I caught a 10:00 night bus headed to Athens from the bus station down at the base of Gjirokastra. After figuring out how to pay in euro (I wanted to get rid of my Leke but the bus driver would have none of it), I managed to grab a ticket and stuff myself on board. Wedged into the seat I got comfortable and began the journey across the southern edge of Albania into northern greece, away from the coast and in toward th heartlands. I managed some broken english conversations with a few greeks on the bus and found a good conversation to join. we talked about Crete, Patras, and the ocean. sharing swigs of Rocky from an old 2 liter coke bottle. the alcohol was strong and the conversation passionate. To hear a greek speak of their home with such fervor was excellent. forty minutes later we reached the border and passed through customs, albania searched the bus with dogs and went through our bags, greece checked our passports and did a glance through before waving us on. the customs agent bothered me about where I’d been traveling and what citys I went to in Albania. I described where I’d gone and explained what I was doing. he stamped my passport and we were off. unbeknownst to be the big buses that head to athens don’t actually enter Ioannina… they drop off on the furthest outskirt of the city on the ring road next to the airport.
midnight, midnight 20, midnight 30…. long walk. the airport was closed, the taxi stands dark, the buses shut down for the night. I began my walk toward the city center… I hoped. I just had to guess that the brighter lights up ahead represented the city. There was very little traffic. that was a nice releif at least I didn’t have to worry about being hit. walking along the side of the road I heard a car roar to life and turned to see a taxi screaming by. I stuck out my hand instinctivley and he squealed into a lower gear and slowed the vehicle about 10 meters ahead of me. rolling to a stop he waved me up to the taxi. 4 euro to the center. Alright better than walking. I hopped in and we rolled along to a hotel a friend had suggested in Tirane. Hotel paris… not great, but clean.
Bed’s too damned small, but the price is right 28 euro. Greece is damned expensive. Had my own bathroom, tv, bed, closet… alright that’ll do. I crashed and woke up early the next morning at 8. gotta walk this city i thought to myself. took a shower and rolled back into bed… half an hour I mumbled.
10:15 – Alright I’m up. searching for information desk, internet cafe, computer repair shop, get some walking down. spend friday walking the city, find information… closed, internet cafe – get online and get my first uploads in weeks in. That’s exciting finally got some pictures up. head to a repair shop, leave my computer for the day for him to check out. Call at 8:30pm says he can fix it… on Tuesday. that options out. I keep walking. wander down to the lake, through the old city, get a good Gyro… mmmmn so good.
Back to the hotel, computer in hand, the evenings starting but I’m exausted.
Saturday morning, wander the city, make a decision to get out. walk to the bus station and take off, I’m headed to Metsovo and then Kalabaka to see Meteora!