On the Memorial Day week-end myself, most of the ICITAP advisors, and the legal advisor from OPDAT went to the Aegean Coast in Greece. We carpooled to a small hotel near the village of Asprovalta. Asprovalta is about a 30 minute drive east of Thessaloniki and about 5 hours from Pristina (if the border crossings go quickly). Zana, who also works with ICITAP lived in Greece during the war and hooked us up with a good deal at the very nice Macedos Hotel right on the beach.
The Aegean is a wonderful sea, there isn’t much tide and most of the time I was there the waves were fairly small. The water appeared clean and the beach varied from smooth sand to small pebbles. The morning after we arrived I walked down the beach to a small village and decided to explore. I ended up buying a pair of sunglasses and a Greece flag beach towel. After exploring the village a bit I headed back to the hotel and the beach.
I spent most of the rest of the day hanging out on the beach in a lounge chair or on the veranda of the hotel reading or just relaxing. It was a nice day. The weather was good though a little too cool to be comfortable for swimming.
We all got together for dinner again walking to the village in the opposite direction of the restaurant we went to the previous night. We found a nice Italian restaurant owned by an attractive Swedish woman. We had a really good dinner there while some of the advisors schemed on trying to fix me up with her. She apparently told them that her Greek husband had been recently killed in some type of accident but said to check back in a year when she would be done mourning. I guess that is something to think about. How do you know when you will be done mourning?
The next day we also spent relaxing but in the afternoon most of the advisors went to the town of Philippe, where apparently one of the apostles was held in prison for a while. I am not real familiar with the story but those who take their Christianity seriously I seemed to think it was a significant place to go visit. While they were there, myself and one of the other advisors went to Aristotle’s birthplace, which was about a 20 minute drive up the coast in the general direction of Thessaloniki. This basically consisted or of some pretty extensive ruins of what can legitimately be called an ancient city wall on a small mountain overlooking very picturesque coastline. I would say Aristotle was very fortunate to have lived there. The church at the beginning of this post was near the bottom of the mountain the ruins were on.
The next day we spent preparing for and returning to Pristina. The drive back was uneventful. I rode down with one of the advisors because he wanted to sell a car he recently bought but ended up not using. By the time we got back to Pristina I had bought it. I am the proud owner of a Peugeot 206.
Travel Tip: If you travel from Kosovo to Greece in a car that is registered in Kosovo you will have to buy insurance at the Greek border before they will let you in. The insurance costs 180 Euros and is good for 30 days. the tip is – go in a car regisitered in a EU member country or one with diplomatic plates, or take the bus; any of these options will allow you to avoid buying insurance the cost of which makes a week-end there almost prohibitively expensive.