Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Three Hundreds: The man who will travel by bicycle across Europe in 100 days

1236865_587980947912407_349521204_nEach one of us has on the back of his mind a goal for his life; a dream that he want to achieve.  For some of us this dream is an extreme adventure, a good job, an expensive car.

Alexandros Ioannou has this dream: to travel across Europe with a bicycle  in 100 days, cover 10000 km, visit 100 different places, and survive with just 100 Euro in his pockets.  For these reasons, he named his attempt The Three Hundreds.

He has so far visited Ireland, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Strasbourg, Basel, Lyon, Barcelona and Marseille.  By this time, he is in Italy.

The difficulties he faces are plenty.  He does not have enough money, the weather is crap for a traveler who camps in a tent during the night, and his bicycle needs continuous repairs.

Alexandros wants to show with his attempt a positive image to those who are suffering from the economic crisis and live in pessimism.

Also, his trip is supporting the charity organization ‘One dream, one wish’ for children with cancer and related diseases. Alexandros says,

Transport through a bicycle is a way of life for me.

He loved traveling since he was a little child, so he took the decision to do something adventurous just after he finished his Master of Design for Services, at the University of Dundee.

The difficult economic measures in Cyprus last March (where the banks were closed for three weeks) left him with no money.  Since he did not have enough money to buy a new bicycle, he decided to visit a recycling center and get parts from old bicycles and create his own.

Alexandros says,

I managed to build my own bicycle; I loved it and it was entirely my own.

For that reason, he decided that he could not sell his bike when he was leaving from Dundee after his studies.  So he took the decision to drive it back to Cyprus.

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The people of Dundee supported him as soon as they heard his decision of the trip.  His teachers made a good publicity of his attempt and gave him money, in order to help him.  Also he organised a fund raising event, where he sold everything he had in order to earn some extra money.

His family’s reaction was not the same with the people in Dundee.  They were in shock.  Alexandros says,

My parents thought that I was going crazy and that I was not OK psychologically; my mother was crying every time I talked to her and my father did not want to hear anything about my idea.

Hopefully, his parents realized at the end of the day, how determined he was and that they could not change his opinion.  Alexandros showed them that he was well prepared, gave them the map he created and explained them all the plans that he made about the route of his trip.  Because of his positive energy, they realized that they had no other option than stand near their son.

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He departed on the 1st of September 2013 from Dundee, Scotland with his bicycle and hopes to arrive in Dali, Cyprus in 100 days time.

The night before his departure, Alexandros was very scared and asked himself what his I doing.  However, everything changed when he took his bicycle and started his journey.  He says,

I was excited.  The feeling of satisfaction I had, deleted all my bad thoughts and made me more determined for my new adventure.

Most of Alexandros trip will be covered by bicycle.  However, he will be forced to use some other ways of transportation.  For example, he had to use a ferry to travel to Ireland and Holland and he will do the same to travel from Greece to Cyprus;  pretty logical since he it is not possible to cover these distances by swimming.

Alexandros is wild camping and sleeps in a tent, while sometimes  some local residents are volunteering to host him.  It is notable to mention his experience in the Isle of Skye in Scotland.  An unknown man saw him outside in the rain and told him to stay in his house until the next morning.  These are the positive things that Alexandros want to gain from his trip.

He wants to learn to live without amenities and gain new experiences.  He believes that,

This trip is a University of life.  I can learn about other people, see how other civilizations are, and leave without stereotypes.

1186275_588424691201366_440331445_nOf course there are many difficulties during his voyage.  First of all, he has many expenses for the maintaining of his bicycle.  Also, he is not well trained to drive a bike on such a long distances.  Another important difficulty are the weather conditions.  He has to live five to six days under heavy rain and cold.

Above these problems, Alexandros believes that the difficulties are less than the things this trip offers him.  He says that,

You must be positive and not a pessimist.  I got used to the rain.  I mean, if you are under the rain, just grab the opportunity to have a bath and later on see the beauty of a rainbow.

The publicity he received a few days after his departure shocked him.  He could not believe that he was being interviewed from newspapers and TV channels.  His goal was to show the positive things he could gain from his trip.  However, some journalists changed this happy image and presented him as a man who was having a difficult time and was struggling to get to Cyprus.  These facts are untrue, since he is so happy with what he is doing and wants to show that all this attempt is happening for a good reason.

Alexandros says, “life is simpler than we think.”

He believes that,

All the people should try to do something that pleases them;  this is, according to him, the best reward a human could have.  Though this, everyone can face all the difficulties in their lives.

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Each new experience is a new chapter in our life.  Alexandros is an adventurous and positive person who looks forward to make his ‘chapter’ more colourful.  People must try to accomplish their dreams, take the risk and grab all the opportunities they find in their road,” he says.

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Continental Market in Newcastle

IMG_2529When markets make their appearance on the streets, it is time for Christmas shopping.

People need to get into the Christmas spirit, make their shopping and feel closer to the largest celebration of the world.

What more could we ask for; a Continental market is in Newcastle and is promising great taste experiences.

The populace of Newcastle is pleased with the reappearance of the International Christmas market, which is taking place in the city centre from the 16th November.

Different stands from all over the countries are being settled at Grey’s Monument, while the delightful smell of different cuisines is spread in all over the city centre and attracts both young and old people.

Walking on a Saturday afternoon at Newcastle’s city centre, I realised that all the people were going straight to the market.  Happy kids were waiting to taste some of the unusual kinds of candies and at the same time their parents were tasting a different kind of cuisine.

The market looks wonderful under the Christmas lights and gives you the opportunity to learn new things about international cuisines and taste foods that you may never have the opportunity to have again.

From which stand could I start and which one can I disclose?

First of all, I recommend you to go to the market hungry. You must not miss the opportunity to taste the dishes of that unique cuisines.  There are Italian, French, German, Spanish, Mexican and Greek stands.  The Mexican Wraps and the Spanish Paella were excellent.   But, if you are really hungry then visit the German Hot Dog stand.  They have numerous kinds of sausages and cook them with onions and other herbs.  When its cooked just choose the sauce you prefer and enjoy.

I highly recommend you to have a dessert after your food.  For ‘dessert lovers’ there is an Italian stand, named ‘Little Italy’.  It sells the most amazing sweets you will ever taste in your whole life.  The owners are very friendly and will help you to chose something that suits to your preferences.  Definitely their cannoli is very tasteful.  Made from powdered sugar, ricotta cheese and a feeling for all the tastes; chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, etc.  It is cheaper to buy the Italian biscuits per kilo.  If you prefer alcohol in your dessert then buy one Amaretti cake.  It is not too sweet and leaves a great amaretto taste in your mouth.

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Last but not least is the hot wine under the ‘Mulled Wine’ stand.  The combination of cinnamon and red wine is very relaxing and the price is shockingly low (just £3 for a medium size cup).  Even more amazing is the way they boil it.  A big casserole is on the middle of the stand and boils during the day in order to keep its visitors happy.

There are not only food stands in the market.  Some stands sell accessories, flowers and decorations for your house.  The flower shop has amazing trees for your yard, flowers to customise your house and many other Christmas decorations.  The most beautiful one, is a basket made from a rope and its fill in with dried flowers and peanuts (costs £10).  It can be hanged from the wall or decorate the dinning table.

Newcastle International Market has nothing to jealous from other ones.  People are friendly, food is great.  It achieves to combine different cultures together and offer a splendid time to its visitors.  Who doesn’t want to taste new cuisines and learn through them about the tradition of other countries?  No one.  So just take your family and friends there and have a great time.  To be honest, is nicer to go during the night when the Christmas lights are one and you can more easily feel Santa Claus approaching quicker than ever.

Continental Market is on from the 16th of November and will stay at Grey’s Monument until the 30th of the month.  It is open daily until 8:30 pm.

Jeffrey Sarmiento marries Culture and History in glass

Photo 18-11-2013 11 24 15 Jeffrey Sarmiento’s solo exhibition of contemporary art  is now taking place at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland.

Sarmiento is a Reader in Glass and the Programme Leader of MA Glass at the University of Sunderland.

The exhibition ‘Constructions” explores the cultural heritage of the artist, alongside with experiences and reflections on living for years in the USA, Norway and now in the North East.  His show merges family and history together, constructing the cultural identity of Sarmiento.

‘Constructions’ is presented in three different layers: on tables, on walls and on the floor.

At first view, you feel like you are in another one common art show.  Works on the walls, some other on the floor and one or two big works to attract you attention.  However, in the case of Sarmiento’s exhibition you feel different while you walk through the room.  It is not just a simple show.  In this case the artist has managed to marry together history and art, glass and photography.

The more someone walks through the different projects,  the more she will feel like turning the pages of a book.  Photographs and deep thoughts will carry you across America, Philippines, Norway and North East.  In sequence his work, “Two mirror image Photographs” have the shape of an angle of 90 degrees.  The one photo captures the runners of Jarrow race and the other shows a group of captured Philippine.  The whole work was in the shape of a wall made from bricks.  Its one surface was retail while the other was irregular.Photo 18-11-2013 11 25 57

His artwork “Encyclopaedia” attracted me the most.  It is at the entrance of the show and consists works both on a table and on a wall.  3D screen printed individual glass with pictures that were printed, packed together and fused in one block .  On the table there, one big formed glass has images from various sources of the artist; for example, there is one image with diagrams of Sarmiento’s father who was a Physician.  The work is colourful and gives you the opportunity to analyse it from any angle you wish to.

His “Muse” is also a great piece.  It is the portrait of a feminine figure, who wears traditional Philippine clothing and has a Philippine background.  This portrait is not a usual one.  It is not only made with glass, but is made through small balls of glass.  The artist cut by hard the piece of glass and put it on a head in order to be soften and loose its edges and corners.  Then piece by piece he created this amazing portrait.

Sarmiento’s exhibition really is worth a visit.  It is fresh, contemporary and unique.  It is not a simple art exhibition.  It is a marriage between history and art.  Just a single look through each glass work and you will be able to travel through his life and experiences.

You can visit “Constructions” at National Glass Centre in Sunderland, everyday until Sunday 5th January 2014.

No one forgets : Condemnation of Pseudo State

1454934_10153466693615434_18579644_n15 November 1983:  A day that we will never forget.  Through illegal methods the Turkish army decided to name the occupied part of North Cyprus an independent state, after the Turkish invasion in the summer of 1974.

In numbers:

1,619 missing persons whose families still do not know if they died or not,

Αpproximately 4.000 dead people

200.000 displaced persons who had to abandon their OWN houses and see their villages burnt down

 37% of Cyprus was taken through violence by the Turkish army

Women were raped, children were violently killed, villages were vanished and churches were destroyed.

Historical monuments were put down to earth.  The world was in shock for months after all these violent actions.  But now only the mothers who have lost their sons, only the children who lost their parents..only those, still remember!

To be honest Turkey got jealous of Cypriot history, they got jealous for NOT HAVING THEIR OWN history.  Seriously, occupying other countries is a history? Killing the Kurds and other civilizations in order to expand your borders, is not a history.

And they have the audacity of not only refusing to recognize the Cypriot State (a country member of the EU), but also mentioning that there is no such country named Cyprus, on earth.

Well done Mr. Erdogan.  You are probably a ‘good politician’ (your people hate you, you are an American puppet and you talk about European democracy while you rule your country with a militaristic way), but did you ever realize that you house is build on a land that does not even belong to you?

Several people says that Cypriots are over reacting.  Just imagine someone throwing you out of your house ! Would you just sit down, shake hands and accept this cruelty?

We should not forget.  No one should forget.  Turkey invaded Cyprus and tried to vanish its civilization.  This is the truth no matter what politicians try to persuade us.  Turkey should be punished for its atrocities.

We are obeying the laws from the day we were born.  Where is law now?  When the Turks will be punished?

The country survived through the Turkish invasion, rebuilt its economy and WILL survive through European economic stagnation, no matter what.  People with strong tradition, customs and identity do not easily give up.

We write our own history and nobody has the right to change it.

 

 15 Νοεμ. 1983 : Μια μέρα που δεν θα ξεχάσουμε ποτέ . Με παράνομες μεθόδους ο τουρκικός στρατός αποφάσισε να ονομάσει την κατεχόμενη Βόρεια Κύπρο ως ανεξάρτητο κράτος , μετά την τουρκική εισβολή το καλοκαίρι του 1974 .

Σε αριθμούς :

1.619 αγνοούμενοι, των οποίων οι οικογένειες δεν ξέρουν αν είναι νεκροί ή όχι ,

4.000 νεκροί

200.000 πρόσφυγες, οι οποίοι αναγκάστηκαν να εγκαταλείψουν τα σπίτια τους και να δουν τα χωριά τους χάνοντε

 37 % της Κυπριακής γης κατελήφθη δια της βίας από τον τουρκικό στρατό

Γυναίκες βιάστηκαν , παιδιά σκοτώθηκαν βίαια , χωριά εξαφανίστηκαν και εκκλησίες καταστράφηκαν .

Ιστορικά Μνημεία τέθηκαν κάτω στη γη . Ο κόσμος ήταν σε κατάσταση σοκ για μήνες μετά από όλες αυτές τις βίαιες ενέργειες . Αλλά τώρα μόνο οι μητέρες που έχασαν τους γιους τους , τα παιδιά που έχασαν τους γονείς τους θυμούνται.

Για να είμαι ειλικρινής οι Τούρκοι ζήλεψαν τη Κυπριακής Ιστορία ,ζήλεψαν που δεν έχουν τη δική τους ιστορία .  Το να καταλαμβάνεις άλλες χώρες θεωρείτε ιστορία ; Το να σκοτώνεις τους Κούρδους και άλλους πολιτισμούς , προκειμένου να επεκτείνεις τα σύνορά σου , δεν είναι ιστορία .

Και έχουν το θράσος να μην αρνούνται να αναγνωρίσουν το Κυπριακό Κράτος ( μια χώρα μέλος της ΕΕ ) και να πιστεύουν υπάρχει τέτοια χώρα που ονομάζεται Κύπρος.  Μπράβο κ. Ερντογάν . Είστε πιθανώς ένας « καλός πολιτικός ».  Οι άνθρωποι σας μισούν, ενώ είστε μια Αμερικάνικη μαριονέτα που μιλάει για την ευρωπαϊκή δημοκρατία , ενώ κυβερνάει τη χώρα της με ένα άκρως μιλιταριστικό τρόπο.  Έχετε συνειδητοποιήσει ότι το σπίτι σας είναι χτισμένο σε μια χώρα που δεν σας ανήκει καν?

Αρκετοί άνθρωποι λένε ότι οι Κύπριοι αντιδρούν υπερβολικά . Σοβαρά τώρα , φανταστείτε κάποιον να έρχεται, να σας ρίχνει έξω από το σπίτι σας ! Θα μπορούσατε να καθίσετε μαζί του στο ίδιο τραπέζι και να αποδεχτείτε αυτή του την κίνηση?

Εμείς δεν πρέπει να ξεχνάμε . Κανείς μας δεν πρέπει να ξεχνά.   Η Τουρκία εισέβαλε στην Κύπρο και προσπάθησε να εξαφανίσουν τον πολιτισμό μας . Αυτή είναι η αλήθεια. Η Τουρκία πρέπει να τιμωρηθεί για τις θηριωδίες που διέπραξε .  Τηρούμε τους νόμους από την ημέρα που γεννηθήκαμε . Πού είναι ο νόμος τώρα; Πότε ο Αττίλας θα τιμωρηθεί ;

Η χώρα επέζησε από την τουρκική εισβολή , ξαναέχτισε την οικονομία της και θα επιβιώσει μέσα από την δύσκολη οικονομική στασιμότητα που περνούμε.  Οι άνθρωποι με ισχυρή παράδοση, έθιμα και ταυτότητα δεν παραιτούνται τόσο εύκολα.

Γράφουμε τη δική μας ιστορία και κανείς δεν έχει το δικαίωμα να μας την αλλάξει .