Rumskys Repositioned from the Caribbean to Europe and Back Again travel blog

Hot and crowded bus ride from downtown to our airbnb apartment

Our reward was the best giro meat ever to be found at...

Allow plenty of time for the stories of the White Tower

Waterfront view from the tower

Church of Agia Sophia, smaller version of the Istanbul original

Random ruins, the old made edgy and new

Fish in raki lunch in the market is a huge highlight

We easily took our bus from the Kalampaka bus station to Trikala, changed buses with only about an hour of waiting time, and then continued on our journey into Thessaloniki. Our primary reason for being there was to board a plane to Cyprus, so we booked an airbnb near the airport. We really struggled with public transport in Greece. There's a lot of it around, but it just doesn't show up on our phones, Rome 2 Rio, Google maps, or any of the usual ways we get around in Europe. Therefore, we found it a bit challenging to get from the KTEL Macedonia bus station, take bus 31 to Aristotelous square, walk a few blocks to the bus stop for 5 or 6, and take that bus out towards Kalamaria (where our airbnb was located). By the time we boarded Bus 6, it was the height of rush hour. We were absolutely crammed in. The signs on the bus stops, when they were evident, were in Greek. Luckily Fran had downloaded the stops for bus 5 (and we were on bus 6) in reverse order, so I had a lot of fun trying to figure out how my information corresponded to the bus that we were on, amidst a lot of hot, sweaty, unhappy people. Luckily, we sorted it out and got off the bus close to our airbnb. Unfortunately, despite its location near the airport, the public transport to get to the airport was not direct, and our flight left pretty early in the morning, so ultimately we had to take a fairly expensive taxi to the airport. I think if I had to do it again, I'd look for somewhere closer downtown, on a direct line to the airport. But, hindsight is always 20-20.

Luckily our awesome airbnb hostess had helped out by creating a book with some of the public transport options detailed in it, as well as restaurant suggestions. After our long, crazy trip, we were tired and crabby. Wandering around our area, we literally just stumbled upon Nea Diagonios, a restaurant on the waterfront. What a total score! The wait staff was amazing, the wine list delicious, the prices were reasonable, and the giro meat was probably the best we've ever had. I can't recommend that place enough.

For sight-seeing, there is a sightseeing "Cultural Route" bus (number 50) that leaves just to the left of the White Tower (as you are facing the tower). DO NOT take the Hop on, Hop off bus! It's about 10 euros more than you'll pay for bus 50. With our limited time, the Cultural Route bus was perfect, covering all the highlights and providing a map with some self-guided walking tours as well. For the price, it was a great way to go. We also took in some history lessons and views at the White Tower, which seemed like a "must do" in Thessaloniki (especially as that was where the Cultural Bus route originated). I really wanted to see Ataturk's house (the first president of Turkey), but it was located a fairly large walking distance from the harbor. Instead, we walked in the opposite directions towards the main market and managed to pass the Church of Agia Sophia, an 8th century church, then mosque, and converted back into a church, modeled after the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Our airbnb hostess had recommended a restaurant in the market for lunch, and after a lot of wandering around, we finally located it (overlooking the long rows of olives). Hopefully you can figure out which one it is from the photos, as there was no sign to identify it! Back home we went, with enough left-overs from our two great meals to tide us over until the early morning flight the following day to Cyprus. All I can say about Thessaloniki is...yum!

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