Chapter 10: Ruins, Cooking, and Kittens in Greece

This past week my core course Cultural Diversity and Integration had its study tour to Thessaloniki, Greece. I ate some of the best food I’ve ever tasted, learned a good amount about the cities multicultural, history, and spent time with my wonderful classmates. My main takeaway was: food is delicious, and even more delicious when you make it yourself!

To speak generally about Thessaloniki, the city is striking because of the way that ruins are randomly placed within the modern city. It was not unusual to walk by a shopping center and see pieces of ancient buildings fenced in beside it. For example:

These are the ruins by Navarinou Square, where we stopped briefly on our walking tour.

Here is an ancient arch just sitting in the center of an otherwise modern area.

Though the beach wasn’t close in Thessaloniki (boo) it was near some water, next to which was an art installation called “The Umbrellas” which has become a sort of staple of the city:

The study tour included a walking tour of the city, various lectures from journalists, artists, and historians, a cooking class, and a trip to the market. Although I thought everything was interesting, my favorite part of the trip by far was our cooking class (hence my takeaway about making delicious food). Smaragda Ntasioudi Makris was the lead chef, and she took us through the market and showed us so many foods.

Seeing the market was incredibly interesting, especially as an American. The markets in Thessaloniki have the entire animal on display in some cases, and it felt a bit graphic at times. That said, I felt happy to see that no part of any animals are wasted.

When we were in the seafood section, we stopped at a stand that had one of the biggest fish I’d ever seen on display. Naturally, we all had to take turns holding it:

Me holding a fish for the first time with my classmate Kade’s help. Freaking out a little bit because it felt slimy and strange.

After the market, we went back to a restaurant reserved for our class and got started on lunch. We made fish, dolmades, salad, and a dessert I can’t remember the name of. We each got aprons, gloves, and cutting boards. Smaragda guided us through the recipes but gave us the freedom to do everything independently, which was great. I was so into it that I didn’t really take many photos, and I was so hungry afterwards that I forgot to take pictures of what our final meal looked like, so enjoy these miscellaneous photos of the process:

The cooking class really motivated me to keep cooking on my own general. So far it’s been one day of cooking healthy recipes since coming back to Copenhagen, but let’s hope it sticks for the rest of the semester.

Bonus Story:

One night when my friends and I were heading back to the hotel after dinner, we heard a strange sound coming from one of the parked cars we walked past. It turned out there was a kitten hiding inside the bottom of the car, meowing away. We stopped and spent about ten or fifteen minutes trying to get the kitten to come out.

All of us trying to bribe the kitten out with food.

I am pleased to say the kitten did come out of the car, but she was so scared and so quick that we couldn’t get her on camera. The man who owned the parking lot was pleased that we were able to get her out, and so were we.

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