Posts Tagged With: hitchhiking

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.

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

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.

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

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

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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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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Kotor

Hitchhiking in Balkans is like catching a taxi. It took us something like two minutes to catch a hike to Kotor. This time it was a nice couple from Denmark, who were spending their holidays in Montenegro. When I mentioned my nationality, it turns out that the Danish girl was actually half-Polish and she spoke Polish very well. By then, I’d started to think Polish grew to a rank of international languages. At least in Balkans. And Igor was getting more and more depressed that suddenly nobody cared about Spanish anymore. I felt just a little bit of sadistic pleasure seeing him suffer.

Sky after the storm. on the way to Kotor

Sky after the storm. on the way to Kotor

We got to Kotor in 20 minutes and already as we were approaching the town we got absolutely amazad with the beauty of the bay. It was amazing. When we arrived, the first thing we did was to sit down on a first banch we found (with a beautiful view on a wall of old city. A usual, old wall) and we started to dig in our lousy food. Igor was very happy about his spicy chorizo. As we were delecting ourselves with an old bread-old anything else (but chorizo) sandwiches we saw somebody is waving at us. It was another backpacker wanting to where we were going to camp. Even though we communicated quite well with in backpackerssign language, he decided to come down and talk to us.

The wall

The wall

Kotor bay

Kotor bay

He turned out to be a Lithuanian hitchhiker traveling with his friend. Just like us, they just arrived to town and they wanted to find a camping place, where they could leave their tent with stuff inside without a worry. We had a kind of a conflict of intrests there. We heard from the Germans that a good place to stay is Kotor castle. After 8PM there was no one to charge us 3 euros for entrance and the views had to be amazing. The only thing about it was that to get there, you had to climb 1500 steps.

random photo from Kotor

random photo from Kotor

view on the bay

view on the bay

We’ve decided to look for some better camping places and meet up just before the sunset. We started the search (not very thorough though,we knew we wanted to go up). On our way we met a couple of young Polish hitchhikers with a guitar: Alicja and Tomek and we told them to come to our meeting point. “Great! We’re get fucking wasted” was the answer. I’d missed Polish mentality.

Then, we went to a shoping mall (a paradise to every backpacker, with all those free toilets and stuff), where we saw to our surprise that everybody smokes walking around the shoping mall aisles. But beware! Sitting on a ground next to a wall is strictly forbidden!

In the supermarket we saw some typical Spanish hyppies. It turned out they were hitchhiking around the area as well. Kotor seems to be a favourite hitchhiker destination, for some reason.

Anyway, when we all met up in the meeting point (some other hitchhiking Poles appeared, what a surprise!), it was the time to decide. Lithuanians found some guarded place, where they could stay, but we knew what we wanted. We wnated to write in our blog, we slept in the Kotor castle, and we got “fucking wasted!”.

So we took the Polish youngsters with us and we started to climb. I must say, it was an hour of a complete nightmare. But man, it was worth it!

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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?!

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From Ohrid to Tirana

Ohrid-Tirana

Ohrid-Tirana

We walked to the only high way at the end of the town. It was a little bit hard because of the heat, but at least we discovered  different kinds of neighborhoods, not touristic at all.

Watermelon fountain at the outskirts of the city

Watermelon fountain at the outskirts of the city

We stopped at a gas station and we started to hitchhike. As in the rest of Macedonia, the people around did not care at all about us. After 5 or 6 cars, whose drivers always apologized, one stopped. It was a young small guy with a “tuned up” car. It was clearly a wrong choice. I do not have any complain about him as a person, he really wanted to help us, but he could not keep the car on the line, specially when he spoke with Aleksandra who was on the back seat.  I had to advice him for three times that we were going to die. The ride was initially to be 10 kilometers long but he insisted on driving as five kilometers further. In ten minutes I lost 3 kilograms. When we finally arrived,  we restarted to hitchhike at the entrance of a small village, just few kilometers before the border. After we had to decline around ten taxis, a small van stopped. He was already carrying another hitchhiker couple from Czech Republic. We exchanged some experiences and tips as fast as we could because we arrived very fast to the border. Because we are educated hitchhikers we let them catch the car first, so we lost some time but we felt good. We went some meters away, already on the Albanian side, and after twenty minutes we saw them passing by. The sun started to go down and we were a little bit worried, all around there were only taxi drivers, gipsy families and kilometers of mountains. Fortunately, another Audi with Italian plates stopped. They were two Macedonian guys going to have some fun in Tirana, it was Friday. Before getting in we clearly explained that we had no money and they seemed to accept the fact. We had a quite pleasant trip, switching between German, Italian and Elf language. Unfortunately once in Tirana we got disappointed, when the passenger asked again for money. We had no troubles, but the goodbye became kind of weird. Fuck you, you did not got our sticker.

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From Skopje to Ohrid

Skopje-Ohrid

Skopje-Ohrid

Hitchhiking in Macedonia is like taking a taxi. We had three different drivers and we waited in total around 5 minutes. In the whole Balkans you can see the city where the cars are from on the plate, so if you want to get a quick ride you should wait for a wanted destination and ask the person to join the ride, that’s it.

Ohrid

Ohrid

The first was JJ, a guy with a big Audi who used to work in Switzerland and speaks German. Aleksandra could refresh a little bit her German knowledge. He was so nice that he called his friends that drove us from Tetovo to Gostivar. They where three black dressed big guys, that looked a bit scary, but they turn out to be also very nice. They spoke English so I finally could spend a trip speaking.

The last one was an old young man (that kind of person very difficult to guess his age). He didn’t like to speak too much but he did his job, quite fast by the way.

The first thing we saw in Ohri: wonderful market full of colours

The first thing we saw in Ohrid: wonderful market full of colours

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Matka Canyon

Skopje-Matka Canyon

Skopje-Matka Canyon

We arrived to the Matka Canyon half past nine in the night. Even the bus driver asked us why we were going there so late. Good for us, we had someone waiting for us, a little dog that we called “Pulgi” (pulga=flea), who stayed with us until the next evening.

DSC01074

Pulgi

Because it was dark we couldn’t realize how beautiful the place  was. One kilometer away we find a small path near the river and then a lake between the mountains. It was impressive to find that in the middle of the night. Unfortunately at some point the path passed through a Hotel’s restaurant and the waiter told us that we had to pay 5 euros each to continue because the way was private. He also offered us a room for 30 euros. We had no doubt, we are hitchhikers, so we turn back. Pulgi also agreed.

It was a little bit scary because it was completely dark and deserted, but finally we found a nice spot to sleep after hiking a little bit, and crossing some goats.

DSC01029

Our home

The next morning we had a coffee in the only bar to charge our mobile phones and camera. I got very amazed when, “Caballero” a Julio Iglesias song sounded in the speakers, the weirdest and cheesiest singer and song ever. That’s my style, I like the place!

Then we were hiking for an hour and a half with all our stuff to reach a monastery on the rocks (St. Nicholas Monastery) . It was worth seeing. Pulgi stood there, probably praying for bones or some other delicious snack.

DSC01057

Monastery

When we came back to the riverside, the place seemed like Jersey Shore in Macedonian Style. It was full of people, including families and groups of teenagers. To be sincere it was full of rubbish too. We were kind of upset to see how they don’t care about such a beautiful place. Even though it still remained interesting for us to see how Macedonians spend their Sunday.

We had our lunch on the river and  the Macedonians started to light their barbecues on the early evening. When the sun started to go down we walked to the nearest corner shop. The owner was the typical old woman you expect to find in a place like that. With a permanent smile on her face she managed to communicate with us with means of signs. She even gave us two chair for the time she spent to look for our change.

DSC01048

Matka Kanyon

Then we came back praying that no one had been occupying a perfect hidden spot we had seen in the morning. It was a magic place just near the river  but only accessible by crossing a bridge and walking 10 minutes trough the bushes. The perfect place for a wild camp. We got it, and just when it became completely dark we lit a fire in an already prepared fireplace. We drank some beer and we also started to write a song about our trip (soon worldwide available).

DSC01095

“The body”

The next morning we said goodbye to this special place with a morning naked bath in the river. Once clean and fresh we returned to Skopje and charged our food handbag in another strange shopping mall. Then we started to hitchhike.

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Skopje

Skopje is quite an interesting city with great differences between districts. The downtown is modern with lots of fashion cafes with wifi signal everywhere. The riverside is quite  monumental with (in my opinion) too many statues placed with no aesthetic sense. Then there is the old town, very touristic and full of appealing Muslim restaurant. And a little bit further you can find the street markets that is a mix of soviet and Arabic style. In addition of all of that, there are enormous shopping malls breaking the balance, but making the town still more special to the foreigner eyes.

Typical Macedonian horses in their natural environment

Typical Macedonian horses in their natural environment

Pregnant women  sitting on a fountain

Pregnant women sitting on a fountain

We had the impression that it keeps a kind of organization on the Chaos. The best example of all that contrast was a situation we had in the central bus station, that’s under a grey bridge underneath the train station. Every gate had the number of at least 3 different buses (I guess between 1 and 100) but every bus stopped in any place but indicated. Watching that craziness we asked about the schedule to a group of teenagers. They intermediately checked it in their I-phones and we had the answer in half a minute. By the way, in turned out to be wrong. Skopje rules.

Chillin' at the bus station

Chillin’ at the bus station

But the weirdest (and finally funniest) situation I have experienced in Skopje happened when I was sitting alone on a bench with the backpack waiting for Aleksandra. I saw a strange old woman walking in my direction and looking right through me with her crazy scary eyes. She crossed my personal space and without asking took our bottle of lemonade we just bought. I started to speak with her but she didn’t answer. She took a large sip from it, but she was not satisfied. So with any shame she put down the bottle and took our bottle of water, repeating the same action. By this time the people from the nearby cafe were already laughing (they probably knew her). Then she left with no sign of worry. There she is:

Lady in red

Lady in red

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Inđija to Skopje

Inđija-Skopje

Inđija-Skopje

Upon leaving Inđija, we had some coffee and ice-cream for breakfast. One scoop was a size of three normal ones and cost 40 dinars – 0.35euro (I might have mentioned that before, but I’m still in owe). Although my banana flavour tasted like lemon, it was still really good. Coffee (70 dinars = 0,50 euro) was crap, but you know, you can’t always get what you want.

Our ice-cream. So big, so cheap, so good!

Our ice-cream. So big, so cheap, so good!

So let’s go back on the road! Next stop: Skopje! (?)
This time it wasn’t so easy. We had to walk all the way from the city to the pay toll. It seemed much less in the car. And with Igor complaining all the way, it seemed even longer. OK, we are here. Let’s begin.

Part1: From pay toll to Belgrade. Waiting time: 20 minutes.
A really nice, but a bit crazy driver from Zadar took us. wanted to make sure he’ll leave us at a right place, so he called his wife so that we could explain here where we want to go in English. Really fun ride. By the way, as it turns out, it’s completely normal to use rear gear at Serbian highways :).

Part 2: Belgrade – Vranje. Waiting time: 30 minutes.
After a short while Marian, a Serbian truck driver stopped to take us with his truck. He was going to Vranje, a city close to the Macedonian border. We felt bad all the way we couldn’t communicate well. We tried some Polish-Serbian mix, but it which worked more or less, but it wasn’t enough for a decent conversation.

We got out at the outskirts of Vranje. It was already late and dark, no way we could continue today .Marian left us at the exit to Vranje, so we had to walk about 500m to the gas station. The way wasn’t illuminated and we didn’t have any reflective bands. Tip for backpackers: it’s really important to have something to be visible at the road, better safe than sorry. It’s decided – it’s our next purchase.

We slept directly at the gas station. By now, we don’t care anymore about hiding.

Our camping place next to Vranje

Our camping place next to Vranje

Dinner: Noodles with bread crumbs - Yummy!

Dinner: Noodles with bread crumbs – Yummy!

The next day everything was going quite smoothly. We arrived to Skopje in two goes: first we caught a ride to Serbian-Macedonian border.

We passed the border walking. We were so busy arguing, we didn’t even realize we are stepping on the Macedonian land.
We were stopped by the policeman, who concluded we are Polish-Spanish backpackers mafia. He let us through anyway.

Upon crossing the border we already knew that gypsy beggars were ruining our business. We decided to try our luck. Fortunately we look (and are) too poor to attract them. We waited about 20 minutes, but it was clear people were annoyed so they either didn’t want to stop or and drove away in anger. Apart from that, strong smell of piss was hard to bear.
We had to move. We moved 20 m away and all we had to wait to catch a hike was 5 minutes. A Macedonian trucker, Igor stopped to take us to Skopje. He knew some Russian so we could communicate mixing Polish, Russian and Macedonian. After 30 minutes we were in Skopje. Trip Inđija – Skopje in 24 hours.

Could be better, but you know, it’s all about the journey!

Continue reading

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Already in Serbia!

Budapest-Inđija

Budapest-Inđija

Day two.

It’s 9 o’clock and we’re ready to go. But it seems that drivers aren’t. No movement at the gas station. So let’s have a morning coffee (guess, whose idea was that). Surprise! With two cappuccinos we got free chocolate rolls.

This time it was easier. At 12 o’clock we caught a ride. Atilla was going from Netherlands to Turkey and was so nice that he gave me a ride and amused us with a conversion. Our destination was Inđija, a town between Novi Sad and Belgrade. So we took off at the gas station that seem to be the closest: 10-15 km away. Still quite far to walk next to the road under the burning sun with big backpacks. OK, we’ll hitch-hike. We made a banner, again, misspelled! Someone was so nice to tell us that.

Let's try something new. didn't work

Let’s try something new. didn’t work

Nobody was going to Inđija, but a nice young couple in white Reanult 5 (sorry, we didn’t get your names) offered us a lift to the highway exit to Inđija. Waiting time: 5 minutes.

Later, just after passing by the pay toll, we caught another ride, a truck. We didn’t have any common language with the driver, but as I understood from our Polish/Serbian dialog, he was going some other way, but decided to to leave us in the center of Inđija. Hitch-hiking in Balkans IS easy!

Inđija was the first Serbian city we’ve seen. First impression: it’s so cheap!; second: they REALLY like ice-cream!

On a 100-m long street we found 5 ice-cream places. Igor felt a little bit like home with all the bars and „terracitas“ all the main. We easily found home of Igor, our CS host. He had a really nice place, with two lovely kittens and a sweet dog at the backyard. He was also hosting another Polish girl, Zuzia, who was coming back from her hitch-hiking trip from Georgia. Thank you for some traveling tips, Zuzia!

 

After arriving, Igor took us to Belgrade by car, so we could see a little bit of this interesting city. Once I’ve arrived there, I felt a little bit like home myself. There are a lot of small details in Belgrade that reminds me of Warsaw. But I must admit, Serbians seem to have more relaxed and chilled out attitude than Poles, especially those from the capital.

Belgrade!

Belgrade!

 

In the evening we went to a free beer festival (watch out – the security is checking for lighters at the entrance and throws them away!). We drunk some beers and listened to Serbian music. What a great beginning of our trip!

Polish accent in Belgrade

Polish accent in Belgrade

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On the road again!

Budapest-Szeget

Budapest-Szeget

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).

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Hitch-hiking spot in Budapest. Perfect for cars to stop.

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Hitchhikers food with Hungarian accent: super sweet cocktail tomatoes and spicy peppers.

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Igor’s first guitar concert ( private, for me and the hedgehog). 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!

What the fuck... a hat

What the fuck… a hat

Hitchhiker but stylish

Hitchhiker but stylish

Where am I?

Where am I?

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Hot & spicy Budapest

Hi everybody,

We spent two lovely days in Budapest, where we were hosted by our friend Aga. We were still in the ”tourist mode”, so not too much of adventures but a lot of sightseeing. I’ll try to make a quick resume, with the more important moments and tips.

Our instant impression after landing was that we finally left behind the crazy humidity of Barcelona, the weather was soft and dry. The first thing you should be aware once in Hungary is the exchange rate. The only office placed in the airport offers the exchange rate at 235 (1euro=235 forints), one shady guy who presents himself as a ”taxi manager” offered it at 250, while in the city center it was around 295. Arriving to Budapest is quite easy, you should take a bus an then a metro, but with the daily ticket (1 person 1650 forints and group ticket up to 5 persons, 3300 forint) you can take as many rides as you want. I personally liked the mix of modern and very old metro wagons and buses. By the way… with the 24-hours ticket you can also take… a BOAT.

I'm on a boat!

I’m on a boat!

As we had heard, Hungary is the paradise for the foodies that like the real deal, with sauces, a lot of meat and hot stuff, but you can also find very good fruits and vegetables, as well as delicious wine. It was very funny when we were to buy some food in a family corner shop and I asked them if the peppers standing in a big basket where spicy, and they answered me: ”yes they are for free” (of course they are spicy, we are in Hungary). The thing I like the most about the Hungarians was that they always receive you with a smile, something to be appreciated. I didn’t had too much time to get a clearest idea but they look very relaxed and friendly (I’m writing that from Serbia and I guess that it will be a constant here). We also find people playing music on the street, so I hope to get involved soon.

I won’t write too much about how beautiful is Budapest, because everybody knows it, and Google images is still available, but you can’t lose the view of the city from the Gellért Hill and Matthias Church or drink a beer in one of the several bars on the Jewish district. Apart from that, every single street is equally beautiful in Buda as in  Pest, although they have different styles.

Pest from Buda

Pest from Buda

Lastly, the most recommended place by hitchwiki.org to hitchhike to Belgrade, was not so easy for us. It was a road a few kilometers before the highway, with a perfect ramp to stop, but I guess the problem was there were a lot of cars going to different directions. Anyway we are aware that the first day is always the hardest and we still don’t have this characteristic hitchhiker look, we were probably too clean. Problem solved 🙂

On the Budapest underground

On the Budapest underground

Underground mechanic stairs

Underground mechanic stairs

Nyugati Train Station

Nyugati Train Station

Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út (opened in 1896, is one of the oldest metro stations in Europe)

Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út (opened in 1896, is one of the oldest metro stations in Europe)

don't touch the fucking water

…don’t touch the fucking water…

thongs for giant people

Thongs for giant people

Anker Palace Hotel

Anker Palace Hotel

Lyberty Bridge

Lyberty Bridge

Liberty statue

Liberty statue

Matthias Church

Matthias Church

Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion

 

 

 

 

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Introduction

Very rough itinerary of our trip

Very rough itinerary of our trip

We’ ve decided to make this blog about our trip hitchhiking the Balkans because of several reasons.
First of all, we want to show our adventure to our friends, family and rest of the people, so we thought that a blog was the most creative and less boring way to do it. Also the possibility to be updated regularly keeps our parents calm.
Secondly, we hope that the the present blog will become a usefull guide for other hitchhikers, as other blogs had been for a us. There are too many details that you only realise when you are hitchhiking around a specific area, so we find an interesting to clear them up from the field.
Thirdly, this blog is a personal project because of my studies in journalism and my passion for travelling. I’ll try to do my best to combine both interests and get experience to face future more ambitious projects.
Last, but not the least,, we consider the blog a kind of tribute to all the people who is going to help us on our way and as our way of gratitude. Last year, we met around 60 people and majority of them were great and interesting persons, but it is impossible to keep in touch with that amount of people. Other barriers of that commitment is the dificulty to keep a lot of numbers and mails, is because of that that this year we decide to give a sticker with the blog website adress to everybody who helps us, who we meet on the way, who we like and we think they like us.

Peace!

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