We begin this new inter rail sharing the first compartment of the first carriage with two Grecians: Georges and Fotis.

We are aware that this trip will be different from the last one: for the people we are going to meet, the places we will visit etc.

 

"My itinerant house will still have two legs and my dreams will have no borders."
- Ernesto Che Guevara -

 

 

26 july Brindisi (ITALY)

After a long trip we arrive at this Woodstock 2000. It's wonderful here, there are back packers from all over the world: Canadian, English, Japanese, American, European and Vietnamese too.

We manage to board with some problems on the Cypriot ferry: "Media"; tonight we will sleep on the boat deck, under the sky, all together.

[Luca]: Inter rail: what a name! Our tired bottom is having a rest now, outside is so cold...

 

"Wherever you go, go there with your heart.

- Confucio -

27 july Zacyntus (GREECE)

Zacyntus, Ugo Foscolo's birthplace.

We are hanging around in this ferry meeting a lot of new people.

After sight seeing Patras we go on, this time we are heading to the capital: Athens.

The background from the train window ias very poor: some oil-refinery now and then, there are no barriers between the road and the railway line, train stations are so small and they are very close to the houses....

Now we are at Athens train station with Paavo, a nice 16 years old Finnish guy who is travelling around the Europe just like us.

I'm sitting on a bench with three Turks from Istanbul chatting, Rossho, Takx and Paavo are resting on their foam-rubber mattress.

[Luca]: Some months ago me and my brother tried to sleep in Rome train station: no way. We were too scared.

Here I'm now, sleeping at Athens train station. Life is so beautiful, I'm re-discovering it leaving from the bottom.

Travelling in this way is uncomfortable for the body but light for the soul who breathes very deeply and feeds each second... Often, on the train, I think about the future... What a mess! On this bench I can only think about how crazy I am and how many wonderful things I'm able to do. Takx is sleeping quietly, Mark tells me to take it easy but I see a mad man that, dirty, barefoot, not shaved, is walking around with a knife in his hand...

Trains bring us far, then unload us ... We are just passing here, but I can say I don't belong to any of these places... Only to the world... How can you say to live in the right place? The best place is the one you create in your head, I travel because I want to be sure that there isn't the place I have in my mind so I'll be satisfied of the one I'll get.

I was chatting with a Turkish guy. I often wonder how come Turkey gets me so excited. I'm fed up of the stereotypes. The day after tomorrow, I'll see with my eyes. I'm realizing that Turks are not black, they don't dress as North African, they have wonderful eyes. Turkey will be a surprise for us, I feel it!

[Tamer Erkan from Istanbul, Turkey]: People come and go in your life and you are never the same. After a long trip from Italy, here we are in Athens. We are spending the night at the train station waiting for the train to Istanbul. Whatever happens we are always happy.

[Paavo Ojala from Helsinki, Finland]: While I was sitting on a train to Athens from Patras and my butt was sweating on those fake-animals-genuine-leather chairs I met these three Italians.

It's nice to have some friends in this big, dangerous and strange world.

In Greece, where no one speaks Finnish, we have spent the night in comfort and brotherhood, except Mark who stayed up all night chatting around. I would like to thank all of you for your solidarity showed to me, a total stranger.

28 july Athens (GREECE)

The more we go on, the more we have bad news about our future, like: many visas to pay, disadvantageous changes etc.

Athens reminds me of Naples. Everywhere mess, dirty roads, uncontrolled traffic and the main square: "Olimpia Square" seems to Garibaldi Square.

We decide to leave again.

Here is the train which will bring us to the Turkish border, we soon loose our three Turkish friends!

It will be a very long and dangerous trip, above all for all the bad people we could meet, all the gipsies with no scruples and so on... We will have to get used to it. I don't know if we are too adventurous, too naive or too stupid. We will know in a months time!

"The real journey of discovering does not consits in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
- Marcel Proust -

29 july Pythion (GREECE)

Border between Greece and Turkey.

It's nine of us here. An Australian girl, who has been travelling around the Europe since May, an American from Florida, a clerk, the barman, two old men and the three of us.

There is a monument dedicated to the French soldiers who died in a battle along the border between Bulgaria and Turkey, just next to me. There is an unreal peace broken now and then by the call of the pigeons that are big as eagles and by the burst of the toilet tap where Rossho is trying to wash himslef before getting to Istanbul!

I was thinking about this trip as a soap opera where each character acts his part and then, suddenly, as it has entered in scene, in the same way he goes away.

We are growing up, we are getting more and more mature each day. I'm writing these things while I'm lying on my back pack, half naked, along this little road forgotten by the world....

[Luca]: At last, we needed it: a bit of nothing. But this nothing is everything. We are living 24/7, sometimes more as well; it seems the diary of three old philosophers but it isn't, it's only the diary of three guys who are growing up and, here, they reveal all the feelings that these places leave them.

They should make a movie about this place, but not an American one, an Italian one, like: "Nuovo cinema paradiso" because here it's like Italy in 1930 or '40.

I'm hungry but I feed off other things, I'm thirsty but I drink other, not coke, not sparkling water, only water and life... I came here to have a good time and I find myself in the middle of an existential reflection.

The guys are talking to a local woman, Mark says she's insane... She gives us some soap to wash ourselves and our clothes, I think that people like us, also the baker hasn't accepted our Italian Liras for the bread he has offered us with a smile. Wasps treat us well too, they have welcomed us in their world.

[Susan Ryland from Victoria, Australia]: The sun comes up creeping over the horizon leaving nothing in shadow of the cool night air.

Together we sit waiting at a train station, Pythion, the middle of no-where, well actually, one kilometer from the Turkish border, so not really no-where, just a long way from anything that is familiar to any of us.

The train is coming, we should be excited, but it means seven hours sitting in a sweat box. All so negative, but not really, for it is the start of another adventure and let's face it, it's the adventure which joins travellers together, pushing each other into the unknown... Happy travel.

 

We have just passed the Turkish border. Music is soon changed!

They make us stay in only one wagon, all the tourists (two Malaysian, two Dutch, a Japanese, a Canadian, an American, two from Czech Republic, an Australian and four Grecians) must be divided by the other Turks.

When we arrive at Customs, they make us get out of the train to pay the entrance fee. We have to pay different prices according to our Country of origin.

[Takx]: The first contact with Turkey scares me: a controller who shut me up when I try to explain him a thing, a complete wagon reserved for us when the whole train is full of Turks stuffed as sardines. Then I have seen too many parabolic aerials for a country considered poor and, for the first time in my life: boundless sunflowers grounds. They make me think about "Van Gogh's sunflowers", maybe because, me too, here, in this moment, I don't have a point of reference, as the flowers in the painting.

And now a dissertation about the traveller bag:

1) The traveller bag seems always very heavy

2) The traveller bag: you can't loose it otherwise your trip is over

3) The traveller bag is covered by the badges of the places where the traveller has been

4) The traveller bag: you can put it wherever you like and it will always look clean

5) The traveller bag is beautiful because is the traveller's own.

[America guy who was with Susan]: There is just one rule you can't break: "Never rob another traveller". Wise words, I thought, then he added: "...and yesterday my brother broke it!"

 

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