Author Topic: Trip with Train Through Southern Europe (will be continued whenever...)  (Read 8198 times)

Offline moish

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would you recommend visiting Thesaloniki? whats there to see/do? i know there was once a big jewish community there

Offline SuperFlyer

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There was indeed a big jewish community there. In fact, it was so big that the habor was open on sunday, but stopped functioning on shabbes.
By a suprise attack by the ymsh"v they were almost completely wiped out.
Quite frankly in greece, the architecture and so are very nice and special, but it becomes very repetitive after a while.
Unless you saw basically the whole of europe, I would recommend it.

Offline SuperFlyer

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Re: Trip with Train Through Southern Europe (will be continued whenever...)
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2010, 07:20:26 AM »
The train came to a complete stop with a screech in something that looked like a jungle.

We were forced to get out as that was where the tracks ended.

We were approached by unfriendly greek border police (unfriendly because we were heading to turkey), who told us to cross the border by foot.

It was about 150 yards to walk.

Turkey and greece are on such good terms that they don't even manage to have connecting train tracks...

Walking past the border there was a little hut on the turkish side which represented a duty free. We paid about $10 per carton of marlboro. Not that we smoked, but as investment.

Our train gave us first class compartment access on turkish trains. Our excitations turned sour as we realized that even the first class, somehow made us wonder why we didn't vaccinated ourselves against the whole list hepatitis, malaria, and the rest before starting our journey.

The door of the "bathroom" on the train was open, and the toilet, was just a hole of about a foot diameter with the tracks underneath it. (Was wondering when I'm was gona hear a panicked mother looking for her child...). Nevertheless, many people still managed to miss the hole...

We sat down, and my travelmate decided to open the window, but was left with the frame in his hands (window incl).

The train started to drive, and the turkish border police aimed their rifles at us. It was meant to be a joke, arab style, egyptian border police do the same to the israelis. The train never went above 20-30mph, and stopped every now and then to let people board the plane just to try to sell their shmattes to us, and once the got off, the journey continued. We approached Istanbul in the late evening.

To be continued whenever... 

Offline moish

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Re: Trip with Train Through Southern Europe (will be continued whenever...)
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2010, 11:04:26 AM »
there are no vaccines against malaria

Offline SuperFlyer

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Offline moish

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Re: Trip with Train Through Southern Europe (will be continued whenever...)
« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2010, 11:19:49 AM »
there are pills including the very expensive malarone which i took on my india trip, but no vaccines

Offline SuperFlyer

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Re: Trip with Train Through Southern Europe (will be continued whenever...)
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2010, 12:25:02 PM »
there are pills including the very expensive malarone which i took on my india trip, but no vaccines

excuse me doc.

Offline myb821

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just want to say u never finished ur story

Offline Deal Guy

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just want to say u never finished ur story
+100000000000000000000

Offline Yaalili

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just want to say u never finished ur story

good point, i have been waiting for it too.

Offline SuperFlyer

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...arriving at the outskirts of Istanbul, the train made yet one other stop, in something that actually looked like a station.
It was the first one that had an elevated platform for people to step onto the train versus the regular stops where people would need to take a giant leap to make it on board.
As I was standing by the open window, kind of leaning outwards, I saw some teenagers paying particular attention to my hat (it was a cowboy style hat in straw), and by the glances in their eyes, I figured that they were up to something. As the whistle signaling the departure of the train was heard, one of those guys intentions was confirmed as he headed my direction.
I figured that he will want to grab my hat, as the train starts rolling out.
I just smiled in a relaxed way to him, and when he stretched his hand to grab my hat, I grabbed his wrist first, and held tight, while the train picked up speed.
Believe it or not, this guy broke his own record running.
I released his wrist, as we were at the end of the elevated platform.
I was sure that at that speed he would be taking off, but it was quite the opposite...
I hope the surface wasn't too badly damaged...

Once in the main Istanbul station, we took a dolmus (read: dolmoosh, which means literally squashed), and is a kind of a tiny car or scooter that has been converted into a small bus, which serves as a shared taxi.
If it has doors, they are rarely closed while driving, and the amount of people in it, can easily be calculated, by taking the amount of seats, multiplied by 5 at least.
Money for the drive is handed to a fellow passenger, who hands it over to another, until it reaches the driver, who is busy collecting. Whenever the driver has the time, he also looks on the road...

We were dropped off close to our little hotel, where all buildings (including our hotel) seemed to have deep cracks in their walls...

To be continued whenever... 

Offline Deal Guy

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To be continued whenever... 
Sooner, rather than later.

Offline lala

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Are you traveling now?

Offline SuperFlyer

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I am on a stopover actually, but in my hometown.

Offline SuperFlyer

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...it was a cute hotel, with friendly staff.
I informed what all those cracks in the walls meant, and was told that a short while before there was a very strong earthquake in Turkey.
As Turkey was our last country on the trip, and so that we wouldn't need a vacation after out trip, we took it at a lower pace.
One little kitten in the hotel took a liking to us, and was the only sincere contact we had that wasn't after the 'rich' foreigner.
The first evening, I asked were I could go to a hamam (turkish bath, like a sauna but steamy), and the receptionist/manager looked at me with a strange look.
I repeated the question, but the look remained. He explained me that only ahum, certain type of man go there... Not till this trip, nor after it did I hear a similar idea, but I had heard enough to go on a walk by the Bosphorus (water that splits Istanbul in west (europe) and east (asia).
The next day we took a bus (volkswagen golf anno 0, turned into a bus with some 25 seats) and drove to Kilyos, which was about a 45 min drive to the Black Sea.
The sea did have a darkish tint, but that might have been due to the grey weather that day.
The following day I visited the Blue Mosque, and from the tourists we were the only ones that didn't need to wrap ourselves into the provided sheets in order to be dressed according to the modesty requirements. Shoes were also left at the entrance.
The inside was very nice, but completely empty.
The more famous mosque in istanbul, namely the Hagia Sophia used to be a church, but recycled by force into a mosque, so I wasn't sure whether I was allowed to enter or no, so I just skipped it.
I saw the 2 obelisks, with one of them being an estimated 5000 years old.

I then proceeded to the Egyptian Bazaar which is an enormous market, which is mostly open air in narrow streets, and partially continuing through houses.
Everywhere we walked, people tried to chat us up with their usual:"werrdoyoucomfrromm?" To sell us their goods.
It was a paradise for those looking to buy fakes, and I found funny that they also copied brands, that don't need to be copied as they are cheap already.
Time flew, and by the time we were done looking, it had become dark outside.
I asked some locals for the way back to my hotel in the Sultanahmet district (yes, its spelled this way), and I was told it was several miles away. The guy had pity on us (or on himself trying to explain us the way back through the maze), and gave us a ride back to our place in his doorless car.
The following day we visited the Topkapi palace, where just the harem contains hundreds of rooms. They had on display a hair of mohameds beard and supposedly Mozes' stick (less than 2 feet long), amongst other interesting artifacts.     
The following days we visited some islands on the bosporus, which were cute, but nothing major. One guy was selling grilled meat, and had the following sign up in broken hebrew:"kasher leyis'a'elim"...
Upon returning to the hotel we were welcomed by our kitten and hotel manager, who advised us to climb to the roof, where we could see thousands of migrating storks fly over, we went on for a long time.
As elul zman was approaching and we learned in the Mir at the time, I bought a one way IST-TLV for 88,000,000 turkish lira, which at the time was $125.
At the entrance to the airport they x-rayed all suitcases, boy was I glad I didn't buy some of the guns in the bazaar...

THE END
« Last Edit: July 25, 2011, 08:15:15 AM by SuperFlyer »