Friday, November 14, 2014

11/9/14 Day 297 Thessaloniki Greece

I It only cost us 7 hours and 40 euros to travel the entire length of Greece by the slow, loud and cheap Trainose Rail. Walking from the flat to Thessaloniki (sal-o-neek-e) center to meet up with Yorgos our Couch Surfing host for an invitation to lunch at the University between his classes. We strolled into the University of Thessaloniki Aristotle as if we had spent the whole morning struggling to stay awake for mundane lecturers like everybody else and stepped into the fish line (as the alternative, sausage didn't sound appealing enough to warrant standing in line for 20 minutes). Just like that we are passed a tray with a portion of white fish, pasta salad, coleslaw and two slices of bread, and access to crates full of green apples, wallah free lunch. The university provides students with a free education and Monday-Friday they get breakfast lunch and dinner with daily changing menus.
Thessaloniki is a young vibrant and modern metropolis with the second largest population in Greece and the largest student population in the country, with 1/4 of the population attending one of the three universities, with both art and students bursting at the seams. Meanwhile a huge population of both dogs and cats are welcome to roam the streets and laze around the city with the students. There is a lot of student involvement and interaction, the students even throw their parties within the walls of the school, we got to go to one and it was amazing and really weird to party at a school. The city features a beautiful Boardwalk stretching for miles along the seaside which we walked along at least once a day to get to or from city center. The most famous of landmarks is the White Tower, imposing above the boardwalk at the core of the city (we got to go up the tower for free with our student cards even though only EU students are supposed to get free admission). 
We ate a lot of Gyros in our time here, they differ from the Athens version by subtracting the tzatziki sauce and replacing it with mustard and or ketchup, and they are almost double the size. Along with the many, many sweet syrupy pastries we sampled while in Greece, we also tried a few different bottles of Retsina, a very unique tasting local wine, made with the addition of pine resin as historically the resin was used to seal the wine, definitely not a favorite of mine. A much better Greek food invention is the freddo cappuccino, espresso poured over ice, and topped with frothed cold milk. 

Yorgos our fantastic Thessaloniki host
Yorgos' stencil addition to the city
This is the University cafeteria where we got to enjoy our free lunch
So many pastries
Trigona the creator of the delicious pastry of the same name
It is a baked phyllo dough, dunked in syrup and filled with sweet icing, seriously what more could you want, a larger size, oh yeah they have that too
Feta for as low as 5€ a kilo!
After months and months of not eating subpar Fuji and red delicious apples, we have discovered Greece has amazing Granny Smith apples, tastebuds rejoice
Freddo Cappuccino 
The White Tower of Thessaloniki

The pivotal epiphany when we realized that the annoying sidewalks we have been tripping over in all of Greece, are actually designed to help guide the blind (as blind leading the blind a couple strolled on down the walk past our bench). Europe is way more on top of the brail accessories than we are.

Practically every city has them, why are the states so far behind the trend
School bus
The old city cobblestoned streets
Coffee delivery

There is a thriving colony of dogs that roam the city, undisturbed to do as they please

All over the city people leave out scraps and bones for the huge population of stray cats

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