You know that feeling when you do something, or go somewhere, or eat something, and it’s so good that it exceeds even your most optimistic expectations?
Well, our recent trip to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, blew our little socks off.
The people, the food, the history, the landscape, the culture….all were an absolute joy. We were Greek virgins before we went, now we’re already checking flights for the next visit.
Reading Victoria Hislop’s The Thread had given us real insight into the city’s tumultuous history. Walking and eating tours in our first couple of days brought all those centuries to vivid current life. Ottoman hammams, Byzantine-inspired spices in the market, the Jewish memorial, the narrow atmospheric streets of Ano Poli…layer after layer of Thessaloniki’s rich history was laid out in front of us.
And the food…….ah, the food. I’m salivating at the memory of all the fresh fish, fruit and vegetables on offer at the city’s vibrant markets, ending up on plates of the eateries tumbling into the cobbled streets of Ladadika, now trendy but once the olive oil and red-light district.
We were in Thessaloniki as guests of the city’s Hotels Association, to promote the city and other nearby places in northern Greece. And it was all thanks to those lovely people at Silver Travel Advisor – The Voice of Mature Travellers – for whom I’ve written some articles on our magical Greek experiences.
I’ll add links to the articles as soon as they’re live, and hopefully they will add colour to this relatively monochrome summary of a dazzling adventure.
Thessaloniki was an absolute delight, from the moment we landed at Makedonia Airport. The whole trip was orchestrated by the remarkable Evdokia Tsatsouri, from the Hotels Association but now with the estimable Electra Hotels group.
Like a master puppeteer, she pulled all the strings of everyone involved in our expeditions to Halkidiki and Mount Athos, Meteora, Mount Olympus and Pieria, ensuring our hotels, meals, sightseeing tours were all organised impeccably, and gave us a flavour of the real Greece and its people.
The separate articles on Silver Travel Advisor will flesh out our experiences, but here are a few more images of some unforgettable memories from northern Greece: