Thessaloniki to Pythio 6.29.2007


A few hours longer and notification we are at the stop.

Too small to be Istanbul,
a map identifies that we are at a boarder town in Greece named Pythio.
Map of the Hellenic Republic (Macedonia, Thrace)


Off the train, look left and right, no one else disembarks.
A small dog is the only living soul around.

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“Squatter” style Eastern toilets are among available amenities.
No paper, by the way. That’s why you pack your own if you think you’ll need it.

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 The waiting room is deserted, but is home to a table flavored from all around the world
singing songs of idle time in this twilight zone called Pythio.


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“This Has Potential” upside-down? Someone’s idea of a joke…?

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This dog is not dead.

A short nap is interrupted by sudden bustle and noise –

the room fills youthful international travelers,

Americans, Canadians, Turks…

The bar next door opens up,

we acquire some pints and become friendly with a pair of Brits

curious of where we got the beers.

A ticketing agent says the Istanbul train is arriving
so the party heads out to the platform.
A train arrives and leaves, with no notification.
Too late, we find out it was headed to Istanbul.
The next train for our tickets is in 12 hours, 2am.

Not enough Turkish Lira to buy a different type of ticket and many misunderstandings,
the Brits and all the others leave, heading back into Greece.
The station is a ghost town once again.
Stranded, we converse with a local with transportation.
We develop a hap-hazard conversation with a German ex-patriot,
Theo, who also speaks Greek… but no English..and no Spanish.
How communication occurred, no one can say.
In the end, Theo offers hospitality at his home in the tiny nearby town of Petrades.
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Our knight and his chariot.


Greek and Turkish relations in recent history have been very strained,
hence this beautiful boarder is laced with explosive mines.

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A Greek Orthodox devotional shrine passed on the road.
Our guide stops to make an offering.

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After a joltingly wild ride, we arrive at 
Theo’s home in Petrades.

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Cranes nesting above a nearby rooftop.


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Feeling fine after a shower and some relaxation in the country.

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A tour of the town and mini mart, we are introduced to the town’s inhabitants.

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After dark as we walk, we pass the centerpiece of Petrades,

the Kirchturm von Petrades with clocktower.

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Having a drink and getting some info before heading back to the house.

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Impromptu party for us!

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Amstel beer and strange conversation soon attract many of Theo’s “nephews.”
The young, hip Greeks and Germans who speak English
all come to Theo’s home to meet the the strange Americans.

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 Bob Marley t-shirt in Greece! One love!

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A proverb that was shared:

Only the mountains

Cannot be together

That when Muhammad

Does not come to the mountain…


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Excellent people, they provided friendship, fun, great intelligent conversation,

suggestions for authors to read and films to watch,

and even a wild car ride through the dark, narrow roads

bumping tasty electronica beats en route to an ATM in town

and the cash needed to purchase new tickets to Istanbul that night.


 Nearing our 2am departure time,

we all caravan back down to the train station at Pythio.

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Gold shoes! Fastest man in the world!

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Our new friends speak with the ticketing agents to ensure we won’t miss the next train.

On the platform, purchased earlier in the day just before missing our last train,
we split a pistola of Ouzo among the group.

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The guys were quite impressed when we showed them

our “They Were Tasty” drawing on the waiting room table,

so, to fill time until the train arrived,

Uncle Theo gets a Bic ink “tattoo.”

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The ticketing agent even came out to our platform party

to see a masterpiece made in ballpoint pen.

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No more photos!
2am! When the train arrives, it’s difficult to leave
without promising to return sometime soon,
and we wonder if someone kept the waiting room table as a memento of us.
Super cool crowd! Thanks again for the hospitality Petrades!
A private sleeper car awaits weary bodies.
Bunked down, the rocking of the train is its own lullaby.



Virtual Cocktail Bar

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