My previous posts were about what to do/see in this city: Thessaloniki Part I: One day city tour and Part II: One extra day in the city. This new post is about what I liked and disliked from Thessaloniki, how the people are there and what you can eat once you get there.
People in Thessaloniki:
I hung out mostly with salser@s, like always. I love Salsa people all over the world but every country has its peculiarities. In my opinion Greeks are a relaxed people. In every conversation they have, they mention the economic crisis. They explain to you how it affected and still affects their lives, how many of them lost their jobs or had to change to another one or earn half of their previous salaries, etc. But they are quite relaxed and spend all of their free time at the cafes taking life easier. Haha! „Let’s meet for a drink“, „let’s go for a coffee“, those are the most said phrases there. And believe me, they won’t only go for a coffee, they will sit for hours and hours. There is nothing better to do than spend a few hours per day with friends drinking coffee, talking and relaxing. And if it’s in front of the Beach Boulevard, even better. I had the opportunity to be there on a public holiday (26 October) because of St. Demetrius, Patron Saint’s Day in Thessaloniki. I had planned to do a one day excursion outside the city but I ended up spending the whole day eating and drinking with 25 salser@s. It was a nice day of non stop Ouzo, Tsipouro and Raki. Yammas!!!!
Dancing in Thessaloniki:
I went to 2 Salsa parties. The days after were both public holidays, so both parties were crowded. I have to say, you can definitely see the Mediterranean culture of going out late. I was alone at the party at 11pm. Greeks start going out around midnight (like Spaniards). Both parties (it was a Tuesday and a Thursday night) lasted till 5am.
Place to dance salsa: Habanita in the Ladadika neighborhood. I think it´s open every night.
Address: Peristeriou 6, Ladadika 54625. Tel: +30 694 491 5971
Food in Thessaloniki:
Apart from the famous Greek salad (of course you wanna eat a Greek salad once in Greece), most of the dishes consist of a mix of some of these ingredients: eggplant, olives, cheese, zucchini and meat.
What you should try:
The famous Moussaka (it could be made of lamb or beef with eggplant and a creamy sauce). I tried 3 different moussakas in 3 different restaurants and I have to say they tasted completely different. I was disappointed by 2 of them but the other one was really good. I hope you are luckier than me.
With Souvlaki you can’t make any mistake if you like meat. Try it!
Ntolmadakia: these grape vine leaves stuffed with rice are known as “Dolmades”. It can be served as an appetizer or as a main course.
Saganaki Batzos consists of Batzos cheese, fried and flambeed with Tsipouro and lemon. You won´t find the Batzos cheese so easy outside of Greece. Don´t miss it if you are there!
Lachanontolmas: I´m not sure if this is the right name but it looks like this:
Don´t forget to try the dips such as Tzatziki (made of yogurt with garlic and cucumber), melitzanosalata (made of eggplants) and fava (puree made of peas)
My favorite dishes were:
Papoutsaki (means little shoe, it’s made of eggplant with meat and cheese),
Traditional cheese pie (I like it with feta cheese) and one dish that it´s actually originally from Turkey amd it´s made of beef, eggplant and cheese.
One recommendation for good Greek food:
Address: Ladadika Egiptou 24, Thessaloniki 546 25
Tel: +30 231 052 3571
What I didn’t like from Thessaloniki:
There were 3 things that I didn’t like:
- People smoking everywhere. I’m a non smoker. I don’t care if the rest of the world smokes but I would appreciate it, if they respect us. I’m used to Germany where you can’t smoke everywhere. In Thessaloniki it’s allowed to smoke inside the restaurants and clubs. Apart from not enjoying my dinner/lunch to the maximum because of the smoke coming from all the tables around me, also my clothes were smelling really strong like cigarettes after leaving every single place. From what I saw, I think 80% of the inhabitants there smoke. Do you think it’s related to the crisis? Lol. Anyway, maybe it´s better at least to sepparate the smoker and non smoker area inside the restaurants, so everyone can be happy.
- People begging everywhere. I haven’t seen any European city with so many people on the streets asking for money from the tourists like I sadly saw there. I didn’t expect so many beggars here. Yes, it’s sad. 🙁
- Graffiti on the streets. I like art and I do recognize that there is a lot of beautiful graffiti worth…but all over the city? Hmmm, I don’t know if it’s a Greek style to have the whole city covered with graffiti. I don’t lie if I tell you that it was seriously everywhere. I like if there is a quarter where you can go and appreciate this art. It makes it special. But I dislike going to places with a long history, dating from the Roman and Byzantine times and find out that beautiful structures, like La Rotonda, are all covered with graffiti. Do you know what I mean?
What I like from Thessaloniki:
I loved the beautiful sights and the important history of the city. I enjoyed the relaxed people living here. It has the sensation that time is not flying and I enjoyed the relaxed walks along the boulevard during the day and night time. Apart from all of this that I actually already mentioned before, I liked the extra attention that I got in many restaurants and cafes. For example, in every place you go (also in a nightclub) they will first welcome you with a glass (sometimes a whole bottle) of drinking water, as if they know you have been walking a lot and you are thirsty. You don’t have to ask for it. They will bring it to you as soon as you enter the place. In some places when you go for a cocktail they will give you some snacks for free to accompany your drink. Also when you finish eating in a restaurant and you are about to ask for the bill, they will bring you some desserts for free. This happened to me in a few restaurants. Also in some cafes you will have cakes and cookies for free in the afternoon while drinking your coffee. And I don’t mean 1-2 cookies, I mean you can eat as much as you want. For example, at the Hostel 9 Cafe on the Beach Promenade they had a small buffet of 4 different pastries to try.
Would I recommend Thessaloniki? Yes, definitely! But you should plan some extra days not only for sightseeing but also to live the “Let’s go for a coffee” – Greek lifestyle 🙂
Enjoy it and stay tuned!