The last leg of my journey in the summer of 2016 was to Athens, Greece. Just shy of midnight, on Friday the 19th of August, I boarded a night-train from Sofia, Bulgaria to Thessaloniki. I had a compartment to myself. This seemed great at first but then I found myself a bit more concerned by something happening than if I’d been sharing with people. Though nothing happened other than one passport check at 3am.
Arrived in Thessaloniki on time at 6:30am, despite leaving Sofia, Bulgaria late. I was travelling his whole time with an interrail ticket.
So I hopped on the next train to Athens which turned out to be at 7:04am. It was very sunny and warm so I slept most of the way.
However, I discovered reservations, after tickets, are mandatory on trains in Greece. I should’ve checked this out before but the ticket-checker was obviously used to this. They said they’d come back around after a while to get €20 off me – which turned out to be the reservation fee and not a fine!
I found out later upon waking up again that I was in fact sat in someone else’s seat; no need for reservation signs if EVERYONE reserves.
Arrived in Athens shortly after 1:30pm and hard time figuring out the Metro. Eventually got the Metro to Omonia and walked a bit through a rough looking area to a nice looking hotel.
I’d managed to save some money while travelling and had decided to stay in a hotel for my last stop. But in actuality this hotel was not much nicer than any hostel I’d stayed in. I also ended up being a bit bored and lonely. All the activities advertised in the hotel were for people who travelled with a lot more money than me. A good lesson though!
The next day I took the tram to the coast – which was definitely where I should’ve stayed instead! I found a beach bar. I’d forgotten my swim wear but it was nice to sit and watch the water in the shade, eat pasta for breakfast and see cats.
I then visited the Sea-Turtle Centre.
It’s nice to see sea-turtles! But also sad as they’re all injured and sick, and mostly on purpose by people. My tour guide did tell me that most of them make a full recovery and get released back into the wild.
My tour guide, upon finding out I was ravelling alone, invited me to come swimming with a group on them that evening. I ended up taking the wrong tram and being totally delayed, but I did luckily get to find them the next day!
Monday, I visited the flea market and bought some gifts to bring home, before meeting up with the sea-turtle tour guide.
They took me for a drive around Athens, up the mountains and to a coffee shop. We then picked up another volunteer from the Sea-Turtle Centre and drove out to Poseidon’s Temple. It was crazy hot, between 35-40 degrees Celsius all day. The road out was also very windy, but it was worth it!
On the way back we stopped in a different beach bar. It was a bit postcard-like.
The evening I packed and prepared all my stuff to fly back to Ireland the next day.
The bus to the airport from Syntagma was a nice journey. It was nice to see the landscape and mountains again.