Posted by: nikusjka | December 14, 2011

Transport in Athens

Note 4. Public Transport.

The Greek behavior in the public transport is funny.

Bus. If the bus is full (or seems to be, because people are squeezed to the doors), there is often a part of the bus, which even has FREE  seats, but for some reason (which I haven`t established yet), Greeks don`t move!!! 🙂 They just stay squeezed to the doors and new people barely can come in! Can anybody explain me this?

Besides there is always somebody on the bus, who wants to argue just with anybody! Mostly those are Greek older men (sometimes with the bag on the wheels), desperately looking for someone to accidentally kick it, so they can start cursing them and involve half of the bus in the argument.

In addition, sometimes you can meet literally crazy people on the bus. Few days ago I was horrified, cos on my way home there was a man on the bus with me, who was sitting and talking to himself very loud. It would be ok, if he won`t be screaming in that scary horror movie voice and saying “Aλβανοι!!!… Kομματι κρεας!!…” (Translation: “Albanians!!!… Piece of meat!!!…). I really don`t know what he had against those people, or what they had done to him, but I was totally scared of what he might do.. I got home safe, so now I can blog about it 🙂

And important: while on the bus/trolley stop – DON`T FORGET to raise your hand when you see your transport approaching the stop! Why? Because no matter how many people are on the stop, if nobody pressed a stop button to get off that bus/trolley on the stop you are standing , than it WON`T STOP without your waving hand!

Metro/train. Metro and trains (“proastiakos“) usually also have free entertainment. At any time there are people entering the your mean of transport and start to tell their amazingly similar story about 3 kids, ill mother, no income possibilities and beg for money.

Syntagma metro station athens

Syntagma Metro Station

Sometimes they even might offer you to buy a pen for any amount of euro cents. Please, don`t get me wrong, I`m not cold -hearted. I believe that a part of there people are in real trouble an need help. But still there is this part of professional beggars, who just don`t do anything else or even don`t try to do.

As an example I will tell you one story, that my good friend told me. He is taking the suburban train every morning and everyday there was this guy, telling everybody that he haven`t eaten for 3 days now. The funny part is that every day he was saying “for 3 days”!!! The people taking the train are almost the same every morning, so even using a simple logic the number of days should either grow, or start from the beginning at some point (after the guy ate). One day my friend couldn`t take it anymore and came up to him and advised to change the speech at least from time to time :))

On the other hand, the metro is extremely clean, because they wash it every evening like crazy! Besides it has very useful screens showing weather forecast and name days. It also has different music playing and information in English, that makes it a pleasure to ride metro (if you exclude the extreme crowded morning moments). Besides many stops have a theme and are very beautiful, but it`ll take another blog post to show you the photos.

Tram. Trams are more cultural. Why? Because the beggars on the trams always have musical instruments with them and they are mostly kids. 🙂 I personally like trams, because, even though they are a little slow, they give you a beautiful ride along the shore in the south of Athens (S.E.F to Voula).

Transportation behavior during the rain. During the few rainy day in Athens please be aware of the following conditions:

  • drivers are not used to the rain. They don`t pay attention to the sidewalks and laws of physics. Apparently they have no idea that if the car passes over the water next to pedestrian road, the water is going to splash and go over the people standing there.
  • bus drivers don`t get more attentive either and  sometimes “don`t notice” wet people standing near the stop  under the roof waiting for the bus and they simply pass by.
  • the rain drops, as everything in Greece, have passion! If one gets into your eye girls – the make up is fucked!!! 🙂

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  1. Haha. Hilarious and sad at the same time.
    I can clearly remember a couple of stories of beggars.
    – I was in university, and me and my friend have left with 5 euros each. Instead and it was Sunday. Instead of going to a mini market and buy spagheti and tomato juice to cook, we decided to go to Goody’s instead. An old woman came and asked for money. We really didn’t have so we said ” We don’t have, we are also uni students” . Her response (in Greek) ”Poutsofoititries eiste”!!!! WOW!!!!
    – The other was in Ktel of Kifisos. I met the same junkie begging for his ”ticket”. Within the same hour, he was about to travel to Patra,Kalamata and Korinthos!
    – Gupsy mother ask money to buy a tyropita for her less-than-1y.o kid!!!!

    Only one beggar I remember truly in need. He was a pakistani, out of a souper market. People gave him food, and he was very thankful. He didn’t even needed money. Just food to survive.

    As for the old people.. Gosh, I can’t stand them. They want to enter the bus before anyone get out, they are insulting you if you don’t get up to sit, but some times, they insult you because you did, and they tell you that they are not ”that old”…


    • hahahaha!! Thanks V.!! Super nice comment!! Thanks for adding some more stories to my post!
      But really, although I think I know a lot about Greece, sometimes I`m still stunned by all those small little daily life details 🙂 I usually laugh about it, but, for example, that part with the rain and the drivers… Omg I was all wet that day!!!!
      I hope you managed to find some more funny post in my blog! Keep reading 🙂
      p.s. you have a lovely blog!:)

      • Yes, this is sad. Generally the mentality of the Greek drivers suck.
        I was shock that when I visited Austria, the cars actually stopped in the line before the walking(zebra) lines in the traffic lights!

        Thank you 🙂

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