We took advantage of the amazingly cheap airfare and traveled to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city after Athens. The city is overflowing with monuments, students, museums, shops, and restaurants. Not surprisingly, it’s a little chaotic, but only in the best way.
Our Airbnb was located on what seemed to be the most densely populated street in the city, with balconied apartment buildings stretching high into the sky, the streets lined with double-parked cars, and stray dogs and cats weaving in and out of the crowds of people. Although our flat was a little funky (we watched the floors pass by on our doorless elevator ride up to the sixth floor and our host advised us that heating the water up for showers was “a little dangerous”), the view from our balcony included the entire city skyline and was incredible.
After settling in, we hit the streets (along with what seemed to be the entire population of the city) and walked downtown to Aristotelous Square, strolled along the waterfront, and ended up at the White Tower. There were a couple boats advertising a free 30-minute cruise along the harbor, with the purchase of one alcoholic drink, which we jumped on. Turns out, they were running a special of two beers for the price of one so, between the two of us, we ended up with four beers and a full moon cruise for only 10 euro.
Saturday morning, we were promptly woken up by not-so-subtle church bells at 7am, which had us up and out the door to explore a few more Thessaloniki sites. The city was almost unrecognizable from the night before, with the bustling crowds of twenty-somethings and the constant thump of electronic music replaced with women wheeling their carts to the market and relative quiet.
We made sure to check out the Kapani and Modiano Markets, which were filled with more varieties of olives and seafood than I even knew existed. We weaved through several alleyways making up the market, past butchers barking orders at their apprentices and dried herb shop owners advertising their products. After taking several long detours back to our Airbnb, we packed up our things and loaded back into the car to start our three-hour drive to Sithonia.