Musings of a morbid mind

The general ravings of Scott Baldwin

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Our first experience of Thessaloniki was of peak hour mayhem as we dragged our luggage around the streets looking for our C grade hotel after being informed that we'd missed our bus stop. Speaking for myself, I very quickly started to dislike the city, and when we took a wrong turn down a side street that was obviously a red light area I think Niki had some reservations about the city as well. Not to mention that the traffic is worse here than in Athens. Here the footpaths aren't safe as motor scooters use them as extra lanes to get around congested traffic. They also have very creative parking practices, in Australia, you aren't supposed to park on corners, in Thessaloniki, it was not un-common to see cars double parked on corners. We also discovered that the green man on traffic lights doesn't mean 'walk' as in Australia, it means 'run for your life', and is merely an indication that your chances of surviving a road crossing at this moment is slightly better than when the red man is displayed, though no guarantees. After finally locating our hotel, we dumped our luggage and gathered enough courage to brave the city streets once more. Walking along the streets, and trying to avoid being run over at each intersection we crossed, every so often, amongst the shops, office buildings and cafes, we'd discover remnants of a bygone era - beautiful Byzantine churches with roadside chapels, an old Turkish bath house (Bei Haman), the arch of Galeious - and slowly this crazy, dangerous, frantic city started to show us its beautiful side.
We spent the next day exploring this amazing city, but we learned that the best way to survive the traffic was to make sure there were plenty of locals either side of us each time we crossed.


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