Day 18  Via Egnatia – by train no less!

We allowed ourselves an alarm-free wake up this morning. We knew only one thing – we weren’t walking out of Florina to try and re-establish ourselves with the VE route. We needed to explore options. Bus, taxi, train?Over breakfast we discussed those options and noticed there is a train track that goes from Florina past the next place on the route that has accommodation – Agios Panteleimon. Amazingly we also discovered there are three trains a day including Sunday. The next train would leave in an hour. We went into high speed action packing up, paying our bill, walking to the station, getting our ticket for euros 3 each. Yup 3. The train was about half an hour late. Pat says that’s like Italian trains. I figure it’s a Greek trait as well. After 40 scenic minutes of easy travel we got off at a tiny station near a small village on a lake. Our planned destination for tomorrow. We could see our hotel sitting on the hill a short distance away and very soon were checking in. Before lunch can you imagine! Not even too weary or sweaty. Bonus. 

We found a small shop,and went in to discover it was really closed – but the two ladies in there decided we could do our shopping anyway. Much smiling and happiness all round. Exact change please as the till isn’t open…. We stowed two beers in our room fridge along with a few things for dinner as this room has a kitchenette. Off we went for a substantial lunch. Very tasty. We debated a short walk up a nearby hill to a church and realized that was utter nonsense.

Back to our room with balcony and view. Now we have no bathing suits with us – but this is a fairly private balcony so we whiled away a pleasant afternoon in fairly under-clad states. 

Tomorrow we will walk to Arnissa. Back on the trail of the VE. But we’ve taken a very close look at the various places with the guide book suggestions of asking for unofficial accommodation at the bar. This isn’t going to happen. We’ll be using bus, train and taxi to shorten two and in one case three days of walking into one doable stretch. We’ll have some longish days but will walk with the knowledge that there’s a bed at the end of the day rather than some creepy mean spirited fellow telling is to get out of town. 
And back to that town – Neos Kavkasos – just for a moment. We will not forget or forgive the rudeness and unkindness of the people we met there, but we must assure you that we have met others since then who have been kind and considerate. The man who drove us to Florina yesterday (and accepted no compensation other than a thank you), the man at one full hotel who called to another to get us a room, the woman today who confirmed the train schedule for us, the train conductor who made a point of letting us know where to get off the train (there were no station signs in any language) the two woman in the shop who let us in even though it was Sunday and the place was closed…. 

These are the people we will enjoy remembering.

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