Northern Greece Trip

Old Jul 9th, 2023, 10:42 AM
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Northern Greece Trip

We flew to Thessaloniki Greece via Turkey after midnight. Arrived late in the evening the next day, rented a car in the airport, (found out that rental car companies don't allow you to drive the car out of the country- which was disappointing. We had wanted to go to bulgaria or albania also.) We drove to our hotel, the cronwell platamon resort. It was supposed to be 1.25-1.5 hour drive but we missed one exit, the road signs aren't great, and there was no place to turn around for another 45 min.

We got to the hotel. It calls itself a 5 star but I would say 3 at best. It was basic but decent and clean. There is free parking.

The next day we went to mount olympus national park, about an hour drive away. It was cold. At the beginning of the hike, we walked over a wooden bridge and could see a small water fall. We continued hoping it was a short hike that would loop back to the start. After about an hour we decided to head back. Found out later that the trail doesn't loop and it's 5-6 hours long.

A day later we went to thessaloniki, about 2 hours on the way in and about an hour and 30 min back. We walked along the water by the port and went to the belem tower museum. Museum was 6 stories, where you climb a spiral staircase, with a nice but windy view at the top. They had audio guides in different language through an app on your phone. I was too jetlagged to really enjoy it. After that we drove around thessaloniki and then drove back to our hotel.

The next 2 days we rested. The following day we drive to orlias waterfall and stream. It was a little bit of a steep short hike to get to the water but well worth it. It was beautiful. There were 2 small waterfalls with beautiful green water. Also about an hour or less drive. After that we drove to this town called Palaios Panteleimonas . You have to park outside, you cant drive through. And then you walk around. It's very hilly and it was raining, so we stayed a bit before leaving wandering around the shops.

The next day we relaxed in our hotel. And the day after we left early in the morning to the airport. We dropped our car off at the rental and the shuttle was able to drive us to the airport (3/4 of a mile. I don't know what we would have done if the shuttle guy wasn't there because its highway, so nowhere to really walk to the airport even though it was close).

We flew to Istanbul where we had a long stopover. Normally, Turkish airlines offers a free city tour if you have a stopover more than 8 hours but because the start and end times of their tours wouldn't work with our departing flight later that evening, we couldn't take their tour.

So we took a taxi. We found out that uber is not allowed to pick up from the airport. We asked the driver if he accepts credit card and asked him to take us to the palace. He assured us that he did accept credit card. He first drove to a bridge where we got out and took pics. There were a lot of fisherman. Then he drove to the palace. We tried 3 different credit cards which he claimed didn't work. It was hard communicating with him, so we used google translate. I called my credit card company and they said they see no attempted recent transaction. In the end we had no choice because he claimed none worked. he drove us to an atm a few blocks away to get cash and then drove us back. We gave him the money and got out of the car.

We wandered through the pretty gardens outside the palace- really a huge gorgeous garden. Then we found the place to pay (we initially went to the archeological museum and paid there because we though that was for the palace, so ask if in doubt.) The whole palace museum is a huge complex of buildings, it takes time to walk through it all, maybe 2 hours minimum, but it was worth it. There's a viewpoint overlooking the water behind one of the buildings.

Then we ordered an uber once we exited to the street. It is a very busy area, the uber took a long time to arrive, much longer than their eta. Apparently if you want them to take you the quickest way you have to pay extra for the quick road / tolls, separately from the uber fare. We didn't know if this was true but we needed to catch our flight so we agreed.

We made it, took about an hour to get there on the quick road, and then flew home.
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