When you travel, especially if you are self-touring with multiple destinations, a large degree of patience is needed. If you may recall from an earlier posting, when planning a trip one of the most important things is to be flexible. We started off our Thessaloniki segment with a flight out of Athens that was delayed by close to 4 hours. Why such a delay? The military was flying into the airport to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the liberation of Thessaloniki.
So our flight to Thessaloniki was delayed, but at least they gave us food vouchers and we were able to get lunch while we waited to board. Once the plane finally landed in Thessaloniki we had to wait for our luggage, another hour went by. Then we had to wait for our car rental shuttle. This time we knew to call the rental agency the moment we picked up our luggage to let them know that we arrived. See? Experience pays off. So in reality, it took longer to fly than it would have taken to drive from Athens…. Hmmm… something to consider. The downside of driving to Thessaloniki is that you then have to drive back to Athens. It’s a couple hundred dollars to return a car from somewhere other than where it originated. So for most travelers, even though flying is a headache, it is probably the best way to go.
When we finally arrived in Thessaloniki we had trouble finding Sky Studios. Waze kept telling us we arrived at our destination but we didn’t see it and so we drove around the block again, and again and finally we parked our car and decided to try to find it on foot. It was a good thing we arrived before dark.
When we asked locals where it was, they pointed to a store that sold military bags, clothing and had two interesting cinemas.
When I shop for accommodations, I am first looking for "clean" and yes, the hotel room met that condition. It had a comfortable bed, a balcony (view- not so much), a refrigerator, and something to heat up coffee. Well the Sky Hotel hit those boxes and it had a score of over 8 on the Booking Reviews and so we figured it was ok. I would not recommend this place to a solo traveler or to one with young children. The entrance hall is not lit when the stores are closed and unless you’re into walking down dark alleys at night…you probably should not opt for this hotel.
While October might be shoulder season in the islands and a little less crowded than high season, that is not the case for Thessaloniki. There were no vacancies in any hotels within miles. And so, we had to deal with the cards that were dealt.
Thessaloniki, is a large city (with over 814,000 residents the second most populated city in Greece) yet has areas with beaches, estuaries, and woodlands. One such place is Axios delta, where three rivers meet and fishing colonies abound.
We contacted my cousins in the area and met them for dinner.
The following day my cousin Eugenia took us to a marvelous place, Axios Delta National Park. One may find it a bit difficult to traverse some of the park roads with a small car with low clearance. Like the American national parks, this park has several sections. We opted for the Loudias & Aliakmonas River-Mouths area where we saw: Beefalo, Flamingos, a fishing village, Gray Plover, Gulls, Spotted Redshank, Gray Heron, Eurasian Curlew, Egret, Common Greenshank, Crested Lark, cats, dogs, Shelduck, Pelicans, Avocet, Hooded Crow, and more.
To see more photographs of the Axios Delta National Park please go to: https://mariamarkatos.smugmug.com/Greece/Central-Macedonia-Greece/Axios-Delta-National-Park-Loudias-Aliakmonas-River-Mouths/
After several hours of birdwatching we decided to go to Peraia, one of Thessaloniki’s beachfront areas.
Of course when eating outside in Greece, a cute furry creature will come by to beg for food.
Sometimes the cats will hang out in a boat
We had an enjoyable meal at one of the beachfront restaurants and then walked around the promenade.
Later in the evening my daughter convinced me to go to the Ladadika as this part of Thessaloniki comes to life at night
Even before covid, Greece had outdoor dining, pretty much all year round. Now there are even more tables outside and they were full on this late October evening. We saw a vendor selling his wares.
And enjoyed outside dining at the Λουπίνο Μεζεδοπωλείο ( Loupino Restaurant.)
Even though I typically don't eat late at night, I could not resist the tasty offerings.
On our second full day in Thessaloniki, we visited an archeological site that we had been to in 1987 shortly after its discovery. At that time, archeologists were just completing their dig and, through connections that my brother George had at the time, we were able to see the site of Philip's tomb. It was extremely exciting to see this ancient history unfold. This October we revisited the area and the modern museum that sprouted up around that hole in the ground
Outside, in the area of the tomb of Philip II of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great). Other tombs in the area may be of Philip's half-brother or of his step-son. The later being considered to be the greatest find of 1987.
Inside of this underground museum you will find several tombs, one of which is that of Philip of Macedonia
Nea Agathoupoli was where the refugees like my grandmother resettled in the Thessaloniki area of Greece upon their arrival in 1913. Today, many of those lands near the sea are part of the National preserve and are a great place to see Flamingos, spoonbills, heron, egret, stork, pelicans and other large birds that enjoy wading in the wetlands. My family had land in this town until about 2010, when we decided to sell the remaining lot. Some of the land that was once my family’s is now part of the Nea Agathoupoli section of the Axios Delta National Park.
Nea Agathoupoli is a fantastic place for birdwatching. We saw hundreds of Flamingos, Dalmatian Pelicans, Great Egret, Little Egret, Gulls and one or two distant Spoonbills.
To see some of the photos from Nea Agathoupoli click on the link below:
In the evening we went back to Thessaloniki Lathadika Waterfront where you can see umbrellas changing color as the lights hit them.
You might even be able to grab an umbrella, or at least try to.
Greece has always been a cultural center and the arts have always thrived in this country and although the images are not Greek but Manet reproductions, at a slightly larger scale, Art in the Park is nice.
For thousands of years Greeks have left their marks on buildings, usually to make a statement. The beautiful mural below is no exception.
To see more of APSET's work: https://www.instagram.com/ap.set/
Just like cats, Irish pubs seem to be everywhere.
In the morning we took a walk into town to see things in a different light. Here it appears as if a Jeep is coming out of a wall.
This colossal mural of a phoenix above a woman’s head was painted by DALeast and Faith47 and can be found on Tsiminski Street in the city center.
While visiting Thessaloniki as a teenager, I remember going with my uncle to Terkenis Bakery for delicious treats. This past October, my daughter checked Trip Advisor for the best bakeries, and surprise, surprise Terkinis came up. I suppose that is why they have been a successful business for seventy-four years. And the tsoureki was as good or better than I remembered.
Like all of Greece, you don’t have to travel far to see a beautiful church.
So alive and vibrant on Saturday night and so quiet and peaceful on Sunday morning. Hard to believe it is the same place. The colorful tags on the pull-down gates give a different look to the area.
So not only are there vibrantly painted gates in Thessaloniki but vibrantly colored statues as well
On Monday morning the shops open and people try to bring what they purchased home with them.
Lots of fresh fish for sale. I wish I was staying longer and had a full kitchen.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to Thessaloniki.
To see more photographs of Thessaloniki please visit:
To get notifications when blogs publish, please subscribe
To see my other blogs: https://photographybymariasavidis-blog.com
To watch Two Silver-Streaked Travelers YouTube Videos
Please join us in our next segment as we travel to Lesbos, Greece https://www.photographybymariasavidis-blog.com/post/lesbos-lesvos