Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Traveling Summer Part 2: Thessaloniki, Greece

The flag of Greece (Hellenic Republic)- each stripe represents the syllables in the Greek saying, “Freedom or Death” (Eleftheria i thanatos) and the nine letters in the Greek word for “freedom” (eleftheria). They may also represent the nine Greek Muses. The cross represents Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Sometimes the flag is this colour blue, other times, the blue is darker.
One of the best trips Phil and I have taken so far was to Thessaloniki, Greece. We were expecting it to be a nice mini vacation, but underestimated just how nice it would be.

Every good travel adventure requires a bit of misadventure in my opinion. For us and this trip, it was actually getting to Thessaloniki. We awoke ridiculously early so we could catch a 5am bus from Shtip to Veles, where we planned on catching a different bus to Thessaloniki. However, after sitting at the Veles bus station (not a place I recommend hanging out) for hours, we realized the bus wasn't stopping for us. Thanks to some wonderful PCVs, we created an alternate plan and sat for a few more hours until we could catch the first bus of the morning to Gevgelija on the Macedonia/Greek border. By the time the bus arrived, we had been awake for 5+ hours and there had been no reason to wake up at 3:45am. With our Plan B in place, we found a taxi driver who was willing to bring us across the border and down to Thessaloniki for a fairly reasonable price. It seemed too easy and well, when things are too easy, something usually isn't quite right. We arrived at the border crossing and for some unknown reason, the taxi driver didn't have the appropriate papers, so after going back and forth from office-to-office and person-to-person for over 45 minutes, he finally appeared to collect Phil and I and take us the rest of the way to Thessaloniki. To this day, we are still unsure what the problem was, but it might have had something to do with him not having the appropriate papers filled out and then lying to the border patrol.

From there, it was pretty smooth sailing, thankfully. We had missed our time to check in with our host from our Airbnb apartment we were renting, so we had to schlep our bags around for a few hours, but none-the-less, we were just happy to have arrived in Thessaloniki only 4 hours and 50 euros later.

As usual, I will let the pictures do most of the talking!
Our first taste of Greek beer was at a very aptly named place.
Phil's first Mythos
View from the pier.
Another view from the pier.
And another one.
It was a little sunny out!
Our first meal- mussels and octopus
In our wandering, we came across a fun little street full of these colourful characters and two delicious restaurants.
Our view from the beach in Epanomi- the view straight ahead was nice, however our fellow beach goers were an interesting crowd of overweight, senior citizens whose bikinis only covered about half of what they were supposed to cover!
One of the main bus transportation hubs is at IKEA. Of course I had to take a picture!
The ruins of an old Roman Fortress
Fortress wall
At the fortress
Modiano Market
We ate these!
Inside one of the many churches. I wasn't sure if it was ok to enter with bare shoulders, but then the lady behind me was sitting there plucking her eyebrows and grunting, so I figured I was fine.
Hagia Sophia
Phil and I aren't very good at taking pictures together, so I made it a mission one day.
The Arch of Galerius

The Rotunda
This is the tree that Mustafa Ataturk played around when he was a child.
Ataturk's house.
Outside Ataturk's house.
The White Tower
White Tower
The pedestrian walkway along the water.
When in Greece, I think its a requirement to take a picture of a small fishing boat.
View back at the White Tower from the walkway.
There was live Greek music at our restaurant one night. It was very enjoyable.
We finally made it to the top of the White Tower (we went once and it was closed).
Very top of the White Tower

1 comment:

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