Angels of Thessaloniki

Monday, February 22

When my dad was an early adolescent,  Yiayia and Papou essentially took in a Greek student while she was studying at Baldwin Wallace for four years. They were the people she called on when she needed help and they were ready and willing to be there as her family as she went through school. After she graduated, she moved back to her hometown of Thessaloniki, Greece and still lives here today with her husband Kostas. Her name is Olga.

Olga had seen Yiayia and Papou a couple of times since her time in the states, so they had kept in touch. Once Yiayia found out that I was planning to study in Thessaloniki, she immediately thought of her friend Olga and let her know that I would be coming. Olga expressed much interest in seeing me, so when I called a few days ago, we made plans to meet up on Sunday (yesterday).

When I walked outside to meet Olga yesterday, I found myself hopping into a Mercedes-Benz and being whisked off to Thessaloniki’s famous archaeological museum. The museum was beautiful and the displays were very well-done and informative. I found out that Dice were around in the 4th century BCE and that royalty were buried with beautiful gold objects. It was a beautiful museum and I’m glad that Olga and Kostas were so willing to show me around.

After the museum, they took me to a restaurant right off of Aristotle square. Olga said that 1. the restaurant is mostly called Aristotelus because it is just off of Aristotle square and 2. a lot of the people who like to go in and eat at this particular restaurant are writers, musicians, poets, celebrities, etc. She said this so nonchalantly that I decided not to make a big deal out of it at the time. But seriously, WHAT? I never would have known about this place if it weren’t for Kostas and Olga. They ordered a massive amount of food – mostly meat – and kept shoving food onto my plate without another word from me. After the desert compliments of the restaurant, they asked me if I wanted to go out for ice cream. Ice cream. After all of that food. I politely declined. As Olga and I walked through Aristotle square, we bumped into some of her friends who all seemed to be very nice. We then walked to her apartment which is less than two blocks from Aristotle square and is on the top floor which makes it the penthouse apartment. From their wrap-around balcony, you can see the Aegean Sea, the mountains of the old city, and Aristotle square. AND her home is beautifully decorated and sparkling clean. It was like a dream.

The Athanasiadis’s are such nice and generous people. I cannot wait to get together with them again sometime soon!

3 Responses to “Angels of Thessaloniki”

  1. Aunt Eleni
    February 24th, 2010 | 8:49 pm

    Hey Thalia, that sounds like a lovely visit. Felt like I was there; wish I had been!

    Rich says hi and is glad your family’s going to be able to visit you.

  2. Peter Hanson
    February 25th, 2010 | 7:32 am

    Don’t turn down the ice cream. If Greek ice cream bears any relationship to gelato, I’d be eating it every day. I can recommend Balkan ice cream (in Bulgaria) – pas mal, as they say in Greek.

  3. Yiayia!
    February 26th, 2010 | 10:40 am


    I’ve been waiting to hear that you’d called Olga and Kostas and to hear about your visit with them. What a wonderful experience you had with them. I knew they’d be good to you; the outcome surpassed any expectations I had thought of. I hope that you’ll have more time with them during your visit.

    From your writings, I think you could think of publishing your journal. What an incentive it would be for young people. Your enthusiasm, your eagerness to explore, your willingness to try everything in your path is very catchy! It all sounds like a great adventure.

    S’agapo toso toso poli!!!

    Your yiayia