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transportation

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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…

The trains and their stories…

The train is like a tabula rasa. It doesn’t have an identity, a memory or a history by itself. On the train the passengers linger temporarily, and remain anonymous between the anonymous, with the purpose to complete their journey as effortlessly and painlessly as possible. The train doesn’t belong to the passengers and they don’t belong to it. The train exists only for the journey. It is simply a pass .. an empty period of time between the place of departure and the destination. This is the modern way of life. We’ve reduced the geographical distances but increased the personal ones. But, this does not mean that the train can’t gain meaning. We bring meaning to it through our experiences … and our stories. The narration of these stories and their observation constitute its beauty. Mare Spanoudaki studied Media and Culture at the Panteion University

"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 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!…

Jerry the stowaway

My mom put me in the bag, but not like the other times. This time I felt like she was hiding me with anxiety  and walking nervously among the people so as no one to see me. Do you think that she was embarrassed for me because I had a few twigs in my fur? Because the last time that I took a bath with soap was I week ago? We were returning from our holiday in Samothrace … I like the comfort, the sofas, the cuddling  … But because of my nature, I’ve easily adapted the habit of living in the countryside, climbing rocks, walking on thorns and splashing in the water… Oh! God! I wanted so badly to go home, our home! I have never travelled by train and I was anxious. The big strange machine was making a horrible noise and I was feeling losing  some of…

Ballet, dreams and étoile

Today, I am pleased to introduce the second article of the new section entitled “my friends …the trains!” A puzzle of short stories of the experiences in the trains narrated by my friends! Because as I’ve already wrote in my first post: “the journey iseven funnier and more interesting  when you share it with your friends …” Milan – Bologna, my favorite route! Few weeks ago I took the intercity train, the one that has separate cabins for six people in each wagon. It was the first time after lots of years that I was taking this type of train. I think that I was only a child since the last time that I’ve taken this train and in fact, being there remind me of  something really familiar but not specific, maybe I took it during a school trip, I can’ t really remember! Well, let’s go back to the…

The first time…

This morning it was impossible to sleep in the train! The reason was the woman next to me  who couldn’t stop chatting with another  passenger in front of us. Their favorite argument : the yesterday s rain in Milan… I tried a little more but their voices couldn’t let me sleep, so I put the ear headphones to avoid their  annoying chat and immersed myself in an hour of  thoughts  accompanied by the music sound of  Beatles. Listening to the Yellow submarine remind me of the first time when I took the train during my trip in Germany…and automatically tried to remember all the first times that I got on a train and the mood in which I was at that moment! So, let’s think about it! The first time that  I took the train was in Athens, when I had to go for the first time at the Panellinios…

“510 euros as a basic salary… not enough for spray”

While waiting for the suburban train which would take me to the airport, I noticed a graffiti on one of the station walls .After taking a snapshot of the above picture, I stopped and started staring at it while on my mind were running the images and the moments of my week in Athens. On the wall was written: 510 euros as a basic salary … are not enough for spray The quick return back to my country made me see more clearly and realize that all those things that are being said on the foreign tv channels are  actually true. When I was entering the train and heading for the city center I’ve noticed that my fellow passengers were constantly angry and ready to kick the others’ ass. Better not to mention that the times that I forgot to move myself so as to leave the other passengers hop off…