Greece to Bulgaria to Romania

Riding the rails

September 6, 2005

On three hours of sleep we woke up this morning and helped Dena to the airport. It was hard to say goodbye but we know we'll see her again in about 3 months so that made it better. After we got back from the airport we took advantage of the hotel's yummy buffet breakfast and then took a quick 2 hour nap before we had to check out. Our train was to leave Athens to Thessaloniki in about 1 hour so we got some small errands done and got to the train station for the first leg of a really long trip. 6 1/2 hours later we arrived in Thessaloniki only to find that there were no sleeper cars available to Bucharest so we sat down and thought about our options. Staying the night in Thessaloniki didn't sound appealing but either did sleeping sitting up for 10 hours. The desk clerk finally made the suggestion to get a sleeper car to Sofia, Bulgaria and then we would have to change trains but that way we'd still get a night's sleep. I wonder why that couldn't have been suggested upfront but we took it gladly. The next obstacle was finding some food for the train ride at 11:00 pm in Thessaloniki. Fortunately after a little walking we found a small market for some peanut butter and bread and next door was a fruit and veggie vendor so we got some goodies there as well. Feeling well stocked for the 20 hour ride we grabbed our last gyro and toasted in honor of Greece as it is one of our favorite countries we've visited so far. The border crossing overnight was pretty easy but it was hilarious to hear the crossing guards yelling through the cars for the Americans. Essentially they grab all the passports at once and when they finish their work they just call out each nationality present and you yell back through your car door and they deliver your passport. That's all we could manage at 3:00 am anyway and unlike Greece to Turkey they let us stay inside during the process.

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