Good morning Thessaloniki!
That was our first thought as soon as we arrived to Greece’s second largest city…. Thessaloniki! We had just come from Sofia, Bulgaria and we had been on the train for 7 hours straight, we were lucky enough to fall asleep during the trip otherwise it would be a never-ending story. Until the moment this was my longest train trip, and even though 300km isn’t such a long way, the train was quite slow, with too many stops including a long one in Kulata, the border between Bulgaria and Greece. Suddenly I felt like I really missed our cars, who were left behind in Lisbon.
It was now 6a.m and the sun was rising, we left the New Railway Station and we headed south, without knowing anything or anyone, with our backpacks and our really tired looks. We stopped for an orange juice and we kept heading south, until we reached the sea, where later we would try Koulouri, a traditional round shaped bread covered with seeds.
We walked by the sea until we reached the very famous White Tower, the symbol of the city, an important monument and museum where in the inside you can discover the city’s history. As you can guess, the view from the top is amazing and you can shoot awesome photos.
We checked in at Telioni Hotel, in Agiou Dimitrou Street, at the city center at around 1p.m and then we went for a traditional greek lunch. Our choice was chicken gyros, which is a pita in the shape of a roll filled with french fries, cocktail sauce, lettuce, cucumber and pieces of chicken. For less than 4€ per Gyros we were fine and ready to walk across the town!
Alexander the Great’s statue is located in a place of such beauty, right next to the blue Aegian Sea, with shields and spears close by and water fountains that would refresh us during a really hot afternoon of over 35 Degrees Celsius.
What I found astonishing about Thessaloniki was not only the sea and the food, but also the ruins and the monuments… you know that everything that surrounds you is a part of history, and by history I do not mean recent history… We headed to the Galerius Arch and Rotunda, located in the heart of the city, named after Galerius, a Roman Emperor who ruled between the years of 305 and 311, who was born by coincidence, in Sofia, Bulgaria. (The city where I’m currently living in). The rotunda is Thessaloniki’s oldest church.
Not far from this place and on the way back to the hotel there’s the Roman Forum, an ancient agora, that dates back to the year of 200 A.D.
The next day we woke up in the morning, we rented two bicycles (Thessabikes) in Aristotelous Square and we cycled towards the beach. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time, and after a few stops in Kalamaria we ended up behind Thessaloniki’s Airport, before reaching any of the first beaches in Thermaikos. We were trying to cycle to Epanomi… but I believe that this choice of transportation is not the best one when your time is running and when the beach you want to visit is located over 30 Km away.
After 1 hour in our “desert beach”, where at least the water was quite warm, we cycled back and ended up in Cristopher, a seafood restaurant right in front of the Sailing Club of Thessaloniki. After being very well served and trying some of the best shrimps, we headed back to the fountains in Alexander’s Garden and then we went on board of Klio, a boat-bar, where we were also very well received and where we sailed the Aegian Sea for 30 minutes while drinking the most famous Greek Beer, Mythos.
Our train was scheduled for 11p.m and we didn’t have much time left in Thessaloniki, so we grabbed Souvlaki for dinner (Similar to Gyros, but on a different type of pita bread, without cucumber and cocktail sauce) and we walked back to New Railway Station, where our awesome but short weekend was about to end.