Thessaloníki & Northern Chalkidikí – Day 12

Thursday 19th September

So after 10 days of self guiding ourselves around mainland Greece, Glyn an I felt no shame at paying €2 each to go on the ‘Hop on’ Tour of Thessaloníki bus this morning. It took about 50 minutes, whilst the guide talked about Byzantine stuff, mosaics and a statue of some guy on his house…. or so I thought, in fact he said he was on his horse.

The bus was pretty empty and the guide kept making us look at photos of mosaics on the screen above his head when I was quite happily staring out the window having a bit of a day dream.

Had I come to Thessaloníki on day 1, all the Byzantine Churches, random bits of falling down Roman walls and museums probably would have interested me. But after having seen Athens and other major archaeological sites throughout mainland Greece in the last 11 days, quite frankly I couldn’t give a rat’s arse!

The guide kept telling us of amazing mosaics we had to go and see, but what he didn’t know was that on our honeymoon, we went to the best mosaic museum in THE WORLD – really! It’s in Tunisia, there’s a tour guide there who will back me up on this, because it was him that said so. After that all other mosaics may as well go home.

So the tour bus dropped us at the White Tower which is a major landmark and tourist ‘attraction’. It is a tower with a spiral outer walkway and rooms in the middle. The guidebook really sold it as having interactive historical displays as made by Apple. And so it does, some of it not working… It was all in Greek, and looking at the pictures alone didn’t give much away. It was so hot in there too, Apple products generally do give off a lot of heat. The building was once a prison and may of the indecipherable displays were in hot old cells. The view at the top was OK.

So after a tour of Thessaloníki, neither of us felt any great desire to visit the museums or walk up the hot hill to the old city, which wasn’t as interesting looking as other old towns and cities we have seen recently. So we went back to the hotel and got our hire car despite the original plan of the day being no driving and decided to be proper tourists and find a beach.

Glyn drove us down to an area of Greece just South of Thessaloníki called Chalkidikí, a rural area where we saw fields of cotton plants and old fashioned farm machinery. We headed towards Epanomi and carried further on until we found a beach.

The beach was covered in dried seaweed and the sea was clear enough to see fish and what appeared to be small jellyfish. Now the question was, would the jellyfish kill us? I know they sting and Glyn said some are lethal, so who knows? We hoped that the Greeks did because a few of them were swimming, so we took the risk and plunged into the fairly cold sea.

After swimming a while, we realised that neither of us had brought suncream or books or other essentials you take when doing beach stuff. Hanging out at the beach or pool is something we rarely do and we had rushed out. So we dried off in the sun, and found a beach bar nearby to have ice cream for me and a club sandwich for Glyn, the bonus being we were joined by two kittens.

We carried on driving until Glyn took us off road to what we thought was a secluded beach. The amount of litter proved that many others had thought the same. The sea was too cold and neither of us got further than waist deep – we needed to get that deep to have a wee without it being obvious! Again we lay in the sun to dry off but almost fell asleep, big no no with no suncream!

So off we drove again, getting incredibly lost on dirt tracks that did not exist on satnav or map. After a while we got fed up and headed back to Epanomi to get petrol as it was the cheapest we had seen in all of Greece (€164.3 per litre) and it had a Lidl.

OK, so you’re thinking, they go to Greece and hang out at Lidl? Well eating out is so expensive and Lidl is cheap compared to most supermarkets we have seen here. And they had a cafe next to it that was really cheap – an espresso, a coke and an Amstel came to €3,80, so we went back there after shopping for tea! That is Glyn had a hotdog, I had some Greek pretzel shaped bread thing and another Amstel.

We then went back to hot old Thessaloníki with it’s nutty traffic and absolutely nowhere to park.

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About the author

Having only one cat, Claire is currently failing at being a mad cat lady, but she does have a mad cat, Bod. When Claire isn’t chasing cats and other animals with her camera, she works as a Graphic Design Manager.

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