The first photo below was sent to me by my friend Anna, with the sole information that it came from the archive of Agnes Baldwin Brett. Elegant ladies walk in the snow between neo-classical houses under mount Lycabettus, in what today is Kolonaki Square, the chic quarter of Athens.
Looking up Agnes Baldwin Brett (1876 – 1955), I found out that she was an American numismatist and archaeologist who grew up in Newark, New Jersey. She attended Barnard College and Columbia University, and from 1900 she spent two years as a Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. While in Athens, Brett worked on the coin finds from the excavation at Corinth and also took a number of photographs. The one below is entitled ‘Delphi’, but I was unable to find out why there are camels there! I thought it was very amusing.
Finally, here’s a photo of what used to be called ‘The Great Road,’ which became the main retail high street in Athens, Odos Ermou, named after Hermes, the god of trade. It was one of the basic axes of the first urban plan of the city, designed by architects Kleanthis and Schubert in 1833.
And a later view, circa 1920 (unknown photographer). It has been paved, but as you can see it’s somewhat narrower, slices on each side having been appropriated by the owners of the buildings…
I love this season, and can’t resist posting about it each year. The swallows have arrived, geckos are running up the walls. As everything is drying up, colors burst all around .
My agapanthus is out.
Oleander bushes are the best things to plant in Greece, since they don’t need water once they’ve had a good start in life. They can grow to be huge, and flower all summer long.
Bougainvillea – bright as flames.
Even roadside weeds are pretty.
And the figs are coming along nicely.
Summer comes to Greece quickly, and everything dries up. Wild flowers and weeds get overblown, and dried grasses have to be cleared because of fire risk. We live in fear of forest fires, which is a big downside of our lovely summers. Pine trees are especially at risk, because of the resin in their sap. They can spontaneously combust just from the heat of a forest fire, and the cones can fly as far as 500 meters, thus accelerating the spread of the fire.
We have had a little welcome rain lately, which has kept things green, and so we can still enjoy wild flowers and the blossom on trees. Of course in the mountains spring will last a while longer, but around Athens summer has a habit of establishing itself quite early. People are already heading to the beach – in fact, we had our first swim in the sea on April 14. The water was freezing, but invigorating! Then it turned cold again for a few days.
I don’t know what these flowers are called, but they were so pretty growing amongst the rocks, that I felt inspired to make a sketch in my journal.
Tortoises are coming out of hibernation, to the great interest of some! This one came to visit. It’s amazing how much faster they move than what you’d expect. I went into the kitchen to get it some lettuce, and by the time I came out again, it was gone. In the countryside, sometimes they decide to cross the road, stopping all traffic.
Nature at its best!
Harold is a photojournalist and a great traveller. I always think it interesting to look at places through different sets of eyes, and I loved the photographs of Greece he often posts on his blog, Through Harold’s Lens. He very kindly agreed to be a guest host when I asked him, never imagining the amount of work this entailed! In his own words: ‘What a fun project this has been. Going through and selecting from 1,500 photographs from Greece was a challenge.’
He has been more than generous in sharing his photographs, and since I found it quite hard to choose from this bounty, I will divide them between a couple or more posts.
Harold goes on to say:
As a recent visitor to Greece, I was alive with excitement strolling through this historical cradle of Western Civilization.
To journey through Greece’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and experience the numerous gods of the ancient Greek religion as well as the mythical heroes.
To feel the faith of the country.
To embrace the warmth, joys and sorrows of the Greek people.
With my sidekick Mr. SLR Nikon, we have tried to capture some of the riches and beauty of your country. We hope you enjoy.
To thank M.L., Through Harold’s Lens is celebrating “Greek Week” on our blog www.throughharoldslens.com. You are invited along on our journey.
(to be continued…)