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Scattering the Ashes on Christmas Day

On Christmas Day, all of the museums and most of the sites were closed Рthe drawback of going on holiday over Christmas in a Christian country! The group went for a long and rather tiring walk around Thessaloniki Рwe visited a few historically interesting very early Byzantine  churches in the morning, nipping into them between services.  Then we all were led on a steep walk up to the walled acropolis Рthe name in itself should have been a hint that the Upper Town would be on top of a hill! The walls though were rather impressive, when we finally reached them.

The walls of the acropolis in Thessaloniki

Unfortunately, it was a very misty day, and there was absolutely nothing to be seen from the view-point just behind where I was standing to take the picture above. The group was tired and hungry at this point – it was 2pm, and we’d been trudging around the sites of Thessaloniki for several hours, without even a coffee break as everywhere was shut. However, our local guide had persuaded a rather good taverna just inside the acropolis to open on Christmas Day to feed us, even though the owner had planned to be shut. He decided to make the best of the fact that he would be working after all, and filled up the rest of his restaurant with his extended family. So our group felt like guests at a huge Greek family Christmas lunch, which was very enjoyable. We had plate after plate of delicious meze, flagon upon flagon of wine, and after a while the ukeleles came out and the owner and his brother-in-law started playing Greek folk music. The waitress, who was the owner’s daughter, danced with her father to Zorba the Greek, with everyone clapping along in time very enthusiastically. It was a lot of fun, and we pretty much forgot the steep climb we’d endured to get there, and the fact that we’d have to walk back down again afterwards!

The sea front at Thessaloniki from the hotel restaurant

Our hotel was on the sea front in Thessaloniki, and later that afternoon, I scattered some of Christopher’s ashes into the sea – just about in the middle of the picture above. Even though we were in the middle of a busy city, it felt a surprisingly tranquil spot, and I think he would have approved.