February 2023.

The only real question is “How many posts will it take to cover six (6) nights in Greece“. Pubmeister, you’ll recall, knocked off his trip in a lone issue that seemed woefully short on kebab reviews.

Let’s start with the map.

We’d both “done” Greece. Corfu, Crete and a smart southern port on a cruise to Ukraine. Mrs RM had even been to Athens way back in the days of “The Grand Tour”, and hoped the craft beer scene had improved since 1987 (spoiler : Yes).

An £8 flight out to Thessaloniki, also known as Thessalonica, Saloniki, or Salonica, a city famed for the visits of Paul the Apostle whose NBSS scores are absent from my New International Version of the gospels.

Transport options from the international airport haven’t improved since 50 AD, and the half hour journey on a crushed bus isn’t something I’d want to repeat, even for a GBG tick.

But Mandrino, the £50 a night hotel I’d picked, was a cracker.

and I’d been given free WiFi access for 31,668 hours, which should have been enough time to finish reading the latest blogs from BRAPA and Blackpool Jane. At a push.

The area around the hotel, 10 minutes from the station, looked a bit scruffy but a quick search revealed craft beer, so that’s OK.

It was gone 10pm. Mrs RM retired for the night, I went for a ham sandwich and disappointment with the closure of Cantina Greca.

Things looked better in the morning. This was the view from our bedroom window.

But that’s misleading. Thessaloniki is a young, lively, place, the Hull of the (checks map) east, and there’s plenty of art on our morning walk.

I insisted that was Dali. Mrs RM wasn’t so sure.

88% of the shops were selling coffee, 7% discounted clothes, 1% were doing their best to promote unhelpful Arabian stereotypes.

The indoor markets are unmissable. Due to 21st century sensibilities, I’ll spare you the meat market (a long row of animal heads), but the fish section is a cracker.

Our first meal since Luton airport came at the promenade, a smart diner only spoilt by vehicles whizzing along the dual carriageways that slice the ill-planned city, But the air wasn’t too bad, and the Greek breakfast omelettes were better than Spoons.

We ate well all week, the service was efficient, the people friendly, the back streets safe.

The only touting came in an attempt to tempt us on on to this vessel with a free ride and overpriced espresso, but who knows where it was really headed ? Probably to become slaves in craft bars in Albania.

On past the white tower, the symbol of the city.

Ooh, I know that face,

used to be on British telly a lot. Look how “Yanis” is written on that poster and you’ll see how we would end up having problems interpreting railway station names.

Late February seems a good time to visit Greece, 16 degrees, pleasant for a stroll on the prom,

packed with modern art like the “Umbrellas”

and a smart kiosk selling coffee and cake every 500 yards. It’s my sort of town.

But what about the pubs, you ask (no, you really don’t). Be patient, you cultural peasants.


  1. I liked Thessaloniki a lot when we went two or three years ago. OK E did get her purse nicked on the crowded airport bus, though it got better when the pickpockets all left with their loot.

    Fab kebabs, bit of retsina and interesting ruins plus a statue of Alexander the Great and a great promenade. What’s not to like. Craft beer? Can’t remember. That’ll be all the retsina

    Oh and the pickpockets didn’t even spend E’s Nectar points. Losers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The airport bus was manic, wasn’t it. I actually tried to buy a ticket from the on board machine while it was moving, a tragi-comic attempt.

      Yes, you don’t go for the craft ! Their lagers turned out OK though.


  2. Paul the Apostle may not have logged all his scores but he did complain it was “all home brew” in the King James VI version (so called because the NBSS scale went up to VI in those days).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a student in the nineties, I once spent a weekend in Alexandroupolis, along the coast from there near the Turkish border, waiting for a flight to Athens (where I ended up spending a night on a bench in the airport waiting for another one to Manchester). I stopped in a rather ramshackle hotel where the only other guests seemed to be young Greek national servicemen, who it turned out were, no doubt as a result of some dodgy deal between the owner and their colonel, actually still building the place! The only beer I can recall seeing anyone drinking in Greece then was Amstel. I haven’t been back since, but suspect that the glass of water with a lethally strong coffee and cigarette combo is still ubiquitous.

    Liked by 1 person

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