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A big, fat Greek wedding and off the beaten path in Austria and Slovenia

A big, fat Greek wedding and off the beaten path in Austria and Slovenia

Old Jul 12th, 2022, 10:50 AM
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A big, fat Greek wedding and off the beaten path in Austria and Slovenia

Finally able to gather the energy to start posting my trip report after our 20 day trip to Europe! Thank you to everyone that helped me make some of my plans. My husband and I planned a trip to a Greece for his nephew’s wedding, followed by a trip to Austria to follow my father's footsteps from his birthplace in Slovenia and his time in Graz, Austria after WW2 until he came to this country at the end of 1949. Overall, a very nice trip excluding the extremely hot weather and a medical mishap for my husband. But we’ll talk about that later.
We left on Tuesday, June 14 for a 2 flight trip to Thessaloniki. We flew there because it was much closer to where the wedding took place. First leg was uneventful but we almost missed our connecting flight to Greece. They kept us on the plane on the tarmac until buses came to take us to the terminal. Then it was a really looong walk to get to security. I guess I wasn’t thinking when I booked the flights because I had a short amt of time till the next flight and I never expected a hold up at security, they were literally pulling every second or third bag out of X-ray to inspect more thoroughly. That including emptying ALL the contacts into trays, placing some items in an additional scanner and using a wand to inspect every inch and seam of the carryon. There weren’t enough agents and people were complaining left and right that they were going to miss their flights. We were the last to board ours.
We arrived safely in Greece but my suitcase lost its brightly colored strap around the center so it took longer to find. Then off to find our car rental pickup. We used a local company, Golden Rent, with no problems. I bought all the insurance they offered because I didn’t want any problems in case of an accident. Luckily, we had a safe trip with the car. However, the local drivers drive like maniacs, a stop sign is only a suggestion, and we almost had 2 accidents within 5 minutes in the city the next day. Also, the Greeks park anywhere they find space, up the curve, all the way to the corner, double parking everywhere. Thank goodness my husband doesn’t mind the narrow streets!
I booked a little hotel called Blue Bottle Boutique Hotel, not far from the port and near the popular restaurant area of Ladadika. It was simple but clean and included breakfast, which I am always grateful for. Parking was extra. We needed a car because we would be traveling to several cities during our time in Greece and the train system is not very good. I don’t think there is even a train that goes from Thessaloniki to Kozani, where the wedding was. J We found the least expensive lodging and food to be in Greece.
Stay tuned for pictures!

Last edited by Debbielynn; Jul 12th, 2022 at 10:53 AM. Reason: Make paragraphs
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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 10:54 AM
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Sorry, tried to edit for paragraphs and it wouldn’t let me. Should also be listed as trip report and countries of Greece, Austria, Slovenia and Germany
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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 12:04 PM
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Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and has its share of ruins, churches and even has nice beaches close by. The Three fingers under the city is an area called Halkidiki, where they are located.


around the city

The port of Thessaloniki, with the White Tower, the symbol of the city, on the upper left next to the apartments

around the city




Window shopping


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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 12:18 PM
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A nice dinner at a restaurant in the Ladadika area of the city, suggested by the hotel called Full tou Meze. Food was very good and it was the busiest restaurant in the area. My husband had the grilled octopus, which he said was delicious and I had a nice Greek salad, some pork and an order of Halloumi cheese, which is a cheese from Crete. Delicious!







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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 12:21 PM
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Debbielynn,
My parents met and married in Graz in the years after WW2. I'll be interested in hearing about that portion of your trip.
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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 12:21 PM
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How to you tell someone you’re in Greece without telling them?

A little church going by!




Their parking!
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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 01:18 PM
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Graz is a beautiful city!
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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 02:22 PM
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Enjoying.
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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 03:06 PM
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Very interesting! I've heard of Thessaloniki, but I've never seen photos of it and don't know anything about it. I didn't realize it's on the water. Are those beets in the Greek salad?
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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 05:08 PM
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KarenWoo, those are red peppers. In Greece the salads don’t usually come with lettuce.
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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 05:27 PM
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Thessaloniki has an ancient Roman forum. It was discovered in the 1960s when they were digging to build the municipal court.






Archeologist at work. I would never have the patience for that job!



The contrast of ancient and modern



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Old Jul 12th, 2022, 05:47 PM
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Icon store and Church of St. Demetrios








St Demetrios is the patron saint of Thessaloniki



My husband lighting a candle for his deceased relatives


Beautiful mosaics






In the church yard








Turkish bath - built in 1444


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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Debbielynn View Post
….an order of Halloumi cheese, which is a cheese from Crete. Delicious!
Halloumi is not a cheese from Crete, it is a traditional cheese from Cyprus.
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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 05:43 AM
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Sorry, Balthy. You are so right!
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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 05:59 AM
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Keep posting! Greece is fascinating both visually, culturally and historically

thanks for sharing.
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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 06:02 AM
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Lovely photos, Debbielynn. I love the picture of the church on the truck's flatbed!

I'm intrigued by seeing Thessaloniki. I had planned a trip there, pre-Covid, and am still toying with the plans I originally made. I'm especially interested in seeing where else you went in Greece.
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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 06:04 AM
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Little churches everywhere and a trip to one of the markets, Kapani market. There we found souvenirs, clothing and further along, lots of food! I always like to visit the markets when we are in European cities.


Expect graffiti everywhere



Market

Olives galore

Many body parts

This booth had a lot of spices, some packaged with a mixing spoon. I planned to come back to buy presents here on Thursday before we left Greece. But that never happened. Lesson learned- always buy when you see something!

Eggs anyone?

Lots of fish
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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 08:55 AM
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Thank you Progol and kleeblatt. I didn’t know if anyone had interest in this part of Greece. I do believe that the Europeans come to the Thessaloniki area for the beaches. As I said, the main purpose of this trip was to go to a long-awaited family wedding and to visit my husband’s birthplace and childhood city. He was 23 when he came to the States.
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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Debbielynn View Post
I didn’t know if anyone had interest in this part of Greece. I do believe that the Europeans come to the Thessaloniki area for the beaches.
This part of Greece is wonderful, there’s much more to Greece than the islands. The beaches in Halkidiki are beautiful. Mount Athos is of particular significance to Orthodox religions. The food scene in Thessaloniki is great.
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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 09:38 AM
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Just some observations about Greece and it’s people. Not meant to insult anyone. The Greeks seem to have a carefree life. They enjoy family, friends, going out. There are always people at the cafes drinking coffee and frappe. Food and lodging are inexpensive, relative to New York and also the upcoming countries we will be visiting on the second half of our trip. It seems like many people are out of work or only working part time and their salaries seem very small, in comparison to us. Greece had the most expensive gas in all the countries we visited. It was about 2,44 euros a letter which , when I did the math, was about $9.60 a gallon!
A lot of stores close down after lunch and depending on the day of the week, they will reopen in the early evening or not again until the next day. People rest in the afternoon. I guess that’s why they have the energy to go out late. Plan accordingly. This might not hold true for the really big cities but where the relatives lived, it was the norm.
There are NO rules for driving and parking! A stop sign is just a suggestion! Cars are parked everywhere, up on the curb, at the very end of the corners. Motorcycles are everywhere and they drive everywhere, even on the sidewalk. They are much stricter with alcohol limits here. Be aware you prob will only be able to have one drink if you were driving. If they pull you over, they will test you. If you are over the limit, they will wait a half an hour and retest. If it is still elevated, they will take you to the hospital for a blood test.
As in many other cities I have visited over the years, use caution when walking, especially if you have any kind of handicap. Sidewalks are uneven, there are unexpected steps into some of the bathrooms in hotel and in restaurants, the bathrooms are often not on the the main floor.
I find that with the older generation, it is still a male dominated society. They wanted to talk to my husband about the rental car, even though I am the person making all the arrangements. Men congregate in cafes, nary a woman in site. Of course, the younger generation is more modern.
They take their hand sanitizing very seriously with Covid. It is a law that all the tables in the restaurants have to have a container of sanitizer. As a germaphobe, I found that very reassuring! Hotels were clean and sanitized. People were friendly and helpful. Food was delicious and we found the smaller places sometimes had the best food! I had the best meatballs I ever had in a little town up in the mountains in central Greece. The sauce was utterly delicious.
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