When my best friend Jenner and her boyfriend Dan started planning a little holiday around Greece they decided to invite Matt and I to come meet them in Thessaloniki. Since Thessaloniki is one of my favorite cities and Jenner is my favorite girl, the answer was a no brainer, YES! We arrived a couple days before the met date and set up camp by the sea in a smaller holiday town called Peraia.
We arrived in the country on June 28th, just as Greece’s debt crisis reached its peak. It was said that the following day the banks would close, ATM machine transactions would be limited to 60 euros and no one knew if Visa pos terminals would work in stores. Though I didn’t see any signs of panic or worry on peoples faces there was a undeniable sense of confusion and uncertainty throughout. That night we filled up our gas tank (thankfully one of the gas stations excepted our Visa) and tried to take money out but all the machines were depleted of cash.
Stuck without any euros in our pocket, we headed into town to check out the scene. First stop, a folk festival with dancing, music, big BBQs full of food and lots of plastic tables and chairs filled with people having a good time. The smell of the pork souvlakis roasting over hot coals was mouth watering, we couldn’t help ourselves but drool next to the food stand! A friendly man noticed us right away and bought us each a stick with bread!! Hallelujah!
Next, we strolled along the busy seaside walkway holding hands, happy we were back in Greece. A vendor selling fresh doughnuts dipped in local honey saw our expressions as we walked pass and offered us a doughnut and a little chat. Wow, how lucky are we?
It was getting late. Along our travels we asked dozens of people and shop owners if they knew of any banks which still had money but Peraia is a small seashore town with only 4 banks. I guess we’d have to figure something out (as in, what will we eat?) the following day. Only minutes after returning to our camper a man knocks on our door. It was Pascal, a super friendly guy we had talked to earlier at a local restaurant. He came with a huge bag of food: tomato and cucumber salad, a heaping portion of Pastitsio, chicken with lemony Greek potatoes, bread, Tyrokafteri and Cokes. We couldn’t believe it! The Greeks are warm and lovely people, I just love being here! Opa!