We all were to meet downstairs at 7am to leave (supposedly at 7am, but het, it IS the Balkans).
Had a yummy breakfast of bread with butter and jam, hard boiled egg, and cereal. And some really disgusting juice type drink that I finished because it was probably good for me. And hot chocolate. (oh yea!) (And a bread and cheese sandwich for later. If you had hard up for money/don’t know when you will be stopping, hotel breakfasts are usually great for getting a sandwich out of it. Just fold it up in a little napkin and stuff it in your purse of bag. Voila! Lunch as well!) Then at about 7:30-8am we all got loaded up in the bus, backed out into the street, started to leave and then stopped.
And then we waited. For two hours with no one on the bus really knowing what was going on. Daniel told us that someone had told him that the organizer was asking the town hall how to fill out the paper work for the next town. We didn’t think this made sense, but it turns out that he was actually applying for a few people in this small town. It would have been nice to know about that so we could have, I don’t know slept in a bit, or let the kids play on the playground and use up all of their energy.
Then we headed off to Serras (sp?) which was about a 30 minute drive away through the countryside of Greece. Mostly on highways, but still pretty.
We were in Serras for about 30 minutes since apparently the district seat had changed to a newer smaller city to apply for your birth certificates. It was just enough for us to want to get out, but be unsure about getting out so the kids got anxious and we were already starting to guess what today would be like-waiting and unknown. I grabbed a quick picture of the town to prove I had been there.
Then it was off to Nea Zichni, itty bity small town where the government seat was. The amazing thing was that the bus fit through all of these streets and was able to back up and effectively turn around and move! I am not sure if the pictures show the streets enough, but it was tiny! We were able to get off the bus and wander around for a bit. Although it was cold and wet and raining.
"Pamela Anderson Baywatch" on the back of a pick-up with dog crates in back. I felt like I was back at home for a second!
A bunch of people bought oil, I guess it was cheaper here?
When Daniel got back (he had gone with them to make their applications) he told us what had happened. When they made it in to find the right office, they told them they wanted to receive their birth certificates. The cops started getting nasty at this point. “Where were you born? Why are you speaking that Pakistani language? Where were your parents born? Why did you leave? How do you spell your name again?” When they finally found the brothers names in the book, next to their names it had “These people are not Greek.” The police then refused to give them the birth certificate. Which is weird because apparently Greece has if you are born here you are Greek. But they wouldn’t do it-said if they are not Greek then they can’t get passports. At this point, Daniel’s group leader argued that we are just trying to get a birth certificate NOT a passport. (given they were going to try to get a passport later, but that is a different story that didn’t occur.) When they looked for the other lady they could not find her listed on the register. (She even tried to show her Macedonian passport showing she was born in Greece in this village on this day (but they wouldn’t accept it.) She does not know if the police could not find it or if they just wouldn’t work with them on the spelling of her name because she was trying to put it in Greek and she wasn’t exactly sure of how it was spelled in Greek.
After another two or so hours, we took off again for another tiny village. Where we again filled out paperwork for about an hour. It was still pouring at this point so we didn’t really get out. Except for when we went inside to go to the bathroom. The best part- seeing the beer bottle on the windowsill of the police station. They did pause for a group picture:
Govt building with beer bottle.
Then we went to one last little village. One of the guys said that when he had come to this village with his mother awhile back there were only three houses. And now there was a whole village. It turned out that they were no longer going to Drama (yup said like the play thing) but instead heading straight back to Skopje. So Daniel said lets get off here and catch a taxi or something to Drama. We were only 10 km away, so not too bad. Turns out there is a bus leaving in about 15 minutes. So off we hopped with all of our luggage and waited at the bus stop:
No joke. The bus sstop is a park bench. The timetable is attached to the wall of a nearby building.
And ate some cock (no I have no idea if this is spelled correctly since I don’t speak Greek, but this is what Daniel called it. I know weird.) It is custand between two cakes with a chocolate honey topping. Yummy, but a bit too sweet.
Then we caught a bus to Drama and then a bus to Thessaloniki from there. The bus to Thess took about 2 hours, but I caught some nice pics along the way:
The first view of the Agean Sea!
Once we got there we caught (yet another bus) downtown to find a hostel and food! But Eliana lost her shoe along the way so we had to carry her around until we got her a shoe the next day. We finally found food and a hotel. Put our stuff down and walked down to the White Tower/downtown area just to get out and walk. We found dessert and more hot chocolate on our way back. And agreed to meet the next day to go explore! Pictures from the walk:
Note that is is a closed "anytime market"
See you around the globe!