25 de febrero de 2011

Sofianetz. Planning Romania's trip. Days 67-69

Days 67-69:

Tuesday was 26th of October, my birthday! Our class-mates knew it, and they received me with greetings. We had a very good group there, they are really nice people. Although I had lost 2 classes and our dear teacher was not so happy, she gave me an academic present: a book in English language. During part of the morning I was the center of attention, not only for the birthday, too because the Greek trip! But this is not new for us (being the center of attention), because here in the University we (the Spanish) are the “spoiled children”, and everyone treats us so kindly. Who doesn’t like it?

My birthday. Having dinner in Dybaka!
We ate something quick after the classes and went to Studenski grad to play a football match with some Erasmus friends (thanks to Monroy and Pacas for the organization). After that and the subsequent beers, we organized a humble birthday dinner in my favorite place: Dybaka!! The 3 “Cántabros” and the 2 “Malagueños” were there, having an authentic feast. Later, Iva and Daniela gave me one present each one in the Museum Pub. That was a lovely gesture from them, although the day had some personal problems that fucked it a little. I don’t know why, but in the last few years my birthdays have been a bit bitter!!

Good friends are coming from Spain on Thursday night: Moly, Miera and Viga. They will be here 4 days, and our initial plan was go to Istanbul (Turkey) by car. But when I looked for some info on the Internet, I discovered that things wouldn’t be that easy! Cars older than 20 years are forbidden to enter in Turkey (and my car has more than 20 years old… ). The second BIG problem is that we would need two cars to do the trip (we wouldn’t fit in only one car), and the rented car would need a bureaucratic permission to enter the country (the process needs around 4-5 days, and cost more than 100 € in total… ). Turkey was discarded on Wednesday night…

The mechanics thinking
So I only had Thursday to think about where could we go, because we wanted to do a trip from Friday to Tuesday. But that Thursday I had to go to Iva’s cousin garage, to check some things in my car. At the beginning, I only went there to an oil change, but everything got worse. We also had to change the oil filter, petrol filter, anti-freezer water and other smaller shit. There were two mechanics there, and they were surprised when noticed that the original engine (GTD, 65 hp) had been replaced (for a TDI, 90 hp). The previous owners had done several fixes to the car, in a demonstration of Italian craftwork. Another things like the 4 disc brakes or a complete covering for the engine, were not normal in that model. The mechanics told me that it was a bit strange… It seemed like the car had been stolen or something like that. But the fact was that the car worked perfectly and all the papers were in order, so I didn’t care!! Fuck, we are in Bulgaria and I have bought the car in a very strange circumstances, what could I expect?? 

So we had been there all the afternoon, in an illegal garage in the Sofia outskirts, at around 0ºC. And they wanted to charge me a very very low price… around 35 €. They are good people, but I paid more because I didn’t want to take advantage of their generosity (and I knew I'll have to go there more times!).

Once with new blood in the car, I returned home to plan our trip in a record time. It was 9 PM and my friends were coming at 1 AM. In that time I prepared an improvised plan, going to Bucharest (Romania!!) and doing a trip around Transylvanian’ most famous places. It’s all EU, so we wouldn’t have any problems with the cars’ papers.

The garage in the outskirts
I went to the airport at 1 AM, but nobody was there. Shit! The flight had been delayed, so I went back home, took a shower and ate something. At 3.15 AM I returned to the airport and met with the Spanish expedition! I carried them to Alexander Nevski cathedral, the most impressive thing in Sofia. During the night, it’s particularly beautiful.

After that, and as I had promised them, we went to Dybaka!! It was around 4 AM, and a waitress received us badly, because she thought that we were drunk or something like that! I replied offended (we are not drunk today!! haha), and another waiter came quickly, fortunately to offer us a table with good manners. I don’t know if I had mentioned that here in Sofia, young people are usually very smart and fashioned, and Spanish manners are more relaxed in this aspect (we are an example). Dybaka opens 24 h a day.

During the dinner we ate like pigs (literally), with Miera on-fire, throwing the meat into the beer and similar stuff. Maybe the waitress was right when she didn’t want to let us enter. At home around 5 AM, Moly and Miera in my flat, and Viga in Monroy and Pacas’ flat. Tomorrow will be a long day!

22 de febrero de 2011

Greece. Thessaloniki and return to Bulgaria. Day 66

Day 66: 

Our day started at 11.30, with an interesting hangover crushing us. We all were fucked –in general-, but Adri was worse. Sergeant Téllez was an authentic zombie. We left the hotel and went to the streets looking for some repairing meal. Feta cheese again. Cheap & tasty. On Monday morning, the city is full of activity. People and cars everywhere. And 4 phantoms roaming. Of course, we wanted to do some sightseeing, so we took the car and went to the seafront. I parked in a forbidden place, but Adri (absolutely knocked) stood in the car while we were walking around there. 

The White Tower
Thessaloniki is the second Greek city after Athens, and has a long (more than 2.000 years) and complex history. Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans… all them ruled the city along the time. The first big thing we saw was the White Tower (a prison during the Ottoman period), just beside the sea. We walked for almost an hour along the seafront, and took some photos around Alexander The Great and his statue. 

Josemi in Thessaloniki's seafront
Sgt. Téllez protecting the car with bravery
The day was really grey, and our heads absolutely black. Strange fruits in a nearby park captured our attention more than the historic remains of the city. Those fruits –fuck! What were they??- were really intriguing for 3 dummies like us. They were green and with strange smell and touch. We finally decided to use them to play baseball, and was quite funny. Once back in the reality, we remembered that a dying Sergeant Téllez was alone in the car, and he had no way to phone us if necessary. Shit! We went back and fortunately the car was there with a body inside, and there wasn’t a paper on the windscreen. But what would have happened if the police had come? Nobody knows, but I’m sure that Sgt. Téllez would have done it right. He is a soldier, used to be in the frontline! Later, we tried to visit other parts of the city, going there by car. The traffic was horrible and we were stucked most of the time. We only could see some old churches, interesting, but  completely surrounded by new and ugly buildings! Driving around there was stressing and we couldn’t even find a place to park! Result: Way Back to Bulgaria around 2 PM. Highway direction North. We only stopped to have a coffee –beer for Ronnie- in a Greek village, the rest of the trip was calm. 

Yes! We're spanish! But don't worry, we are not dangerous!
 Once in Bulgarian lands, 10 km past Dupnitsa the car engine suddenly stopped. What the fuck? I parked in the verge as I could. What happened?? I was afraid of it… No petrol!! Well, at least it wasn’t a breakdown. The car hasn’t pilot light for this matter, and I forgot to check the meter… 

-“Ok, ok… let’s go to do something before darkness. I’ll try to do hitchhiking and go back to Dupnitsa for some petrol”, said Ronnie. He tried it for a while and nobody stopped. The isolated place where we were didn’t help him. Just in case, I started to walk the way back to the village. 20 minutes and a few kilometers after, a car stopped for me. There were Ronnie and two gypsies in a very old car. They spoke some spanish because had been working in Spain, in the country. Once in the petrol-station, Ronnie said me that things like these proof that, in the end, poor people usually are the most humane. Nobody stopped except them. 

Not again!! :)
We bought a bottle of water and filled it with petrol. A rich couple in the other side of the road was “assaulted” by us, and they -of course- had to accept us in their car. Way back to the Golf and Adri-Josemi. 1,5 litres of petrol and another return to the petrol-station in Dupnitsa to fill up the tank. We arrived Sofia around 8 PM, really tired, but happy after all! The Greek experience had been good, varied and intense! Unforgettable trip!