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Phespirit goes to Greece
Thessaloniki     January 2011


Map of Greece

1 Thessaloniki

Phespirit fully filled his hours in Thessaloniki. Even so, there were several places he intended to visit but did not either because they were closed or he simply time ran out:

  • Cathedral - closed on Monday afternoon
  • Church of Nikolaos Orfanos - closed on Mondays
  • Folk & Ethnographical Museum - closed, lack of staff
  • Monastery of Vlatadon Church - closes at eleven
  • Museum of Jewish Presence - ran out of time
  • Museum of Macedonian Struggle - ran out of time

Late on his last afternoon he could have squeezed in a visit to the Municipal Art Gallery, but it would have needed a forty-five minute walk to get there and, alas, he simply ran out of motivation.

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2 Pella

Site of great history and great frustration. Signposting to the main historic sites is almost nil, so Phespirit wasted unnecessary time wandering from south to north to east before eventually finding the Museum of Pella on the west side of town. In the museum he was told that the archaelogical site of the ancient city was closed.

The site where Alexander the Great was born ..... closed.

It should not have been closed. Phespirit looked into the seasonal opening days and times before setting off. There were no signs or explanations. Maybe it was linked to the prevailing troubles in the Greek economy. Who knows?

And to think Phespirit may never travel these roads again.

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3 Veria

Veria served merely as a transport interchange on Phespirit's trips between Thessaloniki and Vergina. This is a pity, as the town has a rich history and he would have liked more time to explore it.

Known as Beroea in New Testament days, this is where Paul and Silas once preached:

In Beroea they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

ACTS 17:11

Many old churches remain dotted around, and there are a couple of highly regarded museums somewhere here too. Sadly Phespirit had no time and no map and ultimately left the town regretting his lack of preparation.

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4 Vergina

The modest town of Vergina is twenty minutes by bus from Veria, which in turn is fifty-five minutes by bus from Thessaloniki.

Vergina was once ancient Aegae, the first capital of Macedon and a sacred city after the capital transferred to Pella. Phespirit came here in the hope of visiting the royal tombs and palace ruins.

The tombs were the highlight of Phespirit's travels in Greece. Four tombs were excavated from a burial mound; a museum built round them; and the mound recreated over the top. The tombs' exteriors and the impressive array of treasures found behind them were well worth the trip on their own. Annoyingly, the palace was closed.

Then came the journey back from Vergina. No bus timetables are posted anywhere but Phespirit recalled there are only eight buses a day. He settled down on a kerb at a quarter past two expecting a long wait. Luckily a Veria bus arrived after just twenty minutes.

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  1. Thessaloniki
  2. Pella
  3. Veria
  4. Vergina
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Thessaloniki Pella Veria Vergina