Thessaloniki, Macedonia Region, Greece Saturday, October 4, 2008
We arrived in Kavala on Saturday 27 September, looking to spend a week or so waiting for the replacement mover. The campsite, Batis Terra, had had rave reviews and we were looking forward to some relaxation on a really nice beach. Well, the beach was indeed really nice, almost perfect, with amenities and a nice restaurant & bar. However the campsite was cramped, the facilities poor, the toilet blocks left a great deal to be desired and the weather cold and windy. A pity, because Kavala and its hinterland are lovely.
Kavala is set on the side of a steep hill rolling down to an attractive bay and harbour, with a castle and old town on a promontory in the middle. It looked in many views like Monte Carlo, but without any of the latter's millionaire trappings. Within the old town is the house of Mehmet Ali, the founder of the dynasty of Egyptian monarchs which lasted until King Farouk, along with the imaret, an amazing mosque-style alms house, built by said Mehmet Ali for 300 poor men, run by dervishes. The castle is one heck of a climb up the steep cobbled streets, but well worth it for the views and the very pleasant cafe. There is also an impressive 16th century aqueduct, linking the new town with the old town, built by Suleiman the Magnificent. Luckily the weather was sunny while we looked round the old town, with the wind keeping the views clear.
Later we went inland to Phillippi, site of a Greek
then Roman town and also site of the famous battle between Octavian & Mark Antony and Brutus & Cassius. We were expecting a few broken stones in a field, but were impressed by the extent of the site, covering both sides of the main road, and including
an amphitheatre, three basilicas, a forum and tons more. Even better, as it was a Sunday out of season, entry was free! St Paul was here in 49AD, where he preached and was imprisoned. He later wrote to the Phillippians in one of his many letters.
Philippi was the site of the first baptism on European soil (St Lydia) and the first Christian church on European soil. Not a lot of people know that. It also has a marvellously well preserved communal latrine!
The following day we wandered further down the coast to an interesting little resort on a pretty bay, Nea Peramas, where there is a ruined Byzantine castle, ripe for scrambling over. Again,like so many ruins, it was overgrown and neglected. There is also an excellent little café which serves free fancy cakes with its coffees! The resort though was looking very much end of season. We've never seen it in any holiday brochures but its chief clientele appeared to be Germans.
Next day, still no sign of the mover, and as the campsite was a touch depressing we decided to move on. We had heard that our daughter was hoping to join us for a week in late October, so we headed towards Athens.