Archive for August, 2019


With our visit to Scotland last week, we visited a few interesting places: The Palace of the Holyroodhouse, which is the official palace of the Queen in Scotland, Edinburgh Castle and the Cathedral at St Andrews. I’m sharing a few random photos. What I like about historic buildings, is to look at the structures and designs. It’s just amazing what time went into the design of these historical structures. 


Edinburgh Castle



Lots of visitors everywhere at the Edinburgh Castle.


Near the Castle.


Street musician – preparing for the Fringe festival.


A flame entertainer – also preparing for the Fringe Festival.

The Holyrood Abbey alongside the Palace of the Holyroodhouse. This Abbey was built in the twelve century and in ruins since the eighteenth century.

Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, also known as Holyrood Palace is the Queen and Royal Family’s official residence in Scotland.  The building itself being an architectural gem with impressive Baroque decoration.

During the Middle Ages the monarchy left the cold and damp Edinburgh Castle and settled in the comfortable Holyrood Abbey guesthouse. In 1503 James IV constructed the first palace alongside the Abbey. Many years later, James V built a tower where Mary, Queen of Scots lived between 1561 and 1567.

It wasn’t until a century later, from 1671 to 1678, that the Baroque palace was built as it stands today. It was designed for Charles II with the restoration of the monarchy. Presently, it is one of the most beautiful palaces in Scotland.

The Queen uses this palace for her official visits to Scotland. If the Queen is in residence, you cannot visit this palace.

St Andrews Cathedral

It was built in 1158 and became the centre of the Medieval Catholic Church in Scotland as the seat of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and the Bishops and Archbishops of St Andrews. It fell into disuse and ruin after Catholic mass was outlawed during the 16th-century Scottish Reformation.


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When I listened to this song – in this video – I knew there must be a ‘story’ behind this song and I started searching and then I found myself almost a whole day just reading and reading about the ordeal of Nicholas and his family. This was during the Greek civil war. WW2 was nearly at its end and then the people of Greece had to deal with a civil war. [I’ve put the video together after watching the movie (it’s in English) – see bottom of entry].

This next article was written in 1983 by Nicholas, whose mother was killed by some Greek guerrilla fighters when he was age 9 – just after WW2. This is a sad story. Nicholas and some of his siblings went to America to be reunited with their dad and he became a New York Times journalist. 

I also find the complete movie on youtube. I watched it and found myself shedding some tears at times by just the thought of what Eleni had gone through. Even just by reading this article – and make sure you read the complete article by following the given link.

This is the article by Nicholas Gage. 

This article is adapted from his book ”Eleni,” to be published by Random House later this month. On the road to vengeance … one discovers life. – Andre Malraux, ”Man’s Fate.” On Aug. 28, 1948, at about 12:30 P.M. on a hot, windless day, a group of women with firewood on their backs were descending a steep path above the Greek village of Lia, a cluster of gray stone houses on a mountainside just below the Albanian border. As the women came into view of the village below them, they encountered a grim procession.

At the front and rear, carrying rifles, were several of the Communist guerrillas who had occupied their village for the last nine months of the Greek civil war. They were guarding 13 prisoners who were walking barefoot to their execution with legs black and swollen from the torture called falanga. One man, too badly beaten to walk or even sit up, was tied onto a mule.

Among the prisoners were five people from the village: three men and two women. The older woman stumbled along with the fixed stare of madness. She was my aunt, Alexo Gatzoyiannis, 58 years old. The younger woman, with light chestnut hair, blue eyes and a torn blue dress, caught the gaze of the villagers and shook her head. She was my mother, Eleni Gatzoyiannis, 41 years old.

As the prisoners climbed the mountain, they passed a spring where a 13-year-old boy had stopped to drink. Soon, they disappeared over the horizon. A few minutes later, there was a burst of rifle fire, then single shots as each victim was finished off with a bullet to the skull.

When the guerrillas passed again on the way down, they were alone. The executed had been left in the ravine where they fell, their bodies covered by rocks.

Sixteen days later, when it was clear that the guerrillas were losing the war to the Greek Army forces, they rounded up every civilian left in the village and herded them at gunpoint over the border into Albania. Lia became a ghost town as the crows descended on the corpses left behind. A village that had been inhabited for more than 25 centuries ceased to exist. learned of my mother’s execution eight days after it happened, while I was living with three of my four sisters in a refugee camp on the Ionian coast opposite the island of Corfu. Seven months later, the four of us boarded a ship bound for the United States to join our father, who had been cut off from Greece by a decade of war and revolution. I was 9 when I saw him for the first time.

My mother was one of 650,000 Greeks who were killed during the years of war that ravaged the country from 1940 to 1949. Like many of the victims, she died because her home lay in the path of the opposing armies, but she would have survived if she had not defied the invaders of her village to save her children. I had been her favorite child, loved with the intensity a Greek peasant woman reserves for an only son. I knew that I was the primary reason she made the choices she did. No one doubted that she died so I could live.

Continue reading HERE on the site of the New York Times.

This next entry is from the blog of the wife of Nicholas Gage. I’ve copied only half of the entry and you can continue reading on the given link and see some photos of Michael’s visit too.

Michael Dukakis, who ran for the presidency of the United States in 1988 and was the longest-serving governor in Massachusetts history, arrived in the small northern Greek village of Lia last week on Aug. 24, causing great excitement throughout the country, and especially in Lia, where the village had been spruced up, pot holes filled, foliage pruned, and a heliport repaved to receive Dukakis’ entourage, (although the man himself chose to drive up the vertiginous mountain roads so he could see the countryside on the way.)

Dukakis’ maternal grandparents came from Vrisohori, another small and, until recently, isolated village not far from Lia. Although Mike and Kitty have visited Greece many times, they had never visited Northern Greece and his grandparents’ village. The couple, along with Kitty’s sister Ginnie and Ginnie’s husband, Al, used the Grand Serai Hotel in Ioannnina as a base. After a lavish dinner hosted by the Mayor of Ioannina, they left the next day to see Vrisohori where Sen. Dukakis, with tears in his eyes, lauded the village which had produced his mother Euterpe, who became one of the the first Greek-American women to earn a college degree. (The small village also produced the father of film director John Cassavetes.)

The next day, Monday, Aug. 24, the Dukakis group arrived in Lia to attend a memorial service for Eleni Gatzoyiannis, my mother-in-law and the mother of my husband Nicholas Gage.

Continue reading HERE about the visit at Eleni’s house.


Eleni’s house today – after restoration by Eleni, the daughter of Nicholas, who took time out to go to the village where her grandmother, Eleni, was killed. The image is from the link below.

On this next link, you can read about Nicholas and his visit to the house and you will see quite a few photos of him in and around the house. 


Eleni – the complete movie.

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If you ever want to visit the British Museum and you can visit the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford instead, you should give it a serious thought! I’ve been to both and from my experience at the British Museum, I can just say that it’s way too busy to my taste. I definitely prefer the Ashmolean Museum where it’s much quieter and you can enjoy the exhibitions and the information in your own time and space. We found that there’s a lot more on display at this museum about Ancient Egypt. As we visited quite a few other places in Oxford, sadly, we couldn’t go through the complete museum and had to leave after visiting the two sections: Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece. At the British Museum, I feel ‘pushed‘ by the crowd and it’s really not a pleasure. Maybe I’m too much of a ‘reader of information‘ than some other people who just go to ‘look’. Also, I try to avoid crowded places and this is my experience at the British Museum. When you’re finished with your visit to the Ashmolean in Oxford, you surely need to find the Formosan tea bar, which is an independent business established in Oxford by a local Taiwanese entrepreneur. Enjoy your visit!

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Bohemian Rhapsody

What an amazing and incredible effort by this talented choir of Rustenburg High School in South Africa.

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