Angels in Monastiraki

departe, Olimpul.Early morning after the first day of driving into Greece. Sparkling sunny air, infused with the smell of the sea. We decided to postpone the drive to Athens until after a serious swim in the sea, so we perform a cat-like stretch and bump into our Romanian neighbor, tormented by serious back pain. 

So our morning actually starts with a four handed therapy session that leaves the lady more than happy :) . Nothing happens by chance, it seems that landing here in the middle of the night, groping through the Greek darkness to reach a random hotel, led us to doing whatever there was to be done. It seems that this trip is more of a business trip than a vacation. Little did we know…. 

Wearing our swim suits, we effectively float down to the neat breakfast, prepared by the Greek guy that works all day. Giving in to the local yogurt, creamy like no other, and THOSE olives…. Yes. Olives, yogurt and oil, nothing else needed.  
 Korinos, vegetaţie sudică

Heading to the beach on the well groomed boardwalk belonging to the tiny clean and neat hotel, we manage to avoid drowning into the fine sand before reaching the lounge chairs offered for free and another. So nice we do not have to breathe anyone’s cigarette smoke, not to mention that almost no one smokes here. Most of the guests are French and German :) .  Everything is sparkling clean, the small pool is impeccable, the Greek sweeps, scrubs, sets everything in order after finishing the breakfast buffet preparations.

departe, Olimpul.The Aegean Sea is blue and clear, smooth and salty, warm, in spite of the early hours. So we float and swim for a long time, with our eyes on the Olympus, visible for the first time in weeks, as our colleague tells us, chatting with the newly revitalized neigbor.  The Germans and Dutch must have landed in Thessaloniki, for this little airport is full of charter flights during the summer. Typically quiet families, with or without children, and if there are children one cannot notice the typical yelling, screaming and repremending the families perform at our seaside. We enjoy that Time-NoTime for another dive, sleepy and slow, into the majestic energy of this place that brings you back into Harmony, dominated by the great mountain and soothed by the sea. And this continues until the first nasty jellyfish shows up. I suddenly understand the meaning of the hundreds of colored nets, magnified versions of the aquarium nets, one can see in every tiny beachware kiosk. There must be some serious fishing here :). So we grab our stuff, nicely pay the same Greek who takes care of the reception desk, as well, stay a bit longer to enjoy the terrace wi-fi, solve the work stuff and after that it is time to get back in our car, lady-like. The license plate, Romanian, translates as DREAM. And we head straight into the hottest day of the month in Athens. 39 Celsius, almost september….

fortăreţe medievale

The Opel  4 x 4, bearing proudly the nickname of The Little One, shows obvious signs of no air conditioning. What a coincidence. Last evening it was working perfectly, so losing freon is the first hypothesis we exclude. That is unless the Aegean SEa sharks come to the shore after midnight to bite cooling agent tanks. We hae to live with the idea we will drive having the windows down… should be nice on the highway… music would be redundant…. and hair blown by the wind, like fairies.

The road to Athens, almost entirely highway, is incredible. We wind through spectacular mountains, admire the Greeks, working like ants to finish a missing segment of the highway… and pay a ton of road taxes. Summing up to more than 30 euro.  Passing by huge rocks in delicate balance, old forts, no time to stop, the heart races saying quicker, quicker, and by fields impregnated with a slightly suspect smell… is it organic agriculture??

pe spatele unui şevalet de artist

The bright pink lipstick and Cleopatra eyes of the driver produce the first victim. A gentleman driving a nice silver Audi is passing us, then slowing,  getting behind us, and when we stop at a gas station for refueling, he pulls over next to us to report. the rack in the back of the car, the shirts are nicely ironed.  He is obviously on a business trip. But tomorrow evening he is free, and A. gets a phone number and a really polite invite. Should she call, he would be really happy. Two sodas came as a polite offering, as well, and we can but thank him and proceed.  Another stop, in the heat of the day, in one of those beautiful, air-conditioned expensive places on the side of the higway, supplies a little bit of breathing and a Cafe Frappe like no other. Greeks know their business.

Our GPS with a male voice, freshly baptized on the road to Thessaloniki with the glorious name of Gitsa drives us into Athens with only one failure – the maps are not updated and we get into a wrong way. Here we are, into the heart of the city, next to Monastiraki (Thanks, Free Spirit Travel, for inspiration and reservation) and park on the free spot that seems to have been waiting for us, to check in quickly and touch again the old stones of Plaka, the charming old neighborhood of Athens.

painting angelsWaiting for a friend that I seem to meet only during trips, in the country and outside, we get back into the heat, from the chill of the air-conditioned rooms. The schorching afternoon of the end of August lets us drift, with water bottles in our hands through the labyrinth of medieval tiny streets. Athens is heartbreaking after the crisis. The number of deserted stores is overwhelming. My previous memory of the area hits a dismaying present time, but MOnastriraki is as alive as it always was. With singers, acrobats, jugglers and lights, African drums…

Stopping at a Henna  tattoo maker, we teach him the first Angelic symbols of his life and he correctly paints them, then A. falls in love with an intricate opal elbow braceet and the matching necklace, made of twisted silver wire. I used to be magnetically attracted to such things and now I am totally detached. The stores ooze the same melange of scents, sounds and colors, nicely sparkling. Stopping for a real Greek salad – I do not know how or why, but the real Greek salad is to be found only where Greeks make it – we enjoy the Feta cheese… the strong taste olive oil… the organo and the crunchy vegetables. There is this je ene sais quois  that is matched only by Ouzo, and here we are, jumping into a metro that takes much longer than we were originally thinking, and we get to meet I., who lands, coming from the other side of the Earth.

Monastiraki, inima melancolică a Atenei vechiThe metro is packed with old people, giving us odd looks and making us use the ouzo encouragement for showing these guys a lipstick lesson. The chairs next to us suddenly empty 🙂 and we land, about 10 mins late, in the airport, to collect a worried I. who had no roaming service on his Romanian phone. Things float back into normal, like nothing happened and the summer months were just a pause between an outbreath and an inbreath. A short,  insignificant pause.

And the story goes on. Wonders are just starting. On the hotel terrace, in the velvet August night, eyes on the Acropolis – the Higher City – love and joy are flowing. We are back on track.

The Giant unearthed in Romania

February  2012: a Romanian-Canadian geologists team is tracking the remnants of the gold  vein in one of the 5500 years old galleries in Rosia MOntana made an accidental discovery that could re-write the entire history of the human kind. At the end of the gallery they discovered the rectangular end of a slab that did not look like natural rock. After taking samples, the lab tests showed that it was a composite stone indeed, made of 15% granite dust, 30% wolfram and 55% gold powder, 50 carats, made with a technology that cannot be duplicated under the current scientific knowledge.
The fact is even more surprising considering that the gallery where the slab was found, also called the Hiperborean Gallery, on the Cornei Valley, under the Cornea Village in Rosia MOntana, had been surveyed before, 36 years ago to be precise, all along the year of  1976 and, due to the astonishing archaeological and antropological findings, unacceptable under the communist regime, was closed and subsequently sealed by order of the Romanian secret police. Some of the miners still whisper about the gallery and there are many ones that have dads or older brothers, formerly miners in Rosia MOntana, who took part in the diggings and reinforcement of the gallery.  Most of them are dead now, because of occupational diseases. The four witnesses still alive do not want to recall the events, but one of them,   Ion Mois, former head of team, thought a lot about it and decided to break the silence. Here is what happened then, according this eyewitness:
„Here it is: in the winter of ’ 76, the engineer in chief called me and I got the task of reopening, consolidating and install the electricity wiring in the old gallery 13, that stayed sealed since the Austro Hungarians.
After that, two comrade geologists were supposed to come and prospect the place. The gallery was old, unexplored since the time of Agathyrsi, who then extracted and processed gold and silver for the Dacians, and the vein had been wron out many centuries before Romans took hold of the gold mines, or  Alburnus Maior as they liked to call it. It is true, there are signs of prospecting from Romans, but it is clear that they quickly understood and abandoned it. The consolidation and electrifying took almost until the summer of  76 and we had some trouble pumping the water from a flooded part of the gallery. Both the valves in the mine and the electrovalves did not help. It is also then that we found a bone, washed by water, so big we had never seen before. Neither myself, nor my mates had seen such a thing, After showing it to the mine director, he gave it to the secret police representative in the Rosia MOntana mining company. The prosecutor questioned us for four days, asking where the bone was, when did we find it, what position was it in, who was with us in the mine and who knew about its existence, how many of us entered and exited the shift that day. Well, all sorts of puzzling questions to scare us and make us quiet.  Obviously, we all said no word and after signing the statements they sent us back to the gallery. I did not utter a word back home, I was scared for my loved ones.
When the job was done, two people from Bucharest eneteed the mine. One of them was a geologist for sure. What they worked in there I do not know, but about a week later a very young one came, a with a scar next to his left eye, saying he was an archaeologist. Two days after that an entire civilian team came, but also some archaeologists with some weird equipment, and a Police squad. They blocked access in Gallery 13 and started checking our employee badges at the gate. About another month and a half later, myself and my mates were called again  – the ones that had worked on consolidating the gallery and had signed the statements, to carry the sterile from the bottom of gallery 13 and take it out in the mine rail cars.
Then I saw the horror. The archaeologists had dug from the stone a huge skeleton, about 10 m long, which lay on a side, with the feet in foetal position. The bone I had found was tied with a red ribbon  and only then I saw it was a vertebra. Good God, what a vertebra! The civilians were buzzing around, some took notes of what the archaeologists were saying, others took photos with flash.  They mentioned a guy, Densusianu, and something about hyperboreans. Another one, the young archaeologist, said that it was a hyperborean skeleton and that it could be our very ancestor. “No way, comrade! What hyperborean are you dreaming of? ” yelled a fat one in leather coat, with a heavy Russian accent. “Man comes from the ape! Where did you see a 10 meters tall ape? Drop it, this skeleton leaves to Moscow!…. take this retrograde from here. Bistro, bistro!” Then we were all terrified. Two big guys jumped him, tied him and dragged him out of the mine. „Come on, wrap, pack and all the crates go to the station! If anyone says another word I will drop the KGB onto your backs ! ” We were the one to bear with the packing and carrying. 
Dawn broke when we finished packing, carrying the crates and putting them into the train. But we were not allowed to go home. We were pushed in two windowless vans and took us somewhere. Where? I do not know… Fact is we were beaten for a week and made sign a paper that we saw nothing and know nothing, that I have an uncle that is a bandit that shoots the secret police members in the mountains, and they told me if I said a word, they would arres my wife and children and put me in jail. I signed and I said nothing, what was I to do? I did not ever talk about this, not even with my mates that I met again at the mine.
But after this something good happened. A week after returning to the mine, the one that was tailing me came to me when I went out from my shift and sat down at the pub with me. When I saw him I froze.  „Look, Ion, he told me, I come from the same county. I was there when the giant’s skeleton was found. Now it is in Moscow. Myself, like you, witnessed that. Take this envelope and guard it with your life. The picture is inside. I am telling you : there, in the gallery, lay the skeleton of a hyperborean Dacian, our ancestor. I do not know if I will make it, because I was radiated. They scared you well, but us, the Secret Police guys, do not get scared so easily, so they get rid of us. I do not know you, you do not know me. I gave you nothing. You get it?” „Yes, I got it!”. He stood up and went quickly through the door. I only say him like a shadow behind me for another two days and them I never say him again. But I still have the Hyperborean picture from him”.
But let’s come back to the slab…
It was april 2012. After the talks behind closed doors at the Ministry of Mines, Petrol and Geology, the Canadian side argued that this finding should not be made public, and the gallery should be urgently closed. The Romanian side agreed with keeping the secret but insisted on continuing the research and sent another team. This time the archaeologists’ team was lead by an old one, with a scar next to his left eye. For three month, they secretly dug around the slab and as a result it was completely unearthed.  It did not take very long, because 36 years ago, the giant skeleton was dug from above the slab, and most of the unearthing had been performed then. Measurements showed that the perfectly smooth slab had a length of 12 meters, a width of 6 meters and it was weighing about 1700 tons, 100 tones more than the slab discovered in  Baalbek> the gold contained in it was about 900 tons, about 300 times more than we could obtain with a full recycling of the mountains of sterile rock deposited for millenia in Rosia montana after searching for gold, and 150 times more than all the gold that had been extracted in surface and underground minig by the Agathyrsi for the Dacians, and then Romans, and then Austro-Hungarians and Romanians.
The area was immediately surrounded with a barbed wire fence and put under military watch, and the preliminary digging for a well with a 12 meters diameter to reach the slab were commenced in May 2012. a
At the end of June, to be exact on the 23rd, the slab was taken up to the surface, cut in 80 equal pieces, loaded in conteiners and transported swiftly, during the night, under military escort, to an unknown destination. There is some information coming grom trustworthy sources that indicate the conteiners were delivered to the Steel Plant SIDEX Galati and they are already molten, turned into ingots of gold and wolfram but we do not know where is the secret storage place.
The fact that the slab vanished and there is no photo of it is understandable. A worker that participated in the cutting  claims that there is a set of photos taken by an old prestigious Romanian archaeologist, that they were delivered to a paleo linguist to study them and that this scholar warned the romanian authorities that the slab has an immense cultural and historical value to the Romanian people and for the entire human kind. The value would be much higher than its trade value. To support his claims, the archaeologist presented a few photos showing that the entire surface was covered in carved letters, emerald green , totally unknown according to the paleolinguist, but with high probability of being the Pelasg, set in three parallel rows, starting from top left and winding diagonally, in spiral, around the head o f a wolf, and then ending at the bottom right corner. It looks like the Romanian authorities were insensitive to all these warnings and evidences, and ordered the cutting and melting of the slab, after which 19.31 % of the income were to be wired to the State treasury, as negotiated with the Canadian side, according to the contract for mining gold and rare metals in the area.
„Thing became amazing when – said nthe reputed archaeologist whose name is confidential for protection purposes -lifting the slab a well with a diameter of 4 meters became visible. INside it there was a helix ladder, the steps were carved in the walls of the well, like cut with a laser. From inside the well came a milky, violet light. Although the workers, geologists and archaeologists needed sime time to recover from the astonishment, no one had the courage to go down and check the well, excelpt the paelo linguist. The next day was too late. Overnight, the Romanian Intelligence Service and the army had covered the well with boards and then cement was poured for sealing. We had waited for the paelo linguist to come back but he never came back to the surface. The next day the exterior well and the old gallery entrance were also sealed. The same day, myself and all witnesses that saw the extraction of the slab and the discovery of the well deep down the mine were forced to sign some document granting the keeping of the State Secret, and then we left to our homes, scared. ”
The head office of the Ministry of Mines, Petrol and Geology and Institute of Archaeology of Bucharest, as expected, have no information to share. Silence fell over the events. Some voices state that high Government employees muffled the entire business and that Swiss bankers are satisfied. Last time when we could discuss with the archaeologist and the witness worker was July 28, 2012, after which they were not found anymore, anywhere. Neighbors talk about some vans, masked agents and night arrests, but it is not sure.