Beach

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 random Croatian beach to Mostar

Now, after checking on the Internet I know that we were somewhere between Srebreno and Mlini, a little touristic villages five kilometer before Dubrovnik. We walked from the main road down to the sea following a narrow stairs through a forest and we arrived to a seafront promenade full of hotels and restaurants, but quite calm and depressing at the same time. To give you an Idea, a mature man was singing old american country and soul hits in a very peculiar way, while the people his age applauded him . We had spent the days before quite intensively, so we were tired and the ambient didn’t help, whole families staring at us as we were from a different planet. We had our traditional ham and cheese sandwich with beer, and then we moved to a park near the sea with perfect hidden and flat places to put our tent. We did it carefully because we were warned that it was going to rain. Indeed, it started to rain at some point of the night and it didn’t stop until the late morning, including thunders and lightnings. It was the first full exam for our new tent and it passed it quite well. The terrain and the position of the tent on a slope also helped. The next morning we decided to leave Croatia straight away, it was so touristic and expensive, and we had to return to Zagreb Anyway. Before leaving, we got to one last (and first) Croatian cafe. There, Aleksandra got a delicious frappe, while I drank a disgusting espresso and then we started to hitchhike. We didn’t have to wait to much and a nice Croatian guy (Paul) who also worked in the tourism sector gave as a lift from there to an intersection, where we could catch a ride to Bosnia. On the way we saw Dubrovnik from the car… so sad. Suddenly a grey morning changed to a very hot afternoon. We were hitchhiking for a big while and we already started to be worried, when we saw a strange van full of colors approaching us quite fast. When the guys from inside the van saw us they jammed on the breakes and stopped literally a few meters from us . It was an old English school van, decorated with colourful graffittis.

English school hippie van

English school hippie van

Attention to the sign on top

Attention to the sign on top

Three big blond guys came out from the van and invited us to go inside, they were clearly “happy”. There was also a girl who turned out to be a girlfriend of the most drunk one. We instantly received a beer and we tried to get in their mood as far as possible, I started to play the guitar while the craziest one decided that pissing from the van door while it was driving, was a cool idea. Of course we were stopped at the border, but there’s nothing that money couldn’t fix. By the way, they were Australians travelling around the world.

Australian people

Australian people

Their intention was to jump from the Mostar bridge and mine was not to die. When we arrived, it started to rain again but we already realized that Mostar was a very beautiful place, and also, that Bosnian people don’t like drunk foreigners.  The first thing that caught my attention was all the walls with bullets marks from the war.

War survivor wall

War survivor wall

Sad but very interesting. The “aussies” wanted to have a dinner in a restaurant so we joined them, but we only had a beer. In contrast, they ate a big meat grill plate that looked very tasty, as well as the bill. Then they moved to an open space out of the town and went to sleep. We were used to start the party at that time of the evening but we didn’t have more choice than to put our tent near the van and try to sleep. Unfortunately it was not a very good place for that, it was full of rubbish, stones and cars doing strange movement and in addition to all that it started to rain. This time we couldn’t put the tent so well so the front top got wet. Tent 1 – Rain 1. It was probably the worst night in our trip, but still interesting to remember.

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From Kotor to a random beach in Croatia

Winter was coming

Winter was coming

After two days we were looking forward to be in the road again. We started to walk by the exit of the town which leads to the north. Some meters away we found another hitchhiking couple trying to get a ride. It was a Spanish-German couple. Kotor is definitely the most “hitchhiker friendly” town we found in our trip. Unfortunately it started to rain, so we decided to hitchhike from under a little corner shop’s roof. It was not a very good place but we needed only a few minutes to catch the first car. It was a middle aged woman (Vesta) with a good car and a perfect English that drove us to Perast, a little bit further than her destination. During the short journey the sky started to cover up in a very scary dark gray color.

Raining cats and dogs

Raining cats and dogs

I didn't care about the rain

I didn’t care about the rain

The heavy rain was waiting for us so we had to run to the nearest cafe. We didn’t have time to admire the view and that little village was really charming.  It was much less touristic and smaller than Kotor, so instead of big cruisers you could see little fisherman’s boats and transparent water, with the same crazily beautiful mountains around. We stayed in a cafe at least three hours.  It didn’t stop to rain all that time. I tried to bargain with the owner to exchange my guitar to another exposed in the bar as a decoration but my efforts didn’t have any reward.

Come on, sell me the fucking guitar!

Come on, sell me the fucking guitar!

After the storm a beautiful sunny color impregnated the whole bay, it was a magic moment. In the way back to the main road we had the time to make some beautiful pictures of the bay and the little fisherman boats.

Beautiful landscape

Beautiful landscape

Already there, we realized that there was no place to hitchhike in our direction, so we tried out the more risky hitchhiking mode: “the reverse hitchhiking”. It was fucking hard… That’s not true. We needed two minutes for a car to stop.  That’s when we met one of the main characters in our trip story: Habib. At this time he was with another Turkish friend, Emir,  and he drove us from Perast to Herceg Novi. He also gave us two CD´s of Turkish music: Burhan Öçal & The Trakya All Stars  and Gönül Sayfam . Once there, we stopped to buy something to eat in a very small corner shop with a smiley old woman that actually give as a tomato for free. She was so nice that we decided to hitchhike few meters away not to block her entrance. Soon other hitchhikers arrived to this place, leaving us in a less advantageous position. Anyway, we were caught before them by an interesting Montenegrin guy with a ruined old Golf. He drove us to the border with Croatia and, by the way, with the European Union. We crossed the border walking again and there we found another of our animal friends. We very originally called him Pulgui 3. There he is:

Pulgui 3

Pulgui 3

He was specially trained to bark furiously and try to attack all the car that ignored us, specially the Germans. We finally got a ride from a very friendly Bulgarian couple whose car was already full without us. From Christian (the driver) we learned about “Dubioza Kolektiv”, a Bosnian band that we liked a lot. They wanted to leave us in a proper Camping site but we didn’t find the way to explain them that we were wild camping. After leaving them we felt a little bit upset, because we had the impression that they wanted to spend an evening with us (If you are reading that, sorry anyway). We finally were in Croatia but we weren’t very sure where exactly.

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Kotor II, drink and recovery

As Aleksandra explained, Kotor was the town where we crossed more hitchhikers, so we had to celebrate it with a proper party. I don’t know how but we managed to bring all of them together at 7,30 pm on the Old town entrance. Finally, from all of the travelers we where there, only us and a young Polish couple were enough brave to climb up the 1,350 stairs to the top of the Castle with the backpacks.

Kotor old town entrance

Kotor old town entrance

We started at night, because from 10 am to 8 pm you have to pay 3 euros and that was too much. It took us around one hour and a half and 5 kilograms each. But finally all the effort was worth it, because the view from the top was really impressing. First of all, we looked for a place to put our tents. There are several covered rooms on the castle, but usually destroyed and full of rubbish, so we decided to settle in the only  more or less flat grass field we found. Then we cooked some soup in our burned pot (for the last time before throwing it away) and ate our dinner. In a nearby roof they were two Germans drinking some beer, so after the dinner we invited them. For that special occasion we  switched to wine for the first time on the trip and it was quite tasty but not so good for my stomach. We were playing guitar all night long and we finished sitting in a roof, 280 metres above the ground, contemplating the Kotor bay.

Kotor by night

Kotor by night

Famous Spanish singer

Famous Spanish singer

We woke up the next day already surrounded by early tourists quite shocked about our presence, the same as me about theirs.  It was very hot, and we understood straight away that to come down was harder than to walk up. Once downstairs, we walked around the beautiful old town and made some pictures. We both started to feel a little bit down, so we decided to spend the day on the beach. As you can see on the map, the bay of Kotor is a piece of water into the land and Kotor is a town, that is furthest in the inner land. That also means it is the most contaminated by the big amount of boats and big cruisers that sail around there every day. The beach was quite artificial, but the surroundings were still amazing.

Morning view 1

Morning view 1

Morning view 2

Morning view 2

Our home

Our home

We didn’t recover the energy for the hole day, we even decided not to search too much and simply place the tent in the park, nearby the beach. We went to the supermarket and then straight to the park, waiting for the tourists to go back to their hotels. Then, again the hitchhikers luck came to us. We were drinking a beer and playing “I cross the border with” (very suitable for that situation) when two girls approached us. They asked if we where hitchhiking and where we planned to sleep. After a few words they invited us to sleep at their rented little place, They were two very very nice Lithuanian hitchhiker girls: Vida and Zivile. We spent the night talking about travels (they were quite experienced travelers), and the boring day turned into a great night. In the morning we also could have a shower. Thank you so much!

Kotor Bay

Kotor Bay

Nice street

Nice street

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Montenegro Coast

The first night wasn’t too interesting. At least villige where we stayed wasn’t too touristic, so we could camp at the main beach.

The next day in the morning we were quite confident about hitchhiking, because we were used to Albania, but Montenegro is another story. It was extremely humid, so we felt completely exhausted and powerless.

Tourists don’t want problems taking dirty hitchhikers, so they just passed by, we saw plates from everywhere in Europe.  Fortunately, a young Russian guy  (who by the way didn’t look Russian at all. Rather like an Australian surfer) stopped. He was very curious about us, as from where he comes from (Syberia) hitchhikers is not a common thing to see. We had a nice conversation and he left us in the entrance to Budva.

Sveti Stefan and us.

Sveti Stefan and us.

Budva is one of the most touristic places in Montenegro, so you can imagine the amount of swimming suits, towels, children and inflatable matresses that we saw there. We managed to cross the town and we started to climb a small hill, following the main road. We tried to hitchhike there for a while, but it didn’t work, so we continued walking. From the top we tried to reach small hidden beach throuhg the bushes but the path was getting narrower and narrower, just next to a cliff, so we had no choice but give up and go back to the road. Just before getting to the road again, we stumbled upon a car, obstructing the way and jumbing at the same time. Someone was making babies inside. Nevertheless we decided to pass, but we forgot to make a video (next time).

Ruins of a castle. Presently, a garbage dump

Ruins of a castle. Presently, a garbage dump

We started to follow the main road again. We had to walk something like 7 kilometers without any space to hitchhike and with the sun heating our heads. The worst thing is that we were watching incredibly beautiful small beaches only reachable by a boat. What a pitty we left our at home.

Nice view

Nice view

When we finally arrived to some civilization, we were close to death, so we bought a typical 2l plastic bottle of beer. We were sure that the wine that we had wouldn’t be enough.

As we had realized from the top of the cliff, just behind the big main beach full of tourists, plastic sunbeds and all that crap, there was another one as big as the other, but with much less people (probably most of them killers, pedos and exhibicionists).

Our beach. The view from the road.

Our beach. The view from the road.

All we wanted is to have a rest so we just threw our backpacks on the floor, crushed at the stony beach, opened the beer and just relaxed. Some ten minutes later a young blond girl approached us and asked if we were thinking to sleep there. It turned out she was doing the same thing. It was a German couple of hitchhikers, Karl and Ana, that found a perfect place under an abandoned beach bar and spent already two nights there. It was like a present for us, we were on an impressive beach, we had a shelter, good company and alcohol. We spent a great time with them. We talked a lot, we played some guitar and we made a fire place.  We also swam naked in the transparent water and saw the fluorescent plankton.  Magic night. When I opened my eyes in the morning, first thing I saw, was a naked, old man, 5 meters away from me. Magic morning.  We left the beach quite sad, having to pass next to all the staring tourists.

Our paradise beach

Our paradise beach

Our home

Our home

Our home. The close up

Our home. The close up

Fire.

Fire.

What the fuck are you looking at?!

Categories: Beach, hiking, hitchhikers, Party, Sightseeing, Wild camping | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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