Week 1: Opa!

GUYS! This week was absolutely insane.  I have officially been in Thessaloniki, Greece for a full. Seven. Days!  After 16 hours of travel time (my 5 am 5 hour layover in Germany was awful, thanks for asking), my friend from MSU, Nicole, and I were met at the airport by the woman who we’ve been emailing back and forth for the past 2 months who gave us a taxi and an address.  We were one of the first to arrive to the apartment complex, which was kind of nice because we were able to unpack and set our room up before we went on a neighborhood tour.

On said tour we met the rest of the group that had arrived throughout Monday, which was mainly East Coast-ers. Girls from Boston, New York,  DC and then a handful of guys from Iowa and Minnesota. Everyone was so nice and excited to be here.

We got dinner at a cute diner around the corner, huge authentic gyros packed with chicken and fries (literally anything you could imagine in a gyro was probably in this) and a huge Greek salad,  which they don’t put lettuce in!  All the locals have been so welcoming (and patient) to our whole group.  Thankfully, we’ve picked up on some survival greek and thats enough to get us through the day (jia sas, pronounced yasas, means hello!).  More than once we’ve walked into a shop and tried asking a worker a question and, because they can spot on arrival that we’re Americans, will shout to another worker who speaks English to come help us.

IMG_8386.JPGThis is part of my group in my program, everyone is so fun to be around and we clicked immediately 🙂IMG_8441.JPG

Yesterday we went on a city tour of Thessaloniki.  We live about a 10 minute drive from the main downtown area so the art director of my college, Daphne,  took us on a bus tour.  We saw ruins from the old walls that used to surround Thessaloniki, Aristotle’s Square and what Daphne described as traditional Thessaloniki, which was a very cute area of colored houses and lights strung up everywhere.  My friends and I are planning on coming back in a month or so when the flowers have bloomed, it looks gorgeous.

8543E5C5-F1E3-47FB-A804-424848A08C2F.jpgThessaloniki’s remaining Walls, which can date all the way back to the early Byzantine period.
6BA84C6D-B7E1-4562-ADC5-759B9C334771.jpgAristotle’s Square. When you google Thessaloniki this and the White Tower are the pictures that come up.  It was such a beautiful area even if men in Bob Marley hats and tshirts attacked our group by trying to tie bracelets on our wrists and then asking us to pay for them.  Ignoring my claims of having no money to give him, one of the men tied a bracelet on my wrist and told me to make a wish  for ‘good studies and good health’ when he tied the knot, which I did, but then he proceeded to cut the bracelet off my wrist when he realized that I was in fact telling the truth about not having any money to give him.  He wasn’t happy but I’m still hoping I get my wish, haha.

After the tour we had a paid lunch at a very cute little Greek place down one of the alleys in Aristotle’s Square. We were fed bread with tzatziki sauce (my new obsession, we put it on everything and anything), greek salad, rice, and a huge platter of various meat.  It was an insanely good meal. We didn’t even come close to finishing it. 345926AB-0029-40E4-A8AC-7615938EF9BA.jpg

It’s a beautiful city and I can’t wait to explore more of it.  Classes start tomorrow so hopefully I’ll get to make friends with locals.

Hope you liked my first post:) much much more to come.

 

Halaras! (Thessaloniki’s saying of ‘good health to you’)

Charley

 

P.S.

Whoever told me Greeks don’t actually say ‘Opa’ was 100% wrong because A. a man next to me on the plane said it when we landed in Thessaloniki, and B. everyone says it while drinking!  I’ve definitely become obnoxious about it and have said it probably 50 times, can you blame me though? It’s so fun, you would too.

 

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