30 Sep – back in Thessaloniki

We’ve enjoyed our R&R down in Toroni. By the second day – after our little swim – we realized lazing around a beach is not really our style. On the third day we were getting a bit stir crazy. We walked up into the hills again but the trails run out pretty quickly. We felt no need to risk being seen by the crazy El Capitan up on the main road so we were sort of confined to our section of the beach! Not really a hardship we had trip planning work to do.

We had a studio which meant  fridge, hot plate, dishes, pots etc. We took advantage and shopped in the local grocery shop – with mostly empty shelves because it is closing after the weekend. We managed to cobble together a couple of pretty great lunches and dinners as well as our breakfasts. I won’t tell you how many empty bottles of local wine we left outside our door!

The bus ride back up here was quite crowded with fruit pickers. We saw many olive orchards in various states of harvest. Looks like there is work for some, but we all know that kind of labour is hard and pays poorly. It seemed to us that many of the labourers on the bus might not be Greek, but foreign workers. We’ve heard that many pickers come from Turkey.

We spent our afternoons down in Toroni planning the next week of travel. Today we tidied up a few loose ends. The manager at the hotel here helped us find a hotel in a place we’d been unable to locate any. We’ll be taking the bus out of here to get into an area where we’ll be able to find accommodation at the end of each walking day. Our journey has taken such a divergent path but we both feel we’ve learned more about the situation here, particularly as it pertains to tourists.

A small example. Yesterday we watched some hotel/restaurant/bar employees tearing down a section of the out-door patio while guests were sunbathing, eating and drinking immediately beside this activity in the same establishment. As a paying guest,  I’d not be too pleased to have this going on around me. “Hurry up and go home.” No regard at all for the fact that tourists are paying more than average European prices for less than average European service. It seems really tacky and quite rude. So many places that cater to tourists are closed! Hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars – some just for the season others more permanently. It gives a sort of ghost town feel to some places.

Additionally we’ve seen crops rotting in fields and on trees. No one to pick? No money to hire pickers? Farmers are working hard but seem to have no one to help them.

The other disturbing sign of these times is the large number of closed, derelict factories, warehouses, industrial buildings we’ve seen. Some that are still perhaps semi operational, have huge parking lots all weed covered and cracked with two or three cars parked. Skeleton staff?

I’ve already told you about the feral dog problem. The hotel manager here talked to us about it when we told him our upcoming walking route. It seems to be a major concern particularly around cities.

As we walked through Albania there were some challenges. Macedonia was easier and we figured when we got to Greece things would become far more straight forward. We’d just get on with the walking. We have been so wrong. Our time in Torino enabled us to gather our resources, look at the challenges rationally, and come up with a sensible plan. But Greece has been a nightmare in respect to the logistics of this walk.

We’ve had a busy afternoon getting our last ducks in a row. Please stay with us as this adventure continues. We hope you enjoy what comes next. We’re pretty sure we will.

Meantime a couple of pictures from today. The boat is a novel idea. Free cruise around the harbour on what is essentially a floating bar. Prices weren’t bad. Too bad they didn’t serve food too. We cruised by a really cool looking restaurant and afterwards went there for dinner. We’re lucky we didn’t have to stay and wash dishes. And the meal was just barley OK.

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2 thoughts on “30 Sep – back in Thessaloniki

  1. Hi Marianne, nope not in Croatia! This is Thessaloniki’s very own white tower used by the Ottoman’s as a prison and place of executions. There’s been a fortification here since Bysantian times. There are also Roman excavation parks all over the city. The white tower is one of the best maintained monuments so it lends itself to pictures. Some of the other places of historic interest are behind rusty fences, covered in graffiti, or weeds or both…..

  2. Hi Kim and Pat,
    The photo with the tower and the harbour could be Trogir in Croatia. You did not get so fed up that you hopped on a plane and flew there did you? Not surprising really as a lot of Croatia reminded us of Greece. Mediterranean countries are so similar in topography etc.
    Looking forward to the next stage of your trip. I hope it is not as stressful as the past couple of weeks. Heard from Karin. They are having a fine time in Bhutan. We are going to Toronto and North Bay next week.

    Love and hugs,

    Mario

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