By Rail

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Our food stores this morning were on empty, so we packed up our camping gear and headed to the train station with rumbling stomachs. We should have stopped for food on the way but train travel with bikes is frequently a disaster and we wanted to have plenty of time to sort the situation out.

The ticket guy shrugged when I told him I had bikes with me and simply pointed to the waiting train already in the station. With roughly ten minutes until departure, at least we had time on our side – but we weren’t all that sure what we were supposed to do next. The train was high off the platform and the doors narrow, so we started dismantling our load, thinking we’d have to occupy the space between the last two cars. Right about then, the conductor showed up, opened up a special compartment for bikes, and helped us load them. With no transfers all the way to Thessaloniki, all we had to do was find a seat and relax for three hours. Bikes on public transit in Greece is free and easy!

As we watched the world go by, I noted that the wind was blowing full force again, but had changed directions. If we’d been riding, we’d have done the whole thing in a headwind in reverse. I was so glad to be in the train. It takes us a little time to get used to having such complete down time, but I noticed on the train, I’m finally getting there. On tour it takes some getting used to being away from constantly checking my phone and being connected via internet, but it is always so nice once I get used to just being with myself in silence.

Hours later, in Thessaloniki, still with empty stomachs, we unloaded the bikes and bags onto the platform and as we were reassembling them, a cleaning guy stopped to point out that we could easily leave the station via an access road so we wouldn’t have to tackle the stairs. Success all around. From there, we took a kilometer long ride to our cheap hotel right through the heart of the city. This town is happening! The traffic was insane and pedestrians clogged the streets making for an ultra fun urban ride. Leaving big cities is no fun, but downtown riding is a rush!

Once we were checked in, we set off on foot, looking mainly for lunch. Every cafe was serving coffee which is apparently a mainstay here, but we needed real food. It took nearly an hour to find a suitable place, meanwhile, we walked by all the main sights, getting a lay of the city.

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Once we’d been fed, we took the afternoon for some work before heading out to see the town properly. We were hoping to catch a movie at an open air theatre so we followed our map on a half hour long walk.

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It took us a little bit of walking, but we eventually found it, only to discover that the movie lineup for the night wasn’t anything we were remotely interested in seeing. We snapped a picture before heading off to see the Roman ruins in town.

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A brief walk by the ruins was all we needed. We’ve gotten a little burned out of viewing so many really old rocks. We found some gyros for dinner (that’s pretty much all we’ve eaten in two weeks) and then headed to the grocery store to prepare for our departure tomorrow. Unfortunately, everything was closed up tight. We wanted to get out of town early, but until we got some groceries, we don’t even have enough fuel to eat breakfast before we leave.

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A little flustered by our poor planning, we went to bed undecided whether we’d even leave in the morning.

 

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