Well, Wednesday was certainly an adventure — in driving. We loaded up the Jeep with baggage and 5 people and left Afitos about 10:30 a.m. The drive to Thessaloniki was easy and smooth. We talked and laughed and talked.
Then we noticed that we were in what was, we guessed, Thessaloniki itself. Either we’d talked so much that we’d missed the signs to the airport or there’d been one but we’d simply missed it.
Regardless, there we were in Thessaloniki. Before we knew it, we were in the center, to kendro, and I managed to get into a right-hand lane, find a street going the right way, and take a right. A few turns later and we were back on that same central road, but headed away from the center. Dodging open(ing) car doors, people, and motorcycles, I finally found a space to pull over near a periptero, a little kiosk shop, and Gini and Calvin got out to ask directions. A few minutes later, they were back in the car with clear directions.
More dodging, more open doors and motorcycles, and before too long we saw it — one clearly marked turn. We took it. We followed directions.
Before we knew it, we were back in territory we recognized — near the airport.
I dropped everyone else off at the airport with all their bags. Calvin and Jeannie were headed to Istanbul, and they (I’m hoping) made their flight with no problem.
After I returned the Jeep and paid the balance for three days’ use, I rode back to the airport and as I exited the van I noticed that Carolyn and Gini were sitting outside. I sat next to them and we talked for a while, trying to figure out what to do.
They were to be back at the airport about 1 a.m. on Thursday morning for their flight. What to do till then? We took turns sitting with luggage, looked for places to eat inside, and returned. I tried to get an earlier flight to Athens, but would have had to pay 210 euros for that. It was cheaper in the end for me to get online, go onto Expedia, and book a room at the Hilton near the airport. I left for it just as Carolyn and Gini headed to their hotel to meet the rest of their group.
Within an hour, I was settled into a plush room. I took a long hot shower, piled into bed with a book, and later ordered room service.
I didn’t need to go back to Thessaloniki — my adventure for the day had been navigating the crowded main street to the center and back without any incident. No dings, no crashes, no problems. Just nerves.
I’d always wondered whether I could survive driving in larger areas. That was answered on Wednesday. I’d already managed to get us into and out of tiny windy streets in the little village of Afitos.
Next adventure: will I drive in Athens?