Cyprus Mail
A minute withLife & Style

A minute with Professor Athanasios Gagatzis, Vice rector at the University of Cyprus

Where do you live?

I’ve been leaving here in Nicosia for the last 17 years.

Best childhood memory?

I am not a positive man in general and that’s why I tend to be hardly ever satisfied even when it comes to good memories…
Nonetheless one of my best childhood memories is when I was a five year old boy and I was living in a really small village called Mesonisi (a bit outside the Greek town of Florina). I will never forget the long walks from my family’s rural house to the graphic elementary school I had to go to. The fields, the scent of the fruits from the trees, the games other children took part in were my daily moments of happiness and carefreeness. Oh!

Most frequented restaurant and absolute favourite dish?
I usually love small traditional Greek taverns with a character of their own, in the Greek islands. Over the last few years I’ve been regularly visiting close friends in the small island of Lefkada. Whereas in Cyprus I still have a preference for taverns with traditional food but also I adore good Italian restaurants because I generally “venerate” the Italian culture etc. My favourite dish is traditional Greek cuisine but I love my mum’s homemade empty-peppers with rice and minced meat filling. I also go crazy for any type of Oriental sweets such as Baklava etc.

What food would you really turn your nose up to?
I would never turn my nose up to any food…because I am a food lover.

What did you have for breakfast?
A cup of tea, two slices of whole-wheat bread with some low-fat butter.

Would you class yourself as a day or night person? What’s your idea of the perfect night/day out?
Night person. My ideal night out would be in a good, quiet, elegant-chic restaurant with close friends or dear persons.

Best book ever read?
In my childhood and teenage years my absolute favourite books were Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky and Resurrection by Tolstoy. But in the last few years the best book I’ve read is of a famous French Mathematician explaining the contemporary scientific way of the methodology used for teaching math…but I really do not recall the author’s name or the title of the book.

Favourite film of all time?
Cyrano de Bergerac with famous French actor Gerard Depardieu, for two main reasons. Firstly because is a touching and ‘tender’ story and secondly because there are continuous poetic dialogues and lines-even when they duel and fence. Haha. Other films that I really enjoyed are all the versions made of the The Three Musketeers and Asterix and Obelix movies.

Favorite holiday destination? What’s your dream trip?
Hawaii. It was a trip I had some years ago for a conference but as I tend to combine work as well as some days for holidays in order to visit new places. My dream trip would be once again to go to Hawaii or to spend some quality time in the Greek islands.

What music are you listening to in the car at the moment?
As aforementioned I am a bit pessimistic and melancholic so I generally listen to old Greek traditional music. My favourite old-school Greek singer is Sotiria Mpellou and one of my favorite songs of her is Like an object I wonder around.

What is always in your fridge?
Fruits. Wine. Beer and MILK!

Dream house: rural retreat or urban dwelling? Where would it be, what would it be like?
Definitely rural retreat! I adore listening to the sounds of nature either from the sea or from the mountains. My dream house would be on a small Greek island or in Sicily, where I could read my books on the balcony and listen to all of those sounds.

If the world is ending in 24 hours what would you do?
I enjoy “solving” other people’s personal problems but especially my family members’ issues. So I guess for the world’s last 24 hours I would just try to solve all the personal issues of all of my relatives.

What is your greatest fear?
I am very stressful and anxious person so my biggest fear is that something bad could happen to any member of my family.

Tell me a joke…
Even though I usually have a really good memory, I do not have a good one in remembering jokes. I do recall though a funny personal story.
About 30 years ago I was with two of my closest friends in Mykonos for holidays. It was a very hot day so after I left the beach (alone) I went and sat on the riverside of a small stream. I was so thirsty from the extremely hot weather that I started drinking the water… but soon enough I realised that a sign next to me referred to the water as polluted and non-drinkable. In the meantime my two friends (worried about where I was) came to join me in actually drinking the water. I had already read the sign but nonetheless I let them drink without saying a word. As you can imagine as soon as they were done with the drinking I showed them the sign “Warning: Polluted water”. You can imagine what happened next…Hahaha

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