We traveled with DHMOI.GR for 2 days in beautiful Thessaloniki and we have listed everything we saw
The Railway Station
At 12:30 noon on the previous Monday, May 6, the team of DHMOI.GR waited at the railway station of Thessaloniki to pick up her luggage. Some members of the team that had visited Thessaloniki a few years ago, did not notice any serious changes in the station as they were looking around.
We left the stuff at the hotel that was in the center of town, and we wore our spring jacket. The weather did not seem particularly cheerful, so we decided to descend as soon as possible for a first walk in Aristotelous Square. The first thing we noticed was that a lot of people were circulating in the center of the city and especially numerous students in the square and the surrounding streets. The explanation was simple, the four-day excursions of schools from various parts of Greece had already begun.
After our short walk in the square we decided to wander a little in the heart of the city, when we found ourselves in the famous market Kapani, something similar to the Varvakio market of Athens. Short, vertical roads and not particularly bright with shops and perfumes coming from various points of the market. All sorts of products spread out at your feet, at the same time that shopkeepers were trying to draw your attention to sell their wares. The ladies a little more hasty with their shopping and the men talking about the prices but also for other matters of the city.
The hidden beauties and secrets of the city
We left the central market and headed deeper into the city. We were deliberately lost in non-touristic alleys hoping to discover the hidden beauties of the city, but also to learn the secrets that it may be hiding under the carpet of this urban web. The truth is that we actually met both of her sides
"Green" Places and "Smart" Parking
We liked that we saw bigger squares with more trees in relation to Aristotelous square, without although bearing the same glamor or popularity, which was not necessarily a bad thing. Moreover, we were struck by the innovative idea of the controlled parking system in the city center. It consists of specially marked signs on the roads and requires the simultaneous use of an mobile application. Parking spaces for residents are free of charge but guests pay for it. It is an other matter how easy and understandable it will be for residents or visitors to use this innovation, because of the application that they have to download on their mobile, and pay through it.
Alternative ways to move around
Moving on to the area where the international Fair of Thessaloniki (HELEXPO) takes place every year, we saw the most central station of the forthcoming (November 2020 says the program) Metro of the city. Metro Thessaloniki ,next stop: "Sintrivani / Ekthesi". (means Fountain / Exhibition) A few more innovations we liked a lot were the Public Bicycles and Skates, both paying services of course. For bicycles you have to publish a special card, pay 1 euro per hour of use while similar charge (per distance though) applies to electric skates that you really found almost everywhere, left! At night people of the municipality collects them for charging and the next day they leave them in certain parts of the city for residents and tourists. At least the electric skates we saw were being used a lot by the people.
Attention, Bike lane!
"Nea Paralia" is offered for walking but also for bicycling or skating since the specially designed Bike lane is specially marked for night too. So as pedestrians it would be advisable not to move within its limits because you would not want to collide neither with an electric skateboard that catches a top speed of 25km/h (!) (it will be reduced to 20km/h from the relevant company very soon, at the request of the municipality) either by a bicycle...
The shame of the homeless
What really made us sad, angry, disappointed and even made us shame was that just beyond all this technology, innovation, "the showcase of a modern European city" there were homeless... Many homeless though.. And the truth is, they weren't temporary homeless people who found a corner on a street and just spent a night or two outside, without a home. We saw a plethora of homeless in many central parts of the city, among the bustling shops of downtown, in the entrances of residential buildings, in front of the most popular businesses, in front of the Department of Philosophy of the University of Thessaloniki etc.
Technology vs Dignity tick 1
The homeless that we saw protected their few old and dirty clothing under bus stops, behind telephone boxes, in trolleys from supermarkets and anything else everyone can think of, almost always having a dog for them. Unfortunately, this is a custom sight in other European cities, too. But that, Mr. Mayor, does not make the city a European one. We are convinced that the citizens do not need any innovative ideas or electric scooters if you can't give truly hope and prospect to the people who have serious needs. It is absolutely necessary for these people to have a place to sleep and live a more dignified life. And unfortunately these people, every other impression give you than this. Homeless people should not exist anywhere but when they are, Municipalities must not "hide" them in any dark or bright spot of the city that wants to be called European and modern.
White Tower (Lefkos Pyrgos) : The beginning of "Nea Paralia"
Arriving at Lefkos Pyrgos and essentially at the beginning of Nea Paralia we left in the back of our thoughts all the images up to then and made a short stop in front of Bust of Nikolaos Votsis. He was the governor of Torpedo 11 which entered on 18 October 1912 in the fortified port of Thessaloniki and without being noticed, launched three torpids against the Turkish huge battleship "Fethi Bulent" of 3,000 tons. The result was that the two torpids were to target and sinked the Turkish warship, and N. Votsis to withdraw without any losses. A true hero of his time.
Nea Paralia: The Gem of the city
In our opinion "Nea Paralia" is the most beautiful sightseeing of the city of Thessaloniki. You will see several points with trees, clean benches, comfortable and quite long cycle road that is highlighted at night, the imposing statue of Alexander the Great, the trademark with umbrellas (sculpture by Giorgos Zoggolopoulos), the Pirate ships-cafes and more.. All these are framed with the liquid element of the sea, together constitute a set of images and experiences that make "Nea Paralia" an ideal destination for walking, working out, calming down and taking pictures. Whether you like walking, biking, running or just going for a ride with your electric scooter, Nea Paralia is a part of the city that you have to visit in Thessaloniki.
For lunch in Pepper
After walking in the city for about 14,000 steps that day (according to our smartwatches), the time for lunch had finally come. Our attention was drawn to the label of the very famous in the people of Thessaloniki (and not only them) "Pepper", which has been renamed in the last 2 years in PEPPER SKG & THE BACKROOM. The reason for the renaming, as Mr. Efthimis informed us, (manager of the shop with whom we had the pleasure of chatting for a while) is because the popular Coffee-All Day Bar has created a new space as a Gourmet Restaurant (The BACKROOM) of Italian/Argentine cuisine, with very high aesthetics and innovations that elevate the flavors and the value of it's dishes.
Specifically, that night we tasted a very filling, fresh salad with roka, mozzarella, smoked prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, freshly baked flavored croutons and parmezan powder. For main dish, we ordered among other, chicken roll with melted pekorino cheese, flavored with red sauce and spices, accompanied with roasted baby potatoes and 2 kinds of sauce. We also enjoyed a dish of handmade pasta with chicken bites and mushrooms with white sauce on the base and grated Italian cheese. We accompanied our dishes with semi-sweet red wine Cabernet. In their honor, they served us effortlessly, after our own "whim", on the balcony and not in BACKROOM area because we wanted to enjoy the wonderful view of the sea and the evening breeze.
Quality is in line with the value
If you are a lover of good food, without thinking about the cost, then you will surely find a dish that will suit you, especially with the wide variety of choices in the -extremely high quality- meat offered by BACKROOM.
Investing in Innovation and Quality
After finishing our delicious meal at PEPPER SKG & THE BACKROOM and thanking the people of the store for their hospitality, we walked back to Aristotelous Square. What we noticed is that in general the businessmen of the city try to invest in innovation, in smart ideas, in quality and this is something absolutely necessary in a modern, European city, such as Thessaloniki. A further example of this was a branch of a nut chain that with the variety of products and the original decoration makes you want to go inside and at least ask to try their products.
Good night, Salonica!
The 1st part of "Traveling with DHMOI.GR in Thessaloniki" ends here, leaving the city to continue breathing in the rhythms of the night life..
Don't miss in the 2nd and final part of "Travelling with DHMOI.GR in Thessaloniki" next Saturday, May 18th:
-Which is the unknown sight that connects Thessaloniki with Paris?
-What did we see during our visit in the international Fair of Thessaloniki?
-We entered the City Hall, chatted with candidates and learned what is the new thing that will apply for first time in these municipal and regional elections.
-What are the major interventions that have internally changed "Lefkos Pyrgos" in recent years?
Exclusively the 2nd part of "Travelling with DHMOI.GR in Thessaloniki" on the BLOG of DHMOI.GR next Saturday 18/05.
Don't miss it!
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