Thessaloniki, Greece: As We Travel Europe

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We’ve arrived in Greece. It’s 33 degrees outside, so I’m all sweaty. We found our hostel. We’re going to check in and try and cool down. We’re in Thessaloniki, which is the second largest city in Greece. And the best way to see the city is to simply walk around, as there are ruins dating back 300 BC scattered everywhere. We’re going to start there by visiting the White Tower, which has a pretty violent, interesting history. We’re outside the White Tower. This tower was used by the Ottoman Empire to store prisoners, to kill and torture people. It got the nickname “The Bloody Tower.” But when Greece regained control of Thessaloniki, they repainted it, painted it white, hence the White Tower. It’s now seen in Thessaloniki as a symbol and the icon of the city. It’s so windy here, but we’re going to go to Aristotelous Square. Hopefully it’s less windy there. And we’re going to check out a market.

We’re in a market called Modiano Market, and it’s right by Aristotelous Square which is the heart of the city. There’s so many things going on here, and you can buy anything here, all from veggies and fruit to underwear and razors. Yeah, it’s pretty crazy here. Well, the market was pretty crazy. I didn’t really find anything for me, so we’re going to continue and check out Hagios Demetrios, the biggest church in Greece. This church is dedicated to Saint Hagios Demetrios, and it’s one of the biggest churches in Greece. It’s also a UNESCO Heritage site. There’s a lot of gold around here and a lot of these mosaic paintings. I like this one especially, it’s really beautiful. You know normally churches are really flamboyant from the outside, you can see them from a far distance. But this church here, we walked past it three or four times without realizing it was actually there. It was just a really cool brick building. But once you come inside here you really notice it’s amazing inside. It really just expands and there are pictures everywhere, the artwork, it’s very gold, very shiny. It’s a pretty cool church.

Thessaloniki is famous for having some of the best Greek food in the country, and it’s specialty is mezé. Mezé is like a Greek version of the Spanish tapas. So we’ve ordered five different dishes here of traditional Greek food. Let’s taste some of them. I love this bean one, it’s really good. For me, lunchtime in a new city is the best time of the day. You’ve explored the city in the morning, your legs are tired, you sit down and try out some local food. It’s perfect. You know, we’re trying to get to the Upper Town to get a view over Thessaloniki. Well we’re here, we’re meant to be over there; we thought we were over there but we’re over here, and I don’t know what else to do. It’s so warm outside, it’s over 30, and my mind has just shut down. I thought it would be a nice, easy stroll up the hill, grab a nice, refreshing drink and just relax. I have no idea where we are. Check out that view. That view is absolutely amazing. We took the complete wrong way up to get here. We zigzagged all through the little alleyways, got completely lost, but we’re here, we made it.

We’re in the Upper Town overlooking Thessaloniki. As you can see, it’s an absolutely incredible view; absolutely amazing. There are many cute little restaurants up here. We’re going to try and find a nice place and try some local food and also some ouzo, and of course, enjoy the view. So we found this café with the most amazing view overlooking Thessaloniki and we ordered—yeah it’s just incredible—we ordered some typical Greek drinks. Ouzo, like Nathan mentioned before, and my favorite, frappe. That’s strong, it’s meant to be strong, yeah? Yeah, that’s alcoholic. Mine is just tasty. Holy, that’s powerful. That’s some good stuff. This is the best way to finish our time here in Greece. You alright? Whoa, it even smells strong. Smells like licorice. Alright, we’re going to sit here and relax for a bit, finish our drinks, party a bit, enjoy this view. And tomorrow, we’re off to Bulgaria. Bulgaria?