You might have guessed from my last name, Zahariadis, that I am Greek. If not, well I am! To be correct, I am Greek-American. My father is Greek, and my mother is American. Almost every/every other summer, we travel to Greece to visit my family and explore the country. The journey from Birmingham, Alabama to Thessaloniki, Greece was long. The journey began at the Birmingham airport at 8am Monday and concluded Tuesday around 3pm in Thessaloniki. After my long journey, we stayed in my dad’s home town of Thessaloniki for a few days. Thessaloniki is located in northern Greece and is the 2nd largest city in Greece. It was founded in 305bc (according to its Snapchat geotag) and boasts a large collection of ancient ruins. While in the city, you can explore the numerous museums, byzantine churches, and scale the stairs of the infamous White Tower (a large tower that was part of the city’s fortifications, turned prison, turned museum)!
This year’s journey consisted of walking along the waterfront promenade, a beautiful park-like area alongside the waterfront of Thessaloniki, having delicious lunches cooked by my uncle’s mom, my pseudo-yiaya (grandmother), and attending my dad’s lecture at the Theological School at the University of Thessaloniki. After seeing my uncles, aunt and various cousins, we left for a quick weekend trip to Athens, Greece. Athens, the capital of Greece, is one of my favorite cities. Deeply rooted in history, you can explore the various ruins anywhere you look! Though we didn’t visit the Acropolis this time, it is a must-see for anyone visiting. The Acropolis is one of the most iconic structures in the world. Outside of our apartment, however, was the Acropolis museum. The newly designed museum boasts an amazing collection of ancient artifacts while simultaneously showing you a current archeological dig beneath your feet! Truly an amazing experience.
While in Athens, we walked around Plaka, the touristy shopping center of Athens (which contains great leather shops, perfect for buying cute sandals!) and ate some amazing food. My favorite foods being stuffed zucchini balls (filled with zucchini, herbs, occasionally feta and held together with eggs), fried zucchini and eggplant with a yogurt dipping sauce and loukoumadas stuffed with feta and olives. Loukoumadas are fried dough balls (at the Greek food festival, they are Greek donuts), but these are filled with food, fried, and then drizzled in a delicious pomegranate sauce! Sunday, sadly, our journey in Athens ended, and we flew home to Thessaloniki, with a new journey beginning on Monday.