Hitch to the Hike Part 1
Traveling rarely includes exploring your own country. This wouldn’t be adventurous or horizon broadening, no? Well it depends on how you do it and how well you know your native country.
In March I was forced to temporarily abandon my world trip and found myself in Germany very unexpectedly. Yeah, at first being in a small city in Germany instead of exploring Tokyo and then Australia was a bit bitter but I’ll be damned if that or my lacking funds was gunna keep me from exploring. My curiosity knows no boundaries.
So my bezzie Kaija and I decided to go on a small hitchhiking trip. I called in sick to work (yup – not working there anymore), and we packed a backpack, a sleeping bag and a canvas bag full of food each.
Starting point Mainz, destination Heidelberg. Why Heidelberg? Neither of us had ever been there, it’s not too far away so good for beginner-thumb-sticker-outers and it is meant to be pretty beautiful. While Kaija was figuring out which Autobahn (highway) we needed to use I quickly yet politely bombarded a bunch of Heidelberg CouchSurfers. Before I could turn off my computer and agitate the gravel I already had 3 accepted CouchRequests. As to not pick favourites I chose the fastest replier – Christina, a 20 year old Biology student.
Kaija and I met up at Mainz Central Station, took a street tram to the edge of the city, asked a pedestrian which way the Autobahn was, headed that way and as the stop light turned red I pounced on the first oblivious driver who came to a stop. He agreed to take us to a supermarket parking lot right by the Autobahn where we could try our luck at finding a ride. The dude was really nice. He told us that he got married in Heidelberg’s castle. Ohhhh, a castle! Awesome. Did not know Heidelberg had one of ’em.
He dropped us off at the parking lot as promised but we decided standing by the road leading onto the Autobahn was our best bet. Cars were just not stopping though. The drivers were stressed by the thought of getting on the Autobahn so we thought…if they don’t want to stop for us we will force them to. We continuously pressed the stop light’s button ensuring that cars had to stop every couple of minutes. We took this time to run and knock on every passenger’s window in sight. Some wouldn’t scroll down their windows. Some shook their heads in disbelief and some twisted and turned their necks to stare at us. Finally a bald, squinty-eyed pink shirt, purple tie wearing business man stopped for us and we quickly scrambled into the car before the lights could turn green.
We told him about our plans and educated him on CouchSurfing (“You don’t know these people?!”, “It’s for free? Completely?” “But why? What’s in it for them?”) and when we told him our age (22) he burst out laughing. “Really?!” “Noooooo!” Yes, we look young. We look like both our ages put together might add up to 22. But we definitely don’t look 22. He was still chuckling when the car came to a stand still at an Autobahn rest stop. “Take care of yourselves girls!”