Thursday, 26 January 2012

Bus Adventures

Ever since I left the Schengen zone starting from my trip away from Slovenia, my passport has been looked at with suspicion and it's been checked a number of times before I get a stamp on it first for travel through Croatia on the train, then Serbia, then Bulgaria, and then exiting Bulgaria into Greece. I'm not used to having people take my passport away and I'm wary of people doing it because I'm afraid they'll keep it or something but so far that hasn't happened.

From Belgrade to Sofia and then from Sofia to Thessaloniki I took the bus. So on the Serbian bus I had to apparently pay the driver for putting my luggage in the storage compartment. It was bad enough to pay in Euros instead of the local currency the first time (I'd spent all my local currency prior to getting on the bus because I had thought I didn't need any money until I got to Bulgaria). I had no idea that I had to change busses halfway through - I almost stayed on the bus to somewhere else until a person told me to get off - but I had to do it all over again on the second bus. This time the driver didn't accept Euros quite as easily. I ended up paying for almost three times the amount the job was worth but I was too incompetent to argue in Serbian and I just left it at that. Angry though.

So in Sofia I checked the train timetable that came with my train pass to see what times the train for Sofia - Thessaloniki would come. I had to do this because there didn't really exist any Greek rail timetables online. It says there is one at 17h22 so I show up at the rail station at 17h00 and a non-official-looking station official informs me that there are no trains. I must take a bus. I don't believe him so I go up to the ticket counter and they say the same thing. Then the official leads me to a travel agency which informs me that there will be a bus leaving in five minutes. Then both the official and the travel agent's assisstant rush to the bus stop and before I know it I'm on a bus to Thessaloniki.

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