Sometimes a simple gesture, like his two letters from yesterday Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the one hand towards him Municipality of Thessaloniki and on the other hand to port authority, reveal a large and detailed picture. The two letters, signed by First Vice-President of the House Manolis Vlachogiannis, demonstrate beyond any doubt the official, if not civil, character of the operation of a city that is ambitious in its words, which theoretically aspires to do many things, but in practice remains open to scrutiny. Among other things, Thessaloniki would like to become the center of the Balkans, to become a tourist destination for a twelve-month city break, to become an exhibition center referring to the whole of South-Eastern Europe, to become a hub of transportation of the wider region, becoming an international center of innovation. And much more. With two letters, each of which has an area of less than a page, the ΕΒΘΥ reveals the ugly – and therefore carefully hidden – face of Thessaloniki.
What does the Chamber say? Firstly to the Municipality of Thessaloniki: firstly, there are not enough public sanitary facilities, which has a direct negative impact on the impressions of visitors to the city, which – we add – presents itself as a promenade area, both in the center and on the beach. Secondly, there are not enough parking spaces, which is expected to worsen in the coming months due to the increase in the number of tourists. As EBETH indeed reveals, the situation is aggravated by the fact that the communal spaces concerned do not operate continuously, citing as a typical example the multi-storey car park in rue Polytechniou, which closes at noon on Fridays and opens on Mondays. Morning! Normal public service, that is! As for its second letter addressed to OLTH SA – to the private OLTH SA not to forget it – EBETH underlines the need for the two open car parks of the port to operate 24 hours a day, in order to alleviate the serious problem facing the city. And for those who have not understood: just like some museums which close at noon on Saturdays – not all nor the main ones – the large car parks in the center of Thessaloniki have opening hours, apparently adapted to the functioning status of the entities that operate them manage. In particular, the question of parking directly concerns the functioning of the city center market, which is burdened with a negative situation, in relation to competition, as expressed by the shopping centers, which operate to the east and west of downtown and offer ample parking.
OASTH ignores Google
The fact that Thessaloniki is a perfectly civilized to civilized city, the most curious did not wait for the EBET to certify it. There is also what is called personal experience. For example, anyone who often travels in Europe, but also in Athens, and uses public transport, knows that with a Google application they can be informed not only of the schedules of city buses, trams, metro and everything else anyway, it exists in each city as a means of public transport, but also in real time for the combinations it can perform to arrive at its destination. In Thessaloniki this… luxury does not exist. The urban myth – let’s hope it’s rumor and not fact – is that OASTH failed to respond to Google’s relevant request for coordination. Regardless of why Thessaloniki lags behind in this particular area, the reality is that visitors to the city cannot be served by a city’s urban transport, which – among other things – boasts of attracting the interest of young people. In other words, public transport users.
Formula 1 in Thessaloniki
And in the midst of all this, an aura of Formula 1 came to us in Thessaloniki – more exactly, it will come to us soon. No, it’s not yet another of those sometimes grandiose, even unfounded plans that some make in their heads and then try to seduce others. Thessaloniki does not claim to create a track for motorsport racing, nor is there a plan for urban racing. It’s just that in September – possibly around the international exhibition – the world champion of the Formula 1 championship RedBullRacing will organize an event in which the star car of this year’s races of the sport’s first world championship car will be presented. The one piloted by Max Verstaufen and Sergio Perez, who still occupy the first two positions in the world rankings this year. Thessalonians and visitors to the city will have the opportunity to see the fastest thing in the world up close, which touches the ground and… spins, that is, it can be driven by a human . Promotional event, but at least of great interest, in the sense that it remains extremely difficult to see an authentic Formula 1 racing car up close. Unless it is watching a grand prix up close. The prestige of these vehicles is such that – in the distant 2004 – when Trieste won with Thessaloniki and the winner Zaragoza the EXRO universal exhibition of 2008, in the final in Paris, in December of the same year, the Italians had brought on their stand a Ferrari car, the F2003-GA, with which Michael Schumacher had won the world title the previous year.