Monday, April 18, 2011

On the road again!

Parting with Alan was long and heartbreaking but it was high time to leave the sorrow behind and enjoy a new chapter ahead of me.

First ride - starting from the ordinary spot we used whenever we wanted to get back to Les Houches - Les Pèlerins roundabout. I'm happy because of the new adventure starting but also a little sad because of being on my own again. Yet I know that once the real adventure starts, all my sadness will vanish. I'm sometimes looking behind me to see if any car has stopped and one time I notice two teenagers approaching the pull-off. Hitchhiking is very common in the valley, used to get from one village to the other. They can't be going very far.

A car stops after around 15 minutes and  both I and they approach. With my broken French I manage to understand that he's going to Chambéry. I get in, the youngsters continue to wait. I wish them good luck and get no reply.

After around 1,5 h the driver drops me off at péage. He tells me in broken English about two options that I have - either going to Grenoble (our side of the road) or to Lyon and from Lyon to Valence. I choose the first one. Thumbing for 15 minutes gives no effect, only some weird looks of people and drivers passing me, so I'm starting to think about the other side of the road and heading to Valence. I run across the road, which is as busy as the highway itself and trying to get a ride here seems even more futile, so I have a look at the map and realize  I'm not on the right side of the road!!! So I run again to where I was before, trying to not get killed by speeding cars.

This time I have more luck. A car stops almost immediately, we manage to communicate in French and I have a ride to the nearest péage. Asam is from Turkey and has lived most of his life in France. I use my little dictionary to tell him that I have a few Turkish friends who had lived in Poland. He's very fond of that and talks about Polish-Turkish friendship. I tell him that I know how to say "thank you" in Turkish and a big grin appears on his face. We listen to Turkish music and I tell him that I really like Turkish singer, Gökhan Kirdar. Asam opens his car compartment and gives me 2 CDs with around 300 songs. My backpack is already too full, but I accept the gift. He gives me a friendly hug for goodbye.

Next ride turns out to be a situation I've never been in while hitchhiking. I see a car with 3 guys inside slowing down and pulling over right next to me. I'd never expect I'd get in a car with 3 men inside, but my instincts tell me I should trust them, they don't look like lecherous perverts. Nico, Robin and Guillaume are brothers living in Annecy, but they often head south, this time only to drive Robin to Grenoble, from where he'll hitchhike to Valence to see his girlfriend. His English is the poorest of all of them, but he makes up for it with his witty jokes. Guillaume has lived in Czech Republic for two years, he speaks some Czech to me and I reply in Polish. Nico shares a profession with me, he's also a painter and can't imagine having another job. We laugh and joke and I don't have any regrets about accepting this ride. Plus, I have a companion.

We finally get to Grenoble, I say thank you to Guillaume and Nico, while Robin and I will spend some more time with each other on the road. A young couple pull over, Robin talks with them and tells me they're going to Avignon. Sweet! No sign and I have a ride almost to my destination! Even better, when Bastian asks me where I'm going, I tell him the name and he says "That's exactly where we're going to. I grew up in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue." He and his girlfriend are seasonal workers in Méribel, Bastian sells skiing equipment and Karine works at newsagents'. She's originally from Brazil, but was adopted at young age. In love with her car, she's driving all her friends around. We have a little picnic in the car and make it to L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue at 18.30.

450 km and the only reason why I'm tired is waking up at 7.30 and hectically getting ready to leave. I miss the Alps but I also feel that I'll have to hitchhike a longer distance soon. Hitchhiking bug reactivated!

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