Bratislava – Budapest
24 August 2016
Transportation: 1 car, 1 truck
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes
Already settled with the family for couple of days but my trip had not yet ended. The last track was there, from Bratislava to Budapest. It could be the toughest trip and surely not because of the hitch track but because my family finally found out what I was doing and they really tried to talk me out to stop me. Trust me, a lot of terrible stories that they told.
My cousin gave a me a lift to a gas station which I knew that it would be difficult to hitchhike because it is close to a shopping mall and still lies inside of the city. As I guessed, I stood there hopelessly. Despite the bad location to hitchhike, people are not very willing to look at my sign and also rejected whenever I came to ask. Somehow I sensed that Slovak people are not very friendly with hitchhikers or simply they was not familiar with it. My cousin was worried so she came and gave me another lift to the highway (now it sounded like I was spoiled).
After 15 minutes waiting, I was offered a ride to the border by a truck driver. Well, it was a long time since I got in a truck since the trip from Zurich to Milan. We were so close to the border but he was stopped by the police because of taking the wrong turn. The border was just in front of me but there was no chance to get out because the police was there and for sure you are not allowed to walk on the highway obviously. It was an hour waste in the truck and despairingly staring at the border in front of me.
Got there in the end, I was facing the most windy weather of my entire trip. I tried to hold on to my fragile paper sign. I thought that it would be easy to get a ride from here, however, it was just a thought. In fact, everyone wouldn’t trust you if you wanted to have lift at the border and with my foreign look, I could imagine that they thought I was suspicious. I got out of there with a Slovak policeman who was heading to Romania.
So it had marked my last kilometre of my hitchhiking trip.
2920km through Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, crossed Austria to Slovakia and ended in Hungary.
Maribor – Bratislava
21 August 2016
Transportation: 3 cars
Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes
308km has been probably the longest distance I have ever hitchhiked. Normally, with a long distance, I start hitchhiking quite early (around 9.30-10 am). In Maribor, I started the hitch at the traffic light before the exit to Austria. It was a bad decision to hitchhike there because there is nowhere that people would stop for you. After standing there for 20 minutes, I already knew that I would not have a chance. What I did was to walk to the lane where everyone was waiting for the traffic light. I got into the first car I asked. So, remember to ask when you are desperate!!! He took me to a gas station which is few minutes away from the Austrian border. My first sign was written Wien since it would be easier to find people going to that direction than directly to Bratislava.
In just about 15 minutes, a family from Ljubljana offered me a ride. It was the second family that I travelled with and it could never be better. It felt safer and you might be lucky getting offered something to eat on the way (Hitchhikers we are quite poor as you know). But it was delight to have met them. They took me to a big gas station which was just before the exit to Vienna. Since the gas station was big, I struggled with getting rides. It was a bit creepy that surround me was full of Romanian guys (I do not have any stereotype for them but I still haven’t got myself out of the trauma from my last travel to Portoroz). I stood there for about almost an hour before I got a ride offered by a Slovakian who was heading towards Bratislava.
Gonna spend sometime in Bratislava with the family for few days before heading to my last destination – BUDAPEST!
Portoroz – Ljubljana
16 August 2016
Transportation: 1 car
Duration: 1 hours 30 minutes
Ljubljana – Maribor
19 August 2016
Transportation: 1 car
Duration: 1 hours 45 minutes
Slovenia sure is the best country to hitchhiking. By the fact that most Slovenian people have had at least one time hitchhiking in this country so the idea of hitchhiking is very popular among this country. With each place I hitchhiked to, I only had to wait for 5 minutes or maximum of 15 minutes. When I asked them if they picked up hitchhikers often, they answered me that they were hitchhikers themselves when they were my age so it was normal for them to pick up hitchhikers every now and then.
What else is great about hitchhiking in Slovenia?
Everyone can speak English!!! Oh, I certainly missed that when I was in Italy. It was a big change when I arrived in Slovenia. When I hitchhiked from Portoroz, it was a stormy day. My host dropped me at a gas station in the direction to LJ. Within 5 minutes, I got a ride right away. The driver didn’t speak much of English but surprisingly he spoke German. So if you know English and a bit of German, you can survive in Slovenia 😉
LJ – MB: I gotta learn to trust people
Ljubljana sure made a great impression on me that it held my feet for another day. I left LJ with sadness but I surely come back soon!
I got a drive offered by a car dealer. Well, he seemed cool but the fact that he asked me if I didn’t mind to drop by a place so that he could check on the car he had been keeping an eye on. I was a bit nervous, to be honest, but somehow I felt like I could take a little risk. You could figure that everything was fine, otherwise, this post wouldn’t be published, right? But it really proved to me that maybe you should have trust on people sometimes. We’re all human, there are some bad ones but if you always think so, who would think you are the good one? The other day, I got a message from an old friend. His text was like “It would be wise for you not to hitchhike in countries like Slovenia”. I felt really disappointed on some people that you would say things that they have never ever experienced themselves. I had never ever felt as safe as I was in Slovenia!
Have trust on people, everyone!!!! We all want a chance to be looked good!
27 July 2016
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
I was very excited for this trip to happen. It had been years I thought of going to Cinque Terre because I wanted to see those cute towns in real life instead through photos. That trip was even more exciting because for the first time I had a company with me. I met Manoela in Milan through Couchsurfing. Having spent few days with each other, we had that click that we decided to travel with each other. Early in the morning, she took a trip from Milan to see me in Genova and the plan was to hitchhike together. For Manoela, it was the first time so I was so glad to show her what I had been doing the last weeks.
We started the trip from the train station Genova Principe and certainly it was a rough start. After asking around the way to the highway, we got a bus ride towards the ‘Autostrada’. That moment on, all struggles started. We went to the North-west of the city which all highways there were quite complicated. We went from one gas station to the other and somehow we still ended up in the wrong gas station. In the end, we stood very close to the highway and hoped for a ride to the main highway towards La Spezia. That took an hour.
A car with a French registration plate asked us if we wanted to have the ride. Oh well, he spoke French and I could only said ‘je parle pas français’ which obviously couldn’t help. Manoela is Brazilian and she could speak a bit of Italian which already was a great help for our trip already. With the very low Arabic music on, he drove us to the highway. Then come the exit to Milan, he dropped us in the middle of the highway where the exit was split into 2. We were terrified standing there because trucks were passing us and got pretty close. Luckily, after 5 minutes, a car accepted to drive us. We were happy running quickly crossing the highway (and laughing at the same time because of being so happy). He was heading to Rome but he agreed to bring us to the exit of La Spezia. Just before the toll, we got out and 2 women kindly took us in their car and drove us to La Spezia.
It was just 10′ train ride from La Spezia to where we were gonna stay – Riomaggiore. We took a rest, ate some Chinese (since we were both sick of eating Pasta everyday) and took the train to Riomaggiore.
Hitchhiking with 2 people, in my opinion, might be slightly more difficult because we were with two. Well, there is no proof though. However, it is always good to have a company because you wouldn’t like to wait for an hour by yourself.
15 July 2016
Transportation: 1 truck, 1 car
Duration: 2:30 hours
It was my second hitchhike and still nervous like the last time. However, I felt more confident about getting a ride since the distance was not that long. The Gas station on Speyererstr. 20 was my starting point at 8am. It was not a good day to hitchhike because the temperature was quite high, even in the early morning. The spot I was standing had no shadow and the sun was shining directly to me. Somehow it was good because people could see my sign better. After 20 minutes standing there, I got my first ride offered by a truck driver. He was heading to Bietigheim which is 30km away from Stuttgart so I was happy to join the ride.
Just before the exit to Bietigheim, the truck driver kindly dropped me off at gas station. There I met an Italian couple hitchhiking back to Italy since the guy lost his passport in Berlin. I was waiting for just 5 min and another guy who was on the way to his work in Ludwigsburg offered me the ride to there. On the way, somehow he decided to make the ride all the way to Stuttgart and to where I wanted to go. A bit surprised but happy to meet such a person. Good people are surrounding us but we’ve just never noticed it.
In Stuttgart, I will staying with a Couchsurfing host. Having been on this site for more than 3 years but now I have finally made use of it. I’m looking forward to meeting more people from this community.
Spending 3 days in Mannheim and somehow I did not have the feeling that I was travelling. Probably the comfort zone I got from seeing people I know made me feel more at home and I was still in Germany. In Mannheim, I stayed over my best friend’s house and he also gave me a tour around the city. The weather was absolutely pleasant during my stay and couldn’t ask for more. During my stay, I also got involved in a charity event organised by the Leo Club Mannheim by being the photographer for the event.
I left Mannheim on 12 July. I was picked up by H – who I have known for almost a year now. He kindly offered me a ride to Heidelberg and a place to stay. It is not a big distance to Heidelberg from Mannheim. However, how amazing that these 2 cities are so close to each other but so different from each other. Mannheim is considered an ugly city, and shadowed by the charming well-known Heidelberg. Somehow true! My eyes were wide open the moment I reached the city. The scenery was almost comparable to those described in fairy tales.
It was a great idea to spend my birthday day in this beautiful place. The first thing I did was climbing to that famous castle – Schloss Heidelberg. The castle itself is not that special but the view from the highest point is priceless. I looked over the other side of Neckar, all houses seemed to be swallowed by the giant green monster. Standing there I wished to play princess waiting for my charming prince.
9 July 2016
Transportation: 3 cars
Duration: 5 hours
Waking up early this morning with full of excitement because I knew from today on, I would hit the road and will be there for the coming months. Having everything packed, I headed to a subway stop from where I could walk to the gas station. The gas station is at Am Verteilerkreis which is the gas station before the exit to the highway. As my destination was Mannheim, I looked for the direction to Bonn and Koblenz and that gas station was a perfect spot.
It was a tiring enough walking from the train stop to the gas station since I had quite a big backpack on, I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to get a ride right away. When I arrived at the gas station it was exciting at first. Everyone told me that it would be easier for girls. After 30 minutes, no luck for me. Moving around to get the best spot but everyone just smiled at me and gently said no. Another 30 minutes, there was a man kindly asked if I wanted to go to Mainz with him (which was halfway for me). I was happy enough to have an offer so I took the ride. After some chit chat, turned out, he had been standing at exactly the same spot that I did 20 years ago hitchhiking to Italy.
In Mainz, we missed the exit so he letted me out at one gas station that was a bit off the highway. The location was definitely the best for me so I needed to be on the high way at one point. Luckily for me, some young guys were on their road trip to Cologne and they were happy to help me get to the highway. We found a big gas station which is located on A3 Wiesbaden and I called it the paradise for hitchhikers. There, I met 3 hitchhikes – 2 Dutch girls were heading to Vienna and Thomas, a Canadian was trying to get to Stuttgart (which was on my direction) to see his girlfriend after 6 months apart. We split up after a a short conservation. Thomas, sadly, had been waiting for more than 3 hours at that station but with my sign to Mannheim, we got picked up by a woman just the moment we were in front of the gas station store. I arrived in Mannheim in the afternoon, safe and sound!
I have spent most of my money on the last trip in South East Asia and made some small trips during since. Long story short, my savings are draining. But you know, that’s the life of a traveller – we don’t really have a luxury life to save all the money to travel the world, spend it all and save again. However, there will be nothing stopping us from travelling as long our heart and mind are strong.
With a tight budget, my mind came across Hitchhiking. I have never dared to do it and there is no reason for that . That’s why, I have decided to hitchhike this summer. I will be hitchhiking to 5 countries, 25 cities in Europe for about 2 months. I don’t know the proper way to do it but I’m gonna learn and figure out the way. All trips will be taken spontaneously so there will be no date scheduled.
My trip will first start from Cologne, Germany on 9 July. Here are following planned destinations:
Mannheim – Heidelberg – Stuttgart
Zurich – Lago Lugano
Lago Como – Milan – Genoa – Cinque Terre – Pisa – Luca – Florence – Siena – Bologna – Modena – Verona – Venice – Trento
Innsbruck – Linz – Vienna
Cesky Krumlov – Prague – Brno