Welcome to final post in the 3 day popping my solo cherry series in Thessaloniki! I hope you’ve enjoyed the first two days as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them and if you’ve missed them please go catch up here: Day One and Day Two!
I decided I wanted to go to the beach before I even came, by hook or by crook; my feet were going to touch the sea! I couldn’t remember the last time my feet were in the ocean or when I even saw small sand. I did some research and found a few beaches that are pretty easy to access with either the water bus, bus or a car if you rent one. Thessaloniki is also the gateway to Halkidiki, one of the most underrated parts of Greece, with miles upon miles of beautiful coastline, blue waters and hidden coves. So many options!
I set my alarm for early Saturday morning to get the first ferry out. I woke up on time and the same thing that always happens repeated itself once again. I found myself still running late! I’m not quite sure what happens in that Bermudian triangle/chasm of time between when I’m ready and when I leave the house but no matter how on time I am, that little bit of time always goes stupidly fast and I always end up rushing to leave!
So safe to say day three started in quite a mad rush! I had planned to walk to the port but that was obviously a myth so I had to run out of the apartment, call a taxi and it turned out to be pretty cheap. Thankfully I got to the port in enough time to catch the ferry. In my eagerness, I completely ignored all the people that were sat waiting and I ran behind the gate at the port because I could see the ferry and it sounded like it was about to leave. The man there was like girl you better go back, I’m not leaving yet, so I gently retreated and tried to style it out like I knew exactly what I was doing to cover my embarrassment haha!
The Karavakia water bus goes to Peraia and Nei Epivates beaches and costs €3.50 return. Make sure to check on their website or Facebook page for changes to their schedule due to weather. While I was there, they cancelled a few services because of heavy winds and rain.
In about 40-50 minutes, we arrived at the beach. Nei Epivates with seaside taverns, bars and restaurants was a great place to start my morning. I got off the ferry and first thing I did was walk into the town looking for a pharmacy for something to help with the VERY itchy insect bites I got from my walk in Upper town. Unfortunately all the pharmacies were closed but lucky enough there was a supermarket open and they had something I could use. Prepared now with my itch stick haha, I took a walk back to the beach, picked a quiet spot, laid my towel down, brought out my book and snacks and laid down in the sun relaxing.
As the sun blazed hotter, that was my cue to find some shade. I stood up to get dressed, and headed to a bench on the side walk to finish packing. As I folded my towel, an older Greek gentleman called Costas said hi to me and I replied. The following conversation ensued:
Costas- ‘Where are you from?’
Me- ‘I live in Manchester’ (This is my default response to this question on holiday)
Costas- ‘Oh okay, you look Nigerian’
Me- ‘Oh wow, I am Nigerian! How did you know??’
His face lit up immediately, like a child who just got a new toy, he ran around the bench, sat with me and asked what I was doing there, in Thessaloniki. He asked for my name and when I told him he said ‘Ah you’re a Yoruba girl o!’ I asked him how he knew and he went on to tell me he spoke Yoruba, a little Igbo and Pidgin English and started speaking it to me! My face was the picture of shock! What are the odds of me meeting a Greek man that speaks languages from my country, Nigeria, by the beach, on my own?
With my face still coloured with shock, he told me the story of how he found himself in Nigeria in the 80s, married a Yoruba woman and had a child with her, how he learnt to speak the language and what he was doing in Nigeria at that time. It was amazing! You can watch a video of part of our conversation on my IGTV (@bisola_ak). He offered to take me back to the city which I kindly declined because as lovely as he was, I was solo and I just met this man, Nigerian speaking or not I had to put my safety first. I cannot come and die in Greece! If I had time, I would’ve headed back on the ferry to Peraia beach for some more beach vibes. No such thing as too much beach! I got the waterbus back and fell straight to sleep while salt water splashed my face and the wind threatened to off my wig, had to tuck it in to enjoy my sleep haha!
Back in the city, I linked up with a budding photographer I met through Instagram, Ria (@riasparrow) to help take some pictures of me in Thessaloniki and she was awesome! I She also brought along her friend to assist and also to translate some words for her. I spent a few hours with these girls taking pictures around the city centre, getting weird looks from strangers as Ria sat on the floor to get the right angle haha, talking about blogging, my time in Thessaloniki and what life is like there.
As we parted ways, Oli (who has a food blog) gave me some really great restaurant recommendations which I can’t thank her enough for. I’ll share some more about food in Thessaloniki in post coming very soon! One of the reasons I love Instagram is the beneficial connections it allows us to make with people all over the world. Just with a few messages back and forth, I made two new Greek friends!
I spent my last night in Thessaloniki leisurely strolling down the port, drinking a lemon infused beer, eating Tsereki and loving life in that very moment. I reflected on my experience in Thessaloniki, the people I’d met, the experiences I’d had and how much I enjoyed being by myself. I couldn’t believe I had just popped my solo travel cherry and it was actually a success! I felt another level of confidence, freedom and pride in myself for not waiting for anyone to do the things I want to do and taking this massive step. So the best advice I can give you is, don’t wait, do! You’ll only regret the things you never did!
As your resident travel plug and helper, I’ve put together a downloadable 3 day PDF itinerary below for you to download an take with you when planing your trip!:
And that’s all folks on the popping my solo cherry series! I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it and hopefully it’s made you reconsider giving solo travel a go and also visiting Thessaloniki!
If you’ve travelled solo, what did you love most about it? Share in the comments!
Until next time xx