Sitting on the quayside on a sunny morning it seems to me that despite driving from one corner of Europe to the other, I am still being plagued by pigeons and that there is no escaping them. It occurs to me that they are very much like people. Some of them are fat, some are thin, some appear to be very stupid, but what unites them all is that wherever they do together, they are a pain in the arse. They fight and bicker between one another constantly, and probably harbour similar feelings towards our fair race ‘everywhere we go, these humans are…causing trouble…they are fat, thin, etc.’
There is very little to do in Thessaloniki (as you probably realised if you even got to the end of my first paragraph), Greece’s second city on a Sunday as all the shops are closed. The residents spend their day of rest parading up and down the promenade in their church going best on the way to worship their Gods, carefully watching each other and how they are dressed. Others march along the bustling seafront, prayer beads in hand, with no obvious purpose. Others, still dressed in their immaculate Sunday best stand fishing on the quay.
The method of attack seems basic but is universal. A simple spool is cast by hand, with a huge hook, weight and no bait. It is then hauled through the water countless times, with precise and well rehearsed tugs with which the hunters catch precisely nothing. This is also a spectator sport, as crowds of youths gather, also dressed in church going attire to offer advice, jeer and watch the failure, while everyone shares the pleasure of listening to a concerto of horns and racing engines conducted by teams of exquisitely dressed young men in expensive sports cars. One man professionally catches a rock and while tugging and heaving his line swears and sweats, eventually resorting to using pieces of scrap metal and a piece of drift wood attached to an old broom handle to try to recover his apparatus. He fails and ends up cutting the line.
There must be an easier way to catch Sunday lunch, and thankfully the kebab shops have opened for business and filling my belly requires no ceremonious humiliation on the seafront. I spent the rest of my Greek cultural afternoon doing touristy things, visiting the Greek ruins, the remains of Galerius and slowly plodding round town trying to avoid all the dog-shit on the pavement. I like Thessaloniki, but I think I’ll leave tomorrow morning, Bianca is becoming lonely sitting at the front of the hotel and besides, I’m not very good at posing…or fishing.