Ok, it’s time to hit the road and after fluffing around trying to organise a rental car and after a bit of fluffing around, we found one. I love the Macedonian mentality. “Sure you can rent one of our cars, but you can’t drive it across the border…..oh, well ok, you can do that” Sweet. Greece here we come. We left later than expected but we were on the mission. We had been told about some nice places to go to, but we didn’t have enough time to see them all on this little day trip so we decided to head to the nearest beach to chill out and not stress about it. It didn’t take too long to get to the border and the strangest thing happened there. We had been told about the political situation between Greece and Macedonia, which to me sounds utterly ridiculous and childish but anyway, as we’re going through customs they proceed to put a sticker on the back window of the car that says something like “MK (Macedonia) is not recognised in Greece”……sooooo what the..???Anyway, at least they let us through. Along the way we stopped for some food and I decided to go for a good old Souvlaki and it sure hit the spot. The owner was so nice and gave us some fresh peaches for free as we left, good start Greece 🙂 Once we were across the border we were met by amazing rolling hills and lots of them, so I cranked the radio with Michael Bolton on and drove like a boss. It was super hot but luckily the cars air conditioner was in fine form. One thing that’s hard not to notice is all these little shrine type things that are scattered around everywhere, along the highway and in the towns. Apparently if something good happens to you you can go buy a shrine and place it at the site of your good fortune, not 100% sure about this but I’ll go with it. We unfortunately had a GPS issue which took us on a very long round trip (twice) but we eventually made it to Thessaliniki. I was a little worried at one point, because I was driving without my license and was speeding (like all the locals, including bus drivers) and what do you know, I got pulled over. It was interesting because the cop was curious about the car (rented in Macedonia) and I had told him that we were visiting friends and that I was Australian and my friend is Polish visiting friends for their wedding in Macedonia and he reminded us of the politics between the two places and then started to laugh and told me to carry on driving… Interesting and weird, but I wasn’t complaining, off I went. We drove on for an hour or so to the centre of town and after some interesting driving we found a place to park. I was interested to see pretty much no signs in English which I guess I expected, considering it’s such a tourist destination. Not to worry, we found our way around and had a nice walk along the water front which seems to be a popular thing to do as there were hundreds of people. There were street vendors selling corn on the cob and many other things as well as a handful of local musicians. We went to a restaurant which was a little average but good enough to fill the hole in our stomachs and we figured that we’d find a great place to eat the next day. After organising our accommodation (yes, a little late) and dropping off the bags we wandered the streets and saw some of the old remains that were scattered around the town. It was still 30 something degrees late at night which was a bit tough and didn’t make sleeping easy either but we did our best. So, after a crappy night of sweating, we got up and out and about for the short beach mission. We drove to Halkidiki and found a beach (nea moudania) to chill out on. There wasn’t too many people here but there’s apparently so many beaches in the area we were staying so it was good to have less of a crowd. The water was amazing and we chilled out there for a while before jumping in the car for another beach mission. Today was about relaxing. We didn’t drive too far and decided to go for some food. Fish is the specialty around there so were opted for that with a fresh salad and the food was great, the beer was great and the people were nice too, they were all so friendly. Ok, off to the next beach. We found one and there was a lot more people but it was a big beach so that was fine. We were also on the hunt for ice-cream but had no luck at the beginning. We walked through some bars that were a bit too cool for us, techno beach vibe was not what we wanted, so we kept going, after a frozen slushy drink of course. We finally found a spot to squeeze into among the locals and went for another swim and chill session. The water was amazing and it was all sooooo nice. After the swim I was laying down and listening to a cruisey jazz bar version of Madonnas “Like a Virgin” which was interesting. They do things differently here, haha. So, time to leave but not until we have an ice-cream and boy did I find one. It was the biggest Cornetto I’ve ever seen. WINNING!! We hit the road again and set out to do some more sight seeing. We drove back in the direction we came, as we needed to get back to Macedonia that night for a party. We got back to our first city and wandered the streets. They really do have some nice buildings around. It’s an interesting mix of really old and old from what I saw. We were told about the some ruins on top of the hill so we went up to explore and you could see the whole city from there. It looked great. One thing i couldn’t seem to get my head around was that they have great food, many tunnels drilled through mountains, amazing buildings and huge statues but you can’t flush the toilet paper……? Come on Greece!!! Get it together. Haha. Ok, so we had to hit the road after a very brief trip to this great place. Unfortunately, once the sun went down we were met by the worst storm I’ve seen (and driven through) in years and it slowed us down quite a lot. Luckily it only lasted for 5 hours….groan, and we also had another issue with the GPS so we missed the party back in Macedonia. Bummer. It was a fun mission though and considering I hadn’t driven in over two years and was on the opposite side of the car, I managed to get us back in one piece, one very tired piece. A quick heads up to those traveling around using a GPS, just make sure that there isn’t 2,3 or more towns with the same name, as this screwed us up on the way there and back. Just a little trip tip for ya.