Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Last day in Greece Thessaloniki, Greece, Tuesday, 05 January 2010 7:52pm

The train just left Thessaloniki station for Istanbul. I have a first class sleeper cabin to myself for the overnight trip. Sadly, this is the Greek train, with the old French cars, rather than the shiny new Turkish train. Apparently the odds are about even of getting one or the other. Ah, well.

I spent most of today doing a walking tour of the city. It was raining lightly all morning, and a lot of the churches were closed either because of the time or the season (one had posted opening hours of 8:30am to 9:45am). I did get to go down into the crypt under the church of Agios Dimitrios, the patron saint of the city. It was once the Roman bath where Dimitrios was martyred in 303 AD for preaching the relatively new religion of Christianity.

Galerius's Palace
The non-churches were open. The Rotunda of Emperor Galerius is a huge domed building that was once a temple of Zeus, then a church, then a mosque. There's a lot of scaffolding inside now, and it looks like active restoration is in progress on the mosaics. The ruins of Galerius's Palace are just down the street. The ruins themselves aren't very spectacular right now. It looks like all of the decorative marble floors and mosaics have been covered over with earth, in an attempt to protect them against the elements while they await conservation. There are a lot of interesting displays about what was there, and what archaeologists are doing to reconstruct it.

Just south of the palace is the shop selling Trigones. I gave in to the temptation to have one today, and it was awesome. Kind of like a triangular baklava turned inside out and filled with creamy custard. Yum.

Today was a pretty good day for gyros too. Making the most of my last day in Greece, I had one for lunch and another for dinner, both from random shops with just a counter serving them. They were good, and I'm finally sold on the presence of tomatoes in a gyro. I turned down the offers of ketchup and mustard, though. The french fries I think I could do without.

My ticket has been taken, but nobody has asked to see my passport yet. I wonder how that works...