2-8-14 is the seventh edition of the annual European Hitchhiking Gathering. The suggestion this year is that we could have a double (or triple) gathering, with gatherings following each other in June/July and then the main one, as usual, in early August (2nd onwards).
As always, first ideas about locations already popped up on the last gathering and many places have been suggested in The Hitchgathering Facebook group. PLEASE POST YOUR PROPOSALS HERE. Bear in mind that the most important thing we are looking for is not only a beautiful location with fresh water, free camping and an inexpensive food source but the most important factor is to have a committed group of (3-10) people who will make it happen.
- 1 June/July proposals
- 1.1 Pihlajakoski, Finland
- 1.2 Kvalvika Beach, Lofoten, Norway
- 1.2.1 Status
- 1.2.2 Location
- 1.2.3 Description
- 1.2.4 Discussion
- 1.2.5 how to manage the gathering
- 2 August gathering proposals
The Hitchhikers' Midsummer party will take place 20-22 June, 2014, in Pihlajakoski, Central Finland (between Kuhmoinen and Jämsä), 200 km north of Helsinki and 110 km east from Tampere. Hitching should be relatively easy, even if the last 8 km is nothing but dirt roads. It is an old farm which includes several buildings, one with electricity. There is space for camping on the yard so bring a tent (or a hammock) and a barn if you rather sleep on top of hay like in old Finnish movies.
Midsummer Solstice (Juhannus in Finnish) is a traditional party-day in Finland when people flee the cities and go to their summer cottage, warm up the sauna, put up a bonfire, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, run naked in the fields, fight, kiss and make up, and finally drown in the lake while pissing from the rowing boat. We will extend that to a three-day party and enjoy getting together with our hitchhiker-family (and try not to drown and fight). Both fresh and seasoned hitchhikers are welcome, with or without alcoholic beverages.
There is a spring nearby which will provide us with fresh water and next to it is old smoke sauna. No neighbors near, so yell as loud as you like. None of these buildings have working toilet or shower. No outside toilet either. The nearest (super expensive) shop/bar is 4km away so come prepared! Sharing is caring.
There is place to swim 200 meters from the main building. 800 meters more and there is a small cabin with sauna for us, just 3 meters from the lake. There is also outdoor toilet, gas stove and place for making fire. Please behave. No drowning allowed! Neighbors are pretty close but they are probably having parties as well.
Kvalvika Beach, Lofoten, Norway
Kvalvika beach is in the lofoten, Norway. A romantic epic adventurous gathering up in the very north around solstice (21 June).
ARE THERE ANY ORGANIZERS FOR THIS? (Please edit and keep updated)
As previously mentioned, I would be able and happy to volunteer to be one of the 'organizers' of the HitchGathering at Kvalvika Beach in Lofoten, Norway as I planned to go hiking in the region anyway - no matter if the gathering happens to take place, or not. However, I probably won't be there earlier than the beginning of July though. I thought of making my way up North following the Hitchhikers' Midsummer Party in Pihlajakoski, Central Finland. You can of course feel free to join.
- Dominic Vagabond (find me on facebook)
I will probably have other plans for the time the August gathering is happening, so I'm very keen on having another one anywhere. I got to like the idea of a more selected, romantic, smaller gathering like a camp together. And as I will have lots of time, im very happy to organize it, if im not alone with that. The earlier the better for me.. :) Now that there is that Party in Finland, makes sense to postpone it for after that, though i wonder, why arent we doing a gathering there instead of a party? - Bea (Bea Foote on Facebook)
remote lonely beach on the lofoten archipelago, northern norway. the central date of the gathering would be the 21st of June, Summer Solstice, so "official" starting date could be 4 or 5 days earlier, and at least a week earlier to start preparations.
sand beach, turquois water, a bay sorrounded by steep cliffs, wide green fields, no trees, some fresh water springs, a little pond which gets warm enough to take a short bath, a hobbit hut, lots of driftwood, no human company, abundant dumpsters in day-trip distance, no darkness and an undistorted view on the midnight sun, since the bay opens toward the north with nothing but the ocean between the bay and the horizon. see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb_YFd2GzhM and http://www.68north.com/outdoors/hiking-kvalvika-beach/ for impressions.
considering its latitude, the climate is really mild. during the gathering, likely temperatures will be between 5° and 25°, and it´s also the least rainy time of the year (which still doesn´t mean rain and storms are unlikely). Since it´s directly on the coast and cut off by mountains from any forest, there wont be a problem with mosquitoes either.
extremely remote and not in a very hitchhiking friendly country (though the lofoten itself are an exception to the rest of norway, also locals use it as a common way of transport). also there´s one almost unavoidable and unhitchable ferry (cheapest option is skarberget - bognes (http://www.thn.no/english/default.aspx) for 35NOK/4,50€ and not necessary if you come from the north through sweden and finland. ferries in norway are also not impossible to sneak on)
long distance to get supplies, with an unavoidable mountain hike. really expensive for people that are into buying stuff.
though the climate is mild considering the latitude, it´s still not very hospitable: cold, rain and wind will have to be dealt with.
all of the above
everything said above can be seen as a point in favor of this spot. it will attract adventurous and active people who will have the most epic and romantic hitchgathering ever.
wild camping is legal throughout all of norway, and very much so on this remote beach.
even though they are not close, there´s lots of abundant dumpsters everywhere in norway. per 50 people and we would need probably two people going on a daylong dumpster hunt, with safe revenue. thanks to driftwood, there´s enough wood to make big fires (it needs chopping up though, since most of it comes in big tree trunks)
the hobbit hut
some years ago, two surfers lived throughout one winter (9 months) on the beach and built a hut out of driftwood. the hut is open for everyone to use and contains a stove, so there´s always a dry place for cooking.
how to manage the gathering
instead of collecting monetary donations (which are not worth much there), it would be better if every person brang some kilos of supplies from outside of scandinavia (especially rice/pasta/lentils and other dry staples). if people want to drink alcohol, probably the best option would be to get pure drinkable spiritus for example in poland and dilute it on spot with water and mix with lemonade powder. unused tarps are easy to find in norway and can be collected and set up beforehand. everyday some people would need to hitch out to dumpsterdive (which should also already be done on the way). also people will have to coordinate themselves beforehand to make sure everyone has some space in a tent (also it would be good if some big tents are around, so that no one has to wait out a storm alone in a one person tent).
August gathering proposals
The event starts 2 August 2014 and lasts about a week or as long as there are people around. Post here your proposals.
Qeparo fshat, Albania
Qeparo Fshat is a village in the Albanian cost 40 minutes walking up the hill from the main road and from the beach. Once in qeparo (map) , which is a village on the cost, ask people how to go in the upper Qeparo (Qeparo fshat). The road will lead you in the center of the village where there is a tinny bar and right behind the bar you can see the place.
There is a beach full of abandoned hotels in Croatia. A relaxing, lazy, easy-going gathering on the beach.
Location and how to reach it
The location is in Kupari, a small community of the Zupa Dubrovacka municipality, 10km south of Dubrovnik, where there are six abandoned hotels. Getting to that area is either along the Croatian coast or Monte Negro. If you're in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I would recommend getting to Croatia in Metkovic, even though there is a possibility of getting over Neum or Ivanica (small roads). Once near, reaching it is simple. If you start from Dubrovnik, just go to the south end of the city, all the traffic going south has to go there as it is a small stretch of land between the mountains and the sea. Same applies for Herceg Novi in Monte Negro. Just use google maps. In Kupari it is easy to find the hotels.
About the area
It is PRETTY. Southern Croatian coast alone is worth the trouble. The public beach in Kupari got the title as the prettiest one in Zupa Dubrovacka. One (or some) of the hotels have a "private" beach access, with no one around. No noise, no tourists. For those who haven't been to the Adriatic coast (Croatian side), the sea is mostly tranquil during the summer (no danger of dying, unlike the tides of the oceans), you can swim for hours, it's very very VERY clean and clear - you can jump because you see what's under. There is little sand, mostly it's rocks and pebbles, but no inaccessible cliffs, it's a friendly coast. Snorkeling is super-fun as there's tons of life and colorful algae and fishes and seashells and urchins (you can eat most of the sea monsters). Then there's the low vegetation and pine trees which you can smell a kilometer away... And the mountains are near. It's just so special. Writing this makes me miss it profoundly, I still haven't been to a more beautiful sea, ever.
About the hotels
It is a 340 square meters area, including an auto-camping area and 5 abandoned hotels. They were used as a special resort place for Yugaslavian army. After the abandonment in '91 the army took what they could and burned up hotel Kupari (just one of them). In '98 the Croatian army entered the area and used it (3 hotels were still just fine) till 2001. Since then the area has been completely abandoned and neglected, aside from people breaking stuff down, stealing wires, metals, windows and door frames... I haven't been to all of them, but they are destroyed, rubble everywhere. It would take a lot of cleaning up. Apparently there's also a sixth hotel somewhere in Kupari, abandoned as the rest of them.
Food and water
As I wrote, all the hotels are pretty destroyed so there's no water pipes, but the tap in the area is not only drinkable, but also yummy. It shouldn't be much of a problem to bum tap water from somewhere. There are tourist beaches, hopefully with free showers and taps (I am not sure, as it really depends on the place, nobody can own a beach in Croatia so all the hotel beaches are accessible, usually you can go shower, nobody cares. On some public beaches they have the stupid coins system).
I wish I could say something about the food but I have no idea. In Dubrovnik there are stores, markets, bunch of hotels and bakeries, might be a good idea to talk to them (10km north). Kupari is a really small place, something over 500 people so I don't know if they have a market. There might be.
It is always possible to forage some fruit, grapes, oranges, lemons and figs mostly (cactus fruit as well sometimes). Some herbs grow around, like rosemary and lavender and the small succulent salty green plant that grows on the cliffs. Sea snails, clams, urchins and all the fish is there. Getting it out (even fishing just with a line) is illegal but that never stopped people. I would do it, but be aware of queer folk on small boats going very near the shore.
Wild camping in Croatia is, well, illegal. We wouldn't have to worry about trespassing as there are no guards, but if someone for some reason decides to call the police they have every right to kick us out. Which as all very funny as nobody can own the beach so in a way nobody can tell it's illegal to be on a beach. How can they prove that you're camping there? Maybe you're just relaxing one sunny day on the beach with your tent. More absurdity: It is illegal for me to camp on my own bloody land if it has no building permit. Explanation; there's no toilet and sanitation stuff, but even if you bring your toi-toi it's illegal.
Anyhow, as well as many others in this group, I have camped on Croatian beaches (and parks and lived in a squat) and had no problems whatsoever. Once we invited some Italians to join us on one beach in Zadar (all together there was maybe 12 of us, it was not secluded and a bunch of local people and tourists would hang out there during the day and still nobody cared.)
I would recommend trying to get permission, which does sounds futile to me, because I'm a Croat and Croatian bureaucracy is a symbol of non-efficiency. The complex is legally owned by the Croatian privatization fond (internet says the army still uses it but very rarely and just some bits, I'm not sure it is true).
Second half of June, July and August are very hot. September is ideal as it's hot during the day and chilly in the night. It can rain but usually just an occasional shower. Sometimes there's no rains and it looks like premature autumn with all the burnt leaves. Of course, hotels are sun and rain protection.
Just to mention if it matters to anyone, the prices are one of the most expensive for Croatia, but anyway the booze is not that expensive in stores. Cheap wines are bad though (Croats mix it with coke), cheep beer is fine, and there's rakija everywhere. If there's anyone who does not know yet, rakija is the strong alcohol drink made in the Balkans out of anything, simple grappa, any other fruit, herbs, nuts, honey... EU forbids it but people make it in their own homes so it can be really strong. (I write this due to the frequent mention of alcohol on the FB discussion).
Patrick, I hope you have actually stayed there for a longer time and have more information.
It needs more looking into, exploration of the best area, as well as figuring the water and food issue. Positive side is that it is beautiful and secluded, camping gear is not necessary and the figs are delicious. Negative side is the legal issues and being secluded (in means of food), but then again, hitchhikers can hitch around to get stuff. I would also repeat, it would take a lot of cleaning but setting up a squat is also fun.
Unless someone finds a reliable water and food source, I would not recommend it as a hitchgathering, but rather as a pre or a postgathering, preferably in September when the temperatures are more comfortable. The area itself has the potential to host 2000 ppl (ok, I just came up with the figure, but there is more than enough space), but a bunch of people in such a small community would get noticed, so unless it becomes public and accepted, it would not be suitable. A smaller group could enjoy it for a while.