FRI, 02 02 2001
Snow on the road. Sunny. Train to Linz and Vienna. Not many passengers.
New tunnels, two at least. Kilometers of construction site. New railways
inbetween walls. Noise protection. Not much to see from a train on these
rails. Visit Café Westend. Incredible expensive herb tea. Meet
Brano in the hall near Gleis 6. Express Bartok Bela. We choose a compartment
with two young hungarian girls. Two more, friends of them, come a little
later. Only 3 hours to Budapest. Hungarian customs officer. Bully type.
We talk english and german. He is confused. Budapest Keleti. Rather old
building. Soviet style counters, small hole somewhere half way down the
floor. New information: train to Thessaloniki leaves at 19:40. The young
man who sells the ticket speaks english. Return ticket: 52 000 Ft. Look
for a Café. Taxi driver and landlords offer their services. 50
DM for ta double. Walk out and visit the underground space in front of
the station. Find a small Café a little further. Brano burns his
jacket by a heater, treacherous attached to the wall. Back to the station.
Bord the train. Buy a sleeping car ticket.
SAT, 03 02 2001
Heating collapses during night. Snow. Mountains. Reach Brasov in the morning.
Bucuresti at noon. Sunny in the mountains. Dizzy in the flat countries.
Huge fields. Snow. Thousands of black birds on a waste-dump. Half an hour
stop at Bucuresti. Have to pass a security check for to leave the Perron.
A short haired guy wants to see our tickets. Even asks for the seat reservation.
We don't have any. He advises us to be careful, not to show our passport,
not to change money. He offers to change money. Great. Brano takes some
shots with the 16mm camera in the hall. Young security urges him to stop
Try to leave the station. Taxi drivers offer services. We go back. A plain
clothes guy shows us something like a telephoncard and wants to see our
passports. Take no notice of him. When we want to pass the checkpoint
to get back to our train, the short haired guy now wants to see our seat
reservation. He suggests Brano shall wait and I shall get the reservations.
Great idea, but we don't have enough time for to do him this favour.
Border town GIURGIU NORD. Huge Industrialized area. One hour's stop. Passport
control. Where do you go? Athens. What do you want to do there? Custom
officers catch a guy who's passport is not valid or he got a stamp: prohibited
immigrant. Officer even hits the guy on the head. Next moment he touches
him on the shoulders ambivalently friendly. Then they leave for a small
building in the distance. RUSE. Bulgarian border town. Some passengers
throw out bags. The train moves very slowly. People are already waiting
and take away the bags. Border station. 1 hour stop. Some locals try to
sell something. Order a coffee from the window. Guy crosses the tracks
and takes the coffee from a kiosk. Buy a bottle of brandy. The helpful
man needs the money in advance. Young boy is selling some drinks, cookies.
Flat country. The heating is still very poor. Only four people in the
whole sleeping waggon, the conductor included.
SUN, 04 02 2001
Heating system collapses totally. Border stop at about 3:00. Bulgarian
officials take our passports and return after one hour. The same procedure
at the greek border. Try to sleep. Arrival at Thessaloniki at 8:00. Quiet
athmosphere. Clean station.
Pass cleaning equipment when we leave the perron. Relaxed athmosphere
in comparison to paranoic Bucuresti. Walk along the boulevard in front
of the station. Cafés, bus services to Athens. The train leaves
at 11:30. Costs DRM 4.800,00. Train ride lasts appr. 8 hours. There is
an express train at 11:00 for DRM 10.000,00. Take a rest in a Café.
Terrible greek pop streaming out a sound system. Back to the station.
Departure. Short seaside view past Katerini. Touristic infrastructures.
On the other side mountains, peaks covered with snow. Train heads for
the mountains. Around LAMIA it gets full. 17:30, men dressed in uniforms
crowd the restaurant car. Military service. Heavy smokers the greeks.
Smoke already hurts the eyes. Flat country. Agriculture. Plantations.
Mountains in the distance. Sunset. Leave the restaurant car for doing
some shots with the DV camera. When I come back a military service man
has occupied my seat. Later on I ask him, if he speaks english. No answer,
just a gesture with the head moving astray.
18:15 Stop at AVLÓN. Pittoresque. Mountains in the background.
Very near. Train is rather crowded. Arrival in Athens. New Metro station
in front of the train station. Look for a hotel around Syntagma square.
Ask at several hotels. A lady taxi driver adresses us. Hard to get rid
af her. The price comes down from 30.000,00 to 18.000,00 and 11.000,00.
The receptionist at hotel Plaka sends us to hotel KIMON, 27, Apollonos
str., near the cathedral. DRM 8000,00 on the top floor with huge terrace.
Very few people in the hotel. The view is up to Acropolis. Quiet place.
No traffic. Rather cold room. Smashed mosquitos on the walls. Walk around
in Plaka, half way up to acropolis then towards the former flea market.
Turn to the right, leaving Ermou Str..Get to Iroon Plateon. Find a restaurant
at Eschilou Street. Order fish, small orange ones, spinach pie, salad.
Brano orders chickpeas.
MON, 05 FEB 2001
Sunny. Still some shadow on the terrace. Early morning view on the Acropolis.
Walk around Nikis Str. and Voulis Str. Dozens of travel agencies. Price
for a roundtrip ticket to Cairo is about 87000,00 DRM. No ferries at this
time. Only to Cyprus, which will take at least two days and cost half
of the plane ticket. Eat at a small fast food Café. Continue to
the former flea market. Visit a few secondhand record shops. Have a rest
at a Café next to a surface metro section. Continue towards Acropolis.
Many restaurants and Cafés on the way up. Thission. Walk up Apostolou
Parlou. Traffic. Sunny. Warm. Entrance fee at Acropolis is 2000,00 Drm.
We just have a rest on the rocks near the ticket office. Walk around in
Plaka. Small houses, nested along tiny roads, lanes, stairs. Great view.
Breeze. Cool. Reach the Hadrian Arch. Withdraw, because Vassileos Amalias
is a battle field. Head for Omonia square. Walk along Stadiou street.
Omonia is quite crowded and a battle field too. Several roads get together
there. Walk down Karolou or Vigtoros Ougo. Rest at an internet Café.
Back to Omonia for Olympic airways office. Closed in the meantime. Take
Athinas street toward Monastiraki. Pass the market. Buy some olives, cheese,
bread and pistachios. Back to the hotel. Phone Chrisostomos. He invites
us to his studio. It's behind a stadion. After having eaten olives and
some cheese we walk towards Vasileos Amalias, along Vasileos Olgas towards
Pagrati. Hills, totally packed with houses. Up and down. Chrisostomos
has got a spacy studio in a basement. He is a painter and teacher of 12-17
years old students. Introduces us to his friend. She studies shipbuilding.
Born in Nuremberg, her parents went there for work, she returned to Athens
for to study. Drink some red wine rather strong. Chrisostomos is also
working with wood. Manufactures wooden boxes, dozens recently. Size of
a shoebox. When we leave he starts to put epoxy over arranged burned paper
fragments. Back at Monastiraki we won't find the restaurant we had dinner
TUE, 06 FEB 2001
Wash some clothes. Phone Theodore. Somebody else, who doesn't speak english,
picks up the phone. Phone Antonio. Shall call him again at 16:00.
Search for the office of Egypt Air. It is far. Brano finds out the telephon
number. Friendly service but no chance to fly tomorrow. Full booked. Have
to change money. Compare the exchange rate at several banks. Ask at Barclay.
Commission 4000,00 DRM, 11$. Change at an exchange office, no commission.
The flight costs 87000,00 DRM. Visit the travel agency. Have to learn
that Slovak Rep. citizens need a visa for Egypt. Look for the embassy.
Brano has no fotos. Search for a mini lab. Take a strong Illy coffee while
he is waiting for the fotos.
Take a bus to the embassy. Back to the travel agency. Cross Syntagma Square.
Corner Vassileous Amalias and Vassileous Sofias deadly traffic. Take some
shots with XM1. Again from Monastiraki to Iroon Plateon. Coffee in a street
Café. Too many scooter passing. Walk towards Piraeus, Pireos Street
12:50. Take a bus to Piraeus. Get out at the street where Hotel Serifos
and Hotel Glaros are located. Stayed in this street in 1987. Walk along
the quay side to the Metro station.
Phone Antonio. His studio is in Faliron. Meet him at the Metro station.
WED, 07 FEB 2001
Walk to Monastiraki and Iroon square for coffee. Most of the Cafés
and restaurants still closed. Proceed to Thissio, Poulopoulou Str. Numerous
new restaurants and Cafés. Brano leaves for the embassy. Write
a few postcards. Meet again at the travel agency at 12:00. Buy tickets
for the flight tomorrow. Eat at a small restaurant next to the travel
agency in Apolonos Str. Order very small fish, a plate of potatoes and
salad. Take a walk towards Omonia. Deadly traffic on Stadiou. The same
on Eleftheriou Venizelou (Panepistimiou). Stay a while round Omonia. Back
on Sokratous. Leads to a filthy market. Watch parrots at a shop. Buy some
oranges. Have a look at the fish market. Already closing or closed. Pass
Plateon Iroon and head for the street Cafés on Adrianou along the
surface Metro line. Even there cars and scooters are permanently passing.
Makes us sick. Walk up to Acropolis and rest at the rock near the ticket
office. Sun is setting over Piraeus. The city is covered with smog. It's
visible. No wonder, where shall the exhaust fumes of millions of vehicles
disappear? Full moon next to the Parthenon. Decide to walk up the hill
opposite Acropolis, Filopappou. Great view on the city towards the sea.
Take a path down to Petralona and walk along Trion Ierarchon until Poulopoulou
Str. where pubs, Cafés and restaurants are located. Visite a traditional
Café and order 2 Ouzos with Meze. Meze is a small snack of fish,
octopus, melanzani and tomato.
Täglich werden hier mit Akribie auf vierrädrigen und zweirädrigen
Fahrgestellen Verbrennungsmotoren durch alle Teile der Stadt bewegt. Die
von diesen Aggregaten verbreiteten Abgase werden von den Bewohnern eingeatmet.
Es ist zu befürchten, dass es sich um einen großangelegten
kollektiven Selbstmord, Massenselbstmord, handelt.