Greece, Greece, Greeeeeeece, Greece lightning! Hahaha. So we’ve been here for a few days now, and boy what an adventure it’s been! It all started when we tried to leave Macedonia. Oh, Macedonia, thou art both lovely and cheap. Until you try to leave. We were in Ohrid, which seemed like a relatively big town. But then you try to go to Greece, and it all goes to smash.
Let me just say right now that the Greeks, while generally lovely people, are collectively troublemakers. They don’t like the Bulgarians, despise the Macedonians (which involves excluding them from the EU and not converting their currency ANYWHERE in Athens. More on that later.), and generally loathe the Turks. Seriously, Greece? Seriously? This makes some basic things difficult. Like traveling.
Anyways, our poor hostel man in Macedonia was super patient with us, and spent forever and a day trying to help us figure our business out. We eventually settled on taking a bus to Skopje, and from there bussing to Thessaloniki. What we did was something entirely different. We missed the bus to Skopje, which meant we would’ve missed the train. This was a result of the Macedonian bus lady not accepting Euros, which was ludicrous because everyone else in the country LOVED Euros. Whatever. So we missed the bus, and ended up taking a bus to the next big town down called Bitola. Once there, they informed us that the next train was leaving at 3am. It was then 3pm, and we were like, we ain’t hangin’ round here for 12 hours. So the train man, who spoke very little English, called his son to help translate and I ended up trying to make new travel plans with the help of this random dude who was calling all of his taxi driver friends. That did not work out so well, but we got some info and proceeded to take a taxi to Greece.
This began our transportation issues with Greece. The taxi man stopped by his house on the way out of town because he needed to take the taxi sign off his car. Apparently, it's tough to get through the border in a taxi. Who knew? He threw the sign thingy into his yard. Special. Then off we went, zoom zoom zoom, and into Greece. We did not have any problems at the border, but it seemed like our driver was buddy buddy with some of the guards. He also spoke pretty good German, which was handy cause Lauren was able to communicate.
We then hopped on a train with these two uproariously hilarious English guys. Oh my God, they were hilarious, mostly because they were telling us about the exploits of university rugby players as they were scrap-booking. Priceless. When we finally arrived in Thessaloniki, we managed to figure out the bus system and arrived at the hostel, only to find out that we had booked for the wrong night. And for the male dorm, no less. Whoops! They managed to squeeze us in, though they were completely full. Lauren and I shared a bunk, because we ended up taking the spot of someone who hadn't shown up.
Thessaloniki itself is an interesting city. It's not particularly pretty, but it has ruins scattered around liberally, which I very much enjoyed. We felt like we covered the city pretty well in one day, and that included the epic struggle for train tickets. That is a story for another post.
When I started this post, we'd only been here for a few days. We've now been here for just about a week, and Lauren today abandoned me to go start her job in Kiev, Ukraine. I'm still waiting on my visa, so I'll be in Athens for a few days, anyways. I'll continue the epicness that was our train trip, as well as our time in Athens and Santorini another time.