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JASSENDEAVOR 'm going to travel around the world, easternly, from the good ole USA. I plan to be traveling for about 4 months, but who knows what will happen? This is my global adventure. It's a chance to write my own story; but the details will have to be filled i

real traveling: Paris - Thessoloniki

GREECE | Saturday, 28 March 2009 | Views [582] | Comments [2]

I write this from arguably the best internet cafe I've encountered - plush leather office chairs, euro-style techno music... the almost palpable gamer culture is more evident than the Greek culture... because YES, I'm in Thessoloniki, greece!

In greek, saying "neh" means yes. I have to get used to that. The alphabet is so different too, but because I memorized it in sixth grade, I'm kind of a geek and eager to memorize the symbols as well. P, though, is the symbol not for Pi but for Rho, with the "r" sound... things like that will get me.


Anyway, here I am. I got here from a series of trains and overnights pretty much from Paris. I left Paris on Wednesday late afternoon, sleeping remarkably comfortably on that high speed through the dark mountains to arrive in Grenoble four hours later, 10:30 pm. That train station closes at 11:00... so I was very lucky to get some help from the girl at information. Cynthia. She was, I think, the most beautiful girl ever. And so french. I could tell she didn't usually take the care with people that she was showing me, as she called around to different hotels (no hostels) and found the only one still open, with availability. THEN, when it came time to explain to me how to get there, Cynthia and I both realized that the girl really isn't good with maps. The hotel was nearby... but she couldn't point it out to me, nor describe how to walk there. Since the station was closing, she was getting off of work, so she offered to show me herself. So we said goodnight to the police /security guards, and we chatted in slow english about my trip as I followed her to the locker room, she changed into her street clothes, and then we walked into the street. Here's my car, she said, why don't I just drive you? OK!

I made a sly comment with a smile, "Cynthia, you sure are kind; you treat every tourist this way? Drive them to their hotels?" And she admitted, that no, "Usually, I am not so... sympathetique...? But... I am going to India in one month, and hope to... receive some kindness there."

So. Chalk one up for deliberate karma. Thanks to Cynthia! She offered to show me Grenoble the next day, but alas, I had to run. The town was stunning. I crashed out watching an indian movie in french subtitles, enjoying my own bed and bathroom for once! (Yes, it was expensive). The guy at the desk also took care of me, ruffling my head as I explained in French that I was glad they were not Fermeture... which he thought I was asking for a Fumar... a smoke... but he liked me because I smiled. I will be using this smile for some time to come I think.

So, I walked around Grenoble's river, mountains, and university for a few hours before my train to Zurich. This train was pretty amazing, the views were stunning and I was glad I was awake and the sun was out to enjoy it. I eavesdropped on some British /Aussie snowboarders behind me, but didn't even say hi, I just didn't.


Zurich, I had a few hours at night to have some dinner, before leaving for a direct to Belgrade, Serbia. This was a bonus, because I had planned on going to Zagreb, croatia and changing trains there, but the same train went through Zagreb and continued to Belgrade. So, though the Swiss are known for fondue and chocolate, I ate neither, being sick of those foods from Paris and from Spain (still). Instead I found a delicious, atmospheric, but expensive Sushi place. (6.50 swiss francs for a miso! that's like 4 Euros, which is like 5 dollars!) It reminded me of Railroad street in Great Barrington, with owners and staff who all obviously knew each other, and ridiculously expensive. (Although, Bizen in GB has better sushi, with better sushi chefs: although I was sitting at the sushi bar, I still had to order from the waiters. The most acknowledgement I got from the chefs was a questioning look when my mouth was full :) But hey, it's Switzerland so I'm lucky I got any sushi at all!

OK... where was I... so I walked around Zurich nighttime in the rain, the only  person alone with nobody to keep me warm and dry... and boarded a night train for Belgrade. This was only a few nights ago, but already I don't even remember where I sat or how the train was. Oh, that's right. OK, it was decent. But it was a long haul. The conductors on the train and I had some difficulty over undertanding how I should get water :) Tell that story later. I liked that guy though. He was just a little rough around the edges, and I think I'm lucky he didn't wollop me. :) Haha.


So, then I also had a few hours in Belgrade (Beograde) last night before my night train to Thessoloniki. Belgrade was cool! Gritty, but vibrant. Cool nighttime, friday night markets. Popcorn a popular streetfood. I chugged a coke while watching the street sweepers have a laugh amongst all the youth and dating culture. Then I walked around, trying not to appear obvious as I gazed at the signs to all the tiny shops below the huge hotels and bigger buildings... it was a lot to look at. Then I ate some cheesecake... my diet has really not been the best lately, I confess. :)

In belgrade, as I left the walking streets, I headed down a more administrative street, still surrounded by cars and the occasional people, but mostly the big buildings that I"m sure house administrative and municipal offices. Many had roman and greek-esque statuettes adorning them, as well as roman and greek-esque low, flat steps leading up to them, columns on some, though not all. But it was here that you could be walking and have to be careful not to seriously harm yourself on some rough iron piping sticking out of a random wall, or something like that. That's what I mean by gritty. Also, just past one nice park, right in the downtown working district, BOOM! Dog almost bites me, like a junkyard dog on the opposite side of a fence... but minus the junkyard. He was guarding a parking lot, as far as I could tell, and I'm not sure why he wasn't molesting some of the cars' drivers at the other end... but whatever. Belgrade, right?

OK, almost the end of my story.

Belgrade train station is tiny, and there was definitely a medical emergency involving a man down and lots of blood that I almost walked into... but besides that, it felt ok. Good vibe if atmosphere is less than pleasant. Hope that makes sense. I lucked into saying hi to a nice conductor on my train for Thessoloniki, who advised me to another conductor to give me my own couchette for the trip. "My colleague, car 2. He will take care of you" Later, he was about to get off the train in his town, "Like Oregon, with the mountains of snow..." because in Macedonia there are lots of wide mountains.

ok I'm rambling and tired, will have to let this one go for now... and i didn't even tell you about paris!!!!

Tomorrow, Athens. My my. It's going so fast, but so far so good!

Justina

Tags: belgrade, grenoble, thessaloniki, zurich

Comments

1

Where's Katie?...

  DJ Mar 29, 2009 2:33 PM

2

she gets in today (left 29th; arrives 30th)

  justina Mar 30, 2009 1:09 PM

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