Thessaloniki: "Welcome to Greece"
July 6, 2001
I took the bus south. It took one hour to cross the border out of Bulgaria and another hour to cross into Greece. After all the passport checking and rechecking - standing around in the hot sun for two hours - the driver drove about thirty seconds, pulled off the road and we stopped for a coffee! As Manuela might say, “Welcome to Greece.”
I arrived in Thessaloniki on July 4 and celebrated with a drink at a bar overlooking the Bay of Thessaloniki. I finally made it to the Sea. The bar was noisy and crowded with young people on cell phones, and the orange juice I ordered cost about as much as a full dinner in Sofia. I guess I am now in the West.
Yesterday I rented a car for my trip here in North and Central Greece.
You think Bostonians are crazy? Parisians? New Yorkers? Floridians? Forgetaboutit. Greek drivers are …!!! It’s a Greek Tragedy and The Furies are everywhere!
I drove (survived) to Litohoro at the foot of Mt Olympus and continued about 18 km on a paved and then gravel road to the jumping off place to climb the mountain. I parked the car, hitched up my backpack, drank a quart of water and started UP. I walked up and up and up a rock-strewn path for about four hours.
Needless to say, the scenery is spectacular and motivating. And I needed every bit of motivation and all the positive attitude I could muster to keep on climbing. I finally made it to the refuge - a small hostel with cold beer, hot food and a cot.
The next morning I would decide if I could continue up another four hours to the summit. To be continued...
I am well and happy and enjoying myself. I am meeting people from all over the world. For example, in Bulgaria I met a Brazilian journalist and a young couple from Holland who quit their jobs, sold their house and are traveling the world. From Sophia they were off to Turkey for a month. Then to Iran, Pakistan, and China. I hope they brought a roll of Tums.
Today I met two women from Finland, a couple from York, England and an Asian girl born in Geneva to Vietnamese parents. I also met a woman with her two teenage children. She is Greek, living in Germany. She and her husband spent a few years in Concord, Massachusetts!
I must stop now. It is midnight here in Greece and I will be just in time for a late dinner. Tomorrow I am off to the Pelion Peninsula and then to Delphi.
Ciao, that's Greek for see you later,