When the walls come down
The life of the locals here in Thessaloniki, and maybe true in other Roman/Ottoman leftovers, seem to go on as if thousand year old walls and relics were no different than yet another tree in the neighborhood.
The Byzantine empire showed up during the Middle Age (3rd century ish) and built this gargantuan wall to denote its territory. The wall grew seaward over time. Then in the late 19th century the Ottomans showed up and kicked ass. The wall got destroyed during this ass-kicking period. The northern part of what remain of this wall lies a fort called Heptapyrgion. This used to be the command-control center during the Ottoman times, then eventually got converted into a prison. Now it's half-heartedly getting restored. That is to say this is one old town. These days you see neighborhoods growing densely around remains of the walls, paying no mind to them at all.
There was a very cute tapas place up the hill near there called ToixoToixo. Grabbed a great oyzo meze (sardines and mixed plate of Greek salad-ish ingredients) and talagani (local grilled cheese) before wandering the neighborhood. Something about the tiny nooks where houses stack like living labyrinth feels so magical. New life form around old relics. We are resilient, after all.
Thessaloniki is not a tourist town. Even its most touristy hub -- the white tower -- isn't really that touristy. There are enough ruins here to keep one entertained for a day or two. Then you really have to resort to things like cafes and people watching quickly after. The food is good. And the vibe is chill. It's a place you come to visit someone, not to see some thing. You can walk to most places within 30 minute radius. There are also great buses (time table integrated in google maps) and cheap metered cabs are everywhere. Sunday is church day tho. Everything closes and only the sinfuls sip coffee or day drink instead of doing the holy thing. People are friendly here. I don't know how many foreigners they see but everyday I get a little hello from strangers of all sizes and shapes when I walk through the streets. Including two 12-yr olds who seemed to made a novice pass on me. They were practicing how to pick up a girl in English. Another random person took a candid photo of me and insisted to email me. So friendly.
The big fat Greek wedding wasn't as extravagant as the Hollywood movie made it out to be. As a matter of fact it was so low key that everything that didn't matter didn't happen, and everything that did matter, including everyone that mattered, happened. I love a love story, especially when it's true.
Dun of DunKat and I have been friends for some time. We met through work. He's a mentor of sort when it comes to photography. He is always a joy to be around even when we both clock 18hr days multiple days in a row. All of us did a work trip a few years back to Qatar for a conference. There on the last day he was doing his usual business. Kat stepped on to the stage as the last act of the event. She, along with two others, recited a poem about adventure called Ithaka. Her part was in Greek. Their eyes met in the middle of her performance. He cried. Why? I don't know. He didn't even understand Greek. Maybe he was hungry. Maybe it was love at first sight. But the rest was history. He flew to Greece to meet her soon after, and not long they both moved to Berlin.
Dun used to be married for a short bit a long time ago. After that fell through he seemed to have lost faith in the whole concept and became uber nomadic. So nomadic we often joke that his home is seat 3A on any flight (and mine 8A because I'm not first class). I don't know how one recovers from loss of that magnitude. I saw him evolved through it slowly, patiently. I guess the only thing I can see for certain is he finally met someone he wanted to change himself for. He plowed through his own wall.. for her. That also means moving out of seat 3A and into a real home. I look forward to see what beautiful life will grow around the broken wall for them.
Tomorrow I'm suppose to go up north to the Balkans. I guess my mind changed. The wind of the Mediterranean lured me to a random place I've never heard of in the Agean Isles instead. It's called Limnos.. or sometimes Lemnos. There isn't much going on on the island. It's not the prettiest. It's just there, forgotten mostly. Except for a small constituent of kiteboarders and windsurfers. My kind of place. I think I'm just going to rent a car and sleep in it while I drive around the island for a few days. Apparently it is illegal to camp randomly in Greece. There is no campsite on this island. Not sure how I will wing it yet, but some have tried and not caught. What could go wrong? I wonder if I can sustain wild toilet-ing there. The first Greek phrase I might need to learn could be μπορώ να πάρω ένα μπάνιο στο σπίτι σας για το € 1. I wonder how that would fly. Maybe even pick up some kiteboarding lessons if there's room. I love how I don't have to stick to a plan. I love that I am slowly, patiently evolving. I took a selfie today. Can't say I like what I see yet. Eventually, maybe.