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A long train trip

July 26, 2007 pm31 2:53 pm

My travel journal is in a quad-ruled notebook, but since I found the internet again, I thought I’d put a few details on the blog.

I got to my destination, the Greek island of Alonissos, last night. The total travel time was about 74 hours. (I was figuring a day and a half). Fires throughout southeastern Europe and fires and power outages in the Balkans delayed what should have been a little under two day’s journey.

The train trip – well I kept a very spotty journal – but the Vienna – Belgrade leg was slow, and I missed the connection. Had nice company, a young, very cute Belgian couple. But we got put up in Belgrade overnight, and I left on my own in the morning. But Belgrade – Thessaloniki… imagine, it was well over 40 degrees all day. We saw smoke plumes from forest fires on every side. The car roasted. I was drifting in and out of sleep, but maybe it was some uncomfortable set of hallucinations, not really sleep at all. You know in the movies when someone is badly feverish and muttering? The air tasted like it was coming out of a dusty oven. Lean out the window, and the breeze was even hotter.

Ended up making friends with some Serbs and Makedonians, which served me well as we sat for 2 hours on the Serb border, and then 1 more on the other side. There were passport problems, and power problems, and fire problems.  We shared remaining water, joked around, enjoyed the temperature drop as the sun set (outside only… it remained somewhere between 95 and 105 in the car). On the Makedonian side it was not so bad, as there was a hose that we were welcome to, and it was already a bit cooler.

Scheduled 9PM arrival in Thessaloniki? Got in at 5AM local time. Fortunately, I texted a friend in NY with instructions for my travel agents, and they booked a hotel for me near the station. It was, in a way, cool, half-asleep, to drag myself into a hotel on Monistirou near Democracy Square, and have the clerk say “Yes, yes, yes, we knew you would be late…”

I have hiking and swimming, so I won’t bother hyperlinking the weather-related problems and deaths in this region. You can google them, probably.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 27, 2007 am31 4:54 am 4:54 am

    I was in that part of the world last summer. The heat was awful, although I did not have the problems you are having. That is the reason we chose Alaska this year.

    Enjoy the rest of the trip! I know how you feel about those internet connections. I am so happy when I get one when I am traveling.

  2. July 27, 2007 am31 7:21 am 7:21 am

    Isn’t technology wonderful when it comes to keeping in touch with home and the people who can come to your aid?

    Enjoy Greece!

  3. July 28, 2007 pm31 12:10 pm 12:10 pm

    A few days of cool breezes, swimming, and hiking were all it took to recover. Thanks for the kind comments!

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