The next stop was definitely my favourite and most special trip.
From Berlin, we flew to Thessaloniki and then took a train to Florina is the ‘town’ just outside of my family’s village, Banitsa, which is now known as Vevi. My dad had not been there for over 30 years, but I had heard so many stories from when he visited, and from when my aunt and grandparents visited there.
We stayed at the King Alexander Hotel, which is at the top of the hill in Florina. and we were able to see the whole town. It was exciting hearing my dad speak Macedonian and a little bit of Greek to real people besides my family. The food was everything I expected ,and again, comforting to have food that I had grown up with at my Teta’s and Baba’s house.
We took a cab the next morning to Banitsa, which was 20 minutes away. We started walking around and eventually found cousins, whom we had never met, but were expecting us. Their house reminded me exactly of my Baba and Dedo’s house and they welcomed us with the best manga (food!) They took us on a tour of the village, and we were able to see where my family lived. It was shocking to see how small the house is, knowing how many people lived there.
I went to the school that my Baba went to, and took a picture exactly the same as she did during her junior school years. I was so beyond happy that I was FINALLY able to see my family roots and the village where my grandparents were born, the school they went to, worked, and where they started my forever growing family 🙂
It takes one conversation with me to know how highly I speak of my Macedonian culture. Not many people in the world are more important to me than my Baba and Dedo, and I hold a special place in my heart for them, missing them both everyday. So, finally taking a trip with my Tate to the village in Banitsa, Macedonia, Greece that started it all was the trip of a lifetime. Words cannot describe how happy I was on this trip, especially being able to share it with my Tate. I will forever be grateful for this experience.
Until my next adventure,