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My First Impression of Thessaloniki. By Diego Domínguez García October 7, 2013

Posted by usbngo in Older Posts.
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I arrived at the International Airport of Thessaloniki on September 6th. It was 11 in the morning and it was hot (26 degrees). I was carrying 45 kg distributed in three bags. I had left my hometown the day before and I had only slept two hours. I was tired, really tired, but at the same time I was thrilled to start a new adventure in my life. Probably, the best adventure in my short lifeI arrived at the airport and Aris and Olympia were waiting for me. I was glad to hear that he preferred to be called Aris instead of Aristodimos, since it is a name too long and too Greek and I could have mispronounced it easily.

Both of them helped me carry my luggage. Aris took the biggest bag while holding on the other hand a big glass of coffee. It wouldn´t be the only time I saw that big coffee that day, neither during my first week. I started to realize that Greece is not only a place of feta cheese, but also of coffee.

Moving on, we entered the car. While I was fastening my seat belt, I felt Ari´s eyes on me. He was staring at me saying “C´mon. We don´t do that in Greece. You´re too legal”. It was surprising for me but I kept my seat belt fastened, not because I did not trust Aris, but because I usually do it. Then, I saw that all the drivers did not fasten their belts, and almost none motorbike rider use his or her helmet. Nothing happened during the trip and we got safe and sound to the apartment.

When we left the apartment to go to the office I thought: “Nice, we are going down”. I was being too naive. I did not realize that if you go down, later you must go up. And both home and office are way too up. Nevertheless, if we look on the bright side of life, we are saving a lot of money in fitness training. The problem the first days was the high temperature. I am a Scottish Spaniard and I am not used at this.

Although it was sunny and hot, there was also water in Thessaloniki. And I am not talking about the Aegean Sea, not even the rain. I am talking about the glasses of water served at the pubs. The first time I ordered a loykanikopita (sausage wrapped in foil pie) I was not expecting a glass of water. If I knew it, I would not have ordered a coke. Neither was I expecting another glass of water after ordering a beer in Agia Sophia. Maybe it was too polite for me.

However, none of these anecdotes is part of my first impression. Since an “impression” is “an effect, feeling, or image retained as a consequence of experience”, my first impression of Thessaloniki is the image of the view of the city from our balcony I have kept in my mind. The pure white of the city against the brave blue of the sea. The yellow sun turning into orange on the walls by night. A city that sounds like music and keeps on dancing as time passes by.

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* Diego does his European Voluntary Service, supported and funded by the Hellenic National Agency under the Youth in Action programme. His Sending Organization is Asociación Cultural Ingalicia (http://www.ingalicia.org).

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