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September 2016, Thessaloniki – Greece
We’re finally reaching the surprising Thessaloniki, after a 9-hours drive. A well-deserved 2-days break, on our way to Lefkada Island in Greece.
Never would have guessed that such a vivid place can be sooo relaxing! 🙂
Going back to a stormy history in the Roman period, becoming a wealthy city of the Byzantine Empire, then passed from the Ottoman Empire to modern Greece, Salonic is now second major Greek city after Athens, an important transportation hub in southwest Europe and, to be honest, a surprising place of contrasts.
From the moment we entered the city, we realized there was no single place to park the car. Narrow streets are densely packed with cars each side of the road, almost on top of each other.
Tourists and locals wandering around in the same manner as the cars. Restaurans, bars and pubs are full everywhere.
Teenagers walking in ‘small’ groups of 10-15, all with the same structure: girls, girls, girls. Where are all the guys around here?
Ok, so these people like to go out. Figured that out in the first hour. 🙂 I guess it takes some time to get used to the city rhythm.
Later on, we are enjoying the harbour and the serenity of the night.
Under the spell of the sea, the noise just disappears in the dark. It’s just you and your thoughts.
End the night with a traditional Greek meal and wine, at a cosy restaurant nearby.
Get your sugar spoon ! The sweets sin has just begun: Trigona (pastry with cream inside and crispy outside), Loukoumades (little donuts with honey and walnuts), Bougatsan (fusion between a croissant and a custard pie), authentic sticky-texture ice cream.
The second day we were already full of energy. Not sure where was that coming from, couldn’t sleep much. Did I mention the pubs are full all night ? And yes…if you are staying in the center, you can easily hear the street pulse.
Do not miss the Aristotelous Square, the place everyone meets in Thessaloniki.
Then, climb to the White Tower, a former prison and scene of mass executions during the Ottoman rule. Great city view from out there!
Our final destination was the Archaeological Museum, where we spent a few hours discovering the history of the city from the prehistoric times to Late Antiquity, ancient artefacts from the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods and the culture of gold in Macedonia.
It’s time to pack and go. We leave behind this stormy, vibrant, cosmopolitan city.
The beach is waiting. Lefkada, here we cooooome! 🙂
- We stayed at Tourist Hotel, right in the heart of the city. The place has been recently renovated and looks great.
- We found a private parking nearby. It was empty, of course. The cost is pretty high (15 eur/night), but at least the car is safe and not randomly on the street, in the middle of the chaotic traffic.
Happy travels and stay safe!