Monthly Archives: January 2015

From a gas station near Verona to another gas station near La Turbie

Verona-La Turbie

Verona-La Turbie

I woke up early, when it was dawning. I had a good feeling, I was finally on the highway, on my correct way and in very nice gas station to hitchhike. With this good energy it didn’t took me to long to get a ride. I don’t even remember having my coffee so it should have been in the early morning. I can’t remember the driver neither, just that it was very similar as the one from the last day, also an Italian middle-age guy working in sales. In my mind even the car was almost the same, a dark comfortable premium one. In my memories I mix both cars and drivers, so what I have written in last post can be applied for this one too.

Gas station near Verona

Gas station near Verona

Anyway, we were supposed to go together until Milan, but he explained me that the net of roads around this city is really huge and I could get easily lost. Instead of that, he advised me to try to go by another highway that started at the height of Brescia and was going to the south-west. It was a complicated decision. In the one hand I had the possibility to do many kilometers and be in Milan early, from where I could expect many cars and trucks going to France; on the other, do a few kilometers with this guy and put all of my eggs into one basket trying to find a long-distance truck going to the south. I thought that in any case it was better to get stuck in the middle of nowhere, but in the correct highway that in a big city as Milan. So I told him to stop me some kilometers before Brescia. As he knew well the route he left me in the last gas station just before the detour to the south.

It was a very big area with a huge Autogrill restaurant. I remember it well because I spent many hours there. However, at this point I was still quite confident about my day. It was definitely not more than 11 am, because I remember having my breakfast when I arrived. I even found a Moroccan family with a french plate in their car who apologized to not have a place for me. After the break, I went to the exit of the gas station, just in front of the restaurant and I started again.

Gas station near Brescia

Gas station near Brescia

At the beginning I thought that it was just a question of bad luck and soon or later some one was going to pick me up. Well, it was later than sooner. It started to get hot but not as in the previous days. I ate something quick in the other side of the bushes where I was standing. I also went at least twice to buy a coffee in a plastic glass. As the hours were passing I was getting more and more pessimistic. It was not a bad place to sleep, but I was very far even from France and It seemed to me that I was going to be in Italy forever (I was thinking to buy a pair if sunglasses to be more integrated into their culture). Every time a trucker was entering to the bar I was trying to convince him to take me with him (this sounds weird). In the afternoon the area was full, at one moment something like ten small Romanian vans carrying people and goods in long semi-trailers arrived. Also other people with french plates and a couple of Spanish truckers, but none took me.

Then, around 4 pm, I saw a big red truck coming and parking just in front of me. I checked the plate and it was french. Suddenly the door opened and I saw a guy without shirt coming down. He was not specially tall but definitely well-built and with an impressive tattoo covering all his upper-body. Sincerely he looked like a psycho-killer. Anyway I couldn’t let any opportunity slip so I addressed to him in French. It turned out that he was Spanish and, despite his look, he was a very nice person. A little bit crazy to tell the truth but a really interesting guy. He accepted me in the truck without any hesitation but first he invited me to another coffee and a cigarette.

Once in the truck I started telling him my story but I understood that, as a good trucker, he also liked to speak, even more than me. He was going to France, specifically to Nice. It was perfect, I had a stroke of luck. During this 5 hours together we smoked a lot and he explained me most of his life. Including his two previous accidents with a truck. He try to reassure me telling that both accident were due to the tiredness and now, with someone to talk with, he was feeling very awake. We drank another coffee in our way and it started to get dark when we were approaching the border. We were passing by a very beautiful area with the sea on the left and the mountains on the right. I really wanted to reach France this day but he explained me that he was going to leave the road just after the border taking a secondary road toward Nice.

He stopped me in the latest gas station in Italy. It was a very small area surrounded by small hills. I couldn’t see much more but the lights of the seaside were just in front of me. For a moment I had the crazy idea of going down to the beach and have my last adventure. But as I was very close to France and I knew that is one of the easiest countries to hitchhike in western Europe so I decided to have a try even being so late. Somehow knowing the language and being familiar with the country encouraged me. I started to ask to every person in a french car and after two or three attempts a young guy agreed to drive me for some kilometers, to first gas station in France. I didn’t want to go further because I was very tired and it’s more probable to find a long-distance ride in the morning.

After less than 20 minutes in his car he let me in a huge area for trucks. It was probably the biggest gas station I had seen in my whole trip, full of wide pieces of grass and a lot of parking for cars and trucks. It was close to La Turbie (one hour away walking to Montecarlo according to Google Maps. I didn’t know it). I had a big dinner with all my leftovers, I drank some beers and I went to sleep. For the first time I was able to choose where to put my tent. I could hide myself but it seemed safer to me to be close to the entrance. After so many days sleeping with the sounds of the cars in the background it would have been strange to be in almost complete silence.

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Categories: Beach, Gas station, Hitchhiking, Mountains, Wild camping | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From a gas station in Fauglis to another Gas station near Verona

Fauglis-Verona

Fauglis-Verona

As well as other days during my trip where very exciting and many things happened, this was probably the most boring one. I also forgot to make pictures, perhaps because nothing was worth to do it. I have fuzzy memories.

I woke up early as I had been doing for the last mornings. I packed the tent, I played a little bit with Pulguita on the grass and I started my duty. About this long period before being picked up I just remember my regular walks from the signal where I was hitchhiking to the shadow and, as it was getting warmer, to the bathroom to refresh myself. It was quite hot. I am not very sure but I seem to remember that around 12 I was already very hungry, and Pulguita too, so we had a quick lunch under a tree that didn’t last more than 20 minutes.

After this, in some point in the early afternoon a car gave us a ride. I cannot remember the car neither, I would swear that it was an Audi or at least a good car. I remember quite well that the air conditioning was on the maximum and the difference between the outside and the inside was tremendous. I also remember that my driver, a middle age Italian guy, was working as a sales representative so he used to travel a lot. That was probably why he picked me up, because needed some conversation. We were actually talking all the time and it was a quite pleasant trip. He was staying in Verona so I told him to leave me in a gas station a little bit before. Finally he was kind enough to drive to a gas station in the other side of the town so I could avoid the highway exit to the south, making my job easier for the next day. It was just in front of the airport, on the other side of the road.

When we arrived It was getting dark. I tried to hitchhike a little bit more but if in Italy it was difficult during the day, at night it should be almost impossible. I did the exact ritual as the night before, play with the cat, dinner, open a beer or two, read my book and sleep early. This was the more exciting part of that day.

Categories: Gas station, Hitchhiking | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From a church in Villesse to a gas station in Fauglis

 

Villesse-Fauglis

Villesse-Fauglis

When I woke up around 6:30 am it was still dawning but few minutes later I could realize how beautiful was the field where I was sleeping, the grass was perfectly cut and the church steeple was quite nice. I finished the sandwiches from the previous night, I smoked a morning cigarette admiring the church and I came back to the bar to have my pre-paid coffee. My friend was not there, he apparently used to go a little bit later. I thanked again to the young waiter, I said goodbye and I returned to the roundabout where I had so bad luck the day before.

My tent under the church

My tent under the church

 

My garden

My garden

Once there I confirmed that It was definitely not a good place for hitchhiking, there was not to much space for the cars to stop and the narrow sidewalk was taken by wild grasses. I arrived around 9:30 am after 15 minutes walk that seemed shorter than the previous night. I had been trying to get a ride for a long while but not even a single car stopped. Just the driver of a van that was going to another directions tried to encourage me to abandon and go the train station. Around 11 am I decided to have a rest In the middle of the roundabout where the road passing above was giving some shadow, Pulguita also needed to run a bit. Then I started again without much hope. I was trying to cover my head with a minimal piece of shadow coming from a ridiculous traffic sign, anyway the intense hot was destroying my skin.

From where I was, I could see a big new roundabout still under construction but the work areas was forbidden for pedestrians. On the contrary, cars were allowed to cross this area to join the highway in a steep new driveway with several line intertwined. Despite the signals, I decided to do all the detour and go until the top of the entrance through the works. It took me something like 20 minutes, jumping some fences, walking on the dust and passing 20 meters away from the big “No autostop” signal. At least from there every car was going in my way. I was very disappointed when the first truck stopped, again, only to tell me that it was forbidden to be there. I tried for another 15 minutes, more focused on not be seen by the “Carabinieri” than in the road. None stopped. Finally, I thought that it was too much stress for me and I quitted.

At this point I really didn’t know what to do. I had memorized from the map that the highway split again in two directions several kilometers away, so in a desperate action, I decided to walk on that direction. I went to my favorite roundabout again and I followed the road to Palmanova. Few meters away I saw a signal where it was written “Palmanova 16”. I was exhausted, burned and breaking the law, but this was only the beginning. I was walking on the side of the road, literally on the white line because there was not sidewalk and the cars had to do a slight movement to not run me down while I was hitchhiking without looking back.

Surprisingly, the third car stopped just at my side but when I turned my head I realize that it was the police. They rolled the window down and I discovered two slick-haired agents both with black sunglasses looking at me with a mixture between disgust and cockiness. They ask me some questions but their only reaction to my answers was looking one to the other in a disapproving way. They settled the conversation telling me that I was not allowed to do hitchhiking nor be walking in this road. I really wanted to ask them if they believe that I had the power of teleportation but I refrained from having more problems. This was undoubtedly the climax of the day, nothing could get any worse.

In fact, two cars later a nice middle age couple picked me up. They were going somewhere on the countryside but I told them my story and my problems to get out of this area and they agreed to deviate a little bit from their way. They drove me to Palmanova because there is big highway crossroad there so I could at least try to find a car in my correct direction. I asked them to leave me in the entrance to the highway, but they told me that there was a Police station nearby. They also adviced me about visiting Palmanova and something about the town been built in a star-shape but I didn’t pay to much attention to it. As they told me, just before entering the town we crossed several police cars and then we passed under the city wall getting straight to another world. They let me just there, on the other side.

Palmanova

Palmanova

The atmosphere was extremely calm. The building were all quite similar with two or three storeys with plain facades and many windows. The long street ended in a distant square and was decorated with a kind of medieval flags. Some meters away I noticed a touristic panel so I approached. Indeed it was true, I was in a Renaissance city build in the shape of a perfect 9-pointed star. The structure of the streets was also exactly symmetrical, like a spider net, with radios going to the main square in the center and and concentric circles around.

Palmanova (source: wikipedia)

Palmanova (source: wikipedia)

It was around 1:30 pm so as it happens in Spain (a little bit later) everybody was eating at home and the streets were empty, not even tourists. I started to walk through the Strada Borgo Aquileia toward the central square, Piazza grande. But a moment later I saw a bar with Wi-fi on my left so I decided that the same Pulguita as me deserved a break. The bar was called AB Bar and we remained outside in a small attached table where, after receiving my coffee, I made myself a sandwich with the leftovers. I searched for my position in Google maps, then I checked the road and I confirmed that I must take the A4 toward Torino. Approaching the map to the maximum I noticed a gas station around 6 kilometers away, close to Fauglis, this was going to be my objective for the next few hours.

Piazza Grande

Piazza Grande

Then I went to the deserted central Square, I made some pictures and I turned left looking for the north-west exit of the town. I crossed the walls again and the ensuing pit overlying the outside, there I found this signal:

Il parco storico dei bastioni

Il parco storico dei bastioni

My calculations were wrong so I had to come back following the outside path to reach the road that continued to the west. Once there, walking under the shade of the trees I enjoyed for a moment the beautiful and quiet Italian landscape. But twenty minutes later I found another obstacle. The road was going up crossing the highway from the top of a bridge. When the street started to be steep two crash barrier appeared on both sides forcing me to decide either walk on the inside, with the cars, or on the outside, with the wild-grasses. I chose the latter. But once on the higher point, above the highway, the situation became even more complicated. On this section there was an enormous metal fence separated from the crash barrier (that were also higher there) only by something like half a meter. It was not enough space for a normal person and definitely not for someone with a big backpack with a mat and a tent hanging and a cat’s cage.

The road was also narrowing and the cars were more numerous in this pass. Finally I decided to try a few meters to see if it was possible. Everything is possible but it can take more or less time. Those 20 meters took me at least 10 minutes, fighting with the metal bars and swearing in every language. The detail of my burned skin didn’t help me at all. Few meter away I found another section of the same kind but this time a few centimeters wider so with my recently acquired technique I crossed it without much problems. On the other side there were only fields for a while, the sun was still high so I was trying to find a shadow. It should have been almost 5 pm. My only intention then was to enter in the highway, even if it was for a few kilometers.

Fauglis

Fauglis

I arrived to an intersection and I continued toward Fauglis on the left. I didn’t know exactly where the gas station was so I tried to be as close to the highway as possible. After few meter the road split in two again, the main road was going straight to Fauglis and an even smaller road was going to the left. I took this one because it was closer to the highway and was surrounded by big trees in both side giving a great shade all along. The view was magnificent and after almost two hours walking I decided to stop in a piece of grass, eat something and let Pulguita play a little bit. Not a single car passed. When I restarted I soon arrived to an intersection where the road finished, I considered both sides. I could see the highway on the left but the road was just crossing it without any visual sign of the gas station. Instead of this I went to the right until the small village of Fauglis from were I could ask and buy some food and beer for the evening. I walked on the main road across nice houses until I reach what it seems to be the center of the village. There, I asked to a countrymen if there was any shop nearby. I followed his instructions and 5 minutes later I was in a little “Spar” shop.

I bought provisions and I asked for the gas station but they presumed that I was going by car. I didn’t insist. I went out and I arrived to the other side of the village where I saw a men in a small tractor. I thought, this is my man. This time I explained myself well and he showed me the way, he also told me that the only entrance to the gas station from the outside is a small door that was not always open. A little bit scared, I did my way in the small path and I was there in 15 minutes, around 6 pm. I found the metal door and it was luckily open because the fence was quite tall. I glanced around the area to be sure that it was possible to camp there and I ran to the far end trying to catch a car and escape from there as quick as possible. No luck. At 7:30 pm I decided to keep my energies for the next day. I a had a dinner with Pulguita, we played a little bit and then I read a little bit. I went to sleep quite early.

Categories: Animals, Countryside, Gas station, Hitchhiking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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