I arrived quite late in Thessaloniki, but Vivie was there to meet me despite the late hour. We then waited for Anne's flight from Amsterdam to come in, which happened to be delayed. Vivie had this neat app on her phone where we could track where Anne's plane actually was so we knew when to go downstairs to get her. We sat in the cafe talking until then. I was feeling quite miserable with a cold, and poor Vivie was tired!
We then caught a bus back to Vivie's apartment in Thessaloniki, and didn't waste too much time going to bed as we knew we had a long day the next day.
In the morning Vivie took us to a local restaurant for this amazing food for breakfast where we had mpougatsa, a pastry made from cheese. Both Anne and I thought it was divine. We then all caught the bus back to the airport, and the rental car company picked us up. We did the necessary things like fill out forms and pay some money, then we were off on our road trip. The plan was, Thessaloniki, Komotini, Plovdiv, Rila Monastery, Sofia, Macedonia, then back to Thessaloniki. Four days of driving. I had my GPS loaded with a European map to help us out.
The Drive to Komotini was mainly on highway, and nothing really stood out. We got to Komotini about midday or just after and met Vivie's parents, Stelios and Victoria Moraiti. They asked us whether we would like a seafood lunch or something else. We all picked seafood, and were taken to this amazing restaurant called Petrino in the main centre of Komotini. Petrino means 'made of stone'. The Greek word for stone is Petra.
As we walked to the restaurant, I noticed the fish shop with a wide variety of fish available....
Here they are waiting for some scraps.... And begging...
We said our goodbyes and Anne, Vivie and I hit the road for Bulgaria. I was very sad to leave. Vivie's dad gave us presents of Stragalia and Soutzouk Loukoum. Stragalia are toasted chickpeas, which come in normal, spicy or coloured. We had a pack of normal and coloured. I loved them. Really beautiful. The Soutzouk Loukoum is is a large, oblong delight containing sugar, glucose, nezeste, water and nuts (tied in string). The nuts can be substituted for the lack of sugar as a sweetener. The soutzouk loukoum originally appeared in the harems of the sultans, and served in cafes with coffee and traditional treat the Orthodox monasteries. It has an aroma of rose, clove and cinnamon. Both these treats are a specialitiy of Komotini. I absolutely loved both of them and while writing this, crave them both. I'm even wondering if I could toast my own chickpeas. Must look into this!
The drive to Plovdiv, Bulgaria was beautiful. Mountains, rivers, forests, farms. The scenery was stunning.