Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Alive and kicking (part 3): Halle - Kraków

I was expecting Halle to be cheap and indeed it was. It’s a cute city in the East of Germany, home of the biggest university in Saxony-Anhalt and one of the oldest in Germany. Cobbled stone small streets. Gothic churches, especially Marktkirche.  I walked a lot. I got lost a lot. I got lost more than I walked.  Instead of taking the tram to the place where I could start hitchhiking, I decided to walk. It was a nice day for a walk anyway. It took me about an hour’s walk. I had almost 700 Km to go. It could be done in one day they say. Well, I didn’t do it in one day. Finding a ride to Leipzig was easy. Once there, leaving was impossible, at least for me that day. I tried in two different places. In the first one at least 5 drivers stopped in a period of 2 hours. They were not going my way. One was going to Zwickau. Later that day I thought maybe it could’ve been wise to take that ride. Well, I didn’t and moved to the other place. That alone took me almost an a hour. I’ve made so far less than 50 Km. It was getting late. It was the 25th anniversary of the German reunification. There was policemen every-fucking-where. I don’t think I have seen so many policemen in one day. No less than 60 police cars drove beside me. Finally I gave up. Went back to the HbF. Ate something and stared to use the Internet in McRubbish. Yes, I did eat there this time. I was starving. I had nothing in my stomach. It was 7 in the evening. Fuck off! Asked a girl if she could translate to me some text from Mitfahrgelegenheit. We started talking. She was waiting for her husband to pick her up and driving back to Dresden. Dresden! That’s where I’m going, I mean, I was going to Dresdner Tor, the petrol station just before Dresden. I had been stuck there twice before: Berlin – Prague in 2010 and Brussel – Kraków in 2011. They drove me there. Funny: It took me to thumb for two hours somewhere without success, then get on the public transport for an hour to go somewhere else and thumb an additional three hours, also without success, to find a ride in the most unsuspected place: the top floor of a McRubbish restaurant. Hitchhiking works in mysterious ways. It was not very, very late. I tried to get a tide to Wrocław. I figured once there I could call someone I know there hoping he or she will be back living there. If not, there is always the train station. No worries. I didn’t sleep at the train station because I didn’t find a ride. In 2011 I stupidly slept outside. It was not cold.  This time it was not that cold but I just didn’t want to. I went to the restaurant and bought an overpriced bottle of water and asked in my nicest and most polite tone if I could sit somewhere inside the restaurant, the lady behind the register, maybe in her 50s or 60s gave me a motherly look, then she smiled while nodding her head. She knew I needed somewhere warm to spend the night. I lay down on the cushioned bench type seat and tried to sleep. It was utterly uncomfortable but I was warm. Finally I slept from 2 to 6. I remember exactly the time because when I turned on my iPod it still had the time from when I last turned it on.  I woke up. Started to get ready and walked out of the restaurant not before thanking the restaurant lady. She smiled back.

Went back to the pumps. I heard an engine running. Quickly grabbed my shit and ran towards the lorry trying not to spill the coffee and get burned. Marek agreed to take to Wrocław. We stopped for a pausa in the first big petrol station after crossing the border. 5 minutes after… no, not even 5, even less than 5 minutes after setting foot on Polish soil I remembered one of the reasons why I love this country so much. Marek was going to Łódź but he was going close to where I had to get off, he decided to drive the more or less 5 Km between his exit the petrol station on the A4, right outside Wrocław. From there another guy drove me to Opole. He was asking, without any success, on the CB radio every time he saw another lorry that might go on my direction. In that petrol station I had so many looks of disgust from Poles. I saw a VW kombi. Asked the guy, his car had Slovenian number plates. He worked in Wrocław but was going back home to Ljubljana for the weekend. He took me to Gliwice. There, another guy agreed to take me but we had to wait a bit for his colleague because he needed to give him something. I asked a couple other drivers walking nearby but nothing. Alright, I told myself, you found a ride anyway, don’t mind if I wait a bit more. The 30 Km between Gliwice and Katowice took almost an hour. There was a massive traffic jam at the péage, the queue was a couple of kilometres long. Finally I was in Katowice, I asked a guy with long hair that seemed nice. He was. He said yes. Speed limit was, I think 120, he was driving 180. Given the way he drove, I think he was in a hurry.

So peeps, that’s how I got to the lovely city of Kraków, the place I stayed for a bit over two weeks. The place that I always enjoy going.

No comments: