Greece… The Land of Sun, Beaches and History! Nov09

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Greece… The Land of Sun, Beaches and History!

Written by Tenia Pat | Region Greece :: 

Welcome to Greece… The Land of Sun, Beaches and History!

Have you ever dreamed of experiencing all of the food, culture, arts and history of a place that you have only been able to read about in books or magazines? Well if this is the case, and you are shaking your head in the ‘YES!’ motion, then I have the perfect place for you. It’s the romantic city of Thessaloniki (also known as Thessalonica or Salonica), the second largest city in Greece! Thessaloniki is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece. It ranks highly among other popular cities of the world such as, London, Paris, Dubai and Montreal. Well, what are we waiting for, let us begin our journey!

Our day starts out in a beautiful cafe at the center of town, somewhere high with a view of Aristotelous Square, which is the main city square of Thessaloniki, and the port. Today we’ll order the famous iced coffee, also called a ‘frappe’! Here in Thessaloniki, we typically will spend one or maybe even two hours. Drinking coffee with friends is one of the most enjoyable things for Greeks to do. And although someone from another country may think that we spend too much time doing this, the truth of the matter is, we enjoy this time because it is a most entertaining experience! You see in Thessaloniki, our cafes are crowded every day, and we love getting all dressed up when we go to our cafes!

After we finish our coffee, we then will go for a walk along Tsimiski Street for some shopping therapy! Tsimiski Street was named after the Byzantine Emperor, Ioannis Tsimiskis, and nowadays is one of the busiest streets in Thessaloniki’s city center and the country. Here we will find some of the most famous fashion brands in the world.


As we walk up and down the street to see all the wonderful stores, there are so many things to buy. Jewelry, clothes and shoes! You know, the things most gals like us need on a regular basis! As we spend our time shopping, we’re also spending a lot of energy as well and there is a delightful aroma in the air and it draws our attention to the fact that it’s time for something to eat. So we follow our nose and end up at the corner of the square, where we find a quaint little shop that has fresh tsoureki with chocolate! Tsoureki is a sweet, egg-enriched bread, formed with braided strands of dough. It is a traditional Greek cuisine with a mouthwatering aroma and a flavor that is to die for!

After our stop at the corner shop, we continue our walk along the streets in the square. All around us are crowded cafes, beautiful buildings and windows full of the latest fashions. With each step we take, it draws us closer to the coastline, where the view is absolutely spectacular! Once we arrive at the, you can see young and old couples enjoying a walk, families with their children, people running, and lots of people riding bicycles for their daily exercise. No matter is you are there during the morning, evening or night, the waterfront is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the sun, the beach and fun with friends. Personally, I think that sunset is the most popular hour of the day to enjoy the beauty of it all.

This is a place where you certainly will want to bring your camera, as you will want to capture these moments forever; especially when the sky begins to changes colours. While we are here at the waterfront, we can see the great White Tower, a monument and museum. The present tower replaced an old Byzantine fortification which was mentioned around the 12th century and reconstructed by the Ottomans to fortify the city’s harbor. It was substantially remodeled and its exterior was whitewashed after Greece gained control of the city in 1912. It has been adopted as the symbol of the city, and it is a famous place to meet for young people.

Now that we’ve spent most of the day shopping and hanging out at the beach, it’s getting late and we are starving! As we head back to the square, there are all sorts of places to eat those famous Greek gyros (roasted meat served as a sandwich, with tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce, wrapped in pita bread) or souvlaki (a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer)!

After satisfying our hunger, we then go for a ride into the old town called Kastra, which means, castles. Here we will see all of the many castles and you’ll be amazed at the view of the town from up high! To top off the evening, we will get all dressed up and go out on the town for some fun! Remember my friend, Thessaloniki is a city that never sleeps! We are going out for a night of dancing, socializing and entertainment. We’ll go to the Bouzoukia, which is a place with a raised stage (“pista”) where singers, dancers and musicians perform. Here we’ll sit at one of the many long rows of tables where we can watch the show. Greek music is wonderful and as we listen to the performers, we join others and throw many flowers in the air and at the singers!

Well, like I said… this is a city that never sleeps, so you can imagine how long we’ll be out on the town! But we will continue our journey another time my friends. I will be back with another adventure for us to go on in the not too distant future! Until then… have fun! :)

 

Tenia Pat is a Teacher, Writer and Social Entreprenuer. Find her on the World Wide Web at: www.facebook.com/tenia.pat1