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Transiberiana Italiana: Italy’s own Trans-Siberian Train

It all began with a hashtag on Instagram. I searched it, in order to find some photos of my favorite train route – the Trans-Siberian one. Only this time, I stumbled upon another Trans-Siberian hashtag which was called #LaTransiberianaitaliana! Why the “Trans-Siberian” of Italy? That is a great question. After I spent some time online, looking for an answer, I addressed my question to the volunteers of the Association of Friends of Trains “Le Rotaie”, asking them for more information. Why is a train thousands of kilometers away from Siberia called the “Trans-Siberian?” I wondered. “You should come and see why” their reply was. And like the crazy train lover I am, I packed my backpack. Destination? Rome! After a flight to Vienna, a trip to enjoy a few days in Venice during the Carnival , I finally took the train to Rome after a week travelling around Europe. (Stay tuned for…

Are we at Komotini yet?

I was born in Komotini but I live in Athens. The summer of 2006, during the second year of my university studies, I happened to fell in love with a girl from Komotini. It was the end of August but I was just at the beginning of my relationship with Maria. Before I even realize it I was back to Athens, back to the Athenian routine… A couple of days later, I came with an awesome plan! I head off to Larissis Station, ask for the cheapest ticket and book with Karvouniaris train! Until then I didn’t know its existence, but in the next few months we’ve met very well! I went back home with a big smile on my face telling my parents that l was going to stay for 3 days at a friend’s house. Friday was finally here! My friends drove me to the train station and…

Train madness

I entered the Law School of Democritus University of Thrace in Greece in September 2004 and this is when all the train madness begun. Splitting my time between Komotini (the student city) and Xanthi (hometown), made the occasional train ride necessary. This was the first sign of the beginning of my independent life as a student-common sense dictates that when people turn 18, they get a car but, no, I got on a train. Since then, I used to take the train because it is the cheapest mode of transport in Greece and more importantly a place where lively discussions, with a strong touch of gossip, take place! I cannot even start with the stories you can hear in a train but come to think of it now, I am going to give it a try. So, one night, I took the train to get to Athens. I considered it…

Curly hair problems

I’m not gonna lie, it was quite difficult for me to remember a trainstory worth talking about… And as I was desperately trying to remember a story to share with you , a recent event at the subway of Omonia (where a pack of people is always ready to fight so as to enter the train) had refreshed my memory! The train was due to leave the station and a poor guy was running to catch it… but obviously the doors were closed in front of his face and he was eventually left outside. At this point comes the awkward moment of ambivalence, the one that you want to laugh and say “you got what you deserved” but on the other hand you feel sorry for him… So, sworn for years to ignore all the subways that are about to leave the station, it came the moment to break the…

"Tickets please!"

“Your tickets please!” Ever heard of this specific phrase coming from the mouth of a ticket inspector !? Who hasn’t, right? Personally, all these times that I hear this phrase, even if  I have a ticket, I start sweating. I don’t know why … probably due to the bad memories of my school / teenage years, when I was hopping with my friends on the train and we were feeling cool not validating our tickets … but still, everytime I was seeing  someone entering the train, who according to me, had the face of a ticket inspector I “was peeing my pants” from the fear! In Greece, the fare inspectors -when they decide to do a public appearance – look like a governor ! That is the style of a man who believes that is doing the most important job in the world and owns the place! What is more, when…

The coal-fired train

Travelling by train … Let me think! Do you know what  it came to my mind? Scattered pictures and memories from my summer journeys with KARVOUNIARIS! * How many times haven’t I travelled with my mother and my sisters from Athens to Thessaloniki?! I remember the dirty waiting room of the Larissis Station and my mother validating our tickets full of anxiety! Her endless fair of losing us was eating her insides! Three little kids in the train station, it’s not easy to deal with! We were taking the train at night, around 23.00 and we were entering the wagons of the dirty, slow, old but loved KARVOUNIARIS with the hope of arriving at Thessaloniki at 5 in the morning. Most of the times I remember grumbling, because we were forced to sit on our suitcases in the middle of the hallway because of the crowded wagons and the reserved…

The ghost wagon

I start running and keep running as I take a look at my watch, at the departures board, at the number of the platform and at the train for Verona… Whew! I did it! With a huge leap that only a champion could compete, I jump in the train and cross the first wagon  opening and closing the doors behind me as I search for a seat with less people and less noice. I’ve crossed half of the train and I continue my search, determined to fight for a place next to the window… until I see from the door of the penultimate wagon something that each train traveler hopes and wishes! An empty wagon, only for me! After one hundred Wows Icheck behind me to see if I’m followed, I open the door of happiness … and of the desired solitude! A wave of hot air followed by a smelly combination…

The wrong…ticket

December 2005. That week seemed to me endless. I was looking forward to Saturday’s morning as I would catch the train to go to the airport and pick up my sisters who were coming from Cyprus for a long week in Greece ! I was going to welcome them for the first time in my new home in Athens and I wanted to do everything to show them that I had learned everything  I needed to know in order to live in this crazy city. I had already completed three months as a student in Athens and one of the most important things that was feeling proud of was that I was no longer losing my orientation every time that I was entering in the train… Square Panormou on Saturday morning hosts one of the biggest flea markets, from which it appears that the whole neighborhood shops-except me of course!…

Metro Beauty Contest 2012

Good morning everyone! Welcome to the First International  Beauty Competition  that will demonstrate the most beautiful underground (metro) of 2012! Let’s get to know the contestants: the London tube, the metro of Barcelona, ​​the  metropolitana of Milan, the Parisian metro, the underground of Istanbul, the subway of New York and the Attiko metro of Athens! So, let’s take a more detailed look at each one of them: The London tube brags of being the oldest and biggest metro of all, but too much dirt in there guys! Barcelona’s metro is dark and full of thieves who continue to rob the poor  tourists! The metropolitan of  Milan is always well-ordered but still cold and indifferent! The Parisian metro is full of strange smells and homeless people. The underground of Istanbul is still very small and full of humidity! As for the subway of New York, is endless and has lots of…