The final days
I promised I would do and here it is, a chronicle as best as I can tell of the final few days I spent in Greece. Some of it you already know, outlined in another post, but some of the rest of my adventures remain untold.
After returning from Athens early Sunday morning, we all headed back to our respective apartments to get some much need sleep. Only after emptying both my cameras onto my computer and showering did I finally succumb to the sheer exhaustion of it all. I awoke in the afternoon sometime and went out to get a byte to eat. I spent the entire day writing up my description of the Athens trip. That night I found Daniel in Nik and joined him for some μπιφτεκι. We agreed to meet early the next morning for a last ditch effort to experience the Greek scene before we had to leave.
On March 27, which was a Monday, Daniel and I met as planned and headed to the Archaeological Museum which was no further away from our place than the university was. This time Daniel remembered his student paso and we both entered without paying anything. We walked around reading about the history of the Thessaloniki region in the Classical period of history, it was very interesting especially to see how the information tied in with that we had recently gleaned in Vergina. After spending a bit more than an hour reading and attempting to take dark blurry photos since we weren’t allowed to use a flash, we exited into the harsh sunlight – it was a nice day.
We slipped next store to the Byzantium Culture Museum which details a period of history a bit more recent. This museum, although visually impressive and very well designed, did not hold my interest as well. The part of Greek history I like is the ancient history when the Olympian Gods ruled and the great stories and mythology were born. The more recent and disruptive spread of Christianity through the region not only isn’t as interesting, I find it slightly depressing. However, the museum does a fine job in presenting the information and history is still history and something can be learned from all of it. After finishing in there, the two of us headed back into the centre to fulfill one of my objectives: find new shoes. However before that we thought we’d check to see if the White Tower museum was open – it wasn’t. Not on Mondays. That was reassigned for Tuesday, but you know that much already. So it was onto the shoe shopping.
My sneakers were in a definite state of disrepair and it was only a matter of time before they would have given up the ghost if you will. After witnessing how sore my feet could get after walking so so much in Athens, I decided that a fresh start is what my feet needed. However, like with most of my clothing, sneaker shopping isn’t the same experience for me as for most people. Most people buy the shoes which are nice looking or currently fashionable, they try on a couple pairs in their size and see if they are comfortable and perhaps buy one. Simple. Each time I start shoe shopping I do look for something that I would like to wear, at least in some colour that is appropriate. Then I drop the bomb one the clerk: “Do you have that in a size 13 or 14.” In Canada anyway that can be hit or miss, 13 being the largest size that most stores carry in stock. In Greece, for starters they use a different sizing system. I need a 48 here, possibly bigger depending on the model. So when we arrived in our first store (Intersport) I asked about a particular shoe in 48 – no go. The staff was just about as unsupportive as I could imagine (granted there was a small language barrier) and so we left there to find more fertile grounds. It go to the point where I was walking into a shoe store and asking, “Do you have anything in size 48?“. Most places would humour me and check even though none of them did. I had to pass up many nice shoes that I liked because of size. To prevent this pointless shoe story from going on too long, I ended up finding Peter Sport which did have a couple in my size and ended up buying a white pair of Nikes. They were only 55€ which is much less than I usually have to pay for footwear.
After that, we headed back to the apartment building to rest a bit. Later that evening we went to the lab, but that part of the day isn’t all that interesting. Typing and whatnot. We got back late from the lab as usual and ate at Nik again. The next day was the day with the ticket fiasco and no internet in the lab. However since we were granted one last day in Greece, Daniel and I again decided to head out and see what we could see on Wednesday and headed up hill in the opposite direction this time. We took bus 24 up to the castle which overlooks Thessaloniki. A large, long stone castle, some of the corner towers remain and standing up in that area gives a dramatic view of the city. I was really quite nice. We took our requisite photos and lingered a while to enjoy the view. Then we headed back down home to continue the onerous task of packing all of our stuff up.
And then we did visit the lab one last time, left our keys there and bid it farewell. Even though as a lab is was terrible, we did spend almost all of our time there and so it did start to feel a bit like home. But this trip is all about saying good byes and fortunately one of the advantages of not meeting anyone in Greece, is that we didn’t have to say good bye to any new friends like we did in Reading. We did have the staff at Nik who knew Daniel and I from our very frequent visits, and we did say good bye to the staff who were working after we ate our last meal there Wednesday night. We then turned in to get as much sleep as we could before we had to leave the apartment in the middle of the night in order to catch our 7:15 flight in the morning.
And at 5:30 we did just that. We left the apartments that had been our homes for two months and headed to the airport by taxi. Checking in and taking off were all none events and as you know we all made to Spain quite safely. And the rest is a story for another time. Soon. But not tonight. So there you have it.