To Hitch-hike or not to hitch-hike?
Just to get this blog started, here's one article about my trip couple of years ago.
Traveling from Estonia to Spain and back, covering about 8000km altogether, passing through Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Germany and France, is not the easiest trip to take, is it? Might be, but try doing it by hitch-hiking all the way and by never staying the night in some hotel, but rather using alternative ways.
What is hitch-hiking anyway? In many countries it is recognized as an alternative way of traveling – traveling for free and using just your thumb for doing it. Just go to the road, wait till some car passes by, and when it does, put your thumbs up to stop the car. If it does stop, you can be quite sure that he does so because he wants to give you a ride. And of course, for that ride you don’t have to pay anything. That’s hitch-hiking. An alternative free way of traveling, which is mainly used by students in many countries.
To Germany, please
Our trip started from Pärnu, the summer capital of Estonia. Pärnu is only about 70km from the nearest border – Latvia. However our trip still had a rather unfortunate beginning – it took us over 7 hours to get out of Estonia, not to mention the last 12 km that were passed on foot. And just to give you some food for thoughts – it was about 30C outside, the sun was shining brightly, we were carring about 20kg bags. Not very encouraging beginning or what?
How to hitch-hike?
The first thing everyone will tell you when you’re going to hitch-hike – make a big sign, that everyone can see. To tell you the truth, we never managed to get a ride by using signs. And we traveled about 8000 km altogether.
The easiest way to get a ride is to talk to the drivers in the gas station. Try to speak their native language, if possible. It leaves a lot better impression.
If you don’t have money to go to a hotel for the night, just find a place away from all the roads, a place that no one usually comes to. But do not go to parks, etc. You can wash yourself in bigger gas stations for a little money.
Make sure you don’t walk on highways, neither run across them, at least if you value your life.
Don’t let any driver drop you off on some highway, always make sure there’s a gas station just nearby.
The Survival Trip
France, 10am in the morning, temperature is 40C, we were given a ride by some French guys who were on their way to a rave party in Switzerland. At some point they discovered that they need to turn away from the main road and put us off so we could go our way. We were put off basically in the middle of the highway, no gas stations around. Our water supplies were almost finished and we had no idea where to go. So we started going along the highway side, the sun shining right on our heads. And we had to walk over 20km on the highway side just to find a gas station where we could buy some water and start hitch-hiking again. Once we managed to get to some town – it was already evening. It was Saturday and to our *nice* surprise all the shops and gas stations that we managed to find were closed, not to mention the pubs, etc. Some kind of tradition I guess. Finally we managed to find a hotel where we could buy some really expensive Coca-Colas. We were quite dead at the time, but fortunately the next day we found the little town very beautiful, even though most of the shops, etc were closed.
Good old Spain
We crossed the Spanish border on our 12th day with a nice English lady who was traveling together with her son in order to move to South of Spain. We left them about 70km from the French border, in L’Escala. Finally in Spain, it was a great feeling, we felt like in heaven – our goal had just been achieved. We had some beers, enjoyed ourselves for real and stayed there for 4 days altogether; we didn’t have the need to go any further, to Barcelona or any other place. We just felt good.