Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hitchhikers' reunion

So far I've only been "licking" a tiny bit Slovakia on the way to the south of Europe - this time on the way to my second HitchGathering I finally had a chance to appreciate the beauty of my neighboring country. After a very long break I finally camped and loved seeing the Lazisko sky dotted with stars just before going to sleep and views from the tent in the morning. Thanks to Rita, a Polish girl living in a squat in Barcelona, who without hesitation shared her one-person tent with me, I could feel more comfortable during cold nights. I bathed naked in the creek, cherishing the cool breeze on my skin and privacy and freedom that in Turkey is so scarce. I reunited with hitchhikers met last year in Lithuania, sometimes hardly believing my eyes seeing how some people have changed. I met many other travelers with whom we shared laughs, jokes, experiences, advice, music, hugs, food. I already have some ideas where to go next summer and have to admit I would need three of them to visit all these places but I hope I'll manage to find at least a few days to meet again with fellow hitchhikers.


Respectful thanks to everybody who gave a ride me on the way to and from the gathering, especially particular drivers:
  • a Kurdish/Dutch guy going all the way from Gaziantep to the Netherlands who picked me up at the ring road entrance in Sofia, offered a chance to speak Turkish while we were passing three countries together and took me almost to the Hungarian/Slovak border;
  • a Romanian family, who admittedly had no idea how to use GPS or read the road signs (unnecessarily getting into the center of Budapest, taking wrong exits and aimlessly driving empty village roads, getting lost inside Szeged) and gave misleading information about their route every 15 minutes (going to Szeged - going to Timişoara - going to Craiova, you can come with us - we want to sleep for some time, are you staying with us? - we want to do some shopping in Szeged, but the shops are closed, where should we leave you?), but whose constant and time-consuming getting lost at least saved me from the burden of hitchhiking at night in a hitchhiker-hostile territory;
  • a Greek truck driver who advised me to go to a nearby gas station instead of trying to catch a ride on the Hungarian/Serbian border itself;
  • Murat, the most polite and respectful Turkish truck driver ever, who picked me almost immediately after moving to the aforementioned gas station, drove continuously through two countries until the border in Kapitan Adreevo and proved that Turkish truck drivers aren't always lecherous guys giving obscene proposals to hitchhiking girls;
  • the owners of Pena Cafe & Pub in Edirne who picked me from the border when it was still dark and then invited for a morning coffee in their beautiful place.

    Back to Europe - from Çanakkale to Eceabat
Sunset before Sofia

Somewhere around Belgrade

Morning in Serbia

Long line at the Serbian/Hungarian border

Still in Liptovský Mikuláš, on the way to Lazisko

Hitchhikers' campsite

The moment the police came and told us to change the location of the gathering

Ginger cat inspecting our tent in the new campsite

The new location

"Poland Ukraine Flower World Champion"...

Hammock zone

Along the way through the forest back to Lazisko

Szeged, 4 am, a long walk ahead of me

Morning in the field near Röszke in my Quechua

Left the hitchhiker's nightmare Hungary, welcome to more friendly Serbia

Mountains between Niš and Pirot; it was the first time I passed this part of Serbia at daytime and was truly astounded.

Early breakfast on the Turkish side of the border

Around Havsa

Slowly moving towards Çanakkale

Welcome back, Asia

Back in Turkey, tomorrow I'll be on the road again, on the mission for my 90000th kilometer by hitchhikng. Happy rides everyone!

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