Earth > Europe > Western Europe > Germany > Thuringia > Jena
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|Population:||102,494 (31 Dec 2006)|
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Jena is a lively student city in Thuringia.
Hitching out of Jena is not a piece of cake but not impossible either. Basicly there are two motorways to start: The A9 heading North (Berlin)-South (Munich) and the A4 crossing from west (Frankfurt) to east (Dresden).
The A4 passes Jena straight at its eastern style southern edge: Lobeda. You can either start hitching directly here or take the train and a 3km walk to "Rasthof Teufelstal" (~20 km from Jena). If you want to start hitching straight from Jena there are several places to start.
Start in Jena
The best place to do this is in the tunnel underneath the Frankfurt-Dresden motorway, down the road from a hotel on a roundabout. If in doubt, then just get to the motorway, which heads east to west south of the main town. There are two junctions. One has a construction site just along from it (it looks like they're building a bridge over), and the other doesn't. You want to be at the one that doesn't, unless you're going to Frankfurt, or east. If you find yourself at the wrong junction (there's a big petrol station and a McDonald's), then you need to head west out of the petrol station, parallel to the motorway. Walk along past the MediaMarkt, and turn left. You'll see a bridge over the road, and there's a housing estate opposite. Cross the bridge and head up the hill through the housing estate. Keep going up the hill until you see the main road. Turn right, and walk along the road. The tram forks off to the left, but you should carry on down the hill to a roundabout with a hotel on it. You should be able to see the bridge now. If your lift's going the wrong way, you can quite easily get out at the services, and (south at least), there is an underground tunnel connecting the two service stations about half a mile north of the service station itself.
Trainride to Rasthof Teufelstal
If you are generally not that lucky thumbing down cars and you would like to start your jouney straight at the Highway, the easiest option is to travel to Rasthof Teufelstal which is located at the A4 approx. 15 km east of Jena. From here it should be no problem to ask people for lifts east or west. To get there either take the local train from Jena West towards Gera and get off at "Papiermühle". From here it is a (scenic) 3 km hike first east along the valley and then south to the small village of Bollberg. From here you either cross the fields directly to the Rasthof if heading west or cross the Highway (walk towards Mörsdorf after Böllberg) and head east at the other side for hitching east.
The A9 as a main north south magistrale passes Jena aprox. 25 km in the east. As it is probably difficult (though still an option) to use the above described options to start on the A4 and then change on the A9 you are probably better off aiming at the A9 straight away. You could either travel to the petrol station "Hermsdorfer Kreuz" straight on the highway, start at a petrol station in Eisenberg or hitch towards the A9 on local roads.
If you are a die hard hitchhiker and want to start hicthing in Jena you can hitch along local roads towards the A9. This makes sense as many locals (especially if heading north at the A9) also take the local roads instead of the A4 to get to the A9. You should aim at getting a lift as far as Eisenberg as here is a good petrol station really close to the A9.
Take a tram until "Jenzigweg" and thumb down cars at the bus station there. This is easier if you have a sign stating "A9/Eisenerg".
It should be easy to get a lift at this busy service station. The tricky bit is how to get here from Jena. Either take the local train from Jena West towards Gera and get off in Hermsdorf. From here take the 3-4 km/45 minute walk south through the whole village, past the A4, and finally turning left into the bushes at the Busstop onto the hiking trail towards the "Teufelstal". Alternatively you can take bus 200 (->Gera), 444 (->Stadtroda) or 427 (->Jena/Stadtroda) from the station in Hermsdorf (they go approx. every 30 minutes) and get off at "Hermsdorf Fußweg Rasthof". From here it is a 5 minute walk through the forest. Another option is to take bus 444 straight from Jena (or 427 from Stadtrode) towards Hermsdorf and get off at the same station.
Unlucky hitchhikers who get stuck at Rasthof Teufelstal on the A4 but want to change to the A9 can also do the scenic hike from Teufelstal to Hermsdorfer Kreuz (~4km/1h) Just follow the hiking trail marked with a green stripe which passes south of the service station at Teufelsthal south into the valley and head east uphill at a small junction following the same marks.
Eisenberg lies ~25km east of Jena straight at the A9.There is a good petrol station directly at the highway in a commercial area which is a good start to ask for lifts. To get here by puplic transport take bus 431 from Jena and get off at "Gewerbegebiet, Petersberg bei Eisenberg" (45 minutes).
There is a youth hostel in Jena. Be sure to get there nice and early, because there's nowhere else. The tram heads there, you should ask somebody for directions. If you get really stuck, the McDonald's at the service station, although not 24h is open til midnight, and opens again 7 the next morning. If you leave McDonald's at midnight, cross the road, and climb the stairs opposite the car dealership on the back of the warehouse, there's a sheltered area where you can stay for the night. It's not warm, but if you go into McDonald's the next morning, you can use the bathroom to brush your teeth and have a shave, and somebody behind the counter might recognise you and sort you out with a cup of tea. Couchsurfing and Hospitality Club is also very active in Jena.