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Published: November 13th 2014
SALONIKI or THESSALONIKI. November 10/11.
Monday, magnificent blue sky and sunny, amazing how much of a difference it makes. Today walked the beautiful foreshore about 12 km return. Views across the harbour to the city centre. The city is named after the half sister of Alexander The Great, who was born in this region of Macedonia. Greece has a huge argument with the country of Macedonia over the name and has exercised its veto on allowing the country to enter the EU. The people here in the north are lighter skinned and have lighter hair colouring- THE GOLDEN GREEK!
The cafes are full. Apparently the Frappe coffee was created in T. A very cosmopolitan city and one we have enjoyed. It is unfortunate about the Graffiti.
Ataturk, Mustafa Kemal, the first Turkish President was born here, and his home is a very interesting museum on his history. His achievements were extraordinary. We discovered there was a form of ethnic cleansing which took place in Greece and Turkey in the early 1900s, when Turkey and Greece had a huge exchange of people based upon religion, Orthodox or Muslim. Many suffered hugely in this process.
The food has very
good in Greece, from delicious Moussaka, grilled peppers, pork, chicken and lamb souvlaki, tasty yogurt and sour cherries, tasty dips. Didn't really see much seafood or lamb surprisingly. Olives were not readily available, unless specifically requested. We had the most amazing deli across from the hotel, two floors of cheeses, meats, nuts, olives and speciality items. There are scores of bakeries selling bread, which straight out of the oven must taste great, but after cooling tasted hard and stale. The beer has been good, Mythos ( islands and Athens), Fix ( Athens and north) and Alpha ( north). There is a wide variety of red and white local wine. The dry red house wines aren't to bad, no hangover effect, and cheap-E6 for 500ml.
The main market was nearby, again extremely interesting. Not sure why market goods always look better than those served in cafes!
BARCELONA, November 12/ 13. Great weather.
We changed our plans. Too cold to consider further north, our original idea, so flew the opposite direction to Barcelona. Everywhere is so close and reasonable cost. Arrived at 11.30 am. Great airport and took a convenient 5 euro bus ride to 50m from
hotel in central city. After a short rest, a very early hotel departure in the morning, we set off exploring. Clear Blue sky, and warm. Walked along the Ramblas, the main walking street running down to the harbour. Street artists abound, magnificent architecture from the late 1800s to a very fashionable port that has been built in more recent times. There are buildings by Gaudi sprinkled through the streets, easy to identify by the lengthy Asian queues waiting to visit.
Off the main boulevards are attractive narrow lanes, mainly walking, which run through the residential area. Plenty of bars and tavernas, apparently the Menu del Dia is the dish to eat.
The central market off the Ramblas was exceptional in its colour and variety of produce- fish, meat, fruit and veg, pastries and bread, chocolates, dips and olives all left us salivating. There are also many mens and womens' clothing stores, very fashionable and not outrageous in price. There are many black Africans selling knock off goods on the streets. It seems they have a cat and mouse game with the police, as their display mats are set up enabling quick getaway without loss of goods or a
muck up of their displays, when they next lay out their mats!
Today visited Gaudi's famed Cathedral, the Sagrada Familia. I visited here 33 years ago and 15 years ago, and it doesn't seem to have progressed very far, still surrounded by cranes and scaffolding, and thousands of tourists. Maybe will visit tomorrow after pre purchasing tickets 17 euro each, it will want to be AMAZING inside!
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