we would not have used them. My husband and daughter had horrible reactions to the mozzie venom. They had white welts the size of a quarter, which didn't reduce in size for days. I had hydrocortisone cream along (a great solution to skeeter bites) and due to our extensive experience with mosquitoes at home, I know to put it on before the bite is scratched. But either the cream was old or the venom was resistant, as it didn't help.

Two things about the mosquitoes baffled us:
  • Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Greece is so dry. So how can they multiply????
  • why don't they use screens on the doors and windows in Greece????
The house had very modern windows that could open two different ways, but they didn't they have screens!! It was fairly warm when we were there and we would have liked to have opened windows and doors for fresh air, but the mozzies immediately came speeding in, looking for a meal.

We had experienced them in smaller numbers near Nafplion. In our bedroom there was a skylight that opened. Since the room was upstairs and quite warm, we naturally opened the skylight at night. Our sensible Canadian mosquitoes live about 4' above the ground, but apparently not the Greek ones. In they came.

Screens should be a great help!!!

However, since these beasties are smaller than our own common variety (found in even greater numbers at home), one possible problem with screens is that the size of the openings in the typical screen is too large to keep them out. Our son who lives in Baku, Azerbaijan, said he has watched one of those smaller mosquitoes squeeze its way through a screen. Not sure what is stranger about that, the fact that the mozzie can do that off or that my son spent the time watching it!!

So invent a smaller grid. Surely this can't be too difficult!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Up the Hill From Stoupa

The weather was nice and warm. We were there in late September. Gary walked down the hill, went swimming everyday at this (or the other) beautiful beach, then ran back up up the hill!

Not to be outdone, Liana and I hiked further up the hill, to a lovely village. This hike was my favourite activity in Greece.
Our destination. Can you see the small village in the center of the photo?

Most of the route was lined with rock walls.

It was easy to see where the rocks came from!! This is an olive orchard.

The tall Cypress trees appear to be native, as they were not associated with houses or driveways.

An abandoned home from many years ago, built into the hillside.

Before I went to Greece, we speculated on whether or not there would still be women there who wore black. On my previous trip to Greece in 1974 there were many women in black, which was explained to us as being an indication that they were in mourning over the death of their husbands, many of whom had died in World War II. I understood that they would wear black for the rest of their lives. In the small villages the tradition continues.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Stoupa, Greece

Being from British Columbia in Canada, I am very used to mountains and the roads that make their way up and down and around them. At home the roads are as straight as the engineers can possibly design them and the contractors blast and bulldoze their way, creating wide roads with shoulders.

In Europe I am always surprised that they are anything but straight!! (the freeway in northern Italy is a notable exception) Nor can they be described as wide, let alone with a shoulder. I have to remind myself that these routes were planned, or perhaps a better word is "happened" many centuries ago, when donkeys were the main mode of transport. Long straight stretches would not have been important as one only occasionally needed to move from one village to another.

Our destination was Stoupa, which is "B" on the map. I was told that the route through Sparti (Sparta) was 20 km longer but had fewer curves. I should have kept count! This is the route we took from Nafplion (A):

View Larger Map
Based on typical calculations for travel in our area in BC, the few kilometers from Nafplion to Stoupa should only have taken 2 hrs (almost no towns to pass through). However our trip, supposedly by the fastest route, took us at least 4. And we weren't even held up by herds of sheep, though I wish we had been!

We arrived safe and sound, if not a little stiff, from being shoe-horned into our little car, with all our luggage. We were thrilled to find our manificent house which was up the hill from Stoupa and with a magnificent view of the Med.

The house was an amazing reno of an old stone house. We were very impressed: