Note: Our own Erin Zimmer just returned from ten days eating and drinking her way around Greece and will be sharing her adventures with us all week as Snapshots from Greece. —Ed.
I feel like travelers can be lumped into two categories: those who get a high from scouting out the local market, whether an average grocery chain or indoor hall with various stalls, and those who don't really care. Some of my strongest associations with cities are the markets—Eastern Market in Washington, the Delvita chain in the Czech Republic, and the English Market in Cork, Ireland. It's like a breathing museum with interesting characters, local produce, and, the always fascinating, foreign brands and packaging.
In Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, the Modiano Market hall takes up an entire square block, with stalls devoted to fresh, Aegean Sea-caught fish on ice, bakeries, coffee shops, watermelon piles, and hanging animal carcasses. It's not as active as it was back in the day (as in, the early 1900s) but it's still buzzing with energy and adorable little Greek men.
Octopus with big nickel-sized suction cups.
Lots of fresh-caught fish.
Two fish stall men taking a cigarette break. They were pretty excited about the photo session.
Bricks of feta floating in feta juices.
A woman looking after her odds-and-ends stall (she had everything from paper plates to instant coffee and sponges).
Cherries were all over Greece. Big, fat, deep-burgundy ones.
Near all the raw drumsticks and other chicken hunks, there was a fridge on wheels with breaded nuggets (in ranging nuggety sizes) that you could buy by weight.
Bakeries along the periphery of the market piled fresh spanikopita (spinach pie).
The Modiano Market is bounded by Aristotelous, Ermou, Vasileos Irakleiou, and Komninon Streets. The usual hours are Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday 5 to 9 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.