Day 219 – GREECE: Thessaloniki


Before you do anything else, visit this blog:

The World According to Malcolm

Too bad there are no roads where Malcolm has been for the last 7 weeks. I would go there.

Actually, just as well there are no roads. If there were, it wouldn’t be such a spectacular place.

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Ah yes, just as well that I got to sleep in a warm cafe last night. It rained frogs and lizzards last night. The rain is only forecast for today, so all going well, tomorrow will be clear skies for the road to Macedonia.

The plan for today is to use up the 10 hours of internet that I bought as a member of The Web, an internet and gaming place all through out Greece. Only catch is that there are no The Web places between Thessaloniki and the Macedonian border. If I don’t use up the time today and/or tomorrow, then too bad…

Thessaloniki has ruins right in the middle of the city. Spacey.

Ancient remains in the middle of the city in Thessalonika, Greece


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31 thoughts on “Day 219 – GREECE: Thessaloniki

  • ReNe

    hey rob,

    my name is nazarene and i am from singapore. actually i didn't know anything abt you or wat you are doing until i came across your website while looking for some info on amasra in turkey. i read your one year adventure in a day!

    i became an instant fan….your website is a favourite in my computer.

    looking forward to reading abt day 220 and more…

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    ReNe, thank you for the encouraging comment. Are you planning on visiting Amasra? It is a beautiful little town. I hope you enjoy the rest of the journey.

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    It's now 8:30pm on Day 219. I am in the middle of Thessaloniki, a massive sprawling coastal city.

    Where will I sleep tonight?

    At least the rain has stopped. I have another 1 hour of internet time.

    Will wait.

    Then begin the search for a place to sleep.

    Maybe just sleep in my clothes on a bench. Forget the sleeping bag….

  • Lee

    What a treat to have internet time to burn…

    If you want tips, I found visiting the Salmonella Dub site a nice warming experience when not in NZ. Or just something like the Christchurch City Council… sounds lame but it's kinda cool popping 'back home' like that.

    Awesome about the two teas from the Kalamaria Pidgeon Club. Hey, ditch the shoes and you could even become a recumbent Hobbit.

    Interesting about the men sitting on the right and the women on the left in that church. In PNG it's the other way round…

  • Aunty Jenny

    Hey Rob, you have been waxing lyrical lately. Loving your very artistic photos. Your box of dumped extras arrived today, but I notice there is no Feta listed on the box! I'm very disappointed! I was quite surprised at how quickly the parcel got here. I notice that the locals are pretty good at offering you food and shelter, so I wonder if a good shower will be offered any time soon?!!

  • Lee

    Wow, Rob, that highlights section.

    Very moving. Takes you back, eh.

    SUCH a journey.

    We are so privileged to be sharing it! I know I keep going on about it but yeah.

    Cheers, brother.

  • Marija

    good done rob…enjoy the balkan…(macedonia is one of my favorite. you should go for meat – mesni or cheese – sirov "burek' there.)

    are you going towards albania too? what is your approximately route going up north?

    same as always….play it safe, good luck and enjoy.

  • Rolando

    Hey Rob: Greeetings from Costa Rica, Central America. I have to congratulate you for what you've done so far. I have been a mountain biker for many years and doing the way of St. James in Spain has been the most outstanding trip I´ve ever done. I've been considering recumbents for a few years. Since reading your blog, I have decided to go ahead and purchase a recumbent trike to test its functionality in this very mountainous country. Hopefully, I´ll eventually be able to tour with it and recruit others to do so as well.

    Good luck.

  • Joeru

    Rob! rock on! You've made it to Europe proper. Greece looks awesome. Feta cheese and gyros, oh how jealous am I. I guess I will just have to settle for a sukiyaki nabe.

    Peace out

    JOEL

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Mum, full updates to follow, but the Couchsurfers website came to the rescue, and I found a nice warm couch to sleep on for the night last night. Might be here for a couple of day to wash clothes!

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Aunty Jenny, unfortunately I couldn't find anywhere in Istanbul that would send the parcel by surface mail. Only SAL. Glad to hear that the parcel got there in cone piece. I thought customs might not have liked the tent (biosecurity and all that), and if they opened the box, they would have seen the Iranian number plate I had put in there. Picked that one up off the side of the road.

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Joeru, you are the most famous person I know. Knock 'em dead. Make Kannawa Hot Springs world famous in Japan.

  • Satoshi

    OK It's a good news (or bad however you take it) that your govt has an official website on something that can affect your trip. There are also tips and infos on each countries you will visit but very minimal.

    http://safetravel.govt.nz/countries/europetips.sh

    I have a Belgian Permanent residency and my previous visits to Europe never exceeded 3months in total otherwise I was a student in UK for 3years so I wasn't aware of the duration of a tourist visa. As you can read on the webpage above that you will get three months in EACH of the Schengen countries. I believe that it counts from the day you re-enter Schengen zone (I don't call it EU as it's larger than before and is misleading) you must insist on a stamp which they may not be bothered with giving you one. That will be Italy after Slovenia. As you exit Italy you will get a Swiss stamp that gets you 3months in CH (it's also time for you to remember each country with their national code you see on the back of cars, CH is Switzerland stands for Confoederatio Helvetica). As I previously wrote, insist on a German stamp when you exit CH as they wouldn't give tourists coming out of Switzerland. A fresh 3months starts from the day you get the German stamp.

    When Entering Switzerland though, you may need to prove that you are intending to get out of the country before the visa expires and you are not an illegal job seeker. You may also need to prove that you have a sufficient fund to support your 3months stay in one of the most expensive countries (don't argue with them that you are just travelling through as you have no solid proof such as an outbound flight ticket). You may need to show them cash, credit cards travellers cheques and your bank balance. They may let you through the border without any questions but they can become pretty officious. Don't take a risk.

    I think you need a basic guide book not just a map. How many times have you been misguided by a map and the brown-coloured signposts? he he he a Lonely Planet book on Europe will suffice. For visa info always rely on your own government, not a fellow tourist.

    Keep rolling!

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Satoshi to the rescue once again. Thank you so much for that link to the NZ govt site. It has cleared up all my doubts about the EU/Schengen zone. According to the site, NZ passport holders can stay for 3 months in each of the Schengen zone countries, as opposed to 3 months in the zone all together.

    From the NZ govt website:

    —————————

    New Zealand passport holders are able to spend 3 months in each of these countries because New Zealand has signed bilateral visa waiver agreements with all of the countries , that is, up to 3 months in:

    Austria Belgium Czech Republic

    Denmark Estonia Finland

    France Germany Greece

    Hungary Iceland Italy

    Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg

    Malta the Netherlands Norway

    Poland Portugal Slovakia

    Slovenia Spain Sweden

    Switzerland

    These agreements allow New Zealanders to spend up to three months in each country separately, as opposed to a total of three months in the Schengen area as a whole. The European Commission has confirmed that these agreements continue to be valid and will remain in force until concrete actions are taken to replace them.

    —————————

    I'm ver glad about this, because I was looking at my Europe map the other day, and noticed that there is a bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden? Looks like I may be heading out of the 14 degrees zone for a bit!

  • Chris J

    Rob,

    First you are way behind on your 200 days time limit, and now you are thinking of leaving the titular 14 degrees zone?! This trip of yours is getting out of control!

    Enjoy every last minute of it…

  • Haidee

    Ahh Rob you`ve cycled a looong way! Sounds like you`re in Bible land now with stopovers such at Thessolonica! いいなー

    Word up-"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8:38-39

    頑張ってね

  • Satoshi

    Rob

    When I last visited Sweden the "bridge" was still under construction and I took a rapid ferry across to Kobnhavn aka Copenhagen from Malmö. The info on bridge is here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oresund_Bridge

    …and I doubt you may be permitted to cross it on a bike unless you coincide your visit with a special cycling event or such. There are ferries still operating:

    http://www.copcap.com/composite-2564.htm

    Sorry mate it looks just like those humongous bridges connecting mainland Japan with Shikoku, I undestood that those are only for motor vehicles and trains, too. No pedestrian or cycle access. The bike spaces on the train are limited.

    Nevertheless both Denmark and Sweden are super cyclist friendly countries 😉 😉

  • Andrew C

    If you are really interested in bridges, check out the one in France. I cant remember what it is called, but I think it is the highest bridge in the world. The Top Gear boys drove over it in 3 supercars and it looked mighty impressive.

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Satoshi, thank you for the info. Looks like I might have to get a ferry after all then! I guess the ferry can't be all that expensive.

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Andrew, give me a supercar and it doesn't matter what bridge I'm driving over. Mmmmmmmm. Super cars….

    I wonder what qualifies as a super bicycle.

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Chris J, you're right. It's all a bit of a mess, isn't it. 😉 Do you remember the time we had a Thanks Giving dinner at my apartment? I had bought an Anpan Man mini tarp as a table cloth for the occasion. I still have that tarp with me, so at least I have that to keep me sane.

  • Chris J

    Hey Rob,

    Oh yeah, I remember Thanksgiving! Great times. I have lots of good memories from my time in Beppu. Its great to know that you still have a few pieces of Japan with you on the trip as well.

    You hardly need that to keep sane though. You have like, HUNDREDS of people reading about your trip and cheering you on. That is more than most of the rest of us can claim!

    It might be a bit of a "mess", but hey its your mess, so enjoy it.

    As far as "super bikes" go, I think I saw a Mercedes Benz produced racing bike on the internet recently that has an automatic transmission. Asking price? A very reasonable $9000 US if I remember correctly. Hey, put it on your birthday or Christmas list. I know I will! 😉

  • Aunty Jenny

    what's with the crazy pink glasses? Is this the new look in eye wear?! Obviously living in New Zealand, we are way behind the times!!!!! The food that you are eating looks good though! I loved the food when I visited Athens, so I am very envious of you!

  • Rolando

    Hey Rob:

    Rolando here.

    Thanks for the comments on the pics.

    You can also check http://ecociclistas.axioma.co.cr
    I bought a Catrike Expedition. http://www.catrike.com/ It has a 26" Schwalbe Big Apple rear wheel and 20" Big Apple front wheels. I´ve only been able to test it one day because I got it this past weekend and then I got a coughing cold that has kept me in bed since then (6 days). So, not feeling well enough to work or ride, I´m reading your blog, recumbent blogs and "Off the Trails, Moscow to Beijing on recumbent bikes" by Chris Hatherly and Tim Cope. A couple of aussies who rode from Petrozavodsk to Beijing.

  • Scott

    Hey, Rob: Just wanted to send some good Ju-Ju. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed following your journey. Well, okay, I can tell you: I've enjoyed it A LOT! Your photography in particular has been inspirational. You motivate me to try harder in that area myself. Just wonderful work, really. Thanks for putting in the effort and sharing with the world. Your blog is part of what is best about the Internet revolution.

    I guess you'll hit London smack in the middle of Spring. And what a nice time you should have through the rest of Europe.

    Keep that Street Machine on two wheels. Tailwinds!

    Scotty

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Ronaldo, Chris and Tim's adventure was awesome. A real inspiration for me. Also, Chris and his wife rode recumbent bicycles from Istanbul to Hong Kong via central Asia a while back. Their website is http://www.centralasiabikeride.com. Looks as though the website is down though. Enjoy the "Off the Rails" book. I am intending to buy the DVD one day…

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Thank you Scott. I'm fairly sure that it is the location that makes a photo, and with the locations I have been cycling through, it is hard not to take a good shot 🙂

    I look forward to following your upcoming journey in your homeland!