Thursday, April 23, 2009

Don't Leave Me this Way by Thelma Houston

[friendship-award1.jpg]

Look LOOK!
I did it all by myself!
My beautiful award from Bilbo can now be seen by EVERYONE! (all five of you ;-) )
*does the Hoedown Throwdown - I'm getting better at it! *
And look at my typing!
I am ?6 and I'm a PC...

Onwards dear reader to the final destination of our Inter rail journey, Greece.
The plan was that we would spend the last week of our trip relaxing on a Greek Island then fly back to the UK.
It's was a great idea and it was MINE!
I had no intention of participating in an overland "reverse trip"
It takes too long.
We literally scooted through Bulgaria ( we had been there on Honeymoon :( it was a disaster, so we had no fond memories ) to Sofia where we jumped on a train headed for Thessaloniki.
It was an overnighter and we were due to arrive around noon, Sunday.
There were a few Inter railers on board, a couple of Irish girls and a pack of Australians.
The usual Border checks occurred and a young American guy was marched off the train!
We never did find out why.
Recalling him I have to say you could play "Spot the American Inter Railer" and win with 100% accuracy every time!

Young people of the World backpacking!

mochileiro Pictures, Images and Photos

American backpacker!

Backpacker alert Pictures, Images and Photos

No offence, of course. They're just so CLEAN! Creases in shorts, perfectly ironed shirts, cute wee shoes and the hair, OMG the hair! "like you've just stepped out of a salon"

We were in Greece! hurray! well not for the American kid but...
Everyone fell asleep only to be abruptly awakened at around 6a.m. and told to leave the couchette and move into a regular carriage.
This we did, because we are respectful of Railway authority!
There were around 12 of us ( all backpackers) in the carriage.
Where had everyone gone? They must have all got off while we were sleeping.
One of the Australian guys went to check it out.
He informed us that we were now the ONLY carriage!
Oh well, not to worry, Thessaloniki here we come.
I'm going to say it was around 10a.m. ( SB would be more accurate because he's anal ) when the train stopped at a kinda siding. A platform with a stand pipe and two rotund Greek railwaymen with a cooler, drinking Amstel. There was a wee village in the distance, the rest of our scenery was fields and well, things that looked like fields.
We waited, all chatting about where we had been, what we had seen, funny stories of our exploits, you get the picture.
Half an hour or so later we heard a train chuffing off.
WTF?
The Australian guy ( our savior as it turned out ) again went to check it out.
He returned , ashen.
They had de-coupled us!
The engine was feckin GONE!
Twelve of us in a feckin railway carriage "somewhere" in Greece, abandoned!
Everyone laughed. We did, we laughed.
11 a.m Laughter had subsided
11:30 a.m. Everyone was beginning to get antsy ( it was getting hot, in the 80's)
12 noon Decisions were being made! The Australian had us all pool our food and water.
12:30 He and another guy got off the train to ask the two rotund Greeks ( now on their 4th bottle of ice cold beer ) if they knew what was happening. They were met with shrugs and a lot of head shaking...as only Greeks can do
We were all debating whether or not to get off the train, what if the engine came back?
1:30 We had all had it. Our water was finished as was the food. Everyone disembarked.
We all stretched our legs and sat in the shade.
It was now in the 90's
3:00p.m. Everyone was becoming dehydrated. The stand pipe was looking more like a beer pump by the second. To drink Greek water or not...that was the question.
An argument ensued. We were hot, cranky, thirsty and abandoned.
- The water's not safe
- The water's not potable ( some smart ass with a PHD, who TF says potable? )
- There are germs in it
- My mum made me promise to only drink bottled water or I wouldn't get to take this trip
- If we drink it we're all going to wind up in Hospital, in Greece!
- Hey if we drink it we could all wind up dead!
Australian Guy - If we DON'T drink it we're all going to feckin die anyway! It's over 100deg
and we have no idea when or if the feckin engine is coming back!
12 thirst crazed loonys attacked the stand pipe.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Sated and exhausted we all began to doze.
At around 5p.m. we heard the distant sound of an engine
Whoop.
We all dived back into the carriage which was duly re-coupled and we were off!
For about a mile.
The train stopped.
Some rail workers hooked a flatbed piled with logs onto the back of our carriage.
We were off!
Backwards.
To our wee platform with the stand pipe.
The flatbed was De-coupled.
We were off!
For about a mile.
The train stopped.
Some rail workers hooked a flatbed piled with logs onto the back of our carriage.
We were off!
Backwards.
To our wee platform with the stand pipe.
The flatbed was De-coupled.
We did this five feckin times!
THEN!
We really were off!
We arrived in Thessaloniki at around 2a.m
We had no drachmas, no food, no water and nowhere to sleep.
I begged, I did!, I begged a couple of guys (shutting up an open bar) for water.
We slept on Platform 6 of Thessaloniki Station.
Our last week was spent in Skiathos, hotel, beach and lazing around recovering.

skiathos Pictures, Images and Photos

I would recommend everyone/anyone to take an Inter rail trip no matter what age!
If you can pick up a backpack, your good to go.







5 comments:

lacochran said...

This was a honeymoon trip? Sounds more like the Donner party.

Mike said...

I like trains. I'd have probably been out there helping them couple and uncouple the flatcars.

Amanda said...

What a trip you had! All that extra adventure made it even more memorable. Who wants a holiday that goes exactly to plan???

I never understood that word "potable". It makes me think that the water can be put in a pot...to be boiled. Therefore, its not safe to drink as is.

fiona said...

LA - No no darlin, the "Bulgarian" Honeymoon disaster was a couple of years earlier...I'll tell ya all about it sometime ;-)

Mike - Why does this not surprise me?

Amanda - All the "bad" things that happen make the funniest stories later! :-)

LiLu said...

I LOVED being on the train through France and Italy... so freaking cool, you really get to see the countryside...

Glad you had such a blast, mamakins!