Poor Greece, it’s getting people a bit anxious with all its overwhelming popularity in the news, everyone but the Greeks it seems. Not to say that they are in any disillusion over their country’s financial and economic status, but that to visit them you truly would never know.
Perhaps the sum of it is that they are at ease with the fact that they’re are simply the passengers of the political chauffeurs who drove them into this economic car crash; you know a child will eat a sweet when they know you won’t tell them off for it, even when you told them not to.
So moving swiftly on as I never have and never will try to pretend that my political fluency much beyond my own nose is anything but mediocre (something I’m working on but also something Good Morning Britain news doesn’t seem to have much aptitude to cover either. Must. Try. Harder).
I took a trip to Greece last week for a Big, Fat, Greek Wedding! And yes, that’s exactly what they called it! Flying from London Stansted to Thessaloniki in three hours, we touched down in time for a lovely late supper. We jumped in a taxi and somehow ended up finding ourselves a true Greek restaurant with live music and absolutely no English on the menus, it was wonderful!
Our Greek adventure had begun as we tried to decipher what the various dishes, translated to us by our waitress as, ‘fish’, ‘potatoes’, ‘salad’ and ‘mushroom’, might also include to warrant a whole meal, we resolved that our waitress was very enthusiastic but ultimately not bilingual. Thankfully the service was still wonderful and the ‘fish'(top of the menu), ‘salad’ and ‘fish'(bottom of the menu) was delicious!
The rest of the holiday involved three days of wedding activities in-between our minimal sleep and maximum party plans, the making of the bed on night two was the real start of the trouble, but as this was an evening invitation we took the day to explore a little of Thessaloniki.
The White Tower, was our meeting place for the rest of the holiday, right by the sea it once was a prison but now hosts a mass of Greek history, though it definitely helps if you get the English audio guide! I did a lot of staring blankly and hoping to learn something.. Mostly this was a sauna style, cardio exercise – beware there are a lot of steps and few fans!
But the view is worth bringing your selfie stick for!
We strolled around the city looking for some lunch. It’s filled with preserved, amazing ruins from the old city buildings and city walls.
But we ended up back by the promenade… the sea beckoned!
At this point we may have forgotten all about food and jumped aboard the Arabella for some sailing, cocktails and one hell of a party playlist… You just jump onboard and place your order!
Personally I enjoyed singing like a drunk ol’ pirate myself, ‘If you like pina coladas! And getting caught in the rain!…’ None of us could get tired of this sea, singing and swigging combo.
I’m sure you can see why.
But soon we had to pull the scallywags to shore and scrub-up for the first special event of the wedding! The making of the bed.
We were invited to the Marilena and Shawn’s flat to partake in the ceremony. Welcomed by the bride-to-be, Marilena (the gorgeous lady in white and gold) we enjoyed a glass, or two, of homemade berry liqueur.
A traditional Greek buffet was set out, pastries filled with cheese and spinach, sweet pastries and small, round doughnuts to dip in honey and crushed nuts, vine leaf parcels with rice and of course sugar covered almonds (always take two for luck!) All made by Marilena’s Grandmother, it was absolutely delicious!
All while taking in the stunning view and sunset over their church for the following day’s nuptials.
I’ll briefly explain that the making of the bed in Greek tradition sees the single bridesmaids and girls attempt to make the soon-to-be married couple’s bed for their wedding night, but of course, us single gals haven’t a clue how this should be done!
So after it being pulled apart by the bride – more than a few times…
…the married, elder women step in to show them how it’s done!
Then the guests throw the candy almonds (tough but sweet), rice (for deep roots) and money (for prosperity) on to the bed before chucking a baby on there for fertility, if Greek tradition is right, Marilena and Shawn should be having a little girl in no time as the sex of the baby thrown on the bed predicts their first born!
The night continued into a haze of bars and clubs and excellent company with our new Greek friends until the morning light. Of course, where Sherin goes, the rain must follow!
But we made it through and managed to try our new Greek speciality.. Wine and coke. Ok, it might not be a Greek speciality per se, but it’s where we were introduced to the bizarre concept so it’s Greek to me!
Let me know what you think, have you tried it before? It definitely sparked debate amongst our group.
We clinked and toasted, “yamas!” to our new found friendships and adventures to come…
Words and Photos by Cat Foley