Sithonia - a friend on the road
Author of the text: Rastko Zivanovic
Our vacation went perfectly, even though we had problems with our car. Fortunately, we have an AMSS (Automobile Association of Serbia) card that covers costs in such cases, so the service was excellent, and the towing was free. I am talking about towing to the mechanic that was 60km away. An honest recommendation for AMSS, they were checking in the following days if everything was okay and if our car has been fixed.
Regarding the malfunction, the hardest thing is actually to agree on technical issues using non-technical Greek-English terms with mechanics that do not understand English very well. Additionally, when you don't have a car, the biggest problem is to understand the bus' timetable, as well as where are the bus stops located etc. I could not clarify this with the owners of the accommodation for a very positive reason: they did not want to hear that I was going by bus, but they suggested that they would drive me, so I just could not learn a thing about buses from them.
On the spot where the malfunctioned car was left, on the main road near Neos Marmaras, I only got the information from the passers-by that the bus stop was "under that tree", pointing their hands to one of the trees. I only saw trees, no signs, no timetable, nothing. :) Since people were passing by or standing in that place, I asked them how will the bus driver know should he make a stop or not. "Wave at the bus," they shouted to me from the store behind the aforementioned tree.
I can tell you that it's a pretty interesting experience when you stand under a tree on the main road waving at the buses full of tourists. I believe that most of the tourists from the buses were actually from Serbia, and that they were impressed by the hospitality of local people who were welcoming them by waving at the bus. It seemed to me that a couple of people took photos of me from the bus, but luckily nobody came out to sell me imitation jewelry :-))
So, fortunately or not, no bus was the one I needed, therefore no one ever stopped so I avoided the additional embarrassment :-)
Trying to find a rent-a-car in Neos Marmaras was also unsuccessful, and an important detail is that in one of the central taverns they told me that there are only two agencies in Neos (none had available vehicles). Somehow they forgot to mention that there were other rent-a-car agencies, I will later find out that they even had available vehicles. They later explained to me discreetly that people from Marmaras want to work with people from Marmaras, so they do not recommend other agencies that do not consider themselves local enough. OK, I understand that kind of support. To a certain extent.
Basically, my advice would be:
- if possible, place the corrupted vehicle in a recognizable place in order to make it easier to explain later to people where it is located
- from the phone or navigation read the geographical coordinates of the vehicle, which will be very important to the tow service
- if the vehicle is in front of of an accommodation, inform the owners that you are leaving your broken vehicle there - they might have some suggestion or desire to help
- one of the great help would be to provide you with a password for their WiFi because you will be intensely making phone calls - Viber and Skype could help; Also, you will need Internet access in troubleshooting and finding the car service
- For instance, a guest from Slovenia, who has just arrived in the accommodation in front of which my car malfunctioned, helped me, and he drove me for the next 24 hours wherever i needed to go
- Hence the following message: find someone to drive you around, because local transportation does not work; A good option is rent-a-car, which should be contacted as soon as possible, because the vehicle can only be obtained in a day or two, or even you would have to wait longer
- after you find out where you should tow your vehicle, contact AMSS and wait patiently - local towers will do their best
- Contrary to the beliefs that exist, my repairs cost me less than if I did the same in Serbia, which would inevitably happen.
In order to help the others, I'll write you a list of contacts that helped us:
The car service that helped us the most is in Nea Moudania and they have my biggest recommendation (they speak English), and thanks to their location, they cover Kassandra and the areas south of Thessaloniki.
Car service - ΜΟΥΣΤΑΚΑΣ - ΜΑΝΤΖΙΝΟΥ ΥΙΟΙ Π. & Σ. ΟΕ tel. +302373021321, (E23.290822, N40.245234)
- car service at Neos Marmaras - classic mechanic, (E23.799614, N40.090457)
- car service "ΤΑΣΟΣ", near Neos Marmaras, with computer diagnostics for some types of vehicles, tel. +306944382200, (E23.771028, N40.130358)
Drive Rent a Car, +306947900711 (officially located in Porto Carras, they have an office in Neos Marmaras, they deliver and take the vehicle to the user's location without additional fees.
Agencies are sold out in the season and rentals are generally scheduled in advance. Even those with available vehicles, unfortunately, have complex procedures if you are not located in Neos or wherever their representative office is located. On the contrary, and at the same price, the agency I mentioned had a car available without waiting and was willing to drive and later take the car to Toroni.
- central bus station, Nea Moudania, (E23.284655, N40.244917)
- the Neos Marmaras bus station in the center (the same station for both directions, pay attention to what is written on the bus), (E23.782836, N40.094878)
- Neos Marmaras bus station on the main road, (E23.778866, N40.103641)
- bus stop Toroni main road, (E23.888219, N40.001365)
- bus station Toroni 1, (E23.903394, N39.985271)
- bus station Toroni 2, (E23.904900, N39.980229)