From several possibilities I chose today to go to Pella, as I was to find out, the birthplace of Alexander the Great (not the one I wrote about in Albania). There are a number of archaeological sites to choose from in this area and I chose this particular one because the tourist information I saw confused me. It referred to Pella being a port city, but the sea is some 20 miles away as the crow flies, so it would require a massive tidal difference with many buildings and roads disappearing under water every day, or a very long pier! Of course neither was the case, but for once land has pushed back the sea, a very rare occurrence.
Anyway Pella is only 15 minutes’ drive from my hotel so I went straight to the museum which I hoped would sort things out for me. First impressions as I approached it were not terribly favourable as the building itself looks classic “sixties concrete” low budget affair. However, as I was to discover the displays are bright, clear and concisely labelled. The content is throughout the museum is fascinating. Most of the artefacts are 2/300 BC, the Hellenic period of course being before the Romans. They also determine that many Roman items were in fact Greek copyright.
Pella was the capitol city of Macedonia, moved from Aigai in the late 5th century BC. Establishing the city as a port offered great communications potential, with trade links throughout the known world. It boasted excellent water supply systems, a sewage system complete with manholes for maintenance, roads between 6 and 9 metres wide and in total extended over some 400 hectares. The various relics they have reclaimed from the site are amazing and the mosaics really beautiful. They condition of some of the items are almost pristine. Included is the stone head of Alexander the Great or, more correctly referred to as Alexander III.
The museum does indeed describe in detail how the sea receded and has several graphics showing the various stages through time.
On the way back to the hotel I spied a Lidl (the Greek version being identical to those in the UK) and wishing to get a can of Raid, with which to reign down terror on mosies at the hotel, I stopped off and made a purchase. On returning to Bridget, she was posing for several photographs. The photographer was a woman and so I asked “Do you like it, then?” The lady turned out to be an Ossie, who some years earlier had gone backpacking as most Ossies do at some stage of their lives, and ended up here, in Central Macedonia. However, she had always loved the MG’s and has set her heart on buying one. She had just popped into the supermarket to collect her daily shopping and Bridget was the last thing she had expected to see. We chatted for a while about the roadtrips that Bridget and I have done and she went off happy to complete her mission. As she left another lady, this time a genuine local, with two male children came over and the lads ended up taking it in turn to have their photos taken sitting in the drivers’ seat. Then I wonder what I have done with all my time today?
The drive from Chalkidona to Komolini, still in northern Greece, was calm, smooth and very relaxing. Just under the two hundred mile mark taking a little under 3½ hours, with just one stop for fuel. Bridget appears to be returning around 36mpg currently, which I am very pleased with.
As there was little to report today I thought I would throw in a few facts of the trip so far: Mileage completed 2,000. Number of countries visited 11, of which 7 are totally new to Bridget. North Macedonia was the 59th country visited by Bridget. Engine oil used approximately 1,000 miles per litre. Bridget’s blog is now being regularly viewed by people from 21 countries. You are all very welcome, and I hope you find it interesting enough to stay with us to the end and possibly even donate to the Save the Children page in the side-bar.
Today’s driving was the second one in a row that went almost without incident. I finally saw the Balkan Mountain range although my route didn’t pass through it. However, some of the scenery today was outstanding, with wonderful twisting, narrow roads and little traffic. We are now in a beach resort close to Varna on the coast of the Black Sea.
The condition of the Bulgarian roads is pretty much as they were when we drove through at the beginning of the World run in 2008, the main arterial roads are generally in good condition, but the minor roads can be very poor in areas. Apart from rush hour in the main cities there is little traffic congestion.
The final part of this section is north from Varna into Romania and to the holiday resort of Constanta. The drive was good although the traffic at times in Romania was heavy. Twice we came across long static queues, but as the distance was only a little more than a hundred miles we arrived before 1:00pm. More about Constanta in the next bulletin.
As previously stated I am uploading some video footage to YouTube. You can find this by searching on YouTube for Roy Locock Channel. The video files tend to be quite large and so the upload time is considerable. I therefore have to choose the opportunity to upload them when I have a good Wi-Fi connection. The latest one showing some of the drive from Struga to the Macedonian border is available using the following link: https://youtu.be/wBK-bHeFW6I As well as this new Channel, you should also be able to find video footage from the Round World trip.