The 21st of July
This was about the time to set off and head towards Portugal. I was waken up after a few hours sleep by my parents telling me that they were going 70km in my direction with a car and if I wanted a lift I had to hurry. That wasn’t good news, but the lift sounded great. I packed my stuff and half awake got in the car. We arrived in Olsztyn, my parents dropped me on the hitching spot towards Warsaw and after few warm good-bye words I was on my own. Apparently it was my lucky day, cause I barely had finished smoking a cigarette when the car stopped. This was straight ride to Warsaw. The businessman didn’t feel like talking so I enjoyed sleeping in a conditioned car while it was about 35 degrees outside. I woke up in Warsaw.
The 22nd of July
I woke up in the morning and realized that I didn’t want to stay in Warsaw a night longer, mostly because of the heat. It was horribly hot, especially in the centre of the town and I was fed up of 35 degrees all the time. I hit the road around noon got to the hitching spot with a tram. Amsterdam was my destination.
At the beginning my plan was to go to Koln and apply for Russian visa and make it to the Bajkal lake after attending the gathering in Portugal but I had changed my mind. I had realized that I didn’t have that much time and if I wanted to do that I’d have to be in rush and stress, hitch every day huge distances which I didn’t want to dom chilling is the plan for this summer
When I got to the hitching spot I met 2 Estonian guys and a Latvian guy. The pair was headed to Berlin, Latvian guy to Rotterdam. I told them about the gathering in Portugal. After a short talk I stuck my thumb up and waited for a lift. After half an hour a car going out of gas station stopped, the window opened. 2 ladies took me 50 km furter, to a perfect hitching spot towards Berlin and further. I got a lift after a few minutes to Lodz from a trucker, so yet again 50km further. Again, spot was perfect, the sun was shining strongly. It took me a few minutes to stop a huge truck. This awesome, super-nice 60 years old trucker was willing to take me all the way to Berlin.
He asked me:
‘You know why I picked you up? ‘
me: ‘Probably because of the heat?’
him: ‘Noeees, you look cute and I could read from your face that you were a hitchhiker who’s seriously going to Berlin as the sign says, not someone who’s got bad intentions’.
500km in a truck with this man sounded nice. We had nice conversation all the way long, I got to know his whole family just from hearing: son studying in Technical school to be a car mechanic, talented one, lovely daughter studying journalism in Katovice and loving wife, Unusual thing happened on the road, when we were driving down the highway it started to rain and temperature went down to 20 degrees, so 16 degrees difference. After 10 km it stopped raining, and it started warming up. Withing 20 km temperature got back to 36 degrees, amaizing, isn’t it ? We stopped before the border cause he wanted to get more fuel. He exchanged vouchers he got from pumping for 2 dinners and we had an awesome polish dinner with black coffee. We moved on, made it to Berlin around 10 pm. I was dropped on the first gas station on the ring, it started to rain. I started asking around and one of the Polish truckers took me to the next gas station – michendorf. It was late in the evening, still raining. I met another hitchhiker, German guy was going to Leipzig. I saw another Polish truck pull over. I talked to the guy and it turned out that he could take me onto A2, but he could only drop me in AUTOHOF, which wasn’t that cool, cause it rained. I still jumped in the truck and we started calling people on CB radio, it was one of these moments when I know that within 30km I’ll find next trucker going my direction who will pick me up. After a few km I swapped trucks, I was in the truck to Hannover, another Polish trucker When we arrived it was 3pm, I was exhausted, lack of the sleep had occured to me. I put my hammock on the ground, cause there were no 2 trees in the near where I could put it up and I totally didn’t mind sleeping on it using it as a blanket just by the highway. I woke up 2 hours later fresh and ready to go and had a cool view of the sunrise in front my face. I barely got on the side of the road and saw a Polish truck coming. I waved my hand up and down and the truck stopped. I opened the door and yelled over passenger’s chair – ‘ONTO A30?’ – ‘YEA, GET IN MATE’. I was exhausted but this guy was so nice that I didn’t even think about sleeping even for a while. Nice conversation kept me awake, coffee cooked on the stove on the gas station woke me up. We drove till Rheine Nord, where I asked him to drop me. I jumped off at the junction, spot didn’t look bad despite little space for car to pull over. I stayed there one hour, nothing happened. I saw a hitchhiker coming up. It turned out that he was also headed to Amsterdam. Petr from Czech Republic and I stack our thumbs up and waited. Our communication was very limited, he didn’t speak English well. We got a lift to the border after another hour waiting. Spot looked good but we made a mistake, cause we should have gone to the highway junction with him, but we got off on the gas station which seemed to be good at the beginning, but it turned out to be the worst spot ever. Quite suprisingly I noticed another hitchhiker. What turned out is that it was the same guy I met in Warsaw who was going to Rotterdam, Latvian guy. We hitched for a while with 3 but it didn’t really make sense, so Latvian guy decided to go on his own. After long time waiting, around 2 hours I’d say we got a lift to Hengelo. The owner of restaurant took us to the on-ramp 20km further. We cooled down in a canditioned car and carried on hitching. Yet again, long waiting period, we get a lift just a few km further, to Arnhem. Only dutch-speaking elder gentelman gave us a lift. I overslept our junction and got up when we were on A50 already. We got off at the first exit and got on the local road to Amersfoort. It was only 10km to A1 highway, so we decided to walk it and hitch at the same time. A business man going back from work stopped and took us towards Amersfoort. This wonderful person, married to German woman speaking Russian took a detour and drove us 30km down the highway. We were dropped in a perfect spot. Out of nowhere I asked Petr a question:
‘hey, you are Czech, I’m Polish, why don’t you speak Czech and why don’t I speak Polish, we might be able to understand each other better?’,
he answered: ‘ye, why not ‘
me: ‘so say something in Czech’
Petr : [in Czech] ‘what do you want me to say?’
me: [in Polish] ‘anything, just speak Czech’
Petr: ‘do you understand me ?’
me: ‘woaaah, that’s awesome !’
We enjoyed speaking more or less mutual language for a while longer when car stopped. Old man was going to Bussum, just 20km before Amsterdam. He spoke little English, no German, mostly Dutch. We got to the next on-ramp. We managed to stop a car but police showed up and sent us away from the spot and at the same moment the driver who was going to Amsterdam Nord was forced to drive away. We were kinda pissed off, cause it had been 6 hours since we teamed up and we just moved 200km forward. However, 10 minutes later a young, easy to get along with guy took us to Amstelveelen. We arrived there at 4pm, so it took me 28 hours to get there. We shared numbers and e-mails with Petr, had a spliff in a coffee shop then split and followed each other’s way.
It was really good hitching, despite bad timing. Awesome people, non-stressed atmosphere and the feeling that I was not in rush, and that I’m not going to be in rush for the next 2 months. More days like that please.
So far I have no plans regarding to the future, the last point of my plan is Sines, Portugal, then I’ll see what happens. At the moment I’m considering joining Viva von Agua race from Hamburg to Vama Veche in Romania or hitchhiking around Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania.
More to come