Monday, February 29, 2016

And so to Greece

I guess a common problem for travellers must be deciding how long to stay in any one place.  Had I known how much I'd like Ireland, Scotland, Istanbul I would have liked to stay in those places for longer.  But probably wouldn't have anyway because of budget restrictions.  

After three magical days in Istanbul it was time to move on to Kavala in Greece.  We had booked a bus to carry us across northern Turkey to the Aegean Sea.  The helpful man on the front desk of the hotel where we had been staying assured us he had instructed the taxi driver where to drop us off.  Hmmm.  Perhaps there had been a communication breakdown.  Even from the back seat it was easy to see that once we entered the terminal area the driver had no idea which terminal we were headed for.  It was more from good luck than good management that my brother spotted the bus company name amongst the dozens of other bus companies.  

My brother, Peter went in one direction to check us in, my sister-in-law went in another in search of a rest room and I sat with the luggage.  It was bedlam in that little terminal.  As if there weren't enough people and noise, a vendor of hot rolls (it was early morning) was weaving his way in and out shouting.  


Somehow I understood a man who came looking for us and our luggage and went with him to where the bus was waiting.  I wasn't letting that luggage out of my sight!  But I didn't want to get on that bus until my brother and his wife had joined me.  The bus loader (not the driver, a man whose job it was to load up the bus) had other ideas.  His job description calls for special skills.  Like getting stubborn ladies who do not want to move onto the vehicle.  He pushed me to the bus door, turned me so I was pointed in the right direction then applied force under my backside to launch me up the steps.  I really was quite alarmed!  Peter appeared but the bus loader didn't spot him in the crowd - but where was Judy?  I can assure you I was ready to fight to get off that bus if it looked like it was going to leave without them. 

All was well, of course, and we settled down for a long bus ride.  


Lunch break on the Turkish side of the border (I think).


 
One of the very few places the bus stopped in the next eight hours was to let a passenger get off here.  The countryside was dry and quite desolate looking.  Although there was a beautiful mosque in every town, poverty was evident.

Security was quite tense at the border.  It was early September, just as the number of fleeing Syrian refugees arriving in Greece was reaching crises point.  Three passengers, quiet young muslim girls, were taken away as the rest of us passengers stood outside the bus in the sun.  It was a relief to see them return and to be allowed back into the airconditioned bus. 


Late in the day we arrived in Kavala in northern Greece, where my brother's boat would be ready for us the next morning.  We found where we were to stay for the night and enjoyed an evening stroll along the waterfront before dinner by the harbour. 


We had a distant view of the top of the Panagia Peninsula where on the highest point sits the castle overlooking Kavala city and the harbour.


The next morning my sister-in-law woke me to show me how the parking lot opposite the hotel had been transformed overnight into a bustling marketplace.
  

One could have been entertained just watching the traffic craziness.  I noticed even the policeman who was trying to direct traffic kept well back off the road!



5 comments:

  1. yOU'RE VERY ADVENTUROUS TO TRAVEL IN THESE AREAS WHEN YOU DON'T KNOW THE LANGUAGE.

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  2. This made me laugh.
    Don't mess with Turkish bus loaders.

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  3. Traveling is not for the faint of heart!

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  4. Wow, you really managed to see and experience a lot during your European holiday!

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  5. Wow! I love the castle on the hill with all the houses built into the side. What an interesting place! I wouldn't have been to keen on being shoved into the bus either.

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