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Unbelong to Belong

Flesh, Blood and Awesomeness

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June 2017

Greece

The flight from Bucharest to Athens passes over beautiful Bulgarian mountains and Eastern Greece regions of Thessaloniki which can be enthralling. We landed in Athens without any delay and proceeded to take the metro to our Airbnb house. The metro runs from the Airport to the city quite often but we somehow managed to be late as it took us a while to figure out where the metro was.

 

The ride to the city was boring but it does seem like there are a lot of beggars in the metros asking for alms as we saw 4-5 beggars wandering in the train in the 30 mins journey. We took a walk to our house and the host arrived to show us in within 5 mins. The house was much better than expected and was a good choice for a repeat booking as we were again going to stay at the same place after a week. The washroom makes for an interesting tidbit: Toilet Paper is not meant to be disposed of in the WC instead in the dustbin near the WC because the Greek drains are not built to handle the dissolved TP and get clogged making for expensive cleaning expense. After settling in a bit, we sauntered out for a bite at Simply Burger which has some really good burgers on the menu. Disappointingly, there are no local beers on the menu as Heineken somehow assumes the local flavours in Greece. Post dinner, we headed for an R&R as we had 2-day long trip coming ahead.

Day 1: Athens- Delphi-Thermopylae-Kalabaka

We had booked a package tour from G.O Tours for Delphi and Meteora as the long distance public transport is not really great and making your own trip can be exasperating. Too many points of failure to simply state the risk of planning especially with tight planning and no days to spare.

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Balkans: Romania

Among the few countries left in the Balkans, Swapna and me decided to visit Romania and Greece this time. We have truly fallen in love with the Balkans as there are a lot of stories to hear without the extreme commercialization of West Europe. Greece is an exception and is generally considered a role model for the other Balkan countries. We were also looking forward to be joined in Greece by my uncle and his family who we are quite close to.

How Romania got planned first in the itinerary is an interesting story. When I was trying all permutations to book to the 2 countries, I was trying initially with the first country as Greece and then on to Romania, this was costing close to 225 euros per person. However, when i reversed the order, the cost dropped significantly. To the extent, that the cost of entering Romania first and exiting via Greece cost all of 125 euros per person. the cost of Eindhoven to Bucharest leg was 12.5 euros per person and considering it is a 3.5 hours flight, I could not believe it. I also received a survey from Airbnb if i wanted to be a part of a survey in return for a gift and of 150 euros. All I had to do was share my reviews and experiences 8 times during our stay in Bucharest.

Before embarking on this trip, I had booked many guided tours as the public transport between cities was not really great in Romania and Greece and hence covering what we needed meant spending excessive time and energy for minimal gains. In Romania, we found Interesting Time Bureau as the best folks for showing around Bucharest with plethora of attractions and themes, including street art.

Day 0: Eindhoven to Bucharest

We were greeted with crappy weather when we departing from Eindhoven and were delayed by 2 hours as there was quite a bit of turbulence up in the sky but that did not dampen our enthusiasm. We had an uneventful rest of the flight and arrived in Bucharest to some nice weather with slight humidity and warm climate. However, getting past the immigration turned out to be pain with the officer looking at my passport, visa and my face for a few minutes to verify my identity peppered with questions such as why I was there, How long I was staying for etc etc.

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