agosto 24, 2010

thessaloniki & kalamitsi beach, Greece

After crossing the border between Macedonia and Greece, i made some auto-stop until i got to the train station, where i took the train (little, electrical, cousy) to Thessaloniki. It was a quick pass-by through Greece, 5 or 6 days at the most, since i had to be on my way to Istanbul very soon to meet Fernanda, a friend from Argentina/Spain. So, time was running and i needed some sea and sand urgently.
I stayed in Thessaloniki for a day, walked around in this beautiful city strangely looking-like Buenos Aires. The proximity of the Mediterranean and the latin spirit (in it's original sense) was clear. After that, i took an endless trip across mountains and tourists to Kalamitsi beach, settled in one of the tree "fingers" of the Halkidiki peninsula. It's considered as one of the most "wild" and "less inhabited" beaches in the peninsula. For a person from the New World, used to go to "wild and inhabited" beaches all along Brazilian coast, it was a little bit over-civilized. But, nevertheless, it was awesome. And there was a little detail that they forgot to mention -next to that beach, there was another one, quite small and hard to reach, and nudist! Yeah, that was what i was looking for.
So, i spent 3 great days under the sun, swimming and reading. And i got a nice suntan everywhere!
After those days of relax and self indulgence, i came back to Thessaloniki, where the 11 hours bus to Istanbul was waiting. East was getting closer!
Ajde, best for everyone, and have a great new year.

1 & 2. In Florina, on the train to Thessaloniki.

3 & 4. Thessaloniki, city of ancient Orthodox churches and beautiful seaside walk.

5 & 6. On my way to Kalamitsi, and already there, taking a sunbath far away from civilization.

7 . The only picture i took from the nudist beach, since it's so rude to do it.
8. From the top of the hill that separated the two beaches.

9. Goodbye Kalamitsi, goodbye Greece.


skopje & bitola, Macedonia

After Spain, i flew to Budapest, where Lea, a good friend from Germany, was waiting for me with a hotel reservation and a handfull of maps and touristic information flyers. In her own words, "she couldn't help being so german". I arrived late to meet her, I couldn't help being so argentinian neither. Budapest is a very special city, sooo beautiful, with crazy buildings, a strange place where west and east europe meet. Sadly, my camera was out of batteries so i couldn't take much pictures; anyway, in a latter post i'll upload some.
We stayed there for some days, and then returned to Zagreb for a short rest. I stayed with my russian friend Ekaterina, who was incredibly generous to share her room during those days, saving my life. Student residence was almost empty, quite odd considering that a month before, when i left, was so full of life.
After that, i headed my backpack to Macedonia, where i was going to meet Vera, another great friend that i met in Zagreb. I took a bus to Skopje, the capital city, that went all the way through Serbia. Something like 16 endless hours that i spent trying to communicate with my seat-mate, a croatian guy that only spoke croatian -and macedonian, yahoo!
I stayed in Skopje for some hours only, it's a nice place but i didn't want to go around alone all day long. Vera was waiting for me in Bitola, her city, so i took a prehictoric train that took me there in 4 hours. I wasn't in any hurry, so it wasn't a problem, but believe me: cows moved faster next to the train rails!
I stayed almost for a week in Bitola at Vera's parents' house. Great people, great food... about that time, i was missing a good old family home. With her and some others friends, we went out on excursions to the sorroundings mountains almost everyday. Prices were cheap, people was nice, mountains were high... such a great time. Hvala ljepo, Verita! And you, Trajche, hope to see you and your fat ass next time!!
I left you with some pics, vidimo se!!

1,2 & 3. Skopje, Macedonia's capital city.

4 & 5. On the way to Bitola, by train.

6 & 7. In a litlle tiny town, near Bitola, surrounded by mountains.

8-15. In Bitola and near by places.
16. With Verita, at the Macedonian/Greek border.


madrid and barcelona, Spain

After a week or so in Berlin, i went to Madrid and Barcelona, to visit my friends (Santigo, Eugenia and their little girl Tania in Madrid; Fernanda in Barcelona) and speak freely spanish, at last! I stayed a couple of weeks between both cities, enjoyed some family living (again, at last) and took some great tours on car around the cities. Spain is one of the most beautiful countries to eat, go out, meet people, etc. People is open and warm, but i suppose speaking the same language helps a lot.
In Madrid i did rest a lot, went out and enjoyed the company of my friends and their beautiful house. I've been almost every day to Museo del Prado, where are the largest collections of Goya's and Hieronymus Bosch's paitings, among maaaany others. By the other hand, the museum had a fantastic air conditioning system that was really helpful: the temperature in Madrid was about 35°C and rising. Since my camera failed a bit and did not have batteries, i decided to take a short rest from photography those days.
Afer that, i went to Barcelona for a few days. It wasn't on my plans, but since my friend invited me emphatically, i did go... luckyly. I haven't been to Barcelona in 13 years, and never did take a good tour around the city. So, my host took me around the city, going from the mountains, to the sea, to another mountain, to the beach, to a bar up in a hill where you could see the whole city drinking a beer. And, unlike Madrid, Barcelona is a city extremely bike-friendly (not as much as Berlin, though, since it has many ups and downs), so going out with bike was the perfect plan in the summer. Fernanda is such a lover of that city that she new every square centimeter of it, and which architect made it. That was a great city tour.
We stayed a couple of days in the city and went to visit my cousin Santiago and his wife, Irene, both extraordinary people that met working in Andorra in the winter skying season. After some years in Barcelona, they decided to move to the mountains (the Pyrenees), to a little town called La Seu d'Urgell (don't ask me to pronounce it in catalan, please). That was a perfect day and a half, goodbye trip from Barcelona. The day after, i took a plane to Budapest, to meet my friend Lea from Germany, in my way back to my dear Zagreb.

PS. thanks paula, and please forgive my fragile memory! i've visited my friends paula, juan and their little little little aimé in Barcelona; we had a really nice time talking and talking (one of my favourites activities in Spain, God save the common language), although i'd liked to repeat at least once more. Time was running fast, and airplanes don't wait. I should also mention my friends Belén and Vera from Madrid, with whom we shared some great afternoons, again after 14 years... ufff, as i said, times flies. Ajde, best for you, it was a really pleasure to meet you!!

1. Gothic neighborhood!
2. Next to the fountain down the Montjuïc.

3. At the entrance of the Miro museum, great place.
4. Somewhere in an open market. I'd like a room full oh these.

5. Same market, different food category. I'd like a plate full of these; the room would be very smelly.
6. Next to the Montjuïc, down the fountain. Crazy sculpture made by i-don't-know-who, a very renowned artist/architect.

7. Looking at the Montjuïc, thousands of people waiting for the fountain's show to start.
8. Looking from the Montjuïc, same situation.

9. The show started!
10. Sunset a La Seu d'Urgell, in the Pyrenees.


junio 30, 2010

berlin, Germany

After a week of goodbye parties in Zagreb (at that time everybody was leaving, some home, some on travel), i took a plane to Berlin, without a precise idea about how much that city was going to blow up my brains. I was in the mood for a big city; for speaking spanish with my good friend Santiago, who lives there; and, of course, for traveling.
Berlin is an incredible big city, although its population is small considering its size. Its quitness and order (that's not synonymous of boredom, in this case) surprised me; there weren't many cars on the streets, its trains and subways system is outstanding (and expensive, sure); and, perhaps the best thing, it's extremely bike friendly. I stayed at my friend's flat, in Mite neighborhood, 3 blocks away from the tv tower; nice location, indeed. Anyway, i wouldn't mind to live in Kottbuser Tor or it's surroundings, with their bohemian, turkish, coffy style. Neither i would complain to be near the river or one of the many channels that cross the city. I think that almost any place would have been great; that's Berlin!
I went to a couple of theater plays, in both of wich people got undressed. Clubs put a stamp in your arm, with wich you can go in and out as many times as you want, during the whole weekend. Sunlight in summer lasted until 23hs, days were endlesssss! Kebaps were tasty and cheap. Its ALLOWED to take your bike in the trains or subways. Train and subways work all night long from friday to sunday. Flea markets are beautiful, street festivals are very funny and buildings are covered with huge graffities. Bars decorations are outstanding, from cool to kitch, woody or with sinthetic red fur on the walls. Etc, etc, etc.
That's what i call 'first world'.
A big big hug and thanks goes for my german friends, Jelena and Nadja, whom i've met in Zagreb while studying croatian.
Ajde, enjoy the pics!
i own you the description for each one... soon!