Woke up at 9:50am feeling rather lazy and not wanting to move. However I grabbed my phone and checked the train times for the day. I saw that the only way I wouldn’t have to spend another night in Thessaloniki train station was if I got the train which was in 20 minutes, and it was 1.5km to the station. Hurriedly I packed all my stuff, grabbed my board and rode as fast as I could towards the train station. Once again I made it on with seconds to spare, I’m getting good at this.
Once again the ticket attendant asked me for money saying I had to reserve, initally I thought maybe they actually were supposed to fine me because both the attendants had now asked, however he then asked for a completely different price to the other attendant, which just seemed to confirm it was going straight in his back pocket. I didn’t pay and didn’t get kicked off again.
When I arrived in Thessaloniki I sat down in my trusty café that I previously slept in on the way down to Athens to take advantage of the free wifi. I checked my train times and all seemed well, the train appeared on the arrivals board so I assumed all was right. Little did I know that on that exact day they decided to cancel the train running from Thessaloniki to Skopje, until the migrant crisis has died down. This left me with a few options; get the train to the border then pay for a coach from there with no idea on coach times from there, get a bus the whole way and fork out €50 and still have to wait till 8:30am the next morning to leave or to try my hand at hitchhiking and see if I could get there for free.
Hitchhiking seemed to be the only reasonable option at this point, I rode my board along the road towards the motorway which would lead towards Skopje and the Macedonian border. On the way I managed to find some cardboard off the back of a lorry on which I wrote ‘Skopje’ as large as I could, tied it to my back and continued riding.
After about 10km of riding, eventually a guy pulled over. Really nice bloke, told me about how he did this when he was my age. He gave me a lift upto the motorway junction and dropped me off there. From there I was picked up by an old Serbian couple heading for Belgrade, who agreed to drop me off at a petrol station about 20km outside of Skopje. However, the old car they were driving, which I can only describe as the worst Peugeot I’ve seen since my sisters, had no air con, meaning that the poor old guy driving it stopped at literally every service station for the entire 200 mile trip in order to splash his face with water to cool down. It was a long trip, and by the time I made it to the petrol station it was pitch black.
I was at this petrol station for about 2 hours with my sign and as the rain began to fall I was just considering calling it a day, pitching the tent and trying again in the morning. When a minibus rolled up which was giving people a lift from this petrol station, to there homes in Skopje. Luckily they had one spare seat and were willing to take me. I explained to them I was looking for a hostel and they were nice enough to drop me right outside a hostel in the centre of Skopje. I was tired, cold and wet but I’d made it.
Once in the hostel I checked in, got changed and went and sat with the few people outside drinking. They offered me a beer and after that day, I gladly accepted, I chilled and chatted with Pablo, Kata and other Pablo for the evening before getting an early night, once again forgetting to write a blog before bed as I was knackered.