After Kalambaka, I headed on to Thessaloniki – yes, that Thessaloniki of “Thessalonians” fame. Thessaloniki is right on the water, and it’s in far north Greece. I knew it would be my stepping off point for other countries in Europe, so I took the train there.
When I got off the train, I decided to walk the mile and a half to my hostel because I really didn’t want to deal with cab drivers. Whoops. I definitely got lost and probably ended up walking more than two miles in 100F+ heat and with all almost-50lbs of luggage. I did mention I feel like I’m getting stronger, right?
After getting into the hostel and settling in, I went out to see some of Thessaloniki. It’s a gorgeous city, and like so many cities here, you can practically trip over the history. Right outside my hostel was the Rotunda, an ancient Roman church. It’s pretty big and pretty from the outside, but I didn’t get a chance to go in!
Then I wandered down about 200 meters to the Arch of Galerius, which still maintains some really impressive carvings. And from there, I headed down to the waterfront.
The waterfront in Thessaloniki is just wonderful – they have a wide boardwalk with giant parks, and the opposite side of the street is filled with lovely cafes and restaurants. Within the park, there’s the White Tower, which is one of the best-known landmarks of Thessaloniki.
The White Tower was cool, but I was excited to go see the statue of Alexander the Great! He’s been one of my heroes for ages, and Thessaloniki claims him historically (it’s a bit of a touchy subject – Greek Macedonia vs Macedonia the country is not something you bring up there). The statue was on the water, and it was getting towards sunset, so it was so amazing to see!
I then walked along the shops, had dinner, and grabbed some ice cream (of course!).
One other well-known part of Thessaloniki is Aristotleous Square. It’s got a pedestrian street running through it with these wonderful old buildings surrounding it, and it’s very picturesque. I enjoyed the energy of it!
Thessaloniki also has a ton of street art and graffiti. There are practically no blank walls – each one is filled, and some of it is really good.
Ultimately, I quite liked Thessaloniki, but Meteora had already stolen my heart. I can’t imagine any town following that well!