Day 21 – Via Egnatia – R&R in Edessa

We’re enjoying a very laid back day! This morning we had a picnic breakfast in our hotel sitting room. No one raised an eye brow when we asked for bowls and spoons for our yoghurt and granola. Our room has a fridge and we bought groceries yesterday evening. We’ve had a similar picnic lunch out on the lovely patio outside our room – picture coming to illustrate.

We spent the morning on a shampoo, toothpaste, and foot balm acquisition mission. This involved visits to numerous pharmacies. There are 20 pharmacies within easy walking distance of our hotel. Europeans seem to love these places. There are the usual medicinal products and so many amazing lotions and potions – of course we were not sure which lotion goes where – or is used for what – but it’s fun to look and speculate. The great thing about pharmacies is that they are usually staffed by at least one person who speaks English. That is helpful for us as we try to negotiate reading the Greek alphabet. We’re pretty sure Pat bought tooth paste and not cream for some other part of one’s body.

Pharmaceuticals acquired we then descended upon an unsuspecting fruit seller who hopes to sell us an entire flat of figs. We picked two plus two apples. I think he was rather disappointed. And then we found the famous Edessa waterfalls. It is quite impressive. Edessa is an ancient city. There has been habitation here since prehistoric times. The reason is clear. It sits high upon the edge of a very steep cliff and a river thunders over the edge just here.

Edessa  is an easily defendable position, has cooling breezes, and abundant water. The hotel we are staying in is an Ottoman building which has been beautifully restored. As close to Turkey as we’ll be getting on this journey I expect.  About a block away is the excavations of the Roman town. 

Unfortunately the excavations are all weedy and garbage lies around. The waterfall viewing platforms are nice enough but there is a lot of graffiti. There is a cave associated with the falls and within almost all surfaces have been covered with graffiti. Greece just seems to be missing the boat a bit with it’s tourist sites. We’re here because we need a break from walking. I’d be disappointed if I’d come here as a vacation spot. We can see the potential, the city has beautiful bones as it were but it is marred with disrepair and neglect. Kathy and I noticed similar neglect last spring when we were in other areas of Greece, as did dad and I this past fall. This vandalism and lack of upkeep of public and private spaces seems to be a wide spread phenomenon. I guess it’s a symptom of the economic difficulties. But I can’t help wondering if it is not also a symptom of disrespect, disenchantment and sheer laziness which is a cause of economic difficulties.

Pictures of today’s antics coming shortly.

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