September 20th. 2017
After the breakfast the road continued to our first stop, Thessaloniki
I have visited this town so many time this year and I will be here to celebrate my birthday so… I will not give a lot of details now but I will come back to it after this 9-day tour.
Thessaloniki – Θεσσαλονίκη
Administrative region: Central Macedonia
Region unit: Thessaloniki
Population: 325,182 (2011)
Time zone: UTC +2 and +3 in the summer
Vehicle registration: NAx to NXx
Saint protector of the town: Agios Demetrios
Thessaloniki is situated on the Thermaic gulf at the northwest corner of the Aegean sea. It is Greece’s second major economy, industrial, commercial and political center. It is a major transportation humor Greece and southeastern Europe, notably through the Port of Thessaloniki.
The city was founded in 315 BC and the original city name was Θεσσαλονικε- Thessalonike. It was named after Princess Thessaloniki of Macedonia, the sister of Alexander the Great. Her name is meaning “Thessalian Victory”- was named by her father, King Filip after he won the battle from Thessaly.
My second stop was at Tempi Valley, which is a gorge in Tempi municipality of northern Thessaly, located between Olympus to the north and Ossa to the south.
The valley is 10 kilometers long and as narrow as 25 meters in places, with cliffs nearly 500 meters high and through it follows the Pinkies River on its way to the Aegean sea.
My stop is at Saint Paraskevi – Αγία Παρασκευή (Paraskevi, meaning Friday in Greek)
The legend tells, that when the Romans invaded this area, Agia Paraskevi was living in the cave near a small river where now, is the church built in her memory. The Romans caught her and as she refused to give up the Christian religion, they throw her in boiling oil.
When it fell into the hot oil, drops of oil injured the captains’ eyes, blinding him instantly. Agia Paraskevi feels mercy for him and she heals him with water from the small river.
From that moment Agia Paraskevi was under his protection until he died and a younger one took his place and fall in love with her. Agia Paraskevi refused his love, telling him she is a Saint, but he would not take no for an answer.
“What do you like so much about me?”
“Your eyes…”, he replied.
As she was a saint, she did not want to give up her Saint life for mortal love. One day she took out her eyes and present them as a present on a silver plate to the Roman captain, so he can leave her be a saint.
We can see now in the church the icon of Agia Paraskevi presenting her eyes on a silver plate.
Locals tell that the small river is healing eye diseases and that the Saint is well known as the healers of eyes.
We left Temby Valey and went on our way to Athens and as I’ve sat and waited in the bus, I’ve become more and more tired and impatient.
But as we know patience is a virtue 🙂 We’ve arrived at night in Athens and all became peaceful and quiet in the middle of the noisy town.