European Day Without Cars observed in Samos

 Bike near Halcyon HillsAMNA/ European Day Without Cars was marked in Samos and throughout the rest of Greece on Saturday.

Central city streets were closed off to cars in many urban centers, as bikers took advantage of the car-free streets and showed up in numbers.

The Bicycle Association of Veteran Athletes organized a 200-kilometer non-competitive large distance race, with more than 410 bikers participating.

September 22 was designated as European Day Without Cars as a self-standing day in 2000, under the auspices of the European Commission.

Pedestrians, bicycles, public transit and other forms of sustainable transportation are encouraged on these days, and people are invited to reflect on what their city would look like with a lot fewer cars, and what might be needed to accomplish that.

Advertisements

Samos: the land of mysteries!

There is a great deal of myths behind every corner of Greece, but Samos Island definitely holds the first and most interesting ones. With places full of historical value, with beaches and waterfalls that travel you to different places, with forests that give a different breath to the island, one thing is certain: mysteries never end on Samos.

 

From the famous mathematician Pythagoras to the great astronomer Aristarchus many of the mysteries of contemporary sciences set their basis on this land. When visiting Samos, prepare yourselves for a journey through wonderful sceneries and hidden beauties, for a journey full of history and knowledge.

Visit the cave of Pythagoras

Explore the island where the father of geometry lived and developed his theorem. Take the road to mountain Kerki, 3 km away from Kampos Marathokampou, leave your car behind and start ascending the stairs towards the place where Pythagoras would go for isolation and inspiration. The energy of this place will definitely reward your efforts!

Become one with the locals at Vourliotes village

Try a more local approach and visit this picturesque village that is surrounded by a forest of pine trees. Enjoy a Greek coffee or a glass of excellent Samian wine accompanied by the delicious local “bourekia” while enjoying the shadow of the trees at the main square of the village. Do not forget to pour some of the wine as an offer to deity Artemis.

Explore the waterfalls

If there is any mystery about life still unsolved, put on your sports shoes and your swimming suit and spend a day at the amazing waterfalls of Samos. Have a refreshing swim and let the water fall on you, relaxing your mind and your body. The healing powers of the water will unravel the secrets of life right before your eyes.

Spend a whole day at Votsalakia beach

Start your day early with a refreshing morning swim at the amazing Votsalakia beach (also known as Kampos Marathokampou). Relax under the tamarisk trees, enjoy the crystal clear waters and read some of the educative parables of Aesop, who was born on the island. When the evening comes and the sun starts descending, empty your mind from every thought and enjoy the best sunset on the island!

So welcome to the treasures of the Northeastern Aegean Sea, welcome to Samos, the island that will awaken your senses and travel you to magical places! 

First-ever appearance of Buff-breasted sandpiper in Greece

Buff breasted Sandpiper near Halcyon HillsSamos had a surprise unscheduled landing a few days ago when a Buff-breasted sandpiper, which breeds in the open arctic tundra of North America made one of its rare appearances in Europe and first-ever in Greece.

The Buff-breasted sandpiper, Tryngites subruficollis, is a small shorebird, classified as a calidrid sandpiper and currently believed to be the only member of the genus Tryngites.

Members of the Fauna Observation Team of the Airport’s environmental service — who are also members of the Greek Ornithological Society — spotted the bird at the airport’s southern border.amna

The Buff-breasted sandpiper is a very long-distance migrant and spends the non-breeding season mainly in South American, migrating usually through central North American. Occurring as an occasional wanderer to western Europe, particularly during the autumn migratory season, this was the first recorded sighting of Tryngites subruficollis in Greece. Its moderately small remaining population continues to decline and as a result it is considered Near-Threatened. amna

Arrivals of rare birds are not uncommon in the region of the AIA, and the Buff-breasted sandpiper was the 188th species of bird to be recorded there.

New border crossings into Greece: A revival of the old routes in the Aegean?

Kos
Beautiful Kos

Recently the greek news are talking of a revival of the old routes into Greece through the Aegean islands. Since two years Evros has been the main entrance for sans-papiers into Greece with steadily increasing numbers of arrivals. Since the beginning of the governments massive pogrom against sans-papiers in Athens but also in Evros and the further periphery in the beginning of this August, numbers of arrivals have been shrinking in Evros and increasing again slightly on the islands of the Aegean (mainly: Mytilini, Samos, Patmos, Leros, Symi etc.). In August 397 sans-papiers were arrested on the Aegean islands compared to 168 in 2011. The greek government following this increase and the medial hype around the “revival of the island routes” asked Frontex for more support in controlling their sea borders. The request concerns 4 additional aircrafts, 4 coast guard ships and specialised extra staff.
Concerning the fate of the arriving sans-papiers, as it seems, the authorities on the islands have the order to keep new arriving sans-papiers as long as possible in detention on the islands and not transfer them to Athens. In some cases solidarity group denounced the lack of access to the asylum procedure for the detained. In a long-term perspective if arrivals will continue and grow this could result in the creation of new detention places on the islands (or the re-opening of old ones). It is yet unclear if the slightly increasing arrivals on the islands can be interpreted as another change of routes or if it is more of a short term phenomenon. Clearly, the medial referral to a “revival” of the old routes and de facto arrivals of the last days anyway also lead to an increased use of a fascist discourse by some people within the local societies (i.e. in Symi but also elsewhere).

In Samos the local solidarity group published a number of press releases concerning the very poor detention conditions of newly arrived Syrian and Afghan refugees (among them also children, women and UN-recognized refugees from other countries) and the lack of access to the asylum procedure for the about 50-60 refugees. Since a few days the Syrian refugees are on hunger strike protesting their inhuman situation.

In Mytilini the last month there have been also repeated arrivals (50 and more in the last period). Sans-papiers seem to be detained in the police stations of the island.

In Symi a boat carrying 38 sans-papiers was seemingly shot by the authorities and thereafter sank (on September 4th). The passengers were saved and are in detention now. In total there were about 100 (or more) arrivals in this period. The police station does not fit any more detainees so that the new arriving have to stay in the yard and next to it in outside spaces. The Doctors without borders are offering some medical first aid, while the police is responsible for the catering. At the same time during a recent municipal council on the island one of the speakers proposed to call members of the fascist party GD (golden dawn) to “solve the problem” and “so that the guys don’t allow the boats of the coast guard to disembark the sans-papiers on the island”. The mayor of the island at some point said: “if nothing happens (from the side of the government?) then we have to tak the weapens and protect our island!”.

In Leros a few days ago 60 sans-papiers arrived – originally having arrived on Farmakonisi. Amog them were also small children. They were all detained in the yard of the coast guard and the police station.

In Rhodos 20-30 people were reported to have arrived in the last days. At the same time their are rumours about the construction of a new detention centre on Kos island.