So yeah, It has been a while again since I last wrote something, It was in Ireland to be exact. To make sure the story doesn’t have a few empty pages let me nutshell the last couple of months for you.
Ireland was nice, and the Carriage project was interesting too, But due to unforeseen consequences I had to head back to NL which I did around Christmas. With the intention to stay for a couple of weeks and head to Wales somewhere in January things turned out to go completely different. In the end, the Project in wales got Delayed, I kicked back in NL until end February. Had a Roadtrip to Berlin with Brothas, Solo Hitch to Brussels meeting LT friends. Eventually I ended up on the road again, Thumbing East, Onward to Transylvania! Let me tell you how that went, I have to pre-warn though. not much pictures have been taken due to being in the moment and thus its gonna be a boring lecture of text for your amusement.
Its Monday, the 29th of February. The journey started with a ride from my mother and her partner, She had a day off work and offered to help me on my way and drop me at gas station. Even though the intended gas station was around Utrecht, Due to missing it, a closed gas station and construction stuff we ended up in Arnhem. I got my backpack, we said our bye’s, the usual selfy stuff and off they went. I turned myself 360degrees and noticed a German plate. I approached the dude who just arrived at his car. He was heading just beyond Frankfurt and agreed to take me with. Awwyeah! what a great start! Waiting time: 3 minutes
Mister used to be a Lawyer, but due to being in the 60s he is now working as a notary. He has a boat in Harlingen, every once in a while, he drives from Frankfurt to Harlingen, this time because his boat needed to chance harbor. So he went to the Northern Netherlands to find a new place for his boat. He was quite open to the whole Natural Building concept and actually knew of some interesting places and Traditional building techniques in Germany, We discussed multiple subjects until we reached Frankfurt.
He slowly drove away, while i’m working on my shoulder straps of my backpack to get them in a comfortable position I’m also scouting all nearby plates. No Romanians yet, ah well. I approached the nearest dude, his trunk was open so I couldn’t see his plate. very soon it became quite clear he was a Dutchman. A Dutchman living in Switzerland. He offered me a ride to Basel, not exactly my Direction. Though Switzerland is, and the Dude seemed pretty cool I friendly Declined. I walked towards the Trucks, the first truck was a Czech. He said he spoke a little bit German and he seemed to understand that I wanted to go in the direction of Nurnberg. He didnt seem to like talking via the window though and told me to come in the cabin to check the map. Even though his German wasn’t as great as it seemed. He agreed to take me to Nurnberg.
The ride wasn’t that special. Due to our language barrier and both our lack of German vocabulary it was mostly quiet. We drove and drove at an easy pase of 90, Occasionally 70 due to the snow and wind. At some point he had to take a 45min break, where he started making coffee. I made a picture of him making coffee, So there will be at least a little bit of Visual experiences to this post eh.
Around 20:00 he dropped me at an Autohof just beyond Regensburg. That is when hitchhiking seemed to be done for the day. All truckers were getting ready to sleep, the autohof guy assisting the truckers didn’t seem to like my presence to much, nor were there any other cars. The autohof was quite far from the highway you see but 8pm is a bit to early to go to sleep. I waited to see what happened. Not much later a Belgian plate entered the gas station. A long haired bearded dude got out, in dutch “A very good evening, I don’t suppose you are heading to Austria are you?” he started laughing and said: no, Thats where I just came from. But damn dude, your on a real shitty place man. I agreed, but what to do, it was just the way it is. Meanwhile we started talking about some random things and thats where the magic happened
“You know what dude, I’ll bring you to the next Gas station directly next to the A3 towards Austria. I know I’m heading in the other direction, but its only about 15km back. Its fine. Hop in!”
Such a random act of kindness, I have had similar things happen to me in the past two years, These Random acts of Kindness. Although sometimes I feel really bad about accepting them, It became quite clear to me that I should simply not. For these people that offer these random acts of kindness do this out of good will. It makes them happy to help a brother out, like with food. I often get offered food, Most of the time great food, but sometimes food that I simply don’t eat. If this is the case I try to decline one time, if they accept great! if they don’t, basically I just accept the food. For I will simply pass it on to another person I will meet on the road who would love to accept said food.
The ride was short indeed, But the chat was Great. We even chatted for a while arriving at the gas station before he went on his way onward to Belgium. The Gas station was much better also, Super crowded, lots of cars. It was somewhere between 22/23.00 But besides that, Romanians!!!! and 4 of them just waiting for me to take me with! Oh boy was my mind going nuts, Imagine finding a ride through the night all the way. 2 of em were people my age, pretty cool and friendly But sadly both vans full with tons of people. One van wanted to bring me, but due to lack of a girdle on the passenger seat and scared of risking a ticket in Germany he didn’t want to bring me. The last van had 2 dudes in em besides that completely empty. He seemed friendly for we talked a bit in Romanian. But in the end he didn’t want to take me for I didn’t have any money to pay for the ride.
Though luck! Still luck was on my side that night. Earlier I noticed a Hungarian Van. I wanted to speak to him but he was on the phone so I left him alone, he noticed this. I went back to him about 30 minutes later, he was still calling but this time he asked me “Whats up man, where are you going? Budapest I replied. Ill take you to Wien he said. meanwhile he gave me his phone, He was talking to his sister who lived in The Netherlands for about 4 years, so I had to speak some Dutch with his sister.
The dude was hilarious, It was getting late and my memory didn’t register everything, for example his name but he was constantly popping jokes. Mostly jokes about Romanians and Hungarians. Some of which I found amusing, some of which I didn’t. He is a bike mechanic most of his days working in the workshop, but every once in a while he needs to get out. that’s when he drives his Van through Europe and delivers stuff. He didn’t have a wife or kids, He was just a happy single dude going through life. Around 02:00 we were close to Wien, he was supposed to take a right somewhere before all the crazy intersections. But that last gas station was really bad and he didn’t like it so much. This hilarious dude moved out of the way to help me on my Journey, He drove to the start of the A4 which leads to Budapest, The first Gas station was big and full of sleeping truckers, restaurants and stuff. great place to find a ride. Not as great to sleep though..
There were fences all over the place which is not that much of a problem. The problem was that behind those fences all you could see was grass. no trees or bushes or anything nature-ish to Stealth my tent. Besides the wind was blowing like crazy, really crazy. It was sure I wouldn’t be using my tent that night. I had to think of something else. Walking around the property there were barely hidden spots or corners free from wind or sight. There was this recycle station though, some crates stacked, these big compressor containers for cardboard and stuff and an automatic light. Seemed fine to me, The greatest thing was, it had walls around it except for one side so most of the wind was blocked. I found myself some cardboard to cover the dirty floor, and tried to get a couple of hours of rest behind said containers.
Yah, well, With the draft still coming in on occasion, Me freezing my ass off even though I was wearing everything I had and also every hour or so an employee throwing away stuff, activating the light. Not much rest was had. At 05:00 I was fully awake and wandering around the gas station, hoping to find a Truck towards Buda or Romania. it was about the time the truckers wake up anyway, sadly non of the 30 Truckers I asked that morning seemed to go in my Direction. An hour passed when I noticed another Belgium plate. I walked up to the car and said to the guy: “Flemmish, Dutch, France?” …. silence … “Romanste!” he replied. Whooohooo! I threw my best Romanian into play. Romanian was the only language they spoke anyway. They agreed to take me to Deva. Yup! all the way. and gues what? Fara Bani!
In the van were 2 dudes and a woman. She was sleeping on the back seat but they woke her up so I could fit in. Initially we had a bit of a chat, My Romanian is not perfect but I can do small talk, Explain who I am, what I do etc. Besides I understand a fair amount to make oke conversation. After an hour drive or so the woman and one of the dudes started sleeping. Usually I try not to sleep when I Hitch, I want to be aware where i’m going and its a bit rude towards the driver taking you. With some 700km still to go and 50% already sleeping I took my chance, I had a great couple of hours rest. All fresh! That afternoon at about 14:00 we Arrived in Deva. The only thing was they dropped me Before Deva due to they had to take another road. While walking to the other side of Deva to find a better hitch spot, I passed the train station of Deva. There was a train going to Cluj in one hour. That’s when I realized If i’m gonna walk the rest and try to hitch the last 200km, I might not make it tonight. 200km on Romanian roads basically means about 3 to 4 hours of driving depending on how crazy your driver is. Besides, when it gets dark, its gonna get very Hard. So I figured, Lets take the last bit with the train, allows me to read a bit, relax. and be 100% sure I will arrive in Cluj before midnight.
So yeah, the Train ride was supposed to take about 4 hours. Romanian trains eh, they take their time. Luckily there was a Romanian woman sitting next to me, she liked to talk. A LOT! So instead of reading my book, I basically had a 4 hours conversation until arriving in Cluj one hour late :)))) She was actually pretty cool and told me lots of places to go, visit, etc. It was fun!