Following my trip to England, I went to Athens, Greece for another work project. While in Greece I stayed at the Hotel Pentelikon, which is located just north of Athens. I had the pleasure of traveling to Greece with a co-worker, Martyn. Having a travel buddy always makes things a little more fun. Most of the week was spent working at the office, working at the hotel, and going to local restaurants. On Friday, February 17th, I took a quick flight up to Thessaloniki to spend a week with my family.
I was picked up from the airport by my cousin, Eleni. For those of you that have seen the photo albums, she was with me during the sailing trip last year. From there we went back to her home, where Mike resides. To say the least, Mike is a very mean dog that I have never come close to petting. Mike is a guard dog for the house and isn’t friendly with almost everyone, except Valisi (Bill), my cousins husband. Bill was also with us during the sailing trip. Other than going out for dinner, my stay in Thessaloniki was short lived. That night, Bill, Eleni, and I left town to go to Smixi, which is a small village outside the city state of Grevena. Eleni has a small bed and breakfast type inn in the village. Also, located on the ground floor of the inn is a bar, Club Slalom, which I haven’t been too in many years. This is where I spent the next few nights, which happened to be very late nights.
On Saturday we went to Vasilitsa, which is ski resort about 15 minutes from Smixi. There was no skiing for me while there, but it was fun hanging out at the bar at the base. We even had a Yagermeister tent right outside the bar offering fee shots. That helped to get the day going. Bill took me for what was supposed to be a quick drive up the mountain. We ended up getting stuck in some snow. In order to get out, Bill had to put chains on the tires. However, the views from the top were fantastic.
Club Slalom picked up later that night. Since bars in Greece don’t close at a specific time, people tend to start the festivities a little later. This turned out to be one of the most fun nights during the week. There I got to meet a few of the staff, George, Olga, Apostoli. Actually, my cousin, also named Apostoli, was the DJ for the night. A few of my aunts also showed up with some friends. The bar emptied out at about 5 or so. I decided to stick around afterwards to help cleaning, a little. Most of the time I was just keeping them company. It was well after 6 am by the time I got to bed. I wasn’t feeling so hot on Sunday after getting little sleep and dealing with all the “liquid” I drank on Saturday.
On Sunday afternoon I left Smixi to go to the main city, Grevena. This is where my family is from and many relatives currently live. Over the next couple of days I was able to see most of my family in small spurts. The town itself is pretty small.
On Tuesday I left Grevena to go back to Thessaloniki. For those of you that are only familiar with Athens and the Greek Islands, this is a great city to visit with a lot of historical value and more of a laid back atmosphere (at least compared to Athens). The big night in Thessaloniki was Thursday. This was the first day of the Carnivals. These are the same parties that occur in New Orleans for Marti Gras and other places around the world. Everyone gets dressed up similar to Halloween and has a good time. I participated in the festivities by going out with Eleni, Apostoli, and others. However, there was no getting dressed up for me. The Carnivals last through the next 2 weekends. Too bad for me I had to leave on Sunday morning.
Friday night was spent with my two cousins, Spiro and Thanasi, in downtown Thessaloniki. I forget the name of the bar we went to, but it was loud and fun.
Saturday I got to see my cousin Steve, his wife Fotini, and their daughter. This turned out to be an early night since I had to leave early in the morning. It was nice to catch up with Steve. He used to live in Astoria, Queens, NY when I was growing up. We used to play stickball together. Being that he’s many years older than me, he would also win every time. We got to talk football, specifically about the Jets. I’m pretty sure we even made a bet for the upcoming season. I took the under of an 8 win season. Betting against the team I root for is against my better judgment, but I’ll gladly hand over $1 if they do better.
Well, that was the end of the trip. Check out the photo album section of my web site for pictures from that 4 weeks in England and 2 weeks in Greece. Enjoy!