February 2023.

Only two days in Thessaloniki, and Mrs RM quickly reduced that to one with a trip to see the monasteries at Meteora on the Saturday, so we had to squeeze all the culture, craft beer and cats into one day.

Some people travel to tick bars, some football grounds, others go purely so they can put a green sticker on their world travel map.

I wanted to understand Greece 15 years after the economic crisis. Of course, you never can get to grips with a place in a few days. I still never understand the purpose of Nuneaton.

But despite the incessant graffiti, Thessaloniki was a beautiful place to wander, with modern coffee shops, clean loos and magnificent churches like St Cyril’s (a nice one).

I like the way they’ve put an estimate of calories burnt off by walking, though if you’ve taken the bus once you’ll know that walking is always preferable.

Most of the city centre looks like this;

you could be in the suburbs of Genoa or Seville.

Just occasionally, you get this;

It’s not just the odd building that’s crumbling, these statues at the Archaeological Museum were rotting from the head down.

Perhaps the actual heads are inside the museum” suggested Mrs RM, but as they wanted 4 euros to enter we shall never know.

We spent that afternoon exploring the street markets south of the brutalist City Hall, and admiring the cats.

We never actually saw anyone feed the cats; perhaps that’s because they were always asleep.

Tsimiski is the main shopping street, as smart as anything in Sheffield or Cambridge, full of designer labels and designer confectionery like the shoes in the top photo.

The Greeks seem to live on coffee and cakes, and who can blame them ?

The Greeks are coffee obsessed, and not that silt-like stuff you remember from Corfu, either. An espresso is only 7 calories, and there aren’t many pubs at all (and the craft bars don’t open till 6pm at best), so the locals looked pretty fit, even if the cycling obsession hinted at on the street art seemed a bit far-fetched.

Talking of fitness fanatics, at that precise moment Mrs RM said “Ooh, 20,000 steps for the day, time for a beer“.

And it was.


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