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27 Sep 2008

Athens 2004 Summer Olympics

In August 2004, the Summer Olympics returned to Athens. It was the first time since 1896 that the Olympics were held in Greece, and the first time the flame travelled around the world to all former Olympic cities. My wife and I visited the sitghts in July while on our honeymoon cruise.

To this day I am amazed that they finished in time for The Games. As you can see, they not even close to finished with the construction just a few weeks before. They did not even seem to be working.

The "Running Man" statue you see below is outside the stadium. It is at least double life-size and is made from horizontal pieces of glass. It’s one of my favorite modern sculptures.









26 Sep 2008

Athens Jewish Museum

Jews have lived continuously in Greece for centuries. Their population increased with the massive resettlement from Spain, after the Jewish expulsion in the late 15th century.

The Nazis defeated Greece in 1941, and occupied it until October, 1943. During this time, it was divided into three zones. Over 80% of the Greek Jewish population perished during that time, mainly at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Fewer than 10,000 survived the War.

Even so, it could have been much worse. Regarding deportation of Jews, the non-Jewish Greek people refused to cooperate with the Germans.  Today, about 5,000 Jews live throughout Greece.

The Jewish museum in Athens is excellent. Don’t miss the 4th level: an area devoted to the Holocaust (Shoah).









25 Sep 2008

Amsterdam's Gay Pride Day

One of the great events of the year is Gay Pride Day in Amsterdam.

Simply put, it is a magnet for gays and lesbians from all over the globe. For straights, it is a magnet for those who enjoy a real good time.

In fact the day is actually an entire weekend typically at the very beginning of August. We are talking wall to wall people here, and everybody is having fun.

We were fortunate to have an air chair view from our perfectly located suite in Amsterdam's nicest hotel. Since its opening in 1867, the Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam has been the most prestigious hotel in town. Being the place to stay, the Amstel Hotel draws celebrity and cosmopolitan clientele from the whole world. That's the JETSETWAY.









22 Sep 2008

Amsterdam - Anne Frank House

One of the most famous museums in the world is the Anne Frank House. It is the actual house where Anne Frank and seven others hid out from Nazis during the World War II.

The house was immortalized in Anne's diary, which told the day to day story of her family and the people who helped them during their 25 months of hiding.

Ultimately, they were betrayed and taken to concentration camps. Anne's father was the only one (of eight) who survived the war.

It is one thing to read about silently hiding out in small quarters, but it is something else to actually see the tiny living quarters.

 









20 Sep 2008

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a beautiful city. The beauty stems from its many canals that criss-cross this quiet capital of the Netherlands. This is also why Amsterdam is often referred to as "Venice of the North."

The people are tall, bonde, and almost everyone speaks English. You will be hard pressed to find a friendlier population in all of Europe.

Amsterdam is a great walking town, and a shoppers paradise. Enjoy the various neighborhoods, especially the romanticized Jordan districts and its chique Nine Streets (which house shops you will find nowhere else).

Amsterdam is also loaded with museums. Two must-sees are the Van Gogh Museum, and the Anne Frank House.

The city seems to have more than its fair share of young (almost hippie-like) people. This can be attributed to Holland's long liberal tradition that makes soft drugs legal and easily accessible. To most Americans, it is amazing to see how truly ordered the Dutch society is given its many freedoms.

Also not to miss is the Red Light district, Amsterdam's prostitution mecca, where girls are on display in windows like living mannequins. It is the real deal and quite a tourist attraction. They have somebody for everybody.

All that being said, where else but Amsterdam would you find a giant sculpture of well defined male genetilia?