After my terrible experience transiting from Podgorica, Montenegro to Skopje, Macedonia, I finally arrived in Sofia, Bulgaria. Here, I will be meeting up with Karen who will be joining me for 10 days during the last 30 days travelling around the world. Sofia, Bulgaria was the cheapest flight that’s closest to Greece so she decided to fly there from Vancouver, Canada. Once she arrives, we will be going to Thessaloniki, Greece where we would start this part of the trip.
Before Karen arrived in Bulgaria, I took the time to go city walking. My first impression was that there’s not much going on in Sofia. People seems nice; though, not many speaks English. Prices are cheap and I decided to buy groceries to cook in my hostel.
The hostel I stayed at was brand new and just opened. I quickly became friends with the owner as he gave me a tour of the city (Awesome guy!).
The next day, I picked up Karen from the airport and we stayed one more night in Sofia. As you can tell so far in this story, there’s really not much going on in Sofia. In the future, I would definitely return to visit the hostel owner again and to take a tour to see the Rila Monastery.
Taking the train from Sofia, Bulgaria to Thessaloniki, Greece
This is where the adventure finally starts. Karen and myself get tickets on the train going from Sofia to Thessaloniki.
Upon boarding the train, the first impression is that it was a really beat up train. Like, seriously beaten up. I felt like we were riding a wooden roller coaster instead of taking public transportation.
Karen enjoyed it; though, because it felt like an arcade game sitting on this really beat up train.
Along the way, the first bad thing happens to me…I got locked in the washroom.
At first, I was wondering why the washroom was left open before I used it. I go inside and shut the door. When I was ready to go out, that’s when it happened… I couldn’t open the door…
I didn’t want to panic. So, I carefully looked at the door and see if I need to unlock anything. Nope, there’s no lock in sight. What the hell! Am I trapped? I started aggressively opening the door but it won’t budge.
I then assumed, for the door to open, someone from the outside has to open it for me. Quickly, I began banging on the door really hard and screaming hoping someone would hear me. No one. Shit…what do I do now?
I paused for a second as I look at the door knob carefully. Then, I started moving the doorknob from different directions to see if I can pull it out. That’s when it suddenly unlocked!
I was definitely freaked out by the whole experience. Especially because I didn’t have a SIM card and I couldn’t have called anyone for help.
The next time I used the toilet, I made sure to leave the door open.
Stuck in transit
Apparently, the train going from Sofia to Thessaloniki is not in working order. This means we had to take a bus from the border of Bulgaria to the border of Greece.
Upon entering, the bus drops all the passengers off at a train station in Greece. Unfortunately for us, we get stranded there for several hours.
The passengers were all getting angry as we wait seemingly forever to catch the next train that would take us to Thessaloniki.
After, what felt like forever, the train arrives, and Karen and myself board it to head towards Thessaloniki.
When we finally reached Thessaloniki, Karen and myself were really excited. Finally, we were in a major city in Greece!
As we walk towards our hotel, we were quite cheerful despite being tired. Thessaloniki seems like a nice city and we were looking forward to exploring the next day.
Thessaloniki has one major tourist attraction which is the White Tower of Thessaloniki.
Karen and myself made our way to the White Tower the next day which was fun because we got to see what the city was like along the way.
Greek people are also very friendly and they’re definitely one of my favourite people in Europe.
When we finally reached the tower, we took tons of pictures. We also took the time to watch this really horrible street performer do some bootboxing in the street. It was so bad that Karen and myself couldn’t stop watching him.
Overall, we really enjoyed Thessaloniki and I think it’s a good place to go for one day just to check it out.
From here, we took the train going to Athens where we will take a ferry to see the famous Santorini!