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What happens on the road, part II (English post)

My English-speaking friends, I should feel ashamed having not done more English updates. But I am not, because this trip has been a joy, a pleasure, a kiss by life. Feeling like in a dream, but with being a wide awake. These weeks will stay with me forever.

It could name hundreds of things and incidents, but I will just name a few things that come randomly across my mind (more or less chronological).

-In Sweden, a hobby book-writer gave me a ride, we talked about plots, her work, life in general. I also drove with two Iraqis, who were telling me about the situation there.

-in Oslo, I experienced complete peace just by watching the fishermen in the harbour at night, doing nothing but waiting for a catch.

-In Scotland, I met Paul, a Scottish treeplanter and hippie. We went cherrypicking together in the hills and he gave me a place to stay at his croft, near the sea, with plenty of sheeps and mountains in sight. He showed me how it was to live in harmony with nature again.

-hitchhiking through the Highlands was pure bliss, with local people saying hello and even 70-year-old ladies picking you up in the middle of nowhere. Not even to mention the beauty of the landscape.

-on the Scottish islands, a nurse picked me up and told me so many thing about Isle of Lewis that I regretted not staying. I could have gone on and on like this, just driving around the island.

-I had great hosts like Aapo in Aberdeen or Robert in Belfast, who I had the pleasure of being the first couchsurfer after he moved there from the Netherlands. Belfast itself was quite full of history.

-in Dublin’s pubs, I danced the night away like there was no tomorrow.

-in Liverpool, I had a wonderful morning walking through the city while everybody was still sleeping. The wind was hell, though.
-On my way to London, Kevin picked me up, even though I wasn’t even standing there to hitch. He just returned from living in Greece because of his sick wife – and seldom have I met a jollier guy. After that, Edward, a guy from Zimbabwe, picked me up with his BMW and took me to London. I am pretty sure that the car was, well, not exactly paid for
-in London, I met a new friend and we spent the night on the roof talking about politics, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. In Brussels, I met an old friend, who I do not want to miss in my life.

-in France, a British couple picked me up at a parking space next to the highway, even offering me tea and food. In Germany, I went with a driver from Kosovo and I gave him my map, because he had to go all the way to the east of Hungary without having one.

-in Germany, an old friend invited me to his party and even drove me to the highway – after he had become sober again, that is.

I could go on and on, but this is not the time and place to do it. So I just want to say thank you to everybody I met or who has followed this. I am the luckiest guy in the world having been able to do this. Be all blessed!

Bloggertramp: The story so far (in English)

It is my eleventh day on the road now and I finally find some time to write something for my English-speaking friends/readers. As expected, the trip has been amazing. There have been many kind people who picked me up with no hesitation and also shared parts of their life-story with me. Even though I sometimes had to wait for some hours, I have been basically very lucky – and once you get a car, the whole delay is forgotten.

Unforseen traffic between Hungary and Slovakia

My route until now went like this: Munich (Aug. 15th) – Ljubljana/Slovenia – Balaton/Hungary – Budapest – Krakow/Poland – Warsaw/Poland – Suwaltki (border Poland-Lithuania) – Riga/Latvia – Tallinn/Estonia (only a few hours, though) – Helsinki (by boat) – Turku.

I met many people on the road, in the Hostels and by Couchsurfing (thanks to all of you great hosts!), so I just want to note some personal highlights:

-the way to Ljubljana went pretty smoothly, even though I passed an exit and had to take a Taxi from Salzburg to get back to the highway. In Ljublajana, I met four female Polish students who hitchhike every year in the summer, this year around the Balkan. I felt very amateurish, hearing that.

Four Polish hitchhike-professionals and my Slovian host

-from Hungary to Poland, a Turkish trucker took me with him. He was speaking German and gave me insight into how truckers manage to live on the road. It was very fascinating to see how somebody can have a double life that does not feel like one. He and his friends invited me to have lunch and tea at their truck. Very kind people.

Having lunch with new friends

-in Poland, I met plenty of young people who told me how their country is evolving. To Sulwaki, two potheads took me with them. They smoked weed while driving and made some crazy maneuvers to overtake other cars. Priceless how we went into the city with Michael-Jackson-songs playing and us smoking cigarettes while enjoying the Saturday afternoon sun

"Do you mind us smoking Marihuana?"

-in Lithuania, my driver threw me out in the middle of the highway, where I had to walk a few kilometers to get on the right track again. I also had to hitchhike in woods or very rural places, which tends to be exhausting because of the waiting time, but beautiful because of the landscape.

Waiting in Lithuania, but not in vain

-in Latvia, an older blond lady (makeup-artist) took me with him who told me she liked I was German because she had two German shepherd-dogs. They are called Giorgio and Armani. The lady also said she had done Astral travels in space.

-I met some other hitchhikers on the street, a French couple, for example, and Jan from Czech in Poland. He went to Finland to see a girl there, an “Erasmus thing”, as he told me with a big grin.

-in Helsinki, I did not find a place to stay, which is why I had to travel on to Turku in the night by bus. Though this was not a pleasant experience, it is good to know there is always a lot of room for improvisation.

Estonia behind, the future ahead

Not even half of my journey is over, which feels crazy, because so many things have been happening. My beard has been growing, so has my confidence in being on the road. It is a bit of stress to keep the blog and to get to the highways, but at the same time, there are quiet and simply beautiful moments. My feet are full of blisters, my body sometimes aches in the evening and I tend not to get many warm meals – but still it feels so real, so here and now, so alive. And I feel very grateful for that.

My shadow stays with me, as we leave it all far behind.