Hitch-hiking is easy they said. It’s like catching taxi, they said. Well, maybe. But first, you have to get there. We started our hitch-hiking trip in Budapest. We checked the spot at hitchwiki.org . We chose the place that was indicated as „easy“, where cars could easily stop to pick up the hitch-hikers. Average waiting time: 20 minutes.
With a bit of a stage fright ( we haven’t hitch-hiked for an year now), but full of hopes, and expectations, we got to the outskirts of Budapest,. We prepared a nice banner „Belgrade –Беорад “ and we started.. Twenty minutes passed by fast – nothing, not a slightest sign of interest. The summer sun already begun to burn our skins, and our feet started to cover with dust.
After 2 hours we felt exhausted and our high hopes vanished completely. We realized that many drivers show us they go somewhere else. We’ve checked the map: our perfect road was situated before the road ring – the cars could go to any direction from there. We also realized we’ve misspelled “Београд” in our banner, we were so proud of. Oops! We still need to learn a lot about the Cyrillic alphabet.
Finally, in the 5th hour of waiting, a car stopped. Istvan, a nice Hungarian guy, took us some kilometers ahead. We don’t even know how many, time passed by fast as we had a nice chat.
After having a fast coffee ( apparently Spaniards cannot do without it, no matter the circumstances), we started again. This time level: hard. After some time a few others hitchhikers appeared, all heading our direction.
The first car that stopped was the police patrol. They asked us a few questions in Hungarian, we just smiled shyly showed our banner and said “vacation”. They wished us good luck (that’s what we like to think) and continued to their hunting place, at the entrance of the highway. We’ve soon realized, they try to hunt down cars that don’t stop before the “stop” sign we were standing next to. I guess the locals knew about the trap, because every single one stopped. But as soon as a car with foreign plate appeared, it was doomed. We tried to show them they should stop. But who would listen to us. What happened next looked a bit like a National Geographic documentary. Poor victim passed by clueless and carefree, and just behind her back, a cold-blooded predator came out from the bushes and started to pursue her. First slowly, to finally catch it with all his speed and strength, leaving her without any chance to survive. Oh well, at least a bit of entertainment for bored hitchhikers.
Meanwhile, we met Ivan, our second driver, who was so nice that he not only offered us a ride, but also came back for one more hitchhiker, who was going to the same city, as he was (Szeged).
We stopped at the gas station before Szeged, a town next to Hungarian-Serbian border. 5 PM: We still have a chance to get to Belgrade. 6 PM: It’s hot, we’re thirsty, we will arrive there by night, but we can still make it. 7 PM: Strong need for a cold beer. Nobody stops, we start loosing our cool. 7:30 PM: Screw that, we’re staying here. We went for the beers. On the way we met some two guys from England, also trying to hitch-hike, guess where… yes – Belgrade. By now, we picture ourselves Belgrade as some kind of hitchhikers Mekka. We’re really curious to see it. Anyway, these two fellows had been waiting here from 1:30 PM. We’re not the worst! We told them we found a place to camp, and they are welcome to join, bought the nectar of gods we needed so badly and went to our cute spot, a bit hidden, between the trees, but really close to the gas station and all its facilities. After preparing the campsite, taking out the guitar and opening our beers, all we were missing was a company. “Let’s see what’s up with the Englishmen”. They were gone. Somebody took them Yeah, finally we’re the last. But we have a guitar, beer, cheese sandwiches with some hot Hungarian peppers and a company of a sweet little hedgehog. It’s great to be on the road again!