Hey my dear friends out there!
Server of my homepage AND my computer are down. I hope both problems will be solved soon in the meantime you get one update here at least. Sorry but pictures no possible at the moment. I am near Thassos in Greece now and all is fine. Tonight I am invited to a greek tavern to make some music together with the local people.
Here what happened these days:
November 3. Petrovac (Montenegro) – Fial (Albania) [N40°43,679´ E019°34,472´]
Kilometer done today: 251
What a day – tonight I will be nearly saying it can only get better….
I don´t sleep well that night but the morning starts like the last day ended. Sunrise and landscape are amazing and soon I find a nice Marina again to get a coffee. They offer free Internet connection too so all is really perfect. After hitting the road I come close to the Albanian Border soon – on a road the Navigation system doesn´t even know. I hope it will work in Greece but in Istanbul I have to get proper roadmaps for the way to come. When I pass by an amazing rose garden I stop and ask two cute old ladies for some of them to offer to kali. They ask if I need them for my girlfriend so I explain what I need them for.
Next stop is for coffee at a small roundabout. Next to the roundabout there is a well with drinking water for the people who live there. I sit down at a table that is half occupied and people start talking with me immediately. I learn my first Albanian words (hello, thank you and goodbye are most important everywhere…). When people ask me what I do in india I tell them I do yoga. “What is Yoga….?” they ask. I try to explain but words fail as nobody speak real english and I can only say hello, thank you and goodbye in their language. What to do – I decide to show them headstand and peacock so they maybe understand. They clap their hands but I still don´t know if they know Yoga. After saying goodbye I refill my drinking water at the well and chalo to the border.
First donkeys and bulls are to be seen on the road and soon I am standing at the border again. Nearly noon and hardly 50km done – I have to speed up.
But shortly after the border I see a sign that says “berber” and ask myself if this could possibly mean a barber. Yes it could! I am so happy so I forget asking for the price before. After all is done he wants 15 € for shaving head and face. I give 10 and he is happy. India coming closer. Next I realize petrol is much more expensive than I had thought – Internet is not always up to date.
Albania is completely different – completely flat and suddenly I feel like in india – first Vodafone sign, barbers, bulls and donkeys on the street.
In the first town I try to change some Hungarian money but not even Raiffeisen Bank takes them – even though I have bank account there at home. After checking 3 more banks and western union (“we only take money of EU countries” – like Japan, Kanada and America but not Hungary…). It is possible to pay in Euro here so I refuse to give them to the bank people and go.
Roads are straight and flat so I can make quite a way in little time. Disadvantage is the speed limit of mostly 60 and 80 km per hour and police is standing next to the road nearly everywhere. They stop me twice the first time giving me a sign to turn on the light and second time they are just curious about suryananda.
I bought only little petrol after the border so soon I choose one of the cheaper petrol stations to get what I need. After leaving it suryananda makes strange noises and shortly after no more accelaration. Engine stops and I roll to the next petrolstation where the keeper, Mr. Shamej was very helpful. The petrol station before had cheated me – what they had sold me was whatever but no petrol. It takes more than an hour to get the stuff out of the tank again and after starting still fails. Mr. Shamej suggests I should go to police but at that time I am more worried about suryananda.
Luckily we have success starting the engine by pulling her a few times around the petrol station with a petrol truck. Too late for going to police so I decide to quickly go back to the petrol station where I had bought that liquid and take a picture for police next morning. (Mr. Shamej had already called them and they had told him I had not been there). I show them the two bottles on the pictures and as they are still not ready to give me my money back I take the camera to take a picture for the police. When I tell them I will sleep here and go to police next morning they suddenly give me my money back…
I fill all containers I have at Mr. Shamejs Petrol station and go on still being very upset.
20 km later I suddenly hear a strange noise from the backside wheels. I stop at a petrol station again to find out the back carrier for the petrol is damaged too. So no choice but to stop for today – sleeping at the petrol station to wait for the mechanic who has his place right next door. For the back carrier I have solutions and all tools I need to realize them. But the wheels are to be fixed by a professional.
Albania doesn´t seem to like me. I wanted to visit the blue hole spring in the south but at the moment I think about going to Greece as fast as possible to rest there for one or two days…. 145km to the border and 444km to the greek coast if I want to move in the right direction.
November 4. Fial (Albania) – Thessaloniki (Greece) [N40°38,665´ E022°54,712´]
Km today: 454
The day starts like the day before ended…. I wake up at the petrol station in the morning and after having breakfast I want to start the computer…. To find out it does not work anymore.
The mechanic is already at the shop but when he checks the car he doesn´t find anything worth repairing. The sound is gone and after lifting the tire he says everything alright. In the meantime I fix the backcarrier which is done very fast because of Romans great roofconstruction. By that time Ervis stops at the petrol station being curious about suryananda. His english is very good so he and a guy who has been to germany a long time are the only people I am able to communicate with. Ervis knows somebody who can help with the computer and in the meantime he wants to show me a historical site. I enjoy statues and buildings like I expect to see in greece – very nice. A freshly married couple and a lot of children coming by school give the whole thing a very nice touch of being alive. And again I feel like in india when we are climbing ancient walls – no problem. Back in town we find out it is not possible to repair the computer. Ervis suggests to go to greece because they have better knowledge there. So this is what I do.
Nearly all the way to the border I am Passing a mountainarea that maes me feel like in himalaya again. But roads are better in himalaya…. Going an average spped of about 30 I need more than 5 hours to reach the greek border which is only 150km away from Fial. This is one of the mainroads in this country. I am glad the road is getting better the closer greece is coming. At the border the checks are very strict as I have to wait for more than 2 hours to stand in a q of maybe 30 cars. When I reach the border the greek custom officer looks at me asking ”Austria?”. When I nod he turns around calling a KOLLEGE – probably somebody who speaks german I think. And I find out I am right when I see the word POLIZEI written on an austrian police uniform. An austrian policeofficer at albanian – greek border. We have nice little smalltalk for a view minutes and then he says good buy and good luck. So no check this time and minutes later I am in Greece. In the next village I decide to have dinner for it is already night time. I sit, like most of the times, down at a half occupied table. And soon I make new friends. Eirina makes great Suflaki for me so now I have enough power to drive the 300km that are left.
Roads in greece are very good. Up and down so Suryananda has to work hard but the condition is better than in Austria. But there are hardly any exits and in fact no possibilities to rest. Only a few kilometers before Thessaloniki engine stops and petrol is finished. Quickly calculated I need around 20l of petrol for 100km. So I not only need somebody for the computer but I have to see a mechanic too. Around midnight I enter Thessaloniki. A media market electronic store is next to the road so I decide to sleep behind it in an industrial zone. When searching for a place to park I see a few prostitutes and a lot of police. I don´t think about it any further and soon find a good place to spend the night. Not romantic but alright and close to media market.
I make some food get washed as well as possible and after prepare to go to sleep. When I go to the cockpit to get my cellphone for setting the alarmclock I see a lot of blue flashlight and a lot of light. Two police cars standing in front of suryananda. I smile, take my papers and get out of the car. They have their hands at there guns and are not amused at all. I explain why I am here and after they check suryananda and ask a lot of stupid questions. I ask them if they know are mechanic but greek police is not helpful at all. They just tell me its Friday and it will be hard to find somebody. In that moment I wished to be back in Albania where police was superpolite, friendly and helpful (They stopped me quiet a few times there but only because they like my car so much. Most of the times they were just smiling and telling me good luck.) When they leave I am still smiling wondering what is so funny – but I don´t find out. I don´t know yet weither to like or not to like greece. I decide to decide tomorrow – Saturday (damnit).
November 5. Thessaloniki – Nea Peramos (greece) [N40°50,051 E024°18,302]
Km today: 168
I wake up early morning and have a little talk with my neighbor, a truck driver. He tells me there is a mechanic hardly 100m away so I go there immediately. But no possible, Saturday closed. The guy there is very friendly and tells me the way to another mechanic who is just next to the media market. I go there and after the very friendly mechanic tells me the way to another mechanic I go to media market. I give the computer to the service desk and it is checked. Its only some bad blocks they tell me. They will be able to fix it but without any promise it will keep on working. And the only charge 10€ – I start to like greece. The mechanic game (Sorry I can´t help but you go…..) happens a few more times before I find some place where I am helped. The handbreak is stuck so I decide we just remove it. In Austria we say “Wer bremst verliert!” – you brake you lose. Better to have no handbrake than always handbrake.
While suryananda gets surgery the media market guy calls “Too many bad blocks – no possible to repair.” I have coffee with the mechanics talking to them with all my bdy language. We hardly understand each other but we have fun. All I had to do in Thessaloniki is done so I pick up the computer and leave town. I call my mother and some friends at home paying an incredible amount for a very bad connection to solve the computer problem. The only possibility is to send it home so my mother brings it to the shop where I bought it so the harddisk will be replaced. After Michi, a good friend of mine (Thank you for your great support I really appreciate this – you make many things possible for me including all this blog by the great work you did with my homepage. Thank you!) will set it up and put the files I need from my home disk on it so they end it back. This will take probably more than a week so I will have to wait somewhere…. Greece is pretty expensive to wait but I don’t know if I can trust the postservice in turkye. What to do… For now I can only wait for Monday to send the computer then and however there will be nothing happening until monday. I decide not to think about it any more and start enjoying the road again. I am happy I took my very old acer with me for sukha. Its old, slowly and the harddisk is hardly bigger than my sd cards. But for writing it will do the job – for all the pictures you will have to wait until I get back my netbook.
When driving along the coast I see many places where I can park directly at the beach – all is completley died out. No season. It is nearly evening when I find the small town of Nera Peramos. Food and internet. I eat in a nice beach shack and talk to the local people. After a few minutes they invite me to make music together in the evening! Yeah! I have enough time to go to internet café and write a little until the music starts. I decide to park suryananda right next to the shack where the music is happening tonight. People here know me now so camping in town will be no problem. We eat and drink, make music and dance until I am shaking for cold because I am so tired. I am invited for all the food and drinks and feeling happy I fall asleep. Tomorrow will be a big party in town that happens once a year. 3000 – 4000 people will come and I am invited again to make music on that festival! Greek folk music and didgeridoo fit pretty well.