Hitchhike

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!)

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

From Donji Vakuf to Banja Luka to Zagreb

Donij Vakuf-Zagreb

Donji Vakuf-Zagreb

When we woke up, we were quite cold because even in the summer the temperatures drops near to zero in Central Bosnia due to the elevation and the steep terrain. We also had to wait for a while till the tent dried from the dew.

Bosnain dawn

Bosnian dawn

Tent drying up the dew

Tent drying from the dew

Then, still in the early morning, we started to hitchhike just on the main road, but we had to wait at least two our to get a ride.

Hit the road Jack

Hit the road Jack

Meanwhile I was filling up the time improving my invented song “Land mine, wild camping” (coming soon), finally an aged man took us in his old truck. He was the typical old person with the body wasted because of an entire life working,  but with those bright honest happy eyes, I really liked him. It was Sunday so, as we were going to learn, Bosnian people drink during the whole day. The old little man offered us a beer in the truck, then he stopped in a small bar and invited us to another beer and just before let us in the road he passed throw his house to show his wife that he was carrying foreign hitchhikers, it was touching. We started again to hitchhike (I can’t identify the exact village in Google maps, it was probably Babin Potok) in front of a big house with children playing and the family members staring at us.

Somewhere in central Bosnia

Somewhere in central Bosnia

Somewhere in central Bosnia II

Somewhere in central Bosnia II

We needed again some time to be caught but a little later we were carried by two young heavy metal Bosnians that were also drinking in the car. We were talking about music and then they insisted on hearing me playing Spanish music with the guitar so I had to play “Nube the pegatina” the song I used to keep for that kind of situations. They dropped us in the entrance of Jajce, a very beautify city famous because of its waterfalls where the Pliva River meets the river Vrbas. We were in a busy crossing so we decided to walk a little bit, following the road that borders the town to the north. Happily some meter away we found a very nice view to the waterfalls, but unfortunately all the gaps were in that left side of the road and any of them in our direction.

The waterfalls are just after the cabin... I swear!

The waterfalls are just behindthe cabin… I swear!

...OK, just a little bit further...

…OK, just a little bit further…

We kept walking and started to feel hungry, but any shop was open. After a quite long walk we found the first suitable place to hitchhike in kilometers but a local suspicious woman was already taking over the place. We tried for a while to share the space with her but she “suggested” us to go away so we obeyed, scared about her threat. A little bit later we were so tired that we started to hitchhike in the first small gap we found on the road.

Overview of Jajce

Overview of Jajce

Overview of Jajce II

Overview of Jajce II

The uncrowded roads and the fact that it was Sunday was making our day harder, we also started to feel thirsty, very hungry and worried about the chances to be on time in Zagreb. After one or maybe two hours a young strange guy stopped and agreed to drive us to Banja Luka. As you probably already guessed the guy had the car full of beers (It is definitely a Bosnian tradition), so we recovered our hope in this long day full of ups and downs (this was still nothing, keep reading).

When we arrived to Banja Luka our driver stopped to fill his fuel tank in the first gas station and we decided to stay because we saw a big supermarket and we really needed to eat something. Before saying good bye we insisted on inviting him for a coffee in appreciation to the beers. The guy was in a hurry so he swallowed his coffee at a gulp and left two minutes later.

Filler Pulguita's picture

Filler Pulguita’s picture

We ran to the supermarket like malnourished dogs, but  again the luck got us in the back. We bought a big peace of cheese, a bag of sausages, bread and some garlic. I don’t know how to explain it, but we both really wanted to throw up. The sausage was disgusting, but the cheese…. the cheese was the worst thing I have eaten in my life, the producers should be in jail, not even joking.

 Therewith, we went again to the supermarket to buy some juice or something to cover the taste, but it was already closed so we decided to eat pieces of garlic instead. After that we still wanted to throw up, but at least for a different reason. We where tired and with a slight diurnal hangover but we didn’t have any other option than keep hitchhiking to the north, because our fly was going to take off the next day at midnight. Banja Luka is the second biggest city of Bosnia, is quit big and interesting but we didn’t have any more time for tourism. We followed the road searching for a place to hitchhike but we were exactly in the southern entrance of the city and we wanted to go to the north.

The only picture of Banja Luka we made

The only picture of Banja Luka we made

After one hour or more we had one of the most unpleasant experiences in our trip.  Just after passing a gas station we were walking on the big avenue and we heard a big riot. Right after that we saw a group of young people shouting and walking in our direction, and when we approached a little bit closer, we realized that they were raising their arms just as the unfriendly German dwarf with a funny mustache used to. I imediately took Aleksandra’s hand and I told her to turn around and go to the gas station as fast as possible. In addition of our hippie traveler look we had painted an anarchist “A” on Pulguita’s travelbag, so we had a lot of chances to be in trouble.  Luckily, we reached the gas station’s cafeteria, we sat in the most hidden table and ordered a coffee. From there we could see some of the retarders going in and buying cigarettes but none of them seemed to realize about our presence. We stayed there for a while a little bit scared and very desperate, because the sun was going down, and we really wanted to leave Banja Luka to, at least, wild camp somewhere in the countryside. When we ensured that the road was clear, we went out. The roundabout with the Zagreb highway exit was only some minutes away but we had a very few sunlight left so we did it as fast as we could. During the walk we realized that our Nazi friends were probably coming from the nearby football stadium, were intellectual people normally have their meetings. Once there, we tried to hitchhike the best as we could (if there is some technique) but no one stopped.

Filler Pulguita's picture II

Filler Pulguita’s picture II

The day was turned to be the hardest in our trip but, on the other hand, that is the point of hitchhiking, to never know what is going to happen and be able to overcome all the adversities. Anyway, even if we had had good references about Banja Luka, we really wanted to be out of there quickly so we decided, not without arguing, to take a bus somewhere to the north and we started looking for the bus station. It wasn’t too far, but atsome point we took the wrong way so it took us around one hour to get there. At least something good happened: we discovered that there was a night bus going to Zagreb leaving at 22 and the station minimarket was still open. We ate something and we waited for the bus, it was already completely dark.

Filler Pulguita's picture III

Filler Pulguita’s picture III

When we got to the bus we had again some troubles, it looked that the day was endless, we had bought the ticket and spent all the money we had left in the shop, but the driver wanted to charge us an extra amount to put our backpack in the trunk of the van (yes, it was a van). I started to argue with him but thanks to a friendly guy who got in to the conversation, the driver allowed us to put the backpacks in the van with us. By the way, we were hiding Pulguita at the same time so we didn’t feel relieved until the bus left the station. The next challenge was to cross the European border going into Croatia. The bus was stuck there for at least half an our, everybody showed their documents. From all the passengers, we only had one loss, an innocent young girl who was probably an international terrorist carrying guns into Europe to kill our children. The important part – we smuggled Pulguita in. 

Filler Pulguita's picture IV

Filler Pulguita’s picture IV

Anyway, we arrived to Zagreb on time, around 2 am and some of the shops at the bus station were still open. It was a big station with a huge space with seats on the first floor, and even if the gate´s entrance was open the whole night and there was no security guards, it looked quite save… or not, we were too tired for quibbling. We had a quick sandwich (actually it was a disgusting old greasy Burek, fitting quite well to our days menu) and we found a perfect hidden space in a corner, so we settled with the bags at the bottom and we finally had a deserved sleep, it was a round 3 am.

Categories: Animals, Hitchhike, Hitchhiking, Mountains, Valley, Wild camping | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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