Thessaloniki, Greece

City of Graffiti

I must give the Thessalonians credit for their beautiful artistic abilities, but it seems that that they prefer to express themselves on the walls of buildings instead of on a traditional canvas. In fact, on my visit to Thessaloniki, I struggled to find a building that wasn't engrossed with graffiti.

#hipsterJim in Thessaloniki, Greece
Before arriving in Thessaloniki, I had expected the city to be much like those of other ancient-turned-modern cities with watch towers like the one pictured below. Perhaps a smaller version of Athens? But boy was I wrong. Thessaloniki took Athens' grime to a new level, with garbage strung across sidewalks and road construction that had been in progress for decades.

Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki, Greece

Greece
Our wonderful local tour guide, Thessaloniki
For my parents and I, Thessaloniki was the last stop before flying home from a three week tour of Greece. We noticed that many of the Greeks don't work. Men spend their days smoking with friends at coffee shops and their wives do chores around the house. This was strange to my parents who have worked 10 hour days since they were school aged. We still have yet to understand the thought process behind it. #itsallgreektome

Port of Thessaloniki
Even so, the sunset one particular night was absolutely amazing. We were stopped in our tracks, and stood on a busy street corner, watching the sun go down and the yellow sky fade into deep blue.

Hamburger, Please?

Another thing we missed about America was the food. It turns out that the only food available in most Greek towns and cities is a mix of Mediterranean and Eastern European (think Russian) food. The first two weeks of lamb meatballs was delicious, but by the time we got to the city of Thessaloniki, we were so excited to find somewhere we could have, perhaps, some Mexican food!
 
We ventured out to find the highly regarded Mexican restaurant cleverly named, El Burrito. We walked for almost an hour in the sprinkling rain, following screenshots of the Google maps path that I had snapped earlier using the hotel's WiFi.

We were at once excited for a break from traditional gyros, and wary, knowing that a Tex Mex place in Thessaloniki was a little out of place. Once we arrived at the small restaurant, we were presently surprised.
@elburrito.gr
Charmingly decorated with painted portraits of Spanish (not Mexican) superstars, and miss-matched cloth booths, we found that it represented a twist on the wild graffiti outside and the sweet, colorful feel of a cantina. Our burritos were delicious!  The mint lemonade was even better! We definitely would have gone back to have the same meal if we weren't leaving the next day! Check them out on Instagram at @elburrito.gr

With full hearts and even fuller stomachs, we wandered back to our room on the northern side of town, stopping to view a few hotels on our way.

Needless to say, we were happy to load our bags into our rental car and make our way to the airport the next morning, but we were mighty thankful for the opportunity to experience the shaken-up culture of Thessaloniki.

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