Staying At An Invisible House

Swedish House, 1930s, from the N.

I’m back again at the Swedish Institute’s writer’s retreat in Kavala, Greece, finishing my Medieval castles book. By now I’ve spent a total of three weeks here, taking daily walks. And it’s annoyed me that I’ve never been able to see the place I stay at from street level. Such a Lovecraftian feel to it. Does the Swedish House, as it is known, even exist when I’m not there?

The building was finished in 1936. At that time the site was outside town in a commanding location, and the building was a comparatively tall one with its 2½ lofty floors. After the war, though, Kavala grew greatly and the Swedish House with its terraced garden became surrounded by taller, much uglier buildings. They’re in the way when you walk along the waterfront, so you see them and you see the mountainside behind the city, but you can’t see what’s immediately behind the newer structures from most directions.

Yesterday morning I went up onto the roof and looked around. I found an unimpeded view ESE towards the acropolic fortress in the Old Town, which is unsurprising because it is the city’s highest point. But I also found good sightlines to shoreline level toward the SW: the area immediately south of the municipal football field. So I took a picture of this view.

Fire station
Fire station seen from the roof of the Swedish House.

Today I grabbed an umbrella and walked down to the fire station on the other side of the football field. I failed to identify the Swedish House by eye in the chaotic jumble of later rooftops, but then, my eyes have no zoom capability. So I took a picture in the direction of the Swedish House, went back up and checked out the pic on the laptop. And look, I found it!

Swedish House
Swedish House, top floor, WNW face, seen from the front stairs of the fire station.
Swedish House, close-up from W.

Update, same evening: I borrowed a pair of binoculars and went down to the fire station again. I took this picture of the Swedish House from a vantage point some ways up the road from there, through the binocks.

Swedish House, top floor, WNW face, seen from a vantage point near the fire station.

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

5 thoughts on “Staying At An Invisible House”

  1. What we have here is not proper invisibility but rather an intermittently functioning “somebody else’s problem field”.
    – – –
    If you have the opportunity to get at least ten miles from urban lights (some outlier islet?) and the sky is clear, check out the night sky.


  2. Somehow this post reminded me of Queen’s song The Invisible Man:

    I’m the invisible man
    I’m the invisible man
    Incredible how you can
    See right through me

    Check out the cheesy 80s video game graphics in the video.


  3. That’s a pretty good shot through a set of binoculars. I used to try the same trick years ago, when I was too poor to afford a telephoto lens, but the results were always rather disappointing.

    Liked by 1 person

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