Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Greece: Laying Bare the Mainland And On Beaches

Ruins among apartment buildings in Thessaloniki
If you truly want a trip to reflect and relax, enjoy natural beauty, gasp at fantastic views, ponder the past and simply feel alive, Greece provides. So long as you have patience and can ease easily into the Mediterranean mind-set – the birthplace of western civilization lives up to the hype. It’s Athens ancient history that attracts us, yet it’s tumultuous recent past has a much greater influence on today's society. Despite a lack of LGBT openness (even the police!?) and an initial hesitation in meeting new people (Greeks may generally be friendly, but not quite warm at first) – Greece’s location, between East & West, provides diversity in the (hot) people, (ruin-ed) architecture and (of course) food.

Headed to the Greek Isles first? Check out my subsequent blog (and video) here.


Gay-face takes root 300 B.C.
After a surprisingly enjoyable (friendly, liberal & beautiful!) stay in (often forgotten) Bulgaria, I arrived to Greece in Thessaloniki – basically a relaxed beach town (even if it’s Greece’s second largest city). Immediately you’re struck by the mosaic of history in parts & pieces throughout the city. Not knowing much about the historical details (maybe none are even known) – you’re still forced to reckon with it because it’s there, bare, worn in front of you. Ancient columns, beautiful sculpture, preserved & uncovered courts, thrones and temples - plus sometimes the guys even live up to those chiseled statutes!

For a city of a million, Thess measured-up with a small gay nightlife – sadly I only had a few nights to experience it. There are a few bars & listed restaurants but I mainly experienced the club, En Ola (translates basically to "Alive") it's Facebook works too! It has a unique, lit-up wall, visible in this terrible vid (showing why not to hire go-go boys as performance dancers), but for me it was difficult to meet people with loud music blaring and on a slow weekday night. Still, I chatted up an adorable scruffy-twink (possible?) – though soon after he was walking home with his friends.

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