9 to 5: winter in Thessaloniki

[a short time warp] For a long while, I was sure to escape winter this year, but OXI – winter has safely landed in Thessaloniki. While now, we have returned to regular temperatures, the last week aka the first one after the christmas holidays, brought us an unpleasant gift: snow and temperatures below zero. When I arrived on Sunday, I was almost blown away by the cold north winds when leaving the airplane. At home, we did not have warm water, as the water pipes both froze and broke, because the pipes are not well isolated. Then, after only one day back at work, the catastrophe continued thanks to the falling snow, that interrupted all traffic (streets and especially the extremely slippery pavements). The institute closed for the next three days, as most people were not able to move away from home and didn’t have water at all, no hot water or no heating. In addition, everyone, including me, got sick. What a nice welcome… We were lucky, that our heating worked and that we had water (even if icecold) at all. But now, the city is slowly recovering. And facing the situation of many refugees that are stuck in Greece or the neighbor countries in this awful weather, I am thankful for having a roof over my head.

 

[time warp backwards] Back to December. Now that we’re talking weather anyways, I must say, December was beautiful! We had a lot of sunny days, almost no rain, and tons of spectacular sunsets. Finishing work around 5 PM normally, I used to run the 200m to the seaside if I only saw a small piece of red-orange glimmering light. In winter, sunsets have a different charme here than in summer, because the cooler air is clearer, so the view is great and the sun is normally going down behind the Olymp mountains. Summer sunsets are amazing too, but because of their blurry colorful skies.

I have tried to catch another bunch of sunsets, but didn’t really succeed with my iPhone camera …

I think this view is one of the jewels of this city I will miss the most when getting back to Germany in …. only 5 weeks! Taking a break from work to do work at the seaside is indeed very relaxing.

In the Institute, we have days when German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier spontaneously decided to open our exhibition together with his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias …

… and those days when some Greek anarchists decided to tell us their support of the German anarchists who robbed a bank in Aachen last summer 😉

The time before christmas was filled with a Betriebsausflug (in English: “staff outing”?! I’m not so sure …) to a vinery in Επανομή (Epanomi), close to the city, where we tasted both wine and a variety of nice foods!

the view from the vinery

 

the boss holding a speech 😉

… and in preparation of the christmas days with my family, of course I tried a lot of both Greek and German christmas delicacies 😉

Βαρβαρα (Varvara) – a wheat porridge made in Greece on Dec. 4 in honour of Saint Barbara who is the patron of artillerymen and anyone who worked with cannon and explosives. If I remember it right (Google unfortunately doesn’t help a lot …) it is eaten for having a good health!

 

Kapani market

 

 

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