Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sat. January 7, 2012

We left Athens about 8:30 a.m. with Pres. & Sis. Charles and Elder & Sis Maxwell. Driving up to Thessaloniki at the start was heavily wooded and hilly - lots of cubes in the road as well.  It was quite pretty, but I felt bad about all the run-down homes and buildings - probably less than half were like that, but it did make you feel like things in this country were not good.  As we went north (it is a five and a half hour drive) there were much bigger hills/mountains with some snow on the tops and it reminded us somewhat of home.  While we were running pretty close to the mountains on the one side, the right side began to become quite flat and before long we were skirting the sea.  We went to Thermopoli which is where King Leonidas (300 regular troops and about 700 volunteers) held off the Persians (thousands of troops) in about 460BC .  They have a very nice monument there, but the museum part was closed. A little bit further on, we passed Mt. Olympus.  It is pretty impressive.  We left the mountainous area and the land was really flat all around us, but the sea was still not far off.  I think all this land had once been under water.  Thessaloniki is much bigger than we thought - about 2 million people - and driving to the Holiday Inn we were wondering what kind of a facility it was going to be!  From the outside it looked very 3rd class - but once through the doors it was like stepping through a time warp.  It measured up in glamour and luxury with the best of them.  Lovely furnishing and very well lit - and it smelled good too.

We met Elder & Sis. Collier (the couple who serve here in Thess.) at "Bennigan's for supper.  It was a huge place which seemed to be fairly empty (probably crowded in the summer though).  It's menu was mostly salads, wraps and huge burgers - although they did have a salmon dish.  The fries were great - large, soft and not very greasy.  The visiting was a lot of fun with repartee going sharp and fast!

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