Thessaloniki: French Shutters and Shiny Seas
What can you say about second cities? Kind of just there, always overshadowed by those that come in first – the capital usually. In Wales case Swansea, for the Greeks Thessaloniki. At first it’s a city of industry, for me a city of uncertainty, a bridge between Macedonia and of course Athena to the south. It’s a good place for a few days’ rest.
In the midst of building its metro, Thessaloniki is sometimes difficult to steer. The Aussie girl from Skopje with the hair has also ventured here, it’s the last time I see her. These people I call ‘incidentals’ and my travellers life is littered with them.
They are the people you think would graduate to full time friend but never do. So we head for different hostels (both my Air Bnb’s are booked and as it turns out would have taken longer to reach as they are further east toward the airport).
RENT A ROOM (OR AT LEAST A BED)
Instead I end up at Rent Rooms – it kind of works. Nice place between the Rotunda and a university, feels like it should be home, but very pokey stairs, not only that but spiralling stairs. No lift. They tell me they don’t have planning permission for one.
Time for a rest, some lunch, then a walk down to the shimmering sea via the White Tower which stands proud over it. One track that instantly comes to mind is the rather apt Shining Sea from former Police guitarist Andy Summers.
The promenade is a little freaky in that there’s no fence, thus if you were here and a bit tipsy you could potentially fall over the edge into a sea almost as deep blue as the Greek ensign. Other than that there is some exquisite installations lining the way like the umbrellas which are particularly arresting set against the deep blue sky.
It might be Greece but France comes to mind in the abundance of shutters on show. The Chinese are here though more so in the rag and bag trade than food. Food wise I keep things simple by eating in local Greek tavernas which do for a hearty meal.
Before long it’s time to pack the bags for the bus back to the train station. The ticket to Athens costs 45 euros! It is the most extortionate rail fare I’ve had outside the UK but that’s travel, if there is no other way then so be it.
PLAYLIST AND CREDITS
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Shining Sea – Andy Summers
Bacchante – Andy Summers
Out of my Mind – Duran Duran
*My thanks to the staff at Rent Rooms for pulling out the stops to accommodate me.