I still remember my first day in Thessaloniki. I came with one small luggage, a million questions, and a decision to make Thessaloniki to be my new home. It was five in the morning and I was left alone on the station…I had no idea that I was in a very infamous (morally speaking) part of the city for a girl to be. After surviving few guys who were whistling at me I finally got into a cab! I gave the address of the hotel to the driver and my story could start…
As a foreigner the first day I didn’t have a choice except to take a taxi. Lack of information, inexperience, or maybe just desire for a warm bed and comfort took a lead that day. Probably now I would do it differently. However, in Thessaloniki, you can easily get hold of a taxi by calling a taxi company, hailing one on the street or by taking one from a taxi station (basically there are on every little corner).
To be sure that you are not tricked by not legal taxi drivers, all approved taxis with metered fares are always blue and have white or light yellow number plates.The price could be checked by the price label which is usually in the front seat. Just keep in mind that there are some extra charges if you take a ride after midnight or you have a big luggage, or you have ridden from/ to airport/ stations/ port.
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Also, one thing I don’t like about Thessaloniki’s taxi drivers is that many times it would happen that they are actually train taxi service. They would pick you up and basically on the way to your destination they will try to pick up more people up to four who are going to the same destination. No, they won’t try to reduce your price in that case, and actually, they will try to make you accept that they can leave you in the place which suits more to the other passengers as well. So if you really enjoy comfort and do not know where to take a bus, ok, go for a taxi!
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Having in mind that sometimes the price for foreigners is a miracle bigger than the usual one. I remember when a few years ago I made a circle two times around the same streets and the driver charged me for 20 euros, in contrast to now when I know the language and place it wouldn’t be more than 5 euros drive.
On the other side when you are taking a cab, can you really meet the spirit of the city? Can you really see around? Being in the bus, you can meet locals, see their behaviors, but also have a sight-seeing tour. Do you know those tour guide buses? Actually, local buses can be used for the same purpose. The price ticket is 1euro and you can get a ticket from the kiosk on the street or from the machine inside the bus. I find it a lot more interesting and very useful for experiencing Greece! You can also learn amazing stories from other passengers. Greeks are really friendly and open towards foreigners.
In Greece, at least in my neighborhood you say – Καλημερα! – Good morning. To everyone. I used to think that all those people every morning on the bus station actually know each other, such a lovely neighborhood where all people have smiles! But after some time when I was able to understand Greek, I found out that actually, that bus station is more than bus station for this neighborhood. People meet each other there, and grandmas are using this bus station to get some new juicy stories which will make their day. I am really happy every time I have to go to the bus station, where I will say hello and goodbye to some new neighbors.
In the end, if you still don’t want to lose your time for transportation such as a taxi or bus, you can always put your full trust to your legs! You know how they say who don’t have in head, for sure he has in legs! In the beginning, during my first months, I was walking all the time, even to the places which are not so close. This way I made myself discover new streets and parts of the city where if I was using a bus or a cab I would never go.
I am leaving you now to continue my walk and discover some new interesting places. Who knows what they have hidden in them? I am pretty excited to find it out and share with you some new stories.
But till then, do you really know who will share the bus with you when your limo breaks down?