Having been in Θεσσαλονίκη (Thessaloniki) for a while, I figured it was time for a mini-trip. Since my Greek classes are a week apart, I had plenty of time so the search began. There’s a delicate balance to be stuck between accessibility (I prefer not to drive here) and availability of accommodation. The city of Σέρρες (Serres) met my criteria so off I went.
I booked my train ride out on a Monday. It wasn’t very crowded, and I think I was the only foreigner on the entire train (I certainly didn’t notice any others in my train car). I was pretty surprised by the scenery; it was the greenest I’ve seen in Greece. We even passed a lake! I think that area gets a lot more rain than the rest of the country. There were also some sweet views of the mountains that separate Greece from Macedonia and Bulgaria. Sadly, I was felt too awkward to pull out my GoPro and snap a few pictures…. I really need to get over that.
The city is easily navigable as there are only 100,000 residents. Everything I wanted to see was within 500 meters of my downtown AirBnB rental…including a couple blocks of restaurants. Score!
When I went out wandering the second day, I accidentally ran into the local museum. It’s housed within an old Ottoman structure that resembles a mosque. Admittance was (surprisingly) free! I spent about an hour learning about the history of the local area, and looking at ancient artifacts; some of which were from thousands of years before Christ.
While wandering around, I also snapped a few shots of old buildings, and places of worship. I seemed to be the only person interested enough to break out a camera. I’d officially escaped the throngs of tourists!
Something else I really appreciated was how much easier it was to practice my Greek. When I apologized to my server at a restaurant for my shitty Greek, she didn’t immediately switch to English! She slowed down, and pointed at the ingredients she was asking if I’d like in my gyro. Thank you random person for aiding my language journey.
After a couple days, it was time to head out; I had Greek classes in Thessaloniki to get back to. I think I would have been OK with staying there for a few more days though. My CouchSerfing app said there were people that were available to hang out in the evenings. And I liked the slow pace; it’s a very chill city.
If you get a chance, I’d say it’s worth at least a day of your attention. If you like a lot of action while you travel, you’ll probably get bored pretty quickly though.
Hopefully, this was helpful. Until next time, safe travels….