Donalt Burness November 2016

Donald is a former University Professor who started writting poems after his retirement. He visited Greece to study the language, learn the culture and travel more. His poems are all about his wife and his journeys around the world, so when he visited Greece he got inspired and wrote some more poems. With Dan I made 2 tours and that is because I met him only some days before he leaves Greece to continue his journey. We visited the ancient city of Dion and the Mt. Hortiatis together.

The first tour was in Mount Hortiatis, almost 20 Km away from Thessaloniki, where we visited the massacre memorial and the church where this happened. We spoke with some locals and explored the history of the place. Then we drove up to the mountain, to the Scouts Shelter and we hiked a small and easy trail to reach a specific point with the best view of Thessaloniki from above. Actually from that point you can see on your right the whole Thermaicus gulf, if the sky is clear you can also see Mt. Olympus and from your right Agios Vasilios lake. Is a wonderfull place where the Cub Scouts call it “Eagle’s rock”. Then we drunk a bio herbal tea close to the fireplace, at a traditional cafe in Hortiatis village, we relaxed there and drove back to the city.

Don is a great story teller, I guess every poet is!

The second tour with Donald was in the ancient city of Dion, under Mt. Olympus. Don is very good at sketching every place he visits he draws something very quickly in his notebook as a souvenir from the visited place. He creates memories in an authentic way and that is what I do on the tours, too, that is why we had so much fun together!We walked among the ruins, we read about the history of the place and we made it ours for some time. The ancient columns that stand still, the mosaics and the statues of the Gods transfered us in an other period of time. We spend so much thime there, cause it was empty (November is an off season period), it was our playground of learning, we left only when it started rainning and we started to be hungry. We ate something local and traditional and came back in Thessaloniki accompanied with nice music on the road.

Every Private Tour includes pick up and delivery from your hotel and when your stay is over we could drive you to the airport, too. That’s what we did with Donald. We built so strong familiarity,  and he stayed in Thessaloniki for quite some time, so, he wanted somebody who like to drive him to the airport and say good bye.

Don was a very talented person! It was a pleasure to meet him and honour to guide him around the city. Thank you for your trust and your choice Don, good luck and travel safe…

You are always welcome to book another private tour with us and, please contact us in or here for more info about the destinations, the dates and the plans.

Enjoy your day and your trip with us…

9 Responses

  • Natasha // // Reply

    Hi! I met Don in Italy in Sirmione at 2012) We had one bus to Brescia with him and it was short but very interesting trip)

    His story: A year ago in Cyprus he met a Russian opera singer Oksana from the Mariinsky Theater. He dedicated a poem to her, which was in a collection of poems recently published in / translated in Italy, and he showed us a book and asked to give it to Oksana. We handed over the book, because the theater in my city, I wrote an email to Don about this, but did not receive an answer. I’m glad that he continues to travel and amaze people.

    • theni.gagalidou // // Reply

      Hey Natasha hi 🙂

      I am amazed that you know Don. Such a gentle man with pure and strong feelings, as an authentic poet.

      What a coincident, I met Don in a bus tour, too. I was the Tour Leader and offered him this private tour.

      We made two private tours together and after this we became friends, we still catch up sometimes.

      He lived in Thessaloniki for some time, he was studying Greek and even wrote a poem in Greek.

      Such a full person. So many stories from him and his wife, we worshiped her.

      After leaving Greece he would go to Italy for his book presentation. He was so proud and happy.

      It’s still amazing that you know him. Please feel free to contact me via e-mail and I am sure he would be happy to hear from you soon.

      Take care Natasha, thank you so much for sharing your story with me, it was great of you. 🙂

    • Max Luciani // // Reply

      Dear Theni and Natasha,
      i am one of the best friends of Don and i am his official italian translator.
      I published two books: “Odissea di un Poeta” (2012), collection of poems and writings and “Letters to Don” (2016), collection of letters between Don and his beloved wife, Mary Lou early in their marriage.
      Don is simply special!
      He’s a magic box full of poetry, culture and pleasantness, with a special taste for arts and a great sensitivity.
      Don was guest at my home at the last book presentation and it was an experience my wife and I will never forget…every time he talks he says interesting things.
      We’re in contact by email and Facebook and very often we publish his poems or articles on our travel advice blog:

      Theni, congratulations on your article!
      I know these places very well because in 1997 I was living in Thessaloniki. My ex-girlfriend is from Thessaloniki. I love Greece and have a lot of friends in Thessaloniki, Athens, Skopelos and Milos.
      Καταλαβαίνω και μιλάω λίγο ελληνικά 😉
      I’m a writer, poet and journalist too and if you want you can take a look to our blogs:
      I’ll try to contact you searching on Don Facebook friends.

      • theni.gagalidou // // Reply

        Dear Max,
        Thank you so much for reaching me out and taking some time to leave a comment.
        Don is a lifetime experience, I had 3 tours with him and explored Greece at it’s best. He is very inspiring person, especially moving is the fact that he worshipped Mary Lou and gave his 100% to their love. I am honored to receive his e-mails, too, an every time is a different story I love to read from him. I hope I will meet him son somewhere in this great world!
        My tours are private and dedicated to the travelers and their needs, all of them are so special, and Don’s was great, too.
        I checked your fancy website, congratulations on the nice articles about Don’s poems and spanakopita!!

        I will be so happy to meet you in Thessaloniki next time you arrive, or even take a tour with you!
        You can always reach me out in social media as per below:
        Facebook profile:
        Facebook page:

        Thanks again for reaching out, and we keep in touch!
        Ευχαριστώ πολύ, χαιρετισμούς από Θεσσαλονίκη!
        Καλημέρα 🙂


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    • theni.gagalidou // // Reply

      Hey Mary,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write those kind words to me, it’s so much appreciated.

      People are always the biggest motivation to me at my tours. Meeting personalities from around the world makes me meet the world.

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      Take care and keep in touch.

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