hiking

From a gas station in Ljubljana to a Church in Villesse

I didn’t die.

Ljubljana-Villesse

Ljubljana-Villesse

As I was still alive, that day I woke up with a lot of energy. It was a sunny day, still early in the morning and I was in a perfect gas station to hitchhike. I was planning to arrive as further as possible in Italy. After packing and drink my coffee, I checked that the others hitchhikers were still sleeping and I went to the end of the gas station to start my work. I wrote “Italy” in my cardboard and I waited with my thumb up, every now and then I was doing a round around the trucks but none offer me a ride. Finally, around midday a young guy with a old car stopped, the rear seats were folded and all the space was full of things including a bike. He was a very nice guy. He explained me a lot of thing about Slovenia and told me that it was a shame I couldn’t spend more time there because is full of nice places to climb and hiking.

My idea was to cross the border through the south part but my driver was going to a village close the northern border, near Gorizia. I checked the map and It looked also a good place to hitchhike. He assured me that it was a very common pass for truckers. In fact, it was a huge industrial area full of trucks. Then I learned that it was a kind of check-in center for European trucks. He let me in a gas station from where I could see the border with Italy. I was quite confident about the future because of the great amount of trucks. I tried to hitchhike for more than one hour but none stopped. A lot of Slovenian truckers were turning back to Slovenia and the ones with long distance routes, generally coming from the Balkans, used to take the southern way.

Slovenian-Italian border gas station

Slovenian-Italian border gas station

Around 3 o’clock the sun was burning my skin so I decided to eat something and have a little rest. No more than half an hour later I was already trying to hitchhike again. Some people stopped but any of them was going to Italy following the highway. A little later a friendly Italian guy told me that it was a complicated point and offered to drive me to the train station from where I could take a train to the south, to somewhere close to the main highway. I accepted. I arrived just 5 minutes before 5:30 pm when the train to Monfalcone was leaving. I was trying hard to remember the map from my mobile phone. The train was going more or less parallel to the highway so I decided to stop in Sagrado, the second stop, in order not to waste any more time.

Unintentionally, my day was turning more and more complicated. Once in Sagrado, I was a little bit disoriented so I went to a coffee shop and I ask for the closest entrance to the highway. I learned that I was quite far from everywhere and they advised me go to Villesse, “only” 5 fucking kilometers away. I started to walk. I was worried because the sun was already going down and It was going to be complicate to hitchhike at night. My only hope then was to enter again to the highway and sleep in a gas station, even if it was not far from there. During my walk, I tried to hitchhike but none even slowed a little. I had heard that Italy was a difficult country to hitchhike and I was starting to check it. After an hour walking I saw a highway entrance under construction on my right, at least I was not far. I arrived to the village soon later.

Villesse

Villesse

Following the signals, I crossed a bridge over the Highway and I arrived to a roundabout with a sign pointing Udine and Venice. That was my way. But I also found this:

No autostop! No fun!

No autostop! No fun!

It was around 7 pm, I tried to hitchhike the best I knew but none stopped. It was getting dark and I didn’t have any place to stay. At 8 pm I surrendered and turned back to the village. I forgot that I was in the north of Italy where the schedules are more European. I only crossed a couple of persons that led me to the central square. I found a hostel on the way so I asked for the prices just in case, strangely, they told me that they were full. I still don’t believe them. They also advised me to go to the main road where I could find a big hotel. I passed by the main square with a church where only one small bar was open and I continued my way to the right. I was more focused in find a piece of field to put my tent than in anything else. I saw one or two nice spots without fence but I wanted to ask in the hotel mainly because I needed a shower. I didn’t see a single person in my way since the central square but surprisingly, the Hotel bar was full. They had a terrace with Caribbean style and trendy music. There was even young people in there. I asked to a waitress and she told me to speak with the girl on terrace-bar because she was supposed to speak in Spanish. I asked her for the prices but it was too expensive for me (more than 1 euro) so I turned back to the Village.

Caribbean terrace

Caribbean terrace

I checked again the piece of field I had seen before but I thought that having a beer in the only bar opened in the whole village was a good idea. I wanted to see what kind of people were living there and envisage if they were going to shoot me in the morning or something like that. When I arrived to the central square I realized that the main church was surrounded by grass without any fence but it was in the offing of several houses indeed. At that very moment an old man carrying a bucket noticed me. In order not to appear rude I approached him and explained that I was looking for a place to sleep. I was not very confident about his reaction but as if it was the more logical thing in the world, he ask me if I didn’t like the church field. I answered him that for me it was more than enough but I was concerned about the neighbors. His answer was still better: “if you have any problem, tell them that I told you to sleep there”.

After that, I told him that I was thinking to go to the bar to have a beer and he insisted to go along with me. In the bar there were only four people, a middle age guy playing on the slot machine, the waitress that was a young girl, my new friend drinking a expressssso and me. He was the typical tall, good looking and stylish Italian man with very kind blue eyes. I ordered a beer and the young girl joined our conversation. They seemed very interested on me and I like to speak a lot so by this time I was already engaged to tell all my adventure. At the end, he invited me to another beer and he paid me a coffee for the next morning in advance. I thanked him a lot before he left then the waitress, infected by this charity atmosphere, gave me also 6 small sandwiches that were left over. When I finished my drink I also thanked to her and left, it was before 11 pm.

The backyard of the church was shared with a row of flats where most of the lights were on. In soite of this, everything was in a confusing silence (or maybe it was just my impression because I am from Spain). I tried to put the tent behind a ridiculous tiny tree but, obviously, everybody could see me anyway. Later on, I smoked my last cigarette and I saw someone on his balcony doing the same thing, we looked at each other but none said nothing. I went to sleep quite soon. I was feeling safe because god was taking care of me.

Villesse central square (Church and bar on the left)

Villesse downtown (Church and bar)

PD. Man from Villesse, If you are reading this, thank you so much for everything and I apologize for not remembering your name.

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Categories: Church, hiking, Hitchhiking, Village, Wild camping | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Zagreb to a gas station near Ljubljana

Zagreb-Ljuljana detail

Zagreb-Ljuljana detail

I woke up around 8 o’clock when a lot of people was already on the queues for the first flights of the day. I got surprised when I saw that Aleksandra wasn’t there, I checked that Pulguita was OK and packed everything quickly. The airport was already full of people and I discovered that the wiser sleepers were on the second floor that still remained quite empty. The only visible socket was engaged by someone so I went straight to the coffee shop and asked for a big coffee to wake up, there I could charge my mobile phone and look on Google maps for the nearest highway. Apparently the closest highway entrance was at 8 kilometers from the airport so about hour and a half walking.

Zagreb Airport exit

Zagreb Airport exit

I started my walking as soon as I felt awake, unfortunately I got confused in some point and I did an unintentional touristic tour around a village called Gradići. In total, I made an extra 5 Kilometers but at least I found a LIDL and I have to say that people was specially kind with me in this village.

Gradići miners tribute?

Gradići miners tribute?

Then I undertook my way back having to stop every 15 minutes because the sun was starting to burn and also taking advantage to feed Pulguita. After an hour and a half I arrived to a place that looked as a highway entrance so I decided to have another coffee in a gas station before start the hitchhike but the waiter informed me that the road was under construction, still not open, and that it remained me half an hour of walk to reach the main entrance. I was exhausted but I hadn’t any other option. When I arrived to my destination it was already around 3 o’clock, the place was not very good to hitchhike but at least there was a traffic light lowering down the cars. At first, I wrote down “Spain” in my cardboard but I realized that the Croatians didn’t share the same sense of humor as me so I tried with “Ljubljana” (yes, I had to check the map to not misspelling). After an hour a car stopped, I’m so sorry but I can remember the car or the driver even though I’m quite sure that he or she was nice. Anyway, the mysterious driver took me to a gas station just before the border with Slovenia.

Gas station close to the Croatian-Slovenian border

Gas station close to the Croatian-Slovenian border

There I had my third coffee of the day and I made a quick friendship with the waiter, he was a young guy originally from Algeria (I think) that spoke french and was also traveler, we had a short by intense conversation. When I started again my hitchhiking I saw three guys coming down from a car with a strong hitchhiker looking, I decided to approach them, I was right. There were two French and a hippie guy citizen of the world, I spoke for a while with them specially to be sure that they were not going to steal my preferential place but they were respectful hitchhikers so they agreed. Soon after I saw a middle age guy with a friendly face and I had a feeling that he could be my lover driver, I was right again. He took me from that gas station to another one just to the height of Ljubljana, a really big one. At this time it was already 6 o’clock so I had my fourth coffee very quick and I crossed the whole place to reach the opposite side trying to get a ride before the sundown. I didn’t succeeded but at least I made those amazing pictures:

Amazing picture I

Amazing picture I

Amazing picture II

Amazing picture II

Then, I asked to a truckers if there was any cheap supermarket around the gas station and he sent me to the village through a small path. After passing a group of houses I arrive to a riverside full of trees and I got to an even smaller path with bushes at both sides, it was dark and a little bit scary. On the other side I saw the big sign of the supermarket so I run to arrive on time. When I got in it was 7:55 but the supermarket cashier didn’t let me in…, stupid bitch!  Anyway, I keep walking because from there I could see a LIDL signal a little bit farther but when I arrived It was also closed. In my way back through the deserted industrial park I found a caravan selling kebabs and burgers, the guy was the only person in a square kilometer so I decided to stop there. He was Turkish, we were speaking for a while and I spent 4 euros for a beer and a tasty kebab, then I bought another beer just in case and I traverse the tunnel of terror back more relax because of the alcohol.

When I arrived again to the gas station I was exhausted, it was already around 11 o’clock so I fed Pulguita and I decided to put my tent anywhere in the huge pieces of grass. In that moment I saw another tent and people partying around but I was too tired to join them and instead of that I thought that it was good idea to settle a little bit far away. When I was finished all the process of fixing the tent and keeping things inside, I sat outside to drink my beer and I saw again a couple of guys that I had been seeing the whole evening. They were going from the bottom to the top of the gas station and sometimes to the other side of the road with an old Volkswagen Golf approaching and speaking to all the truckers. They were definitely doing something suspicious, that night I decided to use the small padlocks for the tent’s zipper because I had a bad feeling about them.

(You will know if I died… in the next post… chacha!)

Categories: Gas station, hiking, Hitchhike, hitchhikers, Hitchhiking, Wild camping | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarajevo Second day

The previous night we had already decided to leave the Titos46 Hostel, so in the morning we took a shower, we packed and we were just on time (at 11:00) on the reception, not to miss the check out.

Tito46 Hostel entrance

Tito46 Hostel entrance

Then, we had a breakfast and decided to leave our backpacks there until we find something cheaper. We started looking on the Internet, we had one or two coffees and we spent a while playing with Pulguita on the terrace.

Tito46 Hostel terrace

Tito46 Hostel terrace

Finally we spent the whole morning there whereupon we decided to go out and search from the field. We where quite relaxed, we started to wander about, seeing again the city, this time in the daylight. We could see the markets with tempting fresh fruits and vegetables, the old stately buildings and the mix of Muslim, Serbian Orthodox and Croatian Catholics even from the separates cemeteries. We crossed the river and we ended up eating in a park without any pressure.

…It’s MY food!

Sarajevo central market

Sarajevo central market

Jesus Heart Cathedral back

Jesus Heart Cathedral back

Then we came back to the city center and I don’t remember well how we finished in a Muslim hostel with an advert on the frontwindow, where you could see a garden with camp tents. We came inside, and it turned out it was exactly what we were looking for- a cheap private camping 5 minutes walking from the city centre. The receptionist called for us and we made an appointment with the bakcyard´s owner in the nearby “pigeons´ square” one hour later. Meanwhile we where supposed to pick up our things from the previous hostel.

Doves square

Pigeons´ square (Guess why?)

We were surprisingly on time, the owner was a very talkative and friendly middle-aged guy who had prepared a weird map for us, without any streets names but with arrows “right” and “left”. He was right that it was quite tricky to arrive to the camping site, but not impossible. The garden was part of a big property where, apparently, more families lived. It was a quite spacious piece of land with apple trees, 3 or 4 levels and space for several cars and tents.

Garden

Garden

We realized that there were also many kittens and we wanted to see Pulguita’s reactions to her relatives.  The other cats didn’t care too much about her until we gave her food, then she had to fight a little bit against a bigger (but still small) kitten. We were sooo proud of her bravery.

Pulguitas VS killer cat round 1

Pulguita VS Killer Cat : Round 1

We put the tent and we remained in the backyard for a while playing with Pulguita and enjoying the beautiful view drinking a beer. Then we went again to the city center, thanks to the invaluable help of our new map. On the way down we could see closer the impressive Muslim cemetery because, as I said before, the cemeteries are separated by religion (we didn´t know that before). It was quite distressing to see the ocean of white gravestones, knowing all these people died at the same time, not so long ago, died with no peace, figthing with their neigbours.

Muslim cementery

Muslim cemetery

We walked around the city again, discovering new things like for example the Serb Orthodox Cathedral. But, finally we ended up in the same park we had eaten during the day. There we drank more beer and I played some guitar, but it was getting colder so we decided to come back. We got lost a bit in the small streets, but finally we arrived to our private garden.

Serb Orthodox Church

Serb Orthodox Church

Sarajevo at night

Sarajevo by night

Al Jazeera Balkan headquarters

Al Jazeera Balkan headquarters

War memorandum monument

War memorandum monument

Categories: Animals, City, hiking, hotel, Sightseeing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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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