May 18, 2024

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The Secret Life of Cities: A Walk in Thessaloniki

The Secret Life of Cities: A Walk in Thessaloniki

Photo: Angelos Yiotopoulos

I woke up early. The box slips under my feet. The city is empty and stuffy. A reckless past flows from everywhere into an unrestrained present. Moisture makes you flatten and bend your knees. Minute by minute the sensation softens, you get used to it. I pull against the trap. From here I begin my walk through the city, a stroll of deja vu: the modest markets of the cities are part of the deepest and most important of their lives.

Octopus, shrimp, prawns and prawns are fish eaters. City employees are its workers. In each city they are its backbone, the gentler guardians of its secret life, and relentless bearers of its true identity. Nothing that ordinary people would not approve of, nor would ordinary people digest it would leave a deep impression. Mitsos Ozu is closed. I buy olives, coals for incense, sacred incense, and a butterfly on a wheel that flaps its wings, for Mary. I’ll forget them in a little while at the coffee shop. I walk with Pentzikis. Northern Greece “appears on the map to rest like a soul or tone, thin or fragmented, on the rest of the Greek body,” he says.

Get out of the trap and hit the city. In its abundant streets you inhale the heavy scent of old life. Here, morning and evening, history hangs like wet dust. Everywhere, everywhere, ghost outlets.

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