Monthly Archives: June 2015

The tactual museum in Athens

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Living in a city means that there are lots of things to do. Lots of gigs, galleries, talks, and museums. Athens has many museums – the exact number is rather unclear, as it depends on what you call a “museum” and what you call “Athens” – but Dave has put a rather comprehensive list in this blog post, and he plans to visit at least one museum per week. As he is using a lottery system, we can’t pick out the next museum ourselves – it’s down to luck.

We drew the number, and this week it was the tactual museum – a museum intended for blind people, where people can touch the exhibits, unlike in most museums.

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There are only five museums of its kind in the world! It is open to everyone to visit, and it’s something I highly recommend. I had been meaning to go there for years now, but I always postponed it for some reason.

When we arrived, they told us a few things about the museum, they gave us a mask to cover our eyes and they encouraged us to wear it before looking at the exhibits.

Now as some of you know, I have a 99-year-old grandmother, who has lost her sight since many years now. Although she is not 100% blind, she can not see properly.

Trying to understand what was in front of me with my fingertips was something I had never really done before – at least not so consciously. It was a pretty big shock to feel like a blind person. I guess the best way to describe it is “helpless”, or perhaps “limited”. It actually freaked me out, to think that some people cannot see what most of us can…

Touching copies of world-famous statues was also quite a thing. I could understand where the eyes, the nose and the mouth were, but there was no way I would be able to distinguish if it’s a man or a woman – at least not if they had clothes on.

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Obviously Dave refrained from touching certain parts of certain statues. Aye!

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This was a great day, full of emotions. This museum made me appreciate how lucky I am – and how much we tend to take things for granted sometimes…

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Tavli – aka, backgammon

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One of my favourite games ever is a game called “tavli” in Greece, best known as “backgammon” in English-speaking countries. The origins of the game are a little unclear – but it is one of the oldest board games, and its predecessors seem to have been invented around 3000 – 3500 BC! These days it is fairly popular in Greece, but nowhere near as popular as in Turkey. I still haven’t been to Iran, where it is likely to have originated from!

Now Dave has been here for four months now, and we never really had a chance to sit down and play. But since summer has finally arrived, I thought it was about time to show him one of my favourite summer pastimes (apart from snorkelling).

So there we were, sitting in an outdoors cafe in Athens, playing “portes” (which is the one of the four games played widely in Greece, and it’s the variation that you can find online).

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I must say, he proved to be a competitive opponent, and we played for a couple of hours.

Now, I’ve been playing this game since I was about 4 or 5. So, 36 years of experience couldn’t be matched, and I won my first drinks this year!

…there will be more to come, as it’s a great game to play on Greek beaches 🙂