2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 2 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 68 posts.

The busiest day of the year was November 24th with 76 views. The most popular post that day was A Quick Update About Some of Our Activities.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, mybyzantine.wordpress.com, en.wordpress.com, en.search.wordpress.com, and alphainventions.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for the ashes, d day, d-day, fall of the berlin wall, and ashes trophy.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


A Quick Update About Some of Our Activities June 2009


Thinking About 1989 June 2009
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1989 Opened up the Via Egnatia November 2009


Via Egnatia Desert Island Discs June 2009


Lost in Ohrid June 2009


Tim’s great nine minute video which takes in many of the highlights of the walk to Ohrid, and has the wonderful singing of the ‘Angels’. A timeless classic.

Mateja Gorjup from Slovenia (Via Egnatia Caravan 2009), who has such a beautiful voice, singing an old Serbian love song in one of the churches in Svete Gore in Slovenia. Enjoy!

She has provided us with a short explanation of this beautiful song “Marijo, deli bela kumrijo”: “This is an old Serbian song dedicated to those who have travelled to distant parts seeking work. Since Mary’s loved one is far away, it is difficult to be happy and cheerful. Her lovelorn state makes her step slow and leaden; her voice loses its brightness and strength. And so this song describes her mood of deep longing.

The local Aga is a curious and careful onlooker. He sees how the girl’s step has become “soft” and her speech “quiet”. He supposes this to be the result of her carrying heavy water pitchers (stomno, stomnite) or wearing weighty encrusted necklaces (derdana). The girl, full of youth and strength, roundly rejects the idea that work or wearing the necklaces by which she is known to her beloved could be called a burden. The only heavy and almost unbearable burden she carries, given her youth, is separation from the man she loves!”

Here’s hoping that you all had a lovely Christmas, together perhaps with your loved ones.

As animals are central to the story of Christmas, we have a message from Gergana and Stellian which is all about frivolous puppies!

As you could see, our lovely pup which turned to be a Xmas monster, doesn’t allow us to make frivolous plans:) We will spend the Christmas with our families and maybe we will go to a party for the New Year’s Eve. We will have 10 days off around the holidays and could spend some time at home as well.

We have great plans for the next year though. We intend to take part in the Greek part of Via Egnatia (Amphipoli – Alexandroupuli) and maybe to come later to Istanbul but not sure yet.

Stelli and I wish Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, your family and all other members of Via Egnatia team. I hope we can gather for another great time next year! 

 Here are some of our newest pictures, hope you will have fun watching them!

 Franz’s life continues to inspire with its gentleness …

Good to hear from you again. I just finished my teachings in my studio. My course in music theory also stopped for a while. And now I’m looking forward to a nice Xmas with my family. This afternoon I dug out a Christmas-tree out of our garden and placed it in our living room.

Looking back this year I can say that I am grateful for all the good things. Amongst others our Albanian experience and the sale of 6 paintings recently so the chimney can smoke for a while, like we say. I am still not sure if I will walk along next year. I still have to decide. One of my students bought the painting of the little donkeys alongside the via Egnatia.

 A few photos: shovelling the snow from a flat roof last Sunday afternoon and one of our new chickens who had never seen snow before, our cat uneasy afraid wetting her delicate paws and the city of Leyden (the oldest university town of the Netherlands) with a skating court.

I wish you all a merry Christmas and an inspiring and healthy New Year.

 Greetings, Franz.

Tim Lunt has been to India trekking and is thinking about taking part in the early sections of the walk next year. Karen seems to be baking constantly; the American passion for baking things with the most incredible names never ceases to amaze me.

Perhaps the happiest news of the autumn was the news that Bernardka has got engaged; from what I hear she wants us all to turn up to the wedding with donkeys!

I have had a lovely Christmas at home with my family. I made my first Beef Wellington today and it was an amazing success. Another one to add to my signature dishes along with Cherry Kafloute. If I am coming on the walk next year I think the early parts sound interesting, but of course like Gergana I would love to be at the end in Istanbul. We shall see how the next few months treat me and as it is my 25th wedding anniversary next year I am under strict control! We have booked to see the Oberammergau Passion play in late June which will be pretty special.

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.


A Byzantine Christmas

A touch of Christmas from my Byzantine Blog.

To such a deeply religious people as the Byzantines, Christmas held a very special place in their hearts and their community.

I wanted to write a decent piece about a typical Byzantine Christmas but have run out of time; I now I have a whole twelve months to get something ready for next year.

In place of what I may have written I would like to recommend that you listen to Mike Duncan’s excellent podcast The History of Rome; he did a lovely episode about a Roman Christmas two years ago. It appears he has joined together three episodes here so it may take a little while to download, but you get two other great episodes with it (free!!). I have been listening to Mike’s podcast for over two years and we are only at the end of the first century AD! He still has around four hundred years to get to Romulus Augustulus.

Also, some Byzantine Christmas music from the wonderful Capella Romana …

Friday, December 11, 2009
TIRANA – Anatolia News Agency
Turkish President Abdullah Gül said Thursday that Turkey’s goal is to become a full member of the European Union and that the Cyprus issue would not hinder the country’s EU-accession process.

Gül made his comments at a joint press conference in the Albanian capital of Tirana that he held with his Albanian counterpart Bamir Topi following their meeting.

Turkey is always beside Albania and attaches great importance to its development, Gül said: “Turkey considers Albania a strategic partner in the region. Albania also gives great importance to Turkey.”

Read more.

Before Crossing the Albanian-Macedonian Border

Before Crossing the Albanian-Macedonian Border

If you are thinking of joining the Caravan as it makes its way through Macedonia, Greece and Turkey (Thrace) to Istanbul, then have a watch of this video, which will give you some impression of the wonderful experience we all had this year in Albania.

You can look at the 2010 Caravan schedule and sign-up at the Via Egnatia Foundation website.