Girl’s search for inspiration in Thessaloniki - “There is a scream inside that we all try to hide”

Girl’s search for inspiration in Thessaloniki - “There is a scream inside that we all try to hide”

A male friend recommended me a book that he considered the milestone of his professional evolution: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E.Frankl. I have not read it yet, but I trust his choices. However, its title followed me on my way to find inspiration. I fear every day who might leave me without the ability of getting inspired. Sia sings it loudly: I don’t wanna die. I scream: I don’t wanna die of boredom.

A female friend asked me to go for a short holiday somewhere fun, as she has had a hard working year. We have checked couple of options and we stayed with Greece, cause Greece is always a good idea. This is how Girl’s search for inspiration, my unwritten book of life unfolded its idea.

What if we pick Thessaloniki, a young and vibrant city of Greece, close to the beaches of Chalkidiki and try to spend a week like a local? Why going to a resort to find peace and quitness when she needs fun and I need inspiration and fun as a bonus?

This is how we did it:

  • we searched on Airbnb just couple of days before, as it was more or less a spontaneous decision, no early planning or booking
  • I found a nice artist’s loft, big enough to accomodate 4 persons, creatively styled that was love at first sight
  • we rented it saying that I was a writer whose inspiration would highly depend on the accomodation, therefore a small discount would help
  • I did not browse all 30 photos of the place, as I fell in love with the first ten and as it often happened in my life, the reality partially met expectations
  • we did not make any detailed plan of the 6 days 

Having the accomodation and the full tank, we left approximately early on a Wednesday morning. I say approximately, cause we agreed to avoid all classical obsessions of leaving by dawn, being in time (what time?), stopping just for strict necessities (why not for taking an instastory on the highway?) and so on.

When we arrived in Thessaloniki, one hour later than the initial Waze estimate, I realized that life was again about details. I wished I had checked the remaining 20 photos of the place cause the loft was in an industrial space, completely abandoned (Airbnb mentioned some artist workshops, but during our 2-day stay no artist bothered to create anything). Moreover, it was neighbouring two other abandoned places, all three buildings having broken windows.

We decided to stay and I was convinced that inspiration required sacrifices like going to a hell of a place in order to reach a heaven of an apartment. 

Shortly, the loft was sexy, a unified artistic collection of the owner’s life. He had two big wall paintings of his own, couple of women shoes decorating here and there, a collection of mobile devices from the 90s till now and a toilet basin encripted with Niagara. It is true that he missed the shower bulb and the door handle, but come on, he was an artist, not an engineer. We spend two nights and I was writting in one of them till 4:30 in the morning. It was horribly noisy cause there were two rock bars at the ground floor plus some workers pushing boxes and pallets - who said Greeks do not work hard?

Still, we were missing the civilisation: the neighbours and a room with a view and the good feeling of going into a club with my red fluffy shoes and returning safely into a small palace, not a big ruin. For the remaining three nights we switched to a hotel that we knew before and the Airbnb intermediary agreed on full reimbursment. We have no regrets of choosing the loft, it is worth going for couple of nights and it would be perfect for a larger and maybe younger group (3-4).

How did we spend the time as locals?

  • asked my Greek friend who was born and lived in Thessaloniki to give me a list of places to see, from cafes to restaurants, from bars to clubs, from beaches to museums (even if he said that this city was a carefree place, nobody would think of museums)
  • split the 4 full days into 2 city days and 2 beach days, mixed in between
  • picked two beach bars where locals are going, even if they are about 100 km away from the city. One of them was recommeded by a Romanian waiter living in Thessaloniki whom we met a year before and recognized us at the same club where he was working. Normally you would pick the closest place, cause “there is no point to spend half of the day in the car driving”, but we said that we better take the best for a shorter period of time, that’s how inspiration is meant to come
  • chose either the newest and coolest or the well known eating and drinking places in town: Kitchen Bar, a seafood restaurant in the port, with a great sunset view; Tsuki Cocktails & Sushi Bar, a new rooftop overseeing the gulf (by the way, all rooftops start at 8 pm, even if the sun sets around 7:55, but there is logic: the absolute spectacular sunset in all shades of red happens 30 minutes after the sunset); Halaro, greek cuisine, out of the city center in the nice area of Kalamaria, no tourists around; Agioli on the promenade (Mediterranean cuisine) or Molyvos (the oriental side of the Greek cuisine) in the nice district of Ladadika; 
  • ran 5 km on the promenade in the morning with the smell of the sea and the opening of a new working day followed by a healthy breakfast in a cool green bar 
  • sightseeing the Arch of Galerius, Agia Sofia, Rotonda and The White Tower, as well as the famous Umbrellas sculpture of Zongolopoulos
  • one hour lunch break at Macedonia Museum of Contemporary Art - I was for half of the time the only visitior. Loved the exhibition and a particular sculpture of a man and a woman and a priest. And I am rather agnostic.
  • Ianos bookstore: I have this souvenir craving in a form of a book written by somebody born in the country that I am visiting. I said clearly that I do not want Kazantzakis, I wanted to give somebody else a chance. I got a modern Greek women writer: The Joy is in the Journey
  • ice-creaming: there is icecream eveywhere, from wine icecream to ouzo icecream. Why to choose strawberry, vanilla or chocolate when you have the chance of something else?
  • clubs: Les Zazous and The Shark, both in Kalamaria, by the sea, next to marina, posh, maybe opulent, maybe snobish, but the high heels need their exhibition places, don’t they? How does Robbie sing: party like a Russian? Why not party like a modern Greek? We made friends at the hotel, so we had company, fun and the most incredible stupidly fun taxi conversation with an old Greek taxi driver who knew only Greek and was a total mysoginistic.

I could mention shopping, but I have to admit that I overcame this level in my life’s gaming. Now I want to live forever, therefore I was more interested into the greek bio cosmetics than shopping in general.

I could mention that you find whatever you need at the fingertip distance, that there is life 24 hours and even if Greeks have just 2 euros in their pocket they will spend it on a coffee in the city with their friends. I was thinking what a Romanian will do: take a credit and buy a car?

Girl’s search for inspiration succeeded. The keyboard was writting on its own a long post about avoiding the all-inclusive and pricing the all-exclusive meaningful life.

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