Day 3 (of 8)
We’re in Thessaloniki, Greece for a week, incorporating my Birthday celebrations too (in a few days)! 👍. The location is also known as Thessalonica and is the second-largest city in Greece, with just over one million inhabitants. It is also Greece’s second major economic, industrial, commercial and political centre, and a major transportation hub for Greece and southeastern Europe, mostly through the Port of Thessaloniki.
It’s primarily a cultural holiday where we’re going to soak up as much as we can during our short stay.
Welcome back, loyal reader! 😉. It’s day 3 of our adventure in Thessaloniki, Greece
– one that involved carpet tiles, culture and the perfect coffee! 🤔🤔
9:15am: The first task of the day was breakfast, and somehow, we were earlier than yesterday. After last night’s generous portions, we erred on the lighter side this morning! 😇😇
Plenty of fresh fruit this morning that made up for the ‘corn flakes’ accompaniment. I’m not sure who makes them for the hotel, but my best guess is that it’s a carpet manufacturer as they taste like carpet tiles Yuk! 😝😝
10:15am: Our plan today is to take the short walk to the Sightseeing Bus starting point (at the White Tower) and rather than stay on for the whole circuit, get off at the highest point. There are the remains of a Tower from a Byzantine Castle plus parts of the ancient city walls.
And so, we headed for the customary stroll along the water’s edge in the direction of the now familiar White Tower – and the Sightseeing Bus. We’d narrowly missed the 10.30 departure by a few minutes, so we had some time to kill before the next – the 11am. Time to look around the immediate area in more detail…
10.55am: We headed for the 11 o’clock Sightseeing Bus.
With our tickets re-stamped, we jumped onboard. Disappointingly, outside it all began to look a little overcast, and so we positioned ourselves on the top-deck, towards the back, under the partly covered roof!
Actually, our slight repositioning compared to yesterday, proved to be an advantage with the side-glass-free area perfect for the occasional photograph! Our driver today was more Max Verstappen than say, Miss Marple in driving style. He was totally confident behind the wheel and took the hairpin bends and corners (that shredded our nerves on Saturday!) with ease! Taxi drivers are also a confident bunch (especially the Greeks) and ‘Max’ even managed to get one to reverse out of his way during our journey to the summit! A rare sight! 🏁🏁.
11.16am: Well, it hadn’t rained so far (AND we were all in one piece) as we arrived at our intended location – the Trigonion Tower. Fingers crossed that the weather remained that way.
Located on the north-eastern side of Thessaloniki and boasting some unrivalled views across the City (obviously! but maybe not with tourism in mind, when it was built!), this 15th century vantage point certainly had the ‘wow! factor’ if breathtaking scenery is your thing. It’s certainly ours!! 👍😀
Once inside, we were confronted with some steep stone stairs. It was worth the climb taking us to the very top and giving us a 360-degree view of the City. An additional bonus was that by chance, today’s entry was completely free of charge. Not sure why, but we think it was something to do with the EU’s ‘Third-Sunday-in-the-month’ cultural promotion.
It was worth the visit just for the view from the top. After descending, we took a stroll along the remains of some of the old City Walls. They weren’t in the best of shape, but at least they were still standing! We then had a decision to make… (only the second one of the day, so far! 😉) – should we now head back to where we started by Bus, or walk it? I think if it had been any warmer, we might have sought out some shade on the Bus, but it was still quite overcast, a bit ‘muggy’ but with the occasional welcoming cool breeze.
11.45am: So, we decided to walk it! It was all downhill from there (in mostly a good way) but the paths were very uneven, and we did risk life and limb by venturing into the road! Graffiti is a big thing out here and with many of the properties looking somewhat ‘tired’, it showed us this ancient City in a very different light. 😞
The walk only took us around 20 minutes, and we were soon back into the city – and civilisation! Our cultural experience wasn’t quite over yet, as we stumbled upon…
…the Triumphal Arch of Maximianus Galerius. Roman in design and built around 298-305AD, it celebrates the Emporer’s victorious campaign over the Sassanid Persians in 298AD It certainly ‘jumps out at you’ as you approach this impressive piece of architecture.
12.30pm: Enough culture for one day! We needed a coffee and headed for the nearby chain Mikel. One of our better decisions in that it was probably the best coffee we’ve tasted in a long while! 👍
12.45pm: Back on our feet, we continued to head towards the water using nothing more than our noses and our general sense of direction. It could have gone horribly wrong and taken us in the direction of Turkey, but we did OK and were soon within sight of the White Tower, where we began today’s adventure.
We may have dispensed with local culture for the day, but culture wasn’t done with us, it seemed!
1.02pm: Not content with having an Arch built in his honour, we now had accidentally ‘discovered’ The Palace of Galerius (or what remained of it) sitting proudly amongst the busy shopping area of Navarinou Square. Excavations began as early as 1917 and its find is now open to the public, and do you know what? It’s an impressive piece of excavation and there’s a lot to see. Recent documentation from the 1990s shows that the Palace was in use for a long period of time – 4th-7th century A.D. We may well return to this later in the week.
1.15pm: Not bad! Nearly 3 miles today (probably more as we switched on the tracker late! – Doh!!! ) We were now at the water’s edge with the intention of taking a trip of the ‘authentic’ replica of one of the ships. 😉. Again, we’d just missed a departure and that gave us an opportunity to rethink our plans.
In the end, we spotted a more modern-looking ship that offered trips to Perea and Nei Epivates (both nearby suburbs of Thessaloniki, apparently both with gorgeous beaches). Given that the weather wasn’t its sunniest today, we decided to look into it in more detail and take the trip later this week.
Waether-wise, today had been a little disappointing – and not much like the forecast at all.. On the plus-side, it had been ideal WALKING weather though! Next stop? Our Hotel and a cuppa… and a shower… and a siesta! 👍👍👍
2:05pm: Back in the room! 💤💤
6:25pm: Time for something to eat! We were hoping that we could eat a little closer to the Hotel tonight, working on the theory that as it was a SUNDAY night, the eateries wouldn’t be quite so busy. We’d spotted The Bristol on our walk back earlier this afternoon, and we headed there for a quiet table for two in mind.
Success! In the shape of the rather understated Frutti Di Mare ✅✅✅✅✅. It was just a five-minute walk from the Hotel towards a more peaceful, unhurried part of the city. All I needed now was a Mythos Beer and it would be a perfect evening! 😉
The food was pretty good too! 😋😋
Another cultural day tomorrow! With the current weather forecast indicating a chance of rain, we’re heading inside with the following on our list
- Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
- The White Tower
- Statue of Alexander the Great
9.15pm: Nighty-night! 💤😴💤😴💤😴
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