Every year in Thessaloniki there is help the Bell roads festival. Many groups of people bearing bells (20 to 30 teams each year) from Greece and abroad take part. There are more than 1500 people active. Disguised dancers, musicians, will parade on the streets of the city.
I arrived by train at 06:00. I was travelling all night. I start walking on Aristotelous Square. It is 2 km away. After 20 minutes of walking, I reach the centre. The city has not yet woken up. Cafes here are not yet open. I will sit in the only cafe open on the square. I have a view of the Thermaikos bay that is covered by mist. I read my book and listen to my music until 10:00.
I go to the venue where the International Fair of Thessaloniki takes place. I've put a mark on the map to the Nick Galis Hall that's where I know the groups of bells will take part in the parade. It is very close to the White Tower.
The area there is enormous, but I do not have a hard time finding the building they are preparing for as many of the participants is currently there. The first person I talked to told me that he was from Romania and we did not understand each other. The next one has come from Skyros and told me exactly where to go.
Each team has got a corner and is getting ready. There are groups from Vamvakofyto Serron, Skiros North Sporades, Distomo of Viotia, Towers, Pagoneri, Petrousa, Monastiraki, Volakas, Xiropotamos and Kali Vrisi Dramas, Livadi Olympou, Gonni Larissa, Vertiskos and Sochos Thessaloniki, Agnantero Karditsas, Edessa, Papayianni Florina, Palamas Karditsas , Serbia Lotsubik, Karlovo, Gorna Vasilitsa and Varvara, Bulgaria and Ankita, Romania.
The teams are ready and once they have drunk a whiskey for warmth they come out on the streets. The parade begins in front of the White Tower, leading to Aristotle Square. There are many visitors who have come.
In Aristotle's Square, they do not let me take pictures as I did not have the necessary permission. I did not know. I find a way to go and shoot but not for long. They ask me to leave again. So I choose to go back, where the groups that have finished the parade will be gathering.
It is time and I have to walk again for the train station to go get a ticket. I did not have a return ticket because I did not know exactly what would happen. If they kept going all night I would have to stay.
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