Database


On this page you will find a description of the rides I had while hitchhiking. It is the same information as you will find in the interactive Maps.

 

(as of 11/10/2015)

– Current Ride-counter : 1278

– Current Kilometer-counter : 96197

– Current number of visited countries by hitchhiking : 34

 

VisitedCountries

 

1 51 101

Hitchhiked Rides Description Year
1 Breda – Den Bosch : after we spend a long time waiting we get picked up by a trucker that throws us out on the middle of the highway. We decide to take a train for the next stretch to at least get out of the netherlands. 2009
2 Enschede – Poznan : the loud techno music of two young Polish guys makes us forget about our Scandinavian desires as we decide to cross entire Germany with them. 2009
3 Poznan – Kolo : Woodstock come with us! We get invited in by three construction workers in their van that doesn’t actually have space since it’s fully loaded with equipment. The guys are only wearing their underwear and the next 4 hours we manage to barely make a 100 kilometers – on the highway that is – they buy vodka on a petrol station, decide to sniff amphetamines from the hood and treat us with a sightseeing tour of various towns showing the bulletholes in streetnamesigns and whistling at the local hookers. We stop at a construction site somewhere and the guys get into a fight with a collegue of theirs when we decide to finally abandon them and jump on a train for the last stretch to Warsaw. 2009
4 Krakow – Wroclaw : it takes a while for us to find a proper hitchhiking spot, but then we get a quick ride out to Wroclaw. 2009
5 Wroclaw – Berlin : our next driver takes us to Berlin. 2009
6 Berlin – Venlo : we get invited into the car of a young guy that tells us he oftenly takes hitchhikers from the German website mitfahrgelegenheit. He likes to go snowboarding a lot and we take a little detour close to the border to hide some weed he still had on him – strange things happening. 2009
7 Venlo – Venlo : we get a short drive into the netherlands from two Portugese hippie woman. 2009
8 Gent – Brussel : I get to drive with Alan Gevaert, the bass player of Belgian band dEUS. Its funny as his rickety cars breaks down (battery trouble) and he needs to wait for a friend to come and pick him up from the petrol station he leaves me at just before Brussels. 2009
9 Brussel – Rome : a friendly man from Rotterdam first doesn’t want to take me and then decides for himself that it can be nice to have some company along the way. He works as a courier and gets a 75 euro hotelbudget per day from his business, he doesnt like the idea of me sleeping out on the petrol station and ends up paying for a bed for me twice. 2009
10 Rome – Arezzo : a business man is happy to practice his English with me. 2009
11 Arezzo – Firenze : another business man picks me up. 2009
12 Modane – Montmillian : i get a short ride by two foresters. 2009
13 Montmillian – Geneva : i get stuck at a petrol station with no one really having to go my direction. I finally manage to convince an elderly couple to make a small detour for me and feel kind of guilty when they get stuck in Geneva’s rush hour. 2009
14 Geneva – Lausanne : get picked up while walking away from the spot i was previously waiting for a few hours already. 2009
15 Lausanne – Fribourg : I help a guy with a tow truck at the petrol station and he gives me a ride in my direction. 2009
16 Fribourg – Basel : Very friendly man from the eastern part of Switzerland (difficult accent), it’s impossible to make clear to him that i find it difficult to accept the 20 francs he is insisting on giving me. 2009
17 Basel – Gent : I get very lucky meeting two young Belgian hikers on their way home from a trip in the Alps. 2009
18 Essen – Hannover : We get picked up by a Belgian man that doesn’t really talk but rather screams every time he opens his mouth. It’s kind of funny. My father dropped us off at the first petrol station in Germany because we were too much of a pussy to hitchhike in the Netherlands. 2010
19 Hannover – Magdeburg : a Slovak guy working in the Netherlands is on his way to his family for holidays. After examining his GPS for quite some time he is happy to take us along. 2010
20 Magdeburg – Berlin : friendly Berliner takes us for a spin. I forget my sweater. 2010
21 Berlin – Forst : we get to the border rather quickly. Don’t really remember with whom though. 2010
22 Forst – Wroclaw : a friendly Polish business man is speeding across the highway and easily convinces us we should take a break and check out his city. 2010
23 Wroclaw – Krakow : there are a lot of hitchhikers around and we need to keep attention not to loose ride to other long hairde folk. We get picked up by a friendly man that is a bit dissapointed as he finds out we don’t speak Polish (and he doesn’t speak English). He likes us though and expects a postcard from Istanbul once we get there. 2010
24 Krakow – Rzeszow : Demtek picks us up in his truck and makes sure we can follow the football match on his small computer. 2010
25 Lviv – Brody : we drive with Danya who speaks good English and is very proud to take a unannounced detour on a dirtroad leading to a garage to show us his real racemonster, a BMW (with the golden quote; welcome to Eastern Europe, I like speed). 2010
26 Brody – Kyiv : the sounds of squeaky brakes turns our faith around quickly and we drive to the capital with a friendly trucker. As talking English is not an option this time the ride gets filled with alternatly insisting to continue to speak our own languages, smoking cigarettes in two hoists and a budding sign language from which we didn’t knew we possessed it. The rain is pouring from the sky, while our man tries to avoid the many putholes in the asphalt. After a 5 hour rollercoasterride we arrive in Kyiv in the evening. Our sympathetic trucker disappears in the dark, honking with his loot, half a bottle of vodka that we had left, and we are once again tested on our knowledge of the Cyrillic while we dive deep under the surface of the metropolitan subway system. 2010
27 Kyiv – Bila Tserkva : we meet Paul, a hitchhiker from St. Petersburg, who takes us under his wings. Although were with three we get a ride out rather quickly by a guy that keeps on telling us Jesus loves us. 2010
28 Bila Tserkva – Uman : Our next driver thinks it’s very brave from us to travel like this in a country where we don’t speak the language. As we say we find the landscape rather desolate, both our driver and Paul start to laugh and tell us if we find this desolate already we should go to Kazakhstan once. We take a break to have some chai along the way. 2010
29 Uman – Odessa : at this point were hitchhiking right on the highway, which is, because of the low amount of cars, no problem at all. We get picked up by a young businessman, who despite the fact he already had two hitchhikers from Moscow in his small cars, decides to takes us all with him to Odessa. 2010
30 Odessa – Monashi : Dmitri takes us for a spin along the Moldovan/Ukrainian border. We take this road since we dediced we want to avoid Transnistria, a narrow patch of land in the east of Moldova, a microstate (recognised as such only by the Russians). Altough this may souns exciting we wished to skip on the stories of heavily armed soldiers and bribes. 2010
31 Monashi – Reni : the drivers of this van all of a sudden want 20 dollar a person out of us although they said it wasn’t a problem we weren’t intending to pay for the ride like we told them before we got in. They start to angerly call a lot to makes scared but in the end everything is fine and they drop us on the edge of the bordertown. Karma gets back at us with a fierce rain- and thunderstorm and the Ukrainian borderguards having a laugh with our drenched clothing. Also we’re not allowed to cross the Romanian part of the border by foot and we get forced to take a taxi from a shady looking character. 2010
32 Galati – Bucuresti : we get a straight ride to the capital from a friendly courier. I am napping most of the time. 2010
33 Bucuresti – Giurgiu : we get picked up by three non-speaking Bulgarians in a van. They drop us on the outskirts of Girugiu and we walk the remaining 5 or so kilometers to the border. This one you can cross by foot. A long walk as well though, crossing a music making bridge (because of all the heavy truck traffic) across the Dunarea. We are not allowed toe at our sandwiches there though – no lunch Dutch! 2010
34 Ruse – Veliko Tarnovo : it doesn’t take long before we get a ride by a young Bulgarian that speaks a bit of German. On this small national road 180 km/h is really a bit too crazy, and our driver understands this as well but only after we passed a frontal caraccident a bit further. 2010
35 Veliko Tarnovo – Velike Tarnovo : we didn’t know our previous driver dropped us just before a city (we thought we were in the middle of nowhere because of the beautifull nature that was surrounding us) and we get stuck here in the sun for 3 hours untill we get a ride-offer into town by Dimitar, a friendly paraglider. 2010
36 Kapi Kule – Istanbul : at the border we meet a big group of cool French people. They are an international circus on their way to orphanages in Kars in the east of Turkey. They had some troubles getting their big truck full of goods across the border but when they finally manage their happy to take us along. It’s very impressive to reach Europe’s biggest metropole at night! 2010
37 Istanbul – Istanbul : we get a few rides inside Istanbul as we try to leave this giant piece of concrete, but it mostly makes us confused and we end up even going back to our friends place for another evening in the end. 2010
38 Budapest – Den Bosch : after waiting for over 8 hours we are blessed to get a very long ride all the way home by two friendly Dutch man that were in Hungary on a business trip. 2010
39 Breda – Tilburg : the first car that passes by picks me up. I drive to Tilburg with a friendly young artist. 2010
40 Tilburg – Köln : after a long wait I get a ride from a German man working in Goeree Overflakkee and who is going to visit his wife in Köln. We listen to German reggae band Seed. 2010
41 Köln – Köln : a friendly old man takes me out of the city and back on the highway. He tells me the meaning of life (something I cant’t share with you). 2010
42 Köln – Nürnberg : I get a long ride from Abraham, a friendly young man from Nigeria. I can’t get it into his head why I am travelling by hitchhiking. 2010
43 Nürnberg – Wien : I drive all thorugh the night with a Hungarian couple that is working full time in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. At the moment they’re on the way to a GOA party on the shores of Balaton lake though, so loud music and nice conversation make it impossible to sleep this night. 2010
44 Wien – Budapest : I get picked up by a young Dutch man who is travelling on his social benefits money. We drive all through Budapest instead of taking the outer ring but we manage to find a good spot for me to continue. 2010
45 Budapest – Szeged : the guy at the petrol station I get out of the previous car likes me and starts asking the people that come to fill up their cars wether they go further down south and mind to take a young Dutch man along. It doesn’t take long before I am back on the road with a friendly IT-specialist. 2010
46 Szeged – Subotica : the douaniers don’t really like me hitchhiking at the border and come to give me a deadline as to when I should be gone. Just a little after I meet Allen and Norbert, two young Serbian who invite me to join them to the small festival they’re organising with their friends. Cool! 2010
47 Subotica – Plovdiv : after some walking I get to a petrol station along the main road to Beograd where I immediatly spot a car with a Dutch license plate. Jack, the owner of a restaurant in Lelystad is on his way to meet his Bulgarian wife all the way in Plovdiv and doesn’t mind at all to take me along. Great! He has a lot of stories from the road to share with me since he has been driving this long road numberous times. He is mostly not fond of the Serbian policeman, who according to him will search untill they find something that is wrong with your car so they can give you a fine when the see you have a foreign numberplate. The road between Nis and Sofia is beautifull and mountainous and, as you can see from the huge amount of small carmechanic shops along the way, not one of Europe’s safest roads. In Sofia we pick up 2 other hitchhikers, a couple from Lódź in Poland. They fleed into the city to find their CS-host, as Jack drops me at a TIR parking lot on the edge of town. 2010
48 Plovdiv – Kapi Kule : There is a restaurant, a hotel and a brodell at this place. One of the prostitutes speaks a litlle German and after she found out I am not intending to use her services and hears my story she becomes a little worried (was machts du hier so aleine?) She tells me she wants to cook something for me and half an hour later i find myself eating on a big table with the other customers, mostly truckdrivers. Its easy for her with her charmes to convince one of the guys to take me to the border. Nyat, the Turkish trucker, tells me he doesn’t like hitchhikers in general but made an exception for me because he found it difficult to see no. Before we reach the border I help him to hide an expensive cartyre the douaniers shouldn’t find. With a ferm handsake he wishes me good luck as we stumble upon a big line of trucks, I get of and under a starry sky I walk the last few kilometers to the customs. 2010
49 Kapi Kule – Istanbul : on the other side of the border I find a truckdriver making frantic efforts to close his tailgate. I decide to help out for a bit and as a reward I can join him till Istanbul. There is an obvious language barrier but we manage to communicate by showing each others documents (his seems to have expired in the 80’s), even my library cards caughts his attention. He kicks me out somewhere in the suburbs of Istanbul and screams I should go up the viaduct to find a bus in direction of Zeytinburnu. We’re back in the city! 2010
50 Malkara – Keşan : as i had a bad experience trying to hitchhike out of Istanbul I decide upon taking a local bus out of this metropolis. I take a nap under a tree and almost manage to get a ride with a horse and carriage before I get picked up by a friendly Kurdish man from the Van region. He is very curious about my doings and wonders if I am a muslim. 2010
51 Keşan – Ipsala : I don’t have to pay for the bus to the bordertown of Ipsala. 2010
52 Ipsala – Border : after drinking some chai with local housepainters, a colourfull hippie van passes me by without stopping. No worries though as an old guy on a 3 wheeled scooter comes to a hold quickly afterwards. 2010
53 Border – Thessaloniki : the borderguards weren’t too happy to see someone by foot. Apparently there is a 8 kilometer bufferzone between the two countries and as I learned later on there are a lot of Iranian and Afghan refugees trying to cross into Europe unseen around these points. The allow me to hitchhike at their checkpoint though and it doesn’t take long before I get picked up by a friendly French man in his small 4WD. He’s working in the cinema sector in Paris and just spend a month in the mountainous countryside in Turkey and tells me he absolutely loved it. 2010
54 Thessaloniki – Thermopylae : I spend three days with 3 German girls and their rental car. It’s very nice as we spend time sightseeing in small villages and find some nice beaches to swim along the way. 2010
55 Thermopylae – Malesina : I get picked up by a Greek lawyer who tells me I am crazy to be hitchhiking out here in the heat. As he drops he of he gets out as well and reaches for a stack of banknotes held together with a rubber band in his backpocket. He insists on giving me a 50 euro note and as I try to explain this really isn’t necessary he decides to just drop it on the ground before he gets back into his car and speeds of. 2010
56 Malesina – Athina : I drive with two 40 year old woman to the capital. Joe cocker’s with a little help from my friends is blowing out of the speakers. 2010
57 Athina – toll booth : I meet my Belgian friends Rik and Jan and we travel together for a while. It’s rather difficult to get out of Athina and we spend a lot of time juggling before we finally get a short ride out. 2010
58 Thiva – Delphi : as we’re having our breakfast on the side of the road we get a ride before we are ready to actually hitchhike. Our driver is very fond of his country and we can definetly see why as we pass through beautifull countryside. 2010
59 Delphi – Sernikaki : we split up to make things more easy and I get a ride on my own by a friendly man in a small van. He is going to the seaside and drops me at a beautifull olives orchard. 2010
60 Sernikaki – Amfissa : we get picked up by a lovely couple from Athens and enjoy a concert in town. As we try to get into an abandoned building to sleep later that evening we get caught up by the same couple that invite us to spend the night in their countryside home a bit outside. We enjoy nice conversation, breakfast and they even drive us back into town again the next morning. 2010
61 Amfissa – Larissa : one of us is hitchhiking while the other two are avoiding the sun, that is already fierce although it’s early morning, out of sight under a bridge. The road isn’t too busy and it takes quite a while before we get a ride from a Dutch tourist in a small rental car. He said he stopped because he thought there was only one hitchhiker but in the end decides to take us all along anyway. 2010
62 Larissa – Larissa : we get dropped at a pretty bad place but a friendly local helps us out quickly and puts us on the ringroad on the right side of town. 2010
63 Larissa – Trikala : we get a ride to the next town with quite a crazy guy in the end of his thirties. He is constantly telling us that one of the many tourist in the area will probably be able to take us to Kalambaka, when his eye catches an Italian van he starts chasing it, driving closely beside it he forces the other driver to roll down his window. As the Italian driver tells him he doesn’t want to our friend start yelling in Greek and drives off quickly. 2010
64 Trikala – Kalambaka : it’s already dark by the time we reach the outskirts of Trikala but a traffic light enables us to continue our journey. We get picked up by a friendly local who insist to make a small detour to show us the magical geological formations of Meteora. 2010
65 Kalambaka – Mourgkani : my Belgian friends leave for the Peleponessos as I start making my way up north towards the Adriatic. I get a short ride untill a roadcrossing from a friendly smiling old Greek with golden teeth. As we part ways he treats me with a hand full of delicious grapes. 2010
66 Mourgkani – Ioannina : I drive to the closest big city with a lovely family from Brussels. Their slightly negative stories of Albania make me have some doubts about my route. 2010
67 Ioannina – Kalpaki :  I drive with a teacher to one of the last villages before the Albanian border. 2010
68 Kalpaki – Durres : there is some confusion as the man that stopped for me thought I only wanted to go to the border. He is driving all the way to the harbourcity of Durres and wants to see some money, due to a language barrier it’s quite hard to communicate but in the end he decides to take me with him anyway. There is no highway and the road leads through a beautifull countryside with a lot of things happening up and next to the road. My driver is silently wistling Albanian folksongs, while we almost get into a frontal caraccident up to three times because of his crazy drivingmanouvres. 2010
69 Skhoder – Sukobin : I meet Peter, a hitchhiker from Slovakia, when he is hitchhiking the bus that I took to Skhoder. We decide to continue to Montenegro together. After we spend the night swimming and camping at the lake we get a ride to the border from three Italians. 2010
70 Sukobin – Ulcinj : we drive to Montenegro’s first town with an old man. Because of the similarities in the Slavic languages Peter can more or less communicate. 2010
71 Ulcinj – Baošičí : there is some hilarity when we are hitchhiking with a plate saying ‘Bar’. We finally get a ride from a friendly truckdriver who’s wife happens to be an archaeologist: Peter decides to get off in Budva and I continue on towards Croatia. The landscape is absolutly incredible! 2010
72 Gruda – Dubrovnik : my welcome to Croatia is not very friendly. After walking uphill from Herceg novi to reach the customs early morning I first get my entry denied for not carrying enough cash (they tell me I should at least have a 100 euro’s on me, but finally I manage to talk my way out of it by promosing I will get tons of money out in the first ATM I will cross on my path. Also they don’t like me hitchhiking on the border and force me to walk on. I enjoy the blackberries along the way though. As I pass a building I attrect the attention of two guarddogs. There not on a leech. They come towards me and I make the stupid mistake to start running. Now they move even faster. As I have the feeling they will overtake me I decide to turn around, but I do this while still moving. The momentum and the weight of my backpack cause me to fall over. This makes the dogs back down luckily but i have a big cut on my hand that starts bleeding. Not long afterwards a car stops for me. As I get excited, the driver rolls down his window to ask for my papers. Bad luck! It’s just douaniers in a civilian car. They look at my bleeding hand but don’t say anything and after returning my passport they drive off quickly. At a parking lot somewhat further I meet a friendly Polish family who reach for their first aid kit and clean my hands, they were very nice but although they were going the same way the don’t offer me a ride. Then a little bit further again two young Croatians stop for me. I fall for their prank. They open the backdoor of their car and at the moment I am trying to get in the speed of, turn around a few 100 meters further and come by again honking loudly. My mojo is on a low. I decide to just start walking again and not bother about hitchhiking for a while and as I reach another parking lot further on two guys are waiting for me besides their car. These friendly Serbians offer to take me to Dubrovnik and treat me with a cold beer at a bar overlooking the Adriatic coastline. 2010
73 Modane – Chambery : I think this one was with a cool young BMX’er. 2010
74 Chambery – Macon : I am not sure about this one anymore. 2010
75 Macon – Arlon : I drive to Belgium with a woman that tells me she has never taken a hitchhiker with her before out of fear. I need to promise her that I won’t try anything funny while I end up napping most of the journey. 2010
76 Airport – Larnaca : we find a short ride into town instantly with an old man. 2011
77 Larnaca – Nicosia : Georgios takes us to the capital. He thinks travelling is nice because you can fool anyone. He sais this after he has been telling us he earns his money by taking photographs of fast cars and naked female models and he has a tank driver license. Yeah right! He tells us women are very difficult in Cyprus and if you can persuade one to go to bed with you here you will be succesfull all around the world. He is a nice guy though and proud of his island as he makes a little detour to show us some caves and a nice view over the city. 2011
78 Lefkosa – Roundabout : we drive a short bit out of the Turkish part of the capital with a kickboxer. 2011
79 Roundabout – Girne : we get picked up by 4 giggling girls in a very tiny car. They are preparing their make-up in the back mirrors and start to talk and gossip loudly as soon as they find out we dont understand Turkish. 2011
80 Girne – Lefkosa : there were some hitchhikers standing a few 100 meters in front of us, they get ignored but we get a ride from a friendly family with a young boy playing tetris on the back seat. 2011
81 Lefkosa – Roundabout : we drive with a guy that is screaming loudly in Arabic into his phone. 2011
82 Roundabout – Famagusta : this old man went to buy a car in Famagusta. He is driving twice the allowed pace but knows all the speed camera’s by heart. 2011
83 Famagusta – Salamis : we drive with a young couple. The guy tuned his car. 2011
84 Salamis – Famagusta : we are with 4 young guys from Izmir. They spend 5 days in Cyprus so far and are a bit dissapointed since they only saw one pretty girl so far. They show us movies of how they were sword fighting in the ancient theatre of the archaeological site of Salamis before. 2011
85 Famagusta – Lefkosa : Cenk, a business man and speedlover drives us back to the capital. Rik needs to take over the wheel to allow him to show us some pictures of his family. 2011
86 Nicosia – Roundabout : we drive to a hitchhiking spot with a free taxi. 2011
87 Roundabout – Kokkinotrimithia : we join the smelly truck of a sheepfarmer. 2011
88 Kokkinotrimithia – Akaki : we proof to ourselves you can hitchhike straight on the highway in Cyprus as we get picked up by a nice Bulgarian man. 2011
89 Akaki- Astromeritis : another farmer picks us up. 2011
90 Astromeritis – exit for Potami : an old man shows he trusts us well as he left his keys in the car when he went out to get bread at a market along the way. 2011
91 exit for Potami – Troodos : this man tells us he has been hitchhiking a lot himself when he was in the army for three years. He doesn’t understand why we want to go to the mountains as he tells us he himself is a big fan of beach and bitches. 2011
92 Artemis trail – Troodos : we experience a akward silent ride getting in a small car almost sitting on the guys copy of Mein Kampf lying on the backseat. 2011
93 Troodos – Koilani : these two friends tought the stray dogs circling around us had to come with us as well. They believe if the Turks would not have come to Cyprus it would have still been a paradise. Also they show us how to get oranges from the orchards for free. 2011
94 Koilani – Limmasol : we switch to the car of the friend of our previous driver. He has a foxtail in his car. He likes cars a lot and tells us he stopped racing with his motorbike since 5 of his friends died in accidents and he doesn’t want to make his mother cry. 2011
95 Yiannis House – Limassol : we drive with an old British amateur archaeologist that is mapping Neolithic finds. 2011
96 Limassol – Pissouri : a gardener picks us up. 2011
97 Pissouri – Pafos : a bold man that is happy Ryanair started having flight to Cyprus, the first cheap opportunity to fleed the island. 2011
98 Pafos – Tsada : two elderly ladies have Elton John on maximum volume. 2011
99 Tsada – Polis : Rik stays in the cargo space of this courier’s car and it’s a close call to being caught as we get a police control along the way. 2011
100 Polis – Baths of Aphrodite : we drive with a British married couple that tell us about their beautifull 3500 euro a night hotel their staying in. Their son went their for lunch and had to take a new mortgage on his house. 2011
101 Baths of Aphrodite – Polis : we drive with an Indian couple who are exporting diamonds from Sri Lanka to Antwerp. There is a huge secateurs in the middle of the car. 2011
102 Polis – …. : we have a short ride in a partycar. 2011
103 …. – Stroumpi : we drive for a while with a Romanian man that all of a sudden needs to turn around to go and pick up the wife of his boss. 2011
104 Stroumpi – Pafos : a guy turns around his car, shouts, honks and flashes and is mostly unintelligible. He loves his country though. 2011
105 Pafos – Lemesos : the same Romanian man from before picks us up again. He is only in Cyprus for the money and still has Romania in his heart. 2011
106 Yiannis House – Parreklisia : short ride 2011
107 Parreklisia – Larnaca : we drive with a frienly man from Syria. When he goes back home he takes the plane because he hates getting ill on the boat. He tells us to come to Syria because hitchhiking is very easy there and everyone will help. We can always call him but he forgets to give us his phonenumber. 2011
108 Gent – Brussel : when I get into the car the woman greets me by name, I feel a bit ashamed when Margot, an architect, needs to explain me she took me to Antwerp a couple of weeks back, I didn’t recognise her at first and the memory only comes back slowely. 2011
109 Brussel – Luik : a friendly man from Tsjetjenia takes me to Luik. We experience some language and navigational trouble causing us to speed across a petrol station on the highway. I get dropped of in the city centre where I ask a big group of demonstrators (there is a G8 meeting) where to find the best place to hitch a ride out of town. Luckily Pont d’atlas is only about half an hour walk along the river. 2011
110 Luik – Aachen : surprisingly enough the next ride is also with a man from Tsjetjenia. While we drive into he Germany he tells me non-stop and very enthusiastically of how the world will all end in 2012. 2011
111 Aachen – Köln : I spent a very long time on a petrol station close to Aachen untill I get saved by a young man working for the NATO. He is definetly in it for the Karma as he tells me after the ride he can be EVIL (mwahahah) again. His fancy car is completly stuffed up with all sorts of new technical equipment. He thinks it doesn’t make sense to drop me before Köln and it’s his pleasure to take a detour and drop me on the first petrol station past the city. 2011
112 Köln – Frankfurt : just before dark I fix a ride to Frankfurt with a man from Libanon. He doesn’t really understand why I would travel this way and keeps on asking tons of personal questions in order to be able to trust me. When he finally does so he tells me all about Beiroet and keeps on repeating I should visit his beautifull country. 2011
113 Frankfurt – Würzburg : the next day I meet a 60-something year old collegue, he is quite an appearence since he has a giant tumor on his front head. While he invites me for a thea he tells me all about his 40 years of hitchhiking experience and shows me old tractates of reading about death he gives on universities throughout Europe. After we say goodbye I hop to the next German city eastwards with a friendly man returning from a meditation convention. 2011
114 Würzburg – Nürnberg : this man really likes to push down the throttle and tells me he would love to join the apparently famous Nürnberg 24h race (there is a big race circuit). His work enables him to work whenever he wants. He’s looking forward to go to the Lokerse feesten later this summer to dance on tunes of 2ManyDjs. 2011
115 Nürnberg – München : my next driver is the representative in southeast Germany and Austria for a French company. He needs to make a lot of phonecalls which gives me the opportunity to take some naps. 2011
116 München – Salzburg : I speed into Austria with a dentist. 180 km/h in a Mini Cooper feels way faster. Some years before he changed the busy citylive in München for a more quiet one enjoying the rural countryside around Salzburg. He tells me he wishes his son would start hitchhiking as well and go out and explore (he has been trying in vain). 2011
117 Salzburg – Linz : I get saved from haivy rain by a slick Italian hotelboss. 2011
118 Linz – Wien : Ulrich is an economist but tells me he rather would have studies history out of interest. He asks me tons of questions about European archaeology. When we get closer to Wien he suggests trying to catch the last train to Bratislava. I am stubborn though and end up being stuck at a petrol station south of the city where a friendly Turkish truckdriver lets me sleep on his second bed. 2011
119 Wien – Wien : the next day I drive into the city with a young man listening to loud Drum ’n Bass and end up taking the train for the last bit anyway. 2011
120 Bratislava – Trnava : I travel further east to the Tatra mountain range with my Slovak friend Peter. I take naps while the others discuss Politics in Slovak. 2011
121 Trnava – Zillina : we help a young guy to deliver wine in Tascin and Zilina and get a bottle of wine as a surprise. He tells me all about his visit to Amsterdam (and is a little dissapointed that i don’t have any green with me). 2011
122 Zillina – Ruzomberok : Ramon & Anoushka want to get away from the capital for the weekend and saves us from a rain shower. 2011
123 Ruzomberok – Poprad : our next driver also has a link to the Netherlands as he used to live in Amsterdam for 1 year and another 2 in The Hague. He looks back at those years as the best of his life. I enjoy the views on the Tatra. 2011
124 Tatranska Kotlina – Poprad : I listen to Leonard Cohen with three ladies untill they drop me at a supermarket in town. 2011
125 Poprad – Kosice : this young guy just returns from bringin his girlfriend to the airport in Krakow. We’re speeding and unfortunatly get a 30 euro fine around Levoca. 2011
126 Vysné Nemecké – Uzhorod : you’re not allowed to cross this border by foot and it takes quite a while to find someone that trust me for the short ride to the first city in Ukraine. 2011
127 Rzeszow – Lubzina : the first car that passes by gives stops and I get a ride from a young father and business associate. 2011
128 Lubzina – Krakow : I drive with a friendy Polish trucker eating ice cream. Apparently this is one of Polish busiest roads and indeed there is a lot of delay on the road. 2011
129 Krakow – Gliwice : the next trucker uses his radio to find colleagues to fix teh next ride for me. Studentski Hollandski! I get out and immediatly get into the next truck. Perfect! 2011
130 Gliwice – Wroclaw : my driver isn’t talkative but also fixes me a next trucker. 2011
131 Wroclaw – Legnica : altough we can speak a little French together I get dropped at an impossible parking lot next to the highway after it just got dark, decide to walk through the fields and get lucky when within the hour I get to a petrol station. 2011
132 Legnica – Dresden : where do you want to go? You can also join untill Zürich if you like! I experience an awesome nightly ride in a brand new van with a few Polish guys enjoying a lot of beers. 2011
133 Dresen – Tiel : I join a full day shift with a friendly Polish truckdriver (collegacollega!). We cook a nice lunch on his campinggas fire. It strikes me again what a crazy job it must be as my friend tells me he is driving non-stop between the east of Poland and Nothingham (he passes Ghent but unfortunatly only after a mandatory 10h break). 2011
134 Tiel – Gorinchem : I drive a short while with a fancy business man from Rotterdam. 2011
135 Gorinchem – Breda : for the first time in my life I get a ride from someone I know. It’s funny as Jerome stops for me and saves me from a hail shower. 2011
136 Gent – Antwerpen : we get a ride by a couple that is on their way to go sightseeing in Antwerp for the day. 2011
137 Antwerpen – Eindhoven : we drive with a mechanic. He tells us in the weekends he makes some extra cash by laying laminates with a friend. We’re talking too much and because of this miss the last petrol station before Eindhoven and get dropped somewhere in the city. 2011
138 Eindhoven – Eindhoven : we join a local for a short while. He tells us his son likes to travel a lot and is off finding a job in Kenya at the moment. 2011
139 Eindhoven – Venlo : we drive with a slightly crazy Polish lady. 2011
140 Venlo – Dortmund : we get stuck on a petrol station at the outskirts of Venlo for a very long time and I learn my friend city how to play the boardgame backgammon. Finally we get a ride surpassing the entire Rurh area by two Flamish building consultants who, when they hear I study archaeology, have trouble keeping their negative opinions to themselves. 2011
141 Dortmund – Münster : we drive with a friendly young man that tells us he used to hitchhike himself a lot. 2011
142 Münster – Bremen : we go to Bremen with a couple. I take some naps. 2011
143 Bremen – Hamburg : we get picked up by a friendly carmechanic. Although he is actually going to Flensburg, north of Hamburg he doesn’t mind to leave the highway in order to drop us at the closest U-bahn station. 2011
144 Hamburg – Hannover : It’s a little difficult to start of with a lot of colleagues at the same petrol station on the highway south of the city. Finally we manage to catch a ride down with a friendly foodtransporter. 2011
145 Hannover – Rhön : we drive with a business man in a hurry. He tries to make it to his appointment in Regensburg in time and we drive 200 km/h almost all of the way. Unfortunatly there is not enough time to get us to a more preferable place on another highway. 2011
146 Rhön – Schweinfurt : we drive for a short while with a big guy who drops us on a highway exit in the middle of shit. 2011
147 Schweinfurt – Schonungen : we join a young guy with dreadlocks who returns from visiting his girlfriend to the next town. 2011
148 Schonungen – HELL : we are not on the highway now anymore and as it’s getting dark things start to look slightly desperate. When a car finally passes by Sidney falls to his knees in begging position, a technique that works immediatly and we get a ride from a friendly man to a nearby petrol station where we’re not alone anymore and meet another team from the competition. 2011
149 HELL – Bamberg : we end up needing to spend the night at the petrol station and get a ride out to Bamberg early next morning by a friendly man who is on his way to work. 2011
150 Bamberg – Scheßlitz : standing at the traffic lights it doesn’t take a long time to get a next short ride. 2011
151 Scheßlitz – Stadelhofen : we get a short ride to the next highway exit by a friendly lady who has an access of lemons in the trunk. 2011
152 Schönes Wandeling – Bayreuth-West : we get absolutly completly lost at the next entry and decide to use our time by making a trip on food through the forest. We spot some deer, make a graffiti at a viaduct and it takes quite a while before we make it to Buckendorf, where a friendly old man in a small truck invites us in and entertains us with his holidaytales of Rhodos. 2011
153 Bayreuth-West – Glashaus Universität : we get a last short ride to the meeting point by a friendly local who compliments us on our apparent good German. 2011
154 Bayreuth – Nürnberg Feucht : we drive south untill Nürnberg with a business lady. She is working for a big infrastructure company. 2011
155 Nürnberg Feucht – Holledau : we get close to München with two young business man our age who are on their way to the airport to catch their flight for a trip to South-Korea. 2011
156 Holledau – Chiem See : we stay a long time on this petrol station and see an other team come and go before we join a young couple in direction of Austria. They’re on their way to see the Foo Fighters perform live at a Rock Festival. 2011
157 Chiem See – Salzburg : we get a ride from a beautifull woman working in the cosmetics business in Austria. She has no mapreading knowledge and that’s where we come in. 2011
158 Salzburg – Auen : Sidney and I manage to both fix a ride within the minute. We decide to join a business man on his way to catch his family on holiday in Montenegro, he evens takes a little detour to drop us on the camping spot where we arrive as the 6th team. 2011
159 Auen – Velden : the first car that passes by comes to a halt and gives us the opportunity to go shopping in a nearby town. 2011
160 Velden – Auen : My first ride in a VW van! 2011
161 Auen – Feistrich : we are a little lazy and are the last one to leave the camping site. Hanjo & Francin invite us to join the ride they fixed though and we drive 40 kilometer in the wrong direction to get to a big petrol station right before Villach. 2011
162 Feistrich – Veneto : we drive a long stretch with a friendly Greek man who lives in Münich. We don’t mind at all that he is a bit in a hurry to catch his ferry to Greece in time. 2011
163 Veneto – Bologna : it doesn’t take long before we’re invited in by a nice Hungarian couple who are on their way to Cinque Terre, they don’t mind to drive through Bologna for us and drop us at 300 metres of Piazza del Nettuno, enabling us to get the second place for this chapter. 2011
164 Bologna – Sillaro : we get a ride out of town by two ladies on their way to chill at the seaside. They take a backroad but half miraculously they manage to drop us at a petrol station on the highway. 2011
165 Sillaro – Forlimpopoli : a German couple picks us up and is excited to hear our stories. They tell us their daughter lives and studies in Bayreuth. 2011
166 Forlimpopoli – HELL 2 (Sangro) : we get picked up by a friendly man who entertains us with a lot of stories of when he was hitchhiking himself. He tells he is an active member of Hospitality Club. He drops us at a petrol station outside of Sangro where we experience and incredible 20h stuck. We spend our time making a most beautifull and colourfull Bari sign, playing backgammon behind a truck in order to not get notice by the frequent police visits and even walk the 5km or so to the closest piece of coastline where we get a free beer from the owner of a hotel as he hears we’re from the Netherlands and he himself is a big fan of Van Basten (soccerplayer from the past). 2011
167 Vineyard – HELL 2 : we hitchhike back to the petrol station early morning and get a ride with a guy for a couple of 100 meters. Probably the shortest ride I ever had. 2011
168 Sangro – Torre Fantine : we finally manage to get a ride from a friendly Italian family, only to end up at a petrol station that seems even more lost. 2011
169 Torre Fantine – Termoli : luckily the petrol station gives us the opportunity to change sides of the highway and we decide to hitchhike back to the closest town to get a train to Bari to make it in time for the ferrycrossing. On the other side things work surprisingly well and it doesn’t take long before a friendly Italian-French couple gives us a ride, Sidney gets voluntarily (for not speaking a word of French) squeezed in the back of the van with all the luggage. 2011
170 Querret – Kalush : It’s fun to try to hitchhike out of a small town in Albania with about 20 people. But it’s not difficult at all – every few minutes or so a team gets to leave. We share a short ride together with Marco & Chechi in a big car. 2011
171 Kalush – Elbasan : also the following ride is with the four of us. This time our driver is a real rally racer and we take at least the double amount of speed that you would find appropriate for these country roads. Things aren’t really debateable due to the Albanian disco that is filling the car as a replacement for our impossible conversation. 2011
172 Elbasan – Hudënisht : after splitting up Sidney and I drive to lake Ohrid with a friendly photographer with a big belly. He entertains us by showing work (portraits) while we drive through a very beautifull mountainous landscape. 2011
173 Hudënisht – Pogradec : as we make a short sidetrip to Makedonia we get a ride with 7 in the back of a Greek pickup truck. Awesome! 2011
174 Pogradec – Hudënisht : we drive back in a big truck that starts honking as soon as we see all the people down below on the campsite. 2011
175 Hudënisht – Pogradec : our man turns up to volume of his radio as soon as it is clear we can’t communicate anyways. 2011
176 Pogradec – Körce : a father and his son come drive back for us in their old car. In the end they wanted some petrolmoney from us. 2011
177 Körce – Erseke : the road we decided to take into Greece was the closest according to the map, but not the one most frequently used. So it takes some while to manage to catch a ride with a friendly courier. The drive through the nomans moutainious landscape is very beautifull though. 2011
178 Erseke – Leskovik : waiting in Erseke we find out we are not the only ones that choosed this route as we see Tim & Lars get out of a car. We quickly manage to get a ride to the next town with two very stoned young Albanians from Sarande. As they’re driving a car with a Greek license plate we first thought they might go there, but their yelling tyrade makes us clear they don’t like the other country too much. In the end the ride is mostly a partycar again with loud music, topspeed and crazy bends on these mountainious roads. 2011
179 Leskovik – Perat : we play a few games of backgammon in Leskovik (where traffic really reached a zero point) to wait for Tim and Lars and manage to catch a free bus a little further. 2011
180 Tre Urat – Border : we get out of the bus at a junction about 8 kilometers from the border and decide to start walking. The surroundings are beautifull! Just 3 kilometers before the border one of the first cars comes by stops and is so surprised that he drives us all to the border in 2 sessions. At the border we find out he is the true hero of the day since the border closes at 8 o’clock at night and we have just enough time left to sneek into Greece this way. 2011
181 Konitsa – Ioannina : we get to drive with 2 therapist returning from their nightshifts. At the lake of Ioannina there is a difficult moment as one of them out of the blue tells us her mother drowned in the lake barely a year before. 2011
182 Ioannina – Filippiada : after waiting for a while in the outskirts of Ioannina a big truck with froozen goods comes to a halt. 2011
183 Filippiada – Nowhere : we experience some miscommunication with our next driver. Although he is living in Preveza he tells us he doesn’t know the name of the square and somehow drops us quickly in the middle of nowhere at a road where we don’t have any clue as to where we are (untill we find a 7 kilometer sign for Preveza) 2011
184 Nowhere – Preveza : after a very long wait (for such a short distance) we get saved by an interesting young Jesus like character. 2011
185 Preveza – Filippiada : we drive out of town with a tractor mechanic taking a short cut through a few small roads. 2011
186 Filippiada – Kalambaka – Beograd : we get picked up by a very cool Slovakian couple travelling with their kayaks. We join them to see interesting rockformations at Kalambaka (Meteora) and as we didn’t really have a plan where to go next and I have some friends visiting Beograd a few days later we decide going all the way there to surprise them at the airport. 2011
187 Sarajevo – Tarcin : we don’t get a lot of positive feedback from trying to hitchhike in Bosnia. We see a lot of middle fingers and young guys that pretend to try to hit us with their cars. We finally get a short ride out from a soccerfan but decide to give up upon reaching Mostar that day and return to the capital. 2011
188 Tarcin – Sarajevo : our next driver explains that people with beards (even the small ones we have) are often perceived as criminals and a lot of people are not very keen on picking strangers up from the side of the road. Our drive is proud of the fact that he has two wifes, one in Bosnia and one in Germany. 2011
189 Zagreb – Slovenija : I make my way to the toll booths on the outskirts of town and get an instant ride from a friendly trucker that lets me use the internet as we are quieing at the border. 2011
190 Slovenija – Graz : I get picked up by two Czech business man returning form a yacht trip in Croatia. They tell me I can join them untill Praha if I want to as well. 2011
191 Graz – Aalst : at a petrol station close to Graz I see a Belgian car. At first they don’t seem to keen on the idea but after leaving them alone for a while they come up to me telling that it’s no problem for them to let me join all the way. After talking about Flemish/Dutch cultural differences for some while I end up taking a lot of naps untill we reach Aalst. 2011
192 Arlon – Luxembourg : a friendly guy from Algeria gives us our first ride. 2011
193 Luxembourg – Metz : we get picked up by two young French people that both have a lover in the Netherlands and are returning home. 2011
194 Metz – Saint Avold : we get horribly lost in Metz and try to find our way back to the highway for over 2 hours, while some kids throw stones at us (we were apparently not too welcome in their neighbourhood). Finally we get saved by a friendly trucker just before it gets dark. 2011
195 Saint Avold – Mullhouse/Basel airport : we get a whole bit further with an enthusiastic young business man that likes to enlighten us with his experiences with prostitutes. 2011
196 Mullhouse/Basel airport – Brugg : we get picked up by a portugese man and his fourteen year old son. His father doesn’t speak English and the boy tells us that he convinced his father to stop and that we please shouldn’t try anything funny because his dad doesn’t trust it. 2011
197 Brugg – Brugg : it’s almost midnight already as we get a very short ride inside of Brugg. 2011
198 Brugg – Baden : we get a ride by a plumber, a real saviour and make it just in time for the last train to Zurich. 2011
199 Adleswil – Luzern : we don’t speak to the man that takes us to Luzern. 2011
200 Luzern – Schlieren : it’s already dark again when we try to get back to Zurich after hiking around Pilatus. We finally get picked up by a friendly couple that likes to speed things up. 2011
201 Zurich – Rothrist : after waiting for over 3 hours at a good spot in Zurich we get picked up by Martin. He tells us a lot about his work as a steeplejack. 2011
202 Rothrist – Bern : we get a ride from a courier who really likes to drive his motorbike around in his free time. He tells us he has some friends in Rotterdam. 2011
203 Bern – Niederbipp : a friendly man that lends piano’s takes us out of the capital. 2011
204 Niederbipp – Basel : a Russian woman and her shy daughter takes us along for a bit as they go to shop at a cheaper supermarket in France. Her daughter wants to travel and the woman is trying to encourage her to practice English with us. 2011
205 Basel – Venlo : we drive a long while with Rik, who entertains us with a lot of interesting stories about the squatting scene in the 80’s in Utrecht. 2011
206 Gent – Wommelgem : a guy picks us up quickly as he is on his way to work. 2012
207 Wommelgem – Zoersel : we have some fun with an elderly business man. 2012
208 Zoersel – Turnhout : there is heavy rockmusic blowing out of the speakers of this guys car but before we head of he needs to move the childseat a bit. 2012
209 Turnhout – Venlo : we drive with a Dutch trucker that likes to talk a lot about everything and gives us a lecture about how awesome it is to be a trucker. We experience a short awkward moment as he randomly tells us how his parents drove into a 27 meter deep abyss with their caravan. 2012
210 Venlo – Venlo : we get a short ride to the other side of the city by a young business man that doesn’t have a lot of faith in the succes of our trip. 2012
211 Venlo – Dortmund : we sing carnaval songs with a true ‘Brabander’. 2012
212 Dortmund – Dortmund : a friendly man puts us at a petrol station and back on the autobahn. 2012
213 Dortmund – Werl : we meet RR, who started in Nijmegen, at this petrol station. He manages to get a ride before us with a Dutch goth couple. Not long after we get a ride from a guy going home from work. 2012
214 Werl – Kassel : can’t remember who picked us up her. 2012
215 Kassel – Eisenach : Marieke, a taxidriver from Sweden we both fell in love wit hand tried to amuse by singing songs from her from the backseat. 2012
216 Eisenach – Weimar : friendly man from Afganistan (who didn’t visit his country in over 25 years). He likes to kill the throttle. 2012
217 Weimar – Freiberg : we drive with a young ecology student who share a joint. He normally always hitchhikes between his parents place and Freiberg where he studies, but now that he is by car he says he regularly checks the petrol station to see if there is any hitchhikers around and is glad he spotte dus. 2012
218 Freiberg – Dresden : can’t remember who picked us up her. 2012
219 Dresden – Boleslawiec : we drive with an elderly couplet hat is out on a trip to Poland for a few days. We listen to Rammstein. 2012
220 Boleslawiec – Wroclaw : a young Polish man picks us up in his van and teaches us how to get lucky with the Polish ladies. 2012
221 Wroclaw – Krakow : we find a ride but need to wait for a long time for the police to leave the petrol station as well. We drive in an old trashed hippievan with a caravan attached to i tand can only go 75 km/h max. Our driver is a friendly man who lives close to the Ukranian border. 2012
222 Vysne Hagy – Strbské Pleso : I speak German and French with a couple. 2012
223 Strbské Pleso – Ruzomberok : I drive with a cool young Czech/Slovak couple. 2012
224 Ruzomberok – Ostrava : I get picked up by a friendly man that is returning to his work after he dropped his family of for a short holiday in the Tatra mountains. 2012
225 Ostrava – Bilovec : it got dark by now and I am happy to get a short ride out of town from a friendly man so its more easy to just camp out for the night. 2012
226 Bilovec – Praha : I get a straight ride to Praha early in the morning from a guy who is working in the mobile phone business. We drive a small trashed car that doesn’t make it above 80 km/h. 2012
227 Praha – Homburg : we transverse entire Germany with George, the Czech rastatrucker. The inside of his truck is ornated with posters and flags from Tibet. He is also a very good cook as he share a vegan meal with us. 2012
228 Homburg – Narbéfontaine : we drive with a father and his son that just return from a succesfull business meeting in Würzburg. 2012
229 Narbéfontaine – Kleinbettingen : Our driver is a scoutleader from Walloon. 2012
230 Kleinbettingen – Gent : We drive in the back of a white van sitting on gardenchairs drinking voka singing songs. Good way to get back home! 2012
231 Gent – Antwerpen : we get picked up by a young man who is finishing a Phd in Medecine. 2012
232 Antwerpen – Antwerpen : we get a short ride to a petrol station direction east by a group of 3 boys who are all younger then we are. They’re on their way to a scouting event. 2012
233 Antwerpen – Turnhout : I wrote down that 2 dudes took us to the next town (don’t remember anything anymore). 2012
234 Turnhout – Venlo : an elderly German couple from Mönchen-Gladbach takes us for a spin. They have an unexpected side as Rammstein starts blowing out of the speakers and there are ornamented skulls all over the interior of the car. Never judge a person by their appareance when you ask them for a ride on a petrol station! 2012
235 Venlo – Venlo : we decide to hop to the petrol station east of town with two local girls who absolutly can’t believe what we are doing. 2012
236 Venlo – Duisburg : although I have passed through the Rurh-area quite a few times before I make the stupid mistake to accept a ride that is not going fully through it. Once again we are listening to some heavy music but this time we get completly stuck, spending a few hours trying to get out of the city (making the biggest hitchhiking sign I have ever made) and we end up taking the train to Dortmund in the end. 2012
237 Dortmund – Soest : Alex tells us he hasn’t travelled much himself but he always needs to think of a woman in Spain he was once with when he thinks about being on the road. We crash in our tent in a cornfield at a petrol station next to Soest. 2012
238 Soest – Scherfede : a friendly German couple gives us a ride untill close to the lake they plan to visit for the weekend. 2012
239 Scherfede – Kassel : we drive with people from the Netherlands and make it to Kassel – or actually we don’t as we figure out a little later and need another 6 km. 2012
240 Kassel – Kassel : we make it to the city center with a local who is more than proud of his city and is happy to hear we plan to visit some expositions of dOKUMENTA as well. 2012
241 Kassel – Götingen : we get picked up by a cute young woman in a small car filled with clothing and skateboardstuff (apparently her boyfriend hooked up some sponsors for his rolling). 2012
242 Göttingen – Kassel : we get to a petrol station were various teams from the race don’t seem to be able to get a ride, decide to cross the highway with a viaduct a bit further and find a ride back to Kassel with Jan, a young guy who tells us he is studying (or more likely practicing) to become of special unit of the German police. 2012
243 Kassel – Autohof : we drive a short distance with a local only to get to a place that seems even more lost. 2012
244 Autohof – Kirchheimer : we ride with a mother and her son telling us nice stories of their mountain adventures. 2012
245 Kirchheimer – Weimar : we made such a small distance so far this day that we start to meet teams from another route (that started in Hannover the same day). Luckily we were there first and can claim the best spot so it doesn’t take too long before were off again with an interesting well travelled business man who has tons of interesting stories to tell about Romania. 2012
246 Weimar – Dresden : although it’s completly dark by now we manage to get another ride with a friendly agriculture student. He tells us the creepy story of how he got the huge scar he has in his neck (accident wih a chainsaw). 2012
247 Dresden – Praha : a nice young Polish courier takes us to Praha next morning. 2012
248 Praha – Vranov nad Diji : we are last to leave the petrol station on the outskirts of the city but have most luck finding the right ride. Our American/Russian couple doesn’t really know where they’re going today and after hearing the story of our competition and checking the location with their GPS they spontaneously decide to join us (while we’re actually joing them?!). It’s a lot of fun as part of the journey is on a national road and we see all the other teams along the way as we pass them by. We make it first. Our drivers pass by again a couple of hours later to thank us since they enjoyed the tiny village at the lake a lot and also explored some WOII relicts in the vicinity. 2012
249 Zjnomo – Slovak border : after waiting for quite a while in Zjnomo (switching tries to hitchhike with other teams that once again all leave before we do) we drive to the border with a friendly couple, who take their time to go for some shopping in Brno along the way. 2012
250 Slovak border – Levice : we make some more progress with a friendly father and his son. Our driver is handicapped and at first we weren’t sure wether to ask them but that changed quickly when we found out they were very inviting and everything was perfect. 2012
251 Levice – Nova Dedina : after all our map wasn’t detailed at all for these roads and we ended up on the wrong one without knowing. Anyways we get a series of short rides between rural villages. This man insists on giving us a 2,5 liter coca cola bottle. 2012
252 Nova Dedina – Devicany : we get to the next place with a few guys sho return home from their sports club. Inbetween the next rides we also start walking since there aren’t a lot of cars at all and the scenery is definetly worth it. 2012
253 Devicany – Pukanec : can’t really remember who took us here but there we’re about 30 chickens to greet us when we got out of the car. Also here we found out it was still 16 km to Banska Stiavnica. Time to change to hiking booths (being prepared for the worst in case we would have to walk it all). 2012
254 Pukanec – Stiavnicke Bane We drive a while more with a couple who warns us to watch out for the wild boars that you can find in this area. Just after we need to change roads and get out in the dark with this new piece of information. 2012
255 Stiavnicke Bane – Banska Stiavnica : we get saved from walking the last 5 kilometers by a friendy local and manage to make it in time for a great bbq-session with everyone on the hillside next to a lake. 2012
256 Banska Stiavnica – Svaty Anton : Banska Stianica is a rather small town and it proves to be a bit difficult to catch a ride further away. We end up getting several short rides from locals though. We get out of town with a friendly lady who is very interested in the Viva con Agua project. 2012
257 Svaty Anton – Prencov : while walking a bit along the road we get picked up by a friendly Romanian couple, infortunatly only on their way to the next town. 2012
258 Prencov – Hokovce : we manage to get out on a bigger road leading to Hungary with a cool young man who when we pass by other teams along the way, stops and tries to rearrange the lugguage in order to take another team. His car proves to be too small though and we continue on our way wishing good luck to our friends. 2012
259 Hokovce – Horne Semerovce : we take a short drive in to the next town. 2012
260 Horne Semerovce – Sahy : a young local takes us to the Slovakian-Hungarian border. We meet a few other teams from the race, get stuck, make a borderparty and end up camping 10 meters away from the local camping place (only finding this out the next morning). 2012
261 Sahy – Budapest : we drive to Budapest early in the morning with a couple making their way to the airport. Luckily for us they have some time and can drop us on a preferable place along the cities ringroad from which we only have to walk a little bit to be on the right road hitchhing out of town again. 2012
262 Budapest – Ullo : a friendly of duty police man takes us out of the outskirts of the city and on to the real right road. Luca is chilling in the back of the small delivery van he is driving. 2012
263 Ullo – Szolnok : we drive with a Hungarian G. Cliche male energy is high (talks about the ladies). But he is a nice guy and well travelled and entertains us with some cool stories of the road. 2012
264 Szolnok – Oradea : we get to Oradea with a friendly man with a hoarding problem. His car is literally filled with thrash. We enjoy good rock music along the way. 2012
265 Oradea – Timisoara : getting out of town we’re hitchhiking next to a burned out truck and 2 prostitutes. This makes it’s not completly clear who the young courier is stopping for but before we ask we’re on the road going south. 2012
266 Timisoara – Traian Vuia : we drive in the truck of a great guy with golden teeth and take Sidney and Tino wit hus (they’re enjoying beer in the back sitting on foldable chairs they found. We get out at a deserted roadcross at 10 kilometers distance to Fardea and start walking. 2012
267 Traian Vuia – Fardea : we get a ride from a cute old couple in and old lada. We communicate by phone with a family member in order to explain where we try to go. This takes some time and in the mean while S&T fix a ride for themselves in a huge truck and manage to get to the finishline before we do. Fair game! 2012
268 Fardea – Fardea : 27 people and luggage get transported by a huge open truck from the finish/party zone to the camping place in the backyard of the Dutchies. Crazy times! 2012
269 Lacul Surduc – Fardea : the race is over and a new chapter of the trip starts of as I hit the road with Elise & Shai. We decide to go in the other direction as we previously thought when we find out a bunch of people who wave dus goodbye at the lake hours ago are all still waiting at the side of the road. We get a short ride from a local. 2012
270 Fardea – Fajet : we speed across the small roads in a big white jeep with two friendly guys. 2012
271 Fajet – Bran : hitchhing with tree doesn’t really seem to be a problem here and we get rides easily. Also long distances, like with this one. Our driver is working in the pharmaceutical sector and advises us upon going to Bran first if we want to go hiking. He drop sus right a Dracula’s castle, the town smells a bit too much like tourists but we stay at Daniella and Dimitro, an amazing old couple who adopt us, feed us traditional food and support us in hiking up mt. Omu. 2012
272 Bran – Brasov : we get to the city in a conversationless ride. 2012
273 Brasov – Sanduleni : we drive with a young student telling about his love stories. Although we talked about it beforehand he tries to get some money out of us when we get out of the car. 2012
274 Sanduleni – Bacau : we drive with a friendly man who doesn’t mind to make a small detour for us to get us on the right road again. 2012
275 Bacau – Piatra Neamt : walking through the streets of Bacau we meet a woman and her worried mother who warn us about our safety. We think it will be alright and although it’s dark already we decide to continue on our way and get a ride from another man talking about his lover. He is chilling in his laidback chair and drives us from Billa to Billa. We camp out in a neighbourhood at the lake and almost get a nightly visit (just some guy shining his torch around). 2012
276 Piatra Neamt – Bicaz : we drive with a charming plus size man. 2012
277 Bicaz – Izvoru Muntelui : we get a ride from a man working in a nearby hospital. The town itself is quite a shithole and the nearby village we intended to go seems unreachable. The road is in such a bad state that there is apparantly just 2 jeeps driving there a day and no one can promise wether there would be place for us as well. 2012
278 Izvoru Muntelui – Bicaz : we decide to camp in the forest close to the lake (and the plastic bottle island we find there) and make a trip into town to buy some food and beers. We get a short ride from the muddy forest road into town by two old man. 2012
279 Bicaz – Izvoru Muntelui : we get back to our campsite in the forest with a absent man. 2012
280 Izvoru Muntelui – Hangu : we get another ride from the same charming plus size man we met the day before. 2012
281 Hangu – Christeni : Yes Rural Romania! We get to drive with a bunch of locals on a horse and carriage! I am sitting next to a drunk one-eyed local who is offering me his applewine. 2012
282 Christeni – MON : we get another ride with horse and carriage. This time with a small family trying to speak some Italian wit hus (while none of us really speaks a word). We get of in the middle of nowhere as they take a dirtroad into the forest to get wood. 2012
283 MON – Borca : we speak a bit of Spanish with our next driver. He is a funny guys and tells us he does a lot of trabajo trabajo, all the money goes to the Mujer and there is just a little bit left for Cerveza. He gives us a cafe con leche with I find difficult to finish (but do so out of politeness). 2012
284 Borca – Brosteni : we can’t communicate with our next driver and take a break to picknick along the river afterwards. 2012
285 Brosteni – Holda : we speak German with a local hunter that picks us up. Er hat kein zeit and needs to go to a hut up in the mountains for a hunting party with his friends. We get invited by a local man (possibly because Shai looks like Jezus) and have an amazing evening, enjoying a lot of different drink simultaneously from Daniella and give a tryout living room concert for the children of the family. We camp out in the garden and get a lot of extra blankets and pillows from the loving family. 2012
286 Holda – Vatra Dornei : we drive with the Milkman. He thought we were only with two and despite there isn’t a lot of place we can all come along (a bit uncomfortable for me and Shai though). 2012
287 Vatra Dornei – Carlibaba : we drive with two old fisherman. 2012
288 Carlibaba – Cavnic : it’s an amazing coincidence to get a ride from a business man from Bihar (a state in Northern India – with the tramprennen race we collected money to support water projects from Viva con Agua in several villages in this state). Khumar is happy to hear about our travels and invites us for palinka at his friends and drops at a pensiona afterwards. 2012
289 Around Cavnic : we want to hike a mountain in the surrounding area but due to warnings of a small forestfire, Gabi, the owner of out pensiona where we are the only guests, insists on bringing us up in his jeep (there is no actual road and things are hilarious), we convince him we want to walk down though, where we find him awaiting us to have beers with his friends. Awesome guy! 2012
290 Cavnic – Baia Mare : we get picked up by an old French man. 2012
291 Baia Mare – Satu Mare : we drive with an old couple. 2012
292 Satu Mare – Romanian/Hungarian border : we drive for a short bit with the owner of an Italian restaurant. 2012
293 Romanian/Hungarian border – Budapest : we drive with Jerry the bankrobber. After he casually slipped he did some jailtime he tells us his lifestory during this 3 hour drive. He tells us about a failed bankrobbery in Vienna in 1997. They swapped the number plates of a random car at the airport and by change the girlfriend of the guy who’s car they took them from recognised this when she was standing behind the escape car in the traffic lights when a report from the robbery was on the radio. She found it to smell fishy and called the cops who were there in time to take them in. Our driver got imprisoned in Austria at first where they kept letters from his wife and daughter away from him up untill the day he cut himself with a razor blade (showing the scar) out of protest, demanding to see the correspondence of the last few months he was denied to see. Afterwards he got transferred to a prison in Bucuresti so his family could come to visit him. Here he lived the true prisonlife with fightings and working himself up in the prison hierarchy. He has been free fors ome years now and is a loving father on his way to pick his daughter up from Budapest airport. 2012
294 Budapest – Ljubljana : we get a straight ride to our destination from a Hungarian couple who make a quick pitstop in Slovenia, to buy a new Nikon camera, on their way to Marseille. 2012
295 Ljubljana – Piran : after having to wait for quite a bit we get a ride from a groovy Slovenian couple who are actually on their way to Trieste but don’t mind taking a detour for us to drop us at a more preferable place. We pass by Koper on the way where there is a party to commemorate the land dispute problem of Slovenia’s coastline. 2012
296 Piran – Slovenian/Croatian border : we join a family trip for a bit and put our full trust when they decide to put our baggage in the other cart hen we are going to be sitting in. 2012
297 Slovenian/Croatian border – Kamenjak : we drive with a university professor who tells us a lot about the history and archaeology of the region, just to hitchhike a lot himself and makes us to change our plans and go to the natural park of Kamenjak where we enjoy a night under the stars sleeping on rocks along the seashore. 2012
298 Kamenjak – Pula : we drive with a lady working for a shipping company. She enjoys giving us a small tourist tour of the town by car and drops us at the Roman theatre. 2012
299 Pula – Bubani : we drive with a youn local who is planning to study in Norway soon. 2012
300 Bubani – Baderna : we get picked up by a German couple who have the lost the way a little bit. 2012
301 Baderna – Vrvari : we drive for a bit with a groovy ocal woman who tells us she usually goes skinny dipping in the Adriatic. 2012
302 Vrvari – Porce : we get a short ride into town where we take a last dive. 2012
303 Porce – Buje : we get picked up by a friendly sociable lady who calls a collegue of hers for us from whom she knows he will be driving to Trieste that day. Unfortunatly he already hit the road though. 2012
304 Buje – Croatian/Slovenian border : after waiting for a long time (considering the actual short distance) we get driven to the border by a friendly local telling us he saw us before and wants to help us out even though he doesn’t need to go there anyway. 2012
305 Croatian/Slovenian border – Koper : our sympathetic driver has one hand missing. He tells us he finds it a pity his sons aren’t hitchhiking. 2012
306 Koper – Trieste : we drive with a friendly Italian man who gives us Complimente for our travels. 2012
307 Mestre – Mestre : while we are trying to find a way to reach the petrol station on the highway we get a short ride and help out by a mother and daughter listening to Guns n’ Roses. 2012
308 Mestre – Udine : we drive with a engineer and and an archaeologist on their honeymoon. 2012
309 Udine – Eben : while we are having a picknick at a petrol station we get invited to join a friendly mother to Austria. 2012
310 Eben – München : we drive with two historians, who tell us we’re the second hitchhikers they pick up that day. We enjoy a nice sunset when we pass by the Chiem See. 2012
311 Freising – Neufahrn : we wait a long time along a busy national road and even make a break to warm up in a Subway restaurant when we finally get a free ride from a taxidriver who tells us he passed us several times already that day. 2012
312 Neufahrn – Ingolstadt : we get a ride from a robotics technician who just returned from a conference in Sao Paulo. He advises us to check mitfahrgelegenheit next time. 2012
313 Ingolstadt – Nürnberg : we drive with a man from Turkish origin. I need to concentrate very well in order to understand his German but his main message is that he finds ‘das leben schwer’. 2012
314 Nürnberg – Würzburg : my guess to wait for the driver of a car with Köln on its licenseplate proves to be a good one (all though he is not driving all the way), he is happy to take us with him and entertains us with some funny hitchhiking stories of his own. 2012
315 Würzburg – Hösbach : we drive with a guy returning from a packaging conference. He is a friendy man an has a lot of archaeological interest. 2012
316 Hösbach – Siegburg : our next driver is from the Netherlands and was at the same packaging conference. 2012
317 Kiel – Neumünster : I leave Kiel with a free taxi. 2012
318 Neumünster – Bremen : I drive with a Dutch man who has been living in Göteborg for the last two years. He is working in the ship construction sector. 2012
319 Bremen – Osnabrück : I get picked up by another Dutch man who never took a hitchhiker along before but tells me he kind of enjoys it. His favorite land is Italy where he mostly likes the small local supermarkets. 2012
320 Osnabrück – Remscheid : when a golden Jaguar cabrio with a Köln licenseplate  passes me by at the petrol station, I call out to ask ‘fahren sie nach Köln?’ – fancy car. 2012
321 Remscheid – Aachen : chance wants it that the next ride is in a cabrio as well. 2012
322 Aachen – Gent : I drive back home with the owners of the Story, the scientific bookstore in Gent. 2012
323 Arlon – Aire de Capelle (Luxembourg) : a cute girl from Cameroon takes us to Luxembourg where she is working. She insists on Luca sitting behind me not her. Unfortunatly we can’t give her any advice on the strange noises her car is producing. 2012
324 Luxembourg – Mullhouse : Felipe, a nice guy that has his own real estate company, working in northern France and Belgium, takes a nice detour through the Vosges, by which we escape the dense fog that is hanging around everywhere for a few moments. 2012
325 Mullhouse – Mullhouse : 2 young friendly Maroccans gives us a ride to the beginning of the highway. 2012
326 Mullhouse – Basel : we wave at the first Swiss car that comes passing by that instantly comes to a hold. A friendly couple takes us across the border. 2012
327 Basel – Bern : after waiting for quite a while in the dark and cold we decide to go and ask people anyway and we get a ride by evangelist, that thankfully doesn’t try to hard. We get into a conversation about the Flemish primitives and Rembrandt and he insiste on paying for our tram to take us into the center with an overload on coins. 2012
328 Bern – Basel : a sympathetic professor picks us up. He used to hitchhike himself a lot and has been driving up and down for work for the last ten years since he  doesn’t want to give away his nice appartment in Bern. He knows exactly where the fog starts and ends. 2012
329 Basel – Strassbourg : at first it’s not very clear if the man really wants to take us and that he intends to loose us at the border, but i entertain him enough with my French and we can continue. 2012
330 Strassbourg – Brussel : we end up staying a very long time at a petrol station just before the city since everyone just goes into Strassbourg or to Germany. We meet a funny American that gives us an etch sketch for the travellers LOVE. Untill we get saved by a Dutch hardstyle lover. Kiefer works for the European branch of a Japanese company that specialises in helmets, he is on his way back home from a gathering in Milan where there were as he is telling us a lot of hot babes, so he is urging his girlfriend to be ready for him by the time he gets home. I get of in Brussels and Luca joins untill Breda. 2012
331 Brussels – Brussels : I get a quick ride to the nearest metro station by a nightworker. Vite vite. 2012
332 Ghent – Brussels : Elise joins me on the first ride. We get one by a Dutch lady that is working for the citycouncil of Ghent. She has travelled a lot herself and was hitchhiking with her son in the north of Norway on her previous trip. 2013
333 Brussels – Luik : Meet Bart, an electromechanic. He used to hitchhike himself when he was a scout. Now he enjoys to travel by bicycle with his children. 2013
334 Luik – Wuppertal : I get picked up by a German man that is working in France for a company that is specialised in huge cranes. 2013
335 Wuppertal – Dortmund : a German judge invites me into his car. Funny guy telling me secrets from his work. At the moment he was working on a SM-case where the victim would have had an unpleasant experience with a screwdriver. 2013
336 Dortmund – Kassel : I drive with a friendly older couple. Their son hitchhiked to BOOM festival in Portugal. 2013
337 Kassel – Halle : I get stuck at a petrol station at Kassel that night and get to test my new tent for the first time during some cold showers. I also meet my first colleague here, Martin from Slovenia – a thirty-something year old self-proclaimed (or not?) Guinness record holder for most hitchhiked kilometers around the world (millions blabla). At least a funny guy to share some cookies and fruit with before he found his ride northbound for Hannover and I was continuing east to Dresden. Quite the character as well though with his straw hat and pink flashy umbrella – not sure whether I want to end up like that the next fifteen years. I drive of with another electromechanic as i wave him goodbye. 2013
338 Halle – Dresden Tör : Other travellers on the road. I get a ride by an Australian couple in their rental car. 2013
339 Dresden Tör – Dresden : I get a short ride into the city by an older lady. A real culture lover. 2013
340 Dresden – ##### parking lot : A guy stops at the highway entrance and tells me to get in quickly for it would be forbidden to stop at the place. 2013
341 ##### parking lot – Czech border : due to a very small amount of cars (filled with very grumpy Germans with mustaches) – I was doomed to wait and dance with the road signs for Praha up to 5 hours untill a truck with the exclamation ‘FRIENDS ON THE ROADS’ slowly came to a stop just a stone’s throw away from me – I knew I was bound for the border with Czech republic for sure. 2013
342 Czech border – Praha : First person I ask invites me into his big American car. Very friendly German man who looks like he just popped out of the YMCA-musicvideoclip. 2013
343 Praha – Jihlava : meet Petr, a Slovakian truck driver who just started out from Oostakker (the harbor area of Ghent, a few pedals by bike from my place) the day before and had a stack of good songs in his repertoire – would have been lovely as well to have been doing the entire stretch with this guy just chillin’ on the passengers seat. 2013
344 Jihlava – Brno : a Polish guy that just moved to München and his niece save me from sleeping at the petrol station that night. 2013
345 Olomouc – Hranice : 3 teachers bring me to the start of a small road. It’s an international company (German, Canadian and Czech). 2013
346 Hranice – Vallaska Bystrice : meet Petr the second, from which the legend goes he has been hitchhiking and busking around Europe and Canada for five years in a row some twenty years back – trying to get his long blond hair between as much female bush as possible (as he proudly commemorated) and tricking the British douaniers in various sleazy ways – he was obviously looking back nostalgically at these forgotten times of glory and fulfillment, insisting upon taking me out to dinner (some excellent Calzone and the additional Slivoviçe) and inviting me to stay at his mountain shed. 2013
347 Vallaska Bystrice – Hranice – Horni Bytca : Petr again! (As he drives past 1 hour later and i am still at the same spot) 2013
348 Horni Bytca – Makov : get a ride from a guy from Slovakia.There is still some snow in these mountains. As i get out my bag smells of petrol for he apparently had some small leak in his car somewhere. 2013
349 Makov – Zilina : French man working for an American company. He was living in Krakow himself. He knew where all speedcontrols where on this road and with this knowledge he also knew where to put down the gas well too! 2013
350 Zilina – Poprad : Had to walk a bit out of town to reach a spot where i could hitchhike from (and where i had been before on a previous trip) as i get safed by Jakub – enjoying some beautiful views on the snow capped peaks of the Vysoké Tatry along the way, he gave me some of his companies herbal tea as a gift when I got out. 2013
351 Poprad – Levoca : It had already gotten dark when I got a ride in a tuned car by two young Slovaks who loved Amsterdam and the greengreen, speeding at twice the allowed pace on a small road heading for the UNESCO world heritage town of Levoca. 2013
352 Levoca – Kosice : as i try to make it to Kosice to be able to sleep at the place of friends of friends i consider the option of taking a bus. As i find out i missed the last one though i eat some french fries and get a beer from a random guy i meet on the streets of Levoca. Darkness or not hitchhiking was still on and just a few seconds after I met a young colleague we both get a ride straight to Kosice, (along with Marseille) this years European capital of culture. 2013
353 Sebastovce – Hungarian border : I reach the border with a nice family man who made a little detour at Milhost to proudly show his selfbuild wooden house. 2013
354 Hungarian border – passed Miskolc : I get a ride from a friendly Slovak couple. We experience a small language barrier which made me get dropped off on the wrong side of the highway in direction for Budapest, which wasn’t a real problem since there was a viaduct close by that gave me the opportunity to cross safely. They tell me about their son that is hitchhiking a lot as well. Two months later i travel together with Viliam in Armenia and Georgia, as he gets home and shows his parents the pictures of his trip we find out i got a ride from his parents before meeting him! The world is a small place! 2013
355 …… – Debrecen : After a good two hour of sunbathing at the petrol station I decide to change my strategy and ask for once (usually i don’t like to force things onto people but rather wait until they pick me up) – but the first one was up for it immediately and I found myself speeding for Debrecen with a computer analyst who told me Hungarian’s weren’t that fond of hitchhikers anymore since a guy recently got killed with his own seatbelt (!). He dropped me of at a perfect place on the outskirts in direction of Romania. 2013
356 Debrecen – Oradea : get a ride along the backtracks to Oradea with a big bearded friend with whom I could practice my first Russian (which I have to admit really doesn’t exist yet). As i learn the police in Hungaria are idiota! 2013
357 Oradea – Cluj Napoca : hitchhiking is very common in Romania and so is paying for your ride (in order to share some of the petrol costs).That being said there were a lot of colleagues to share the roundabout in the city center with, so I decide to escape the crowds and go for a little walk.There are not too much highways due to money trouble and financing vanishing into oblivion, which makes that you can basically stand anywhere flashing your thumb around and showing your artistically redefined plates. Luckily you can keep ‘em short – every region in Romania has his own 2 letter code – so for Cluj-Napoca I got my CJ-sign up and got a ride just a few minutes after. Alternately molesting the throttle and breaking like a madman on the wrong side of the road to overtake all the slower traffic this was a speedy one again! 2013
358 Cluj Napoca – Alba Iulia : I start of late and it’s busy with other hitchhikers at the spot again. There is no real rule like first comes first goes so whenever a car stops you really need to run for it or else it’s possible someone else will be gone with it already. I get a ride together with Dani, a young student who gives me the phone numbers of some of his friends who plan to go to a beach party at Vama Veche a few days later as well. He insists on paying a taxi to a better hitchhiking spot as we arrive to Alba Iulia. 2013
359 Alba Iulia – Sebes : I get a free ride from a cab driver that is returning to his hometown. He speaks some Italian but i don’t. He is worried about his little brother and mother, now that his dad has died early he is taking care of them. 2013
360 Sebes – Simeria : Groovy dude in a van. We get to see a very nice sunset as the van gets hit by lots of June bugs. When he drops me of at a roundabout he instantly takes new hitchhikers again (a mother and son). 2013
361 Simeria – Salasu de Sus : Funny guy. We try to speak English, Italian and Romanian. He invites me to his home but when his hot young girlfriend calls before, he sais it’s not possible anymore (she doesn’t trust it). Although we made an agreement before he wants 20 lei (little less then 5 euro’s) from me as he drops me of. 2013
362 Salasu de Sus – Retezat national parc : I had to walk for a bit before getting a ride to the end of the road with a big logger’s truck. Being a big hypocrite I should have actually declined this ride from the point of view that it’s a real shame to see how much logging is going on in these places, while most of the wood is all being exported to other countries. 2013
363 Retezat national parc – Salasu de Sus : An old guy and a couple give me advise on what to see in the region from an archaeological point of view. 2013
364 Salasu de Sus – Hateg : I drive with two women with 3 little kids in the backseat (that doesn’t happen to often). 2013
365 Hateg – Oriesti : a guy pulls over for me in his Dacia from the 60’s and insists on me driving his car around, which lead to the funny situation in which he would be changing gears calling out “AMBRIAGE” every now and then and I would just be handling the gas and do the steering (it was a long time ago i drove myself and i couldn’t really make sense out of this ancient gearbox). 2013
366 Oriesti – Brasov : get a long ride with a friendly young couple and their tiny dog (crawling underneath the seats in order to get cuddled by me every now and then). I just stare out of the window enjoying the view on the Carpathians the whole afternoon. 2013
367 Brasov – Sinaia : On the way to Sinaia I was shown a few castles by a ski/snowboard instructor and hiking guide who told me I was very welcome to get back anytime to hang around the mountains – knowing everyone in town we spend some moments honking around while he was telling me the bended road we were going down on he would normally be skiing upon overtaking the carslike a madman haha! 2013
368 Sinaia – Floriesti : the sun already failed to lighten up my smiles by then again but I fixed myself a ride to Floriesti with a guy who being rather concerned about me hitchhiking at night asked the owner of the petrol station he dropped me of at to help me out. 2013
369 Floriesti – Bucuresti : there was literally nothing going on at the petrol station so things seemed a little down. I hanged around inside for a bit and when I just got to the toilet there was some knocking on my door– Bucuresti! Bucuresti! – I got out quickly and could only see a big Eurolines bus being parked outside. Before I knew what was going on I got shoved inside and enjoyed a free ride along with some German tourist from Hamburg (this time they were cleanly shaved)! 2013
370 Bucuresti – Vama Veche : I meet three Belgian Erasmus students (Liege) who where studying in Cluj-Napoca who where also heading for the seaside. We decide to team up which they forgot immediately when a truck pulled over that could take three – a thing I didn’t mind at all when I got a straight ride to VV (instead of theirs to Constanta) just a few minutes later –overtaking them with twice the speed while waving happily out of the window! Where did this competitiveness come from all of a sudden? 2013
371 Vama Veche – Krapets : Hitchhiking together with Marco, Szid and Robin. We get a ride from a friendly Romanian family on their way to a small festival in Kavarna. They drop us at a road cross which makes we need to walk an additional 6 kilometer to the coast due to low traffic. The beach is beautifull though! 2013
372 Tuylenovo – Shabla : I walk along the coast to the caves at Tuyelnovo. Going back towards Romania i get a ride from Anita from Jekaterinburg. 2013
373 Shabla – …… : Friendly workhorse. Likes to travel with his wife and a tent. 2013
374 ……. – Romanian border : This man’s children work at a shop on the border. Bulgaria’s politics are a problem! 2013
375 Vama Veche – Magnalia : I only remember a quite horrible song that was played during this ride – Modern talking – with a little love. Afterwards i get stuck in Magnalia for a few hours and decide to take a (very cheap) bus to Constanta. 2013
376 Constanta – Bucuresti : I end up playing a bit of soccer with 2 gypsy kids in the archaeological park in Constanta before getting a straight ride to the capital. My driver has a business selling AC’s to casino’s and tells me while i am young i should try to get with every girl i can like he did when he was a student. He doesn’t want to give me the phonenumber of his daughter that studies graphic design in Wien though. 2013
377 Bucuresti – Giurgiu : I was brought to the border town of Giurgiu where the family in question suddenly started to ask for extraordinaryhigh amounts of money (500 lei = 120 euro) to support the hospital bills of their apparently very sick grandfather. Like i told you before it happens more often in Romania that people ask for small amounts to support the petrol costs,but you always decide whether you’re OK with this before you get into the car.The discussion that started let to nothing and to not make them get to hostile I emptied my wallet with my last money into there hands (16 something lei and some Czech en Hungarian coins) and walked away from the car with rather mixed feelings. 2013
378 Stara Zagora – Haskovo : Got my mojo back in shape and get aride out to Haskovo rather quickly – talking half Russian (da!da! (as good as a student I am my Russian is obviously improving) and luckily also a little German I got to know a little more about the economic situation in Bulgaria at the moment (shit Politica) and the fact that about 20-30 % of the Bulgarians nowadays need to survive with a mere 1 euro a day – rather enough to put the stamp of 3rd world country upon this place my driver concluded laughing (but not really according to the sad underlying in his tone). 2013
379 Haskovo – Istanbul : The next hours get a little quiet and apart from making a small walk, befriending a local shepherd and doing some highway yoga the only thing that kept me from taking some welcomed naps in the grass were the huge trucks that were passing by every now and then at an impossible pace to pull over. I figured my sign might be too small to read so I ended up destroying the sleeve of a Liviu Vasilica LP I picked up at the abandoned building we went spray painting at in Bucuresti to make a huge TR(Turkey) sign. Enough to twist my faith around! Within a few minutes I got a ride (just pure coincidental of course) from a guy in a fast Mercedes that was going all the way to Azerbaijan (hmm had the lazy thought for a second to just stay seated – but that one vanished as soon as we went for a quick bite of soup in Edirne: there will be so much to do and see in Turkey!). 2013
380 Çanakkale – Kumburun : I skip the invitation of my driver, owner of a big cement factory, to go and check out the ancient ruins of Truva(Troy) a little outside of Çanakkale – should definitely come back here once when I have my own car since the road that goes down the western coast of Turkey is literally dotted with signs of archaeological sites. The problem is just that most of them are a good 10-15 km away from this road which makes it a bit less tempting when you need to walk both ways (low traffic). 2013
381 Kumburun – Geyikli – Feribot : Get a ride twice from the same young couriers. 2013
382 Feribot – Geyikli : Short ride with an old man. 2013
383 Geyikli – Ezine : Get picked up by another factory owner. 2013
384 Ezine – Ayvacik : while hitchhiking on your own in Turkey I notice there are so much people curious of what you’re up to / where you’re from – and it mostly learns me I should work on my Turkish since it’s a pity that most conversations that come along with the chai/cola/food offers can’t go much further then the following; Nerelisiniz? Ah Hollanda..! Dirk Kuyt Fenerbahçe! Wesley Sneijder Galatasaray! Çok güzel!! Soccer definetly is the second language. Most of the more detailed talking then goes via phone with friends that do speak a little English or German. I meet some friendly guys that insist on paying my dolmus to the next town. 2013
385 Ayvacik – Edremit : as i walk out of town I get invited for chai and a bit of dinner at a school. As i get to the road a little later i am bound for a very long wait untill i get picked up by a friendly man driving to Edremit. 2013
386 Edremit – Havran : I get picked up quickly by a guy listening to loud metal music. He is working as an IT-specialist but dreams about dropping everything to go hitchhiking as well. 2013
387 Havran – Balikesir : I get a long ride with a man that speaks perfect accentless English. He has been working in hotels along the southcoast of Turkey for a long time and tells me he has a lot of Dutch friends because of this. Now he is working for the Turkish government in Balikesir. He drives me all the way through town in order to drop me on the beginning of the highway to Bursa. 2013
388 Balikesir – Karakaya : while hitchhiking right on the highway just outside of Balıkesir a Gendarma van pulls over, the guys inside wave me in (being heavily armed I decide not to ignore them) – and while awaiting the expected fine or to be send away or whatever the officer just wants to know where I want to go, they take me for a 20 km ride to the next petrolstation and politely shove me into the first Bursa bound truck he and his buddies can find for me. 2013
389 Karakaya – Görukle : Friendly trucker. Drops me on the highway in the dark as he takes the ringroad around Bursa. 2013
390 Görukle – Görukle : I meet Yigit on the highway as the place where i got dropped of by the trucker is also a common place for the busses to drop people of. I stay the night at Yigit and his friend Fahri, both students in the student village of Görükle, a 20 minute ride outside of Bursa. It’s a rather weird places where literally only students live. 2013
391 Bursa – Bursa : at the metro in Bursa I meet Omar and his teammates from the universities American football team who take me out for abeer. You look like that guy from into the wild! They invite me to come and see there match and drop me of at the main road to the Uludağ Milli national parc. 2013
392 Bursa – Sarialan : Friendly guy in tuned car. The car seats are in a very low position. G factor is high. 2013
393 Sarialan – Gecidi : get a ride in the back of a very shaky and windy pickup truck. Groovy! 2013
394 Gecidi – Uludağ Milli national parc : drive along with two old man in their car. 2013
395 Uludağ Milli national parc – Uludağ : after walking for about an hour i get a ride by some other old man, there with 3 this time. A real savior! The village of Uludağ is Turkey’s biggest winter sport ‘hot spot’(huge cities like Istanbul, Bursa and Ankara close by) this makes it not the nicest of places to visit. The season was over though so most hotels were already closed which gave me the opportunity to camp somewhere in between them, a severe wind blew through the place and kept me awake all night though (the fact that I was lying in my tent was about the only reason for it to not fly away I guess). Beautifull mountain scenery though! 2013
396 Uludağ – Bursa : after climbing the mountain from which the gods where said to watch the boys quarrel over Troy in ancient times I get a ride all the way down to Bursa by a car filled with man from 3 generations. 2013
397 Bursa – Gemlik : I decide not to wait to meet the guys from the American football team but to try to make it to Istanbul the same day. Fahrettin and Mustafa give me some free samples of the foot ointment they sell for a pharmaceutical company and we eat some Cornetto Classico’s together. 2013
398 Gemlik – Istanbul : I get an introduction to the various types of traditional Turkish music by Aydın. 2013
399 Istanbul – Gebze : It takes a long time by local bus to get to a petrol station on the highway in direction of Ankara in the outskirts of Istanbul. I can drive with the first guy i ask. We can’t really communicate but when i get out he makes the gesture that i should give him a handjob. I politely refuse and get out quickly. 2013
400 Gebze – Izmit : I get a ride further out of the metropolis with an engineer. He isn’t supporting the protesters in Gezi parc. 2013
401 Izmit – Sakarya : a father and son drive back a bit after they just pass me. They have a big banner from Kapadokya in their truck and i get my hopes up they will take me all the way to my planned destination (which isn’t true when they tell me finish finish at a petrol station a little later). 2013
402 Sakarya – Kizilcahamam : as I am hanging around against the crash barrier a truck stops in the middle of the highway and a guy waves me in. Inside I find 2 Bulgarians, a guy my age and an older one behind the wheel. At first moods are up and there is a nice atmosphere as they promise to take me all the way to Ankara and the younger guy is enjoying himself making pictureswith my camera. After about two hours we get of the highway onto a smaller road that goes through some low mountain ranges. They tell me it’s all fine. But when we get to a petrol station and the old man gets out, the young guy somehow gets hold of my passport and threatens to cut my Turkish visa if I don’t hand over all my money. I try to talk some sense into him at first as I am not scared of him but end up emptying my wallet for them (bad luck for them I never carry a lot of money so they will have to be happy with the 50 TL (20euro’s) they’re getting out of me. As he puts back the knife I quickly snatch my passport. 2013
403 Kizilcahamam – Bezirhane :  my faith in hitchhiking gets restored as i instantly get welcomed by a friendly trucker that drives me all the way passed Ankara’s ringroad and offers me a meal at a petrol station around Bezirhane, where he also fixes me my next ride with one of his colleagues so that by the end of the day i make it to the outskirts of Aksaray. 2013
404 Bezirhane – Aksaray : Friendly trucker from Adana. I get of in the middle of the night in the outskirts of Aksaray on the road to Nevsehir. 2013
405 Aksaray – Nevsehir : I wake up to the view of Hasan Dagi, a beautifull scenery of an inactive stratovulcano. An early start means getting a ride at 6.00 am from 2 friendly guys. 2013
406 Nevsehir – Görëme : get picked up by a guy working for a tourist company in Kapadokya. 2013
407 Uchisar – Nevsehir : I hitch a ride back to town in order to buy some food with 2 guys selling parfume. 2013
408 Nevsehir – Uchisar : I drive back with a young tour guide and his mother. He speaks fluent Portugese. 2013
409 Görëme – Nevsehir : A young Turkish couple pick me up as i leave Kapadokya and drop me on a nice spot in Nevsehir. 2013
410 Nevsehir – Derinkuyu : I drive with a business man for a bit. 2013
411 Derinkuyu – Aktas : After quite a bit of a wait on a virtually deserted road 2 guys stop for me. As I get in an old man I was trying to chat to before gets in as well. 2013
412 Aktas – yol 43 : As I get out and cross the road I wave to a car that just passes by. He instantly stops and gives me a short ride to the beginning of the road that leads to the Ala Daglari national parc. As I get out I break my bottle of jummy honey. D’oh! 2013
413 Yol 43 – Demirkazek : 4 young guys pick me up and don’t really understand what I am doing there. They do want to drop me at the village I intended to go to though. It’ right at the bottom of some amazing mountain scenery. As I get out I walk into two mountaineers. I ask them if I can join them. They reply it’s OK if I can keep up with them. I fail. 2013
414 Demirkazek – Kayseri : as I intend to leave the area the next day I need to walk a full hour to reach the main road since the few cars that pass just like honking and pointing. At the road I get a ride from a guy working for the emergency services in the mountains. He controls the helicopter. We drive on a beautifull backroad to Kayseri with views on mighty mount Erciyes along the way! 2013
415 Kayseri – Kayseri : as I walk towards the ringroad of Kayseri I get invited to drink some chai with a guard of a factory. After I want to move on again a car stops and 2 friendly man take me a bit along the ringroad of Kayseri. 2013
416 Kayseri – Mimarsinan : a friendly Turkish couple are amazed by my Turkish skills (?) and tell me to be carefull as they take me to the other side of Kayseri. 2013
417 Mimarsinan – Malatya : as I stand on the ringroad, which is actually more like a highway and is a couple of kilometers away from the city, I make a huge sign saying Malatya. I get a truck to stop for me right in the middle of the road. At first there is some confusion since he is taking a different road (towards Sivas to skip the mountains that where on the shorter route). He lets me sleep in the second compartement of his truck while he remains driving. 2013
418 Malatya – Dogansehir : it takes some while to get a ride out of Malatya. I finally get a short one from a guy who has some other intentions– inquiring about the size of my tent he would take me all the way to Nemrut if i had enough space. Cadir iki person? I wasnt up for this at all obviously so I got off as soon as i convinced him there are young western people that say no to sex with mustached old Turkish man. 2013
419 Dogansehir – Gölbasi : I hang around a bit at a petrolstation with young guys that are putting new bricks down. Then I get a ride from a friendly trucker that, after he shares some sandwiches and chocolate with me, prayes to Allah in order to let my next rides be good, nice and fast. Insallah! 2013
420 Gölbasi – Adiyaman : Allah treats me well as the next trucker takes me a stonesthrow away from Adiyaman and treats me on some Adana döner en Ayran. When I start walking into town an old man insists on paying 1TL for my busride. 2013
421 Adiyaman – Kahta : I walk a bit through town and get invited to eat goulash with some men as I stare at what they are making on the streets.Tastes marvellous! While I am walking a bit further i get invited into the car of a hotel/camping owner and tourguide from Kahta. He is trying to convince me to book an expensive tour through his agency and to at least spend the night in his hotel. I decline politely and thank him for the ride. 2013
422 Kahta – Karakus : I cross the road from the hotel and meet my new drivers. 2 security guys take me back tot heir company where they insist I eat with all their colleagues (obviously the guest should eat the most – and I already had dinner twice that day!). As it’s almost getting dark by now I ask them if I could pitch my tent at their place, they politely wave the question away and tell me a few kilometres down the road there is a nice archaeological place, Karakus Tepe, that makes a perfect camping spot. 2013
423 Karakus – Cendere köprüsü : as I am almost at the place I intend to camp that night I get picked up by two old man that drive me to the site of an ancient bridge, where I could spend the night on one of the benches of the tourist shop. 2013
424 Cendere köprüsü – Narince : one of the guys from the touristshop offers me a job the next morning. If I would like to guide the busloads of German, French and English tourist around the various archaeological sites of the region. I would get food, a bed and up to 25 euro a day as reward. (now I am wondering a bit why i refused but at the time reading a book about the site and remembering all the details about the site just felt a little too much like studying for me). Also i found a German couple that had parked their van a little down at the riverside who where going around all the archaeological sites that same day and didnt mind to take me along in their van (also it was kind of remote there and didnt really feel like staying much longer then just for the day). Together with Norbert and Birgitta I visit Cendere köprüsü, Karakus Tepesi, Yeni kale, Eski kale and Nemrut Dagi, a mausoleum of an ancient king right on the summit of the highest peak in the area – impressive place! 2013
425 Narince – feribot : standing on the side of the road just outside Narince, a small town on the foot of the mountain, there was not a lot of traffic. One motorcycle passed by and returned 5 minutes later (the guy lying face first over his bike). Also there were a lot of small children coming up to me asking what I was doing and inviting me to come and play soccer with them. Finally I get picked up by two students that drive me to the ferry. When we get there and they turn around I find out they weren’t really going there and only did me the favour. Teşekkür ederiz! 2013
426 Feribot – Diyarbakir : on the ferry I meet 5 Kurds (they want to take a picture with me). When they hear I try to go to Diyarbakir they invite me to join them. There is not enough space at all but they are very friendly and welcoming, stopping along the way to pray and eat icecream as the sun goes down and we reach the ancient city of Diyarbakir, a feared destination in all of western Turkey for it being the unofficial capital of Turkish Kurdistan and the important stronghold of the PKK. Ishan tells me I can stay the night at his place, gives me soup at the school of a friend, watermelon, breakfast the next morning and even some new clothing cause he thinks my own aren’t very proper. Full blend hospitality! 2013
427 Diyarbakir – Diyarbakir : Diyarbakir is big city and everywhere there are new appartment blocks popping up. There were also big roadworks that forced the traffic onto fewer lanes which made it difficult to start hitching inside the city already. I walked for quite a bit (sweating terribly in 35 degrees (while it was only 9 in the morning). Also it was difficult to cope with young Syrian kids showing their passports to get some money. I shared my breakfast with them. After walking like this for a while I got into a conversation with some road workers that shoved me into one of their trucks when it was fully loaded and took me about 10 kilometres out of the city. Perfect! 2013
428 Diyarbakir – Karabahce : there were not a lot of cars on this road. It took quite a while to fix a ride. Finally a car that drove past me at first comes rolling back. Inside there is 1 male and 4 female Kurdish teachers, nice folk that were working in schools in nearby villages and helped me to get my next ride as well. 2013
429 Karabahce – Siverek : a small van full of teachers from all over Turkey that were working in the area as an exchange program (teachers in Turkey need to work in different parts of the country for at least 1 year during their carreer apparently). There was a nice and cosy atmosphere in the van – they were making a bit fun of me though but once more and more people got of when we reached Siverek, a woman also told me they thought it was interesting and very brave what i was doing and that she fully respected it. 2013
430 Siverek – Sanliurfa : as I walk out of Siverek the owner of a market cools me down with ice cold water from his hose and insists on giving me some bread and honey. Some time after this I get picked up by a strictly religious man. He gives me a prayer necklace as a gift when I get out. 2013
431 Sanliurfa – Siran : while I am walking out of Sanliurfa I pass a bakery where the owner invites me in and gives me some cookies and baklava. I try to pay but it’s not possible. One of his young helpers is a Syrian orphan he took from the streets and he is now taking care of. We’re all brothers and we need to take care of each other he tells me in Turkish. As I walk a bit further a young boy helps me to stop a car and I get a ride with a doctor to the university village of Siran. 2013
432 Siran – Viransehir : it’s getting hot so I decide to hitchhike underneath a viaduct. It doesn’t take too long before I get picked up by two friendly teachers. One of them is a Kurdish mr. Wynings (he looks a lot like my English teacher from highschool). 2013
433 Viransehir – Mardin : a guy from the city service helps me to get a ride with a sympathetic trucker, that shares some water and a soda with me. We stop in the outskirts of town and he insists on paying a local bus for me to the citycentre. 2013
434 Midyat – Ömerli : I get a ride from 2 guys in a tuned car. 2013
435 Ömerli – Mardin : I get picked up by the Turkish ‘Van Diesel’ and his friend. Along the way we invite another hitchhiker (a student from Izmir visiting his family). 2013
436 Mardin – Kabala : there is a lot of competition as I try to get back to Midyat. I get a short ride from a friendly man together with 2 young boys and an old man. 2013
437 Kabala – Ömerli : the old man from the previous ride needs to go a little further as well and invites me to join him when one of his friends passes by. 2013
438 Gercüs – Hasankeyf : I get picked up together with an old man that’s hitchhiking as well. Hasankeyf is another beautifully situated ancient site. It’s bound to be destroyed though for there are plans to make a huge dam in the area. There is a lot of protest surrounding this issue by the locals, but for now Erdogan doesn’t seem to want to change his plans. 2013
439 Hasankeyf – Batman : after I wake up next to the river I get an instant ride to Batman at 6.00 am. As I try to get to a better place to hitchhike in Batman a bus honks behind me and the driver invites me in telling me that as a tourist I don’t have to pay (obviously!). He drops me on the outskirts of town. 2013
440 Batman – Demiryol : after waiting quite a long while (there is a lot of local traffic since it was a mistake to think I was in the real outskirts of Batman yet) I get a short ride in a cement truck, he drops me of at his working place, this time we’re truly out of town. 2013
441 Demiryol – Catäkkop : friendly man going to Silvan drops me on a road crossing. 2013
442 Catäkkop – Aliman : after i got robbed by the Bulgarians around Ankara I promised myself to not get into trucks with more than one person anymore. Apparently I am bad at keeping promises. As I am walking to the right road they stop themselves to ask me where I am going and invite me into their truck. These guys are driving to Mus and can drop me close to Van lake. Along the way we make a stop for lunch, chai and to wash the truck. 2013
443 Aliman – Ahlat : I get a free ride from a friendly cabdriver returning to his hometown of Ahlat on the northern shores of Van lake. Beautifull views! 2013
444 Ahlat – Heybetli : I have a lot of fun talking Dutch/Turkish with a friendly man in a pickup truck. I randomly point at a small forest along Van lake to stop for me as I intend to swim a bit and camp. In contrast to what I was expecting the water of Van lake is very sticky and salty – not that pleasant to swim in. I spend the night with a Swiss couple that are on their way to Mongolia in their converted landrover. 2013
445 Heybetli – Erçis : I get up with the sun to find a completly deserted road. I have to wait a long time for any vehicle to pass by at all, but get rewarded with a nice ride in the back of a pickup truck enjoying the view on the lake and the surrounding mountains along the way. As I climb out of the truck in Erçis I get invited by a few old man to drink chai. When I start walking again in order to find the road out of town in my direction I get another free citybus (you don’t have to pay my friend). 2013
446 Erçis – Ulusar : I drive to the tip of Van lake with a friendly family from Istanbul. The father is working in the movie industry. As I get of I instantly get invited to drink chai with a carmechanic in his shop. 2013
447 Ulusar – Dogubayazit : I cross the road and follow the signs for Iran. I get a ride from a friendly trucker along a beautifull mountainroad. As where driving very slow I have a lot of time to enjoy the interesting rockformations formed by a (not so recent) vulcanic eruption at Tendurek Dagi. We go down very slowely as well for the truck is loaded heavily and we need to be carefull with our brakes. This time I can gaze at the summit of mount Ararat popping up.This dormant stratovulcano is Turkey’s highest peak and plays an important role in Armenian culture and nationalism. According to the book of Genesis, this is where Noah’s arc would have come to rest. 2013
448 Dogubayazit – Ishak Pasa Sarayi : I just start walking into town as a car stops right beside me and I get invited to go in. I enjoy an orange juice with the 2 brothers and while we drive to the palace I intended to visit on a peak out of town they try to convert me to Islam (give me a small Koran as  I get out and thank them). It’s weekend and therefore picknickday, the surrounding area of the palace is full with families enjoying the sunshine and food. I climb up a bit further to enjoy views on mount Ararat. 2013
449 Ishak Pasa Sarayi – Dogubayazit : I go back down to the city with an elder South-African couple. The man owns a few factories and tells me he is one of the pioneers in the mechanic process of dying clothes in the world. They are well into the money as we stop to buy some Persian carpets along the way. 2013
450 Dogubayazit – Igdir : one of the first persons I meet that is very negative about the region. A Turkish man that is very opposed to the majority of Kurds that live here. 2013
451 Igdir – Igdir : I get dropped on the outskirts and hitch a ride into town with a friendly man. As I am walking a bit further out of town Iget invited to drink cola with a few young guys that are hanging around in front of a shop. 2013
452 Igdir – Kars : I get a straight ride to Kars with a friendly family. We drive through an amazing landscape (a green plateau) as the sun goes down. They drop me right in front of the ringroad at a petrol station. When I ask if i can pitch my tent there I instantly get invited to have some food and chai with a guy that used to live in Wien, rerturned to his place of birth and now has a carshop here. 2013
453 Kars – Yalinkaya : I walk a bit around the ringroad early in the morning in order to get to the right road crossing. I get a short ride by an old couple that drops me in the middle of nowhere. There is nothing but some sheep and cows around. And some very viciously looking shepherddogs as well, fortunatly I get saved from being eaten alive by a rock throwing friendly shepherd. 2013
454 Yalinkaya – Subatan : this road is virtually deserted. After a while I get another short ride in a van by a friendly man. He drops me of at a military basecamp where I have to wait a very long time again. In Subatan there is a monument remembering the Turkish victims of 1915. Turkey still denies the Armenian genocide to have taken place. Due tot his fact and other historical and political issues Turkish-Armenian relations keep on being difficult and the border between the two countries remains closed. 2013
455 Subatan – Ani : Finally I get a ride in a van that is delivering an agricultural tool to friends living in a small village at the border with Armenia. I drop my bag at a market in town and go to explore Ani, an ancient capital of Armenia and an important stopover place along the silkroad during the middle ages.The surroundings are beautifull and it’s interesting to walk around in a deserted place like this (just a few buildings with an important function remain). 2013
456 Ani – Kars : while I am walking through the archaeological site I meet Michelle, a 30 something teacher from Boston, who drove here with a British couple of archaeologists that plan to write a book about the place. The man has been here numberous times and tells me up to a few years ago you needed to have a special permit to visit the place due to more tight security issues and a bigger presence of the Turkish army. When you get to the outskirts of ancient Ani you can see the post of the Armenian borderguards as there is literally only a small river dividing the two countries. Btw: the border has been closed for a long time. While we’re driving back to Kars there is a small boy throwing rocks at our car as we pass through his village. 2013
457 Kars – Incesu : a young shepherd boy tries to help me to stop cars on the ringroad of Kars. I finally get a short ride from a man that doesn’t like the concept of hitchhiking at all but doesn’t really mind taking me. 2013
458 Incesu – Susuz : I get to drive with the milkman! He invites me to have some bread, peppers (hot!) and chai with his friends in Susuz before I continue my way again. 2013
459 Susuz – Büyükcatak : I drive along in a red pickup truck and get dropped of on a lonely road in the middle of nowhere. Beautifull scenery as the sun is going down slowely. 2013
460 Büyükcatak – Ardahan : I hitch a ride in an empty citybus the guys are transporting to Ardahan. They even try to fix me a good place to sleep. As we’re washing the van at a petrol station we find out the man there don’t like the idea of a Dutch boy sleeping there, I don’t like the other offer of the city parc (too crowded) and end up walking out of town to sleep in a field. 2013
461 Ardahan – Camliçatak : I get a lift from a car mechanicservice to a crossroad a bit out of Ardahan. 2013
462 Camliçatak – Ölçek : Get to drive for a short bit in a big truck. Just after I get of another team of hitchhikers arrive (a Turkish couple with a baby) – they’re on the road again before I do. 2013
463 Ölçek – Hanak : Get a ride from a friendly man with a big moustache that is of to work. 2013
464 Hanak – Darmal : as my previous driver drops me of we meet his friend that is going to the next village and invites me for some soup and chai. 2013
465 Darmal – Posof : I wait a long time in deserted Darmal. The only people that pass by are two (slightly) annoying kids on a bicycle. Finally I get a ride from a courier that wants to know how to say I love you in Dutch so he can surprise his wife on the phone. We drive through a high mountain pass  to end up in Posof where i see the couple with the baby again, this time hitching in the opposite direction. 2013
466 Posof– Georgian border : I drive the last kilometers to the border with Georgia with a Turkish man going there to make profit form the cheaper petrol. 2013
467 Border with Georgia – Akhalsitke : I get a ride from 2 young guys from Ankara. They don’t really understand why I didn’t take a bus. They’re on there way to Tbilisi and drop me in the fist town. 2013
468 Akhalsitke – Aspindza : I get some food at a market and walk a bit out of town to the right road crossing. Along the way I get invited to hang out in the shop of a car mechanic for a bit. He practices his long forgotten German with me. After I crossed a bridge a van pulls over for me. Luca and David take me on their route for a little. Looking back on my notes I get slightly confused. I wrote down there selling Swish chocolate (that is actually being made in the Ukraine). 2013
469 Aspindza – Chunchkha : I walk a bit through the next town and have a chat with a very drunk guy. A few minutes later I pass two old guys sitting on a bench, one gets up, comes up to me and gives me a kiss on the cheek. As he talks on in Georgian I decide to slowely move on while smiling and waving politely. I get a ride with the local baker. We deliver some bread at a construction side and pass a beautifully located old castle along the way. 2013
470 Chunchkha – Ninotsminda : I drive along with the grooviest docter I have met. We share a snack and soda as we deliver packages for him in Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda. And I get to talk English with his daughter on the phone for a bit. 2013
471 Ninotsminda – Armenian border : I am cramped in between 3 other guys in the backseat of a speedy car trying to talk Russian with my phrasebook. They deliver me to the border that stands alone in a big deserted plain. They want to keep some euro coins I still have as a memory. 2013
472 Armenian border – Gyumri : while i am walking the 3 kilometer from the Georgian to the Armenian side of the border I befriend 2 dogs. A car pulls over for me while I am walking. The driver tells me he understands the concept of avtostop and that it’s no problem for him in case I join. The majority of cars in this region drive on gas that is kept in a big container in the back of the car. As it gets refilled everyone needs to get out of the car. As we get to Gyumri it’s raining very badly. The guy decides he wants to help me to find a place to sleep and we buy a few beers to drink while we drive through town. It’s all nice and cosy untill he start asking for a big amount of money (so he didn’t understand what I was trying to do). We even end up at his parents place so I can talk with his younger sister (that speaks more proper English). The situation get slightly annoying and I decide to give him 20 lari (about 10 euro’s – just a fraction of the 100 dollar he thought I had for him). 2013
473 Gyumri – Yayla : I guess there is not too much tourism in these places as a lot people on the street stare a bit at me while I walk out of town. I also scare two of them (ladies) away as I try to ask them directions. I refuse an invitation to hang out with a few (already slightly drunk) guys that are playing boardgames on a table on the sidewalk. At the outskirts of town I get picked up by 3 friendly old man that go fishing in a lake close to the city. 2013
474 Yayla – Kaibuysen : The most spotted car in Armenia has to be a white 4WD lada. The owner of this car is a sympathetic young army guy. After I try some Russian phrases again we decide it’s maybe better we listen to funky partytunes for a bit as well. I am happy he can take me a long way as we have to pass the city of Vanadzor as well which is situated in a valley and is abnormally stretched. Might have been a pain in the ass to get out of by hitchhiking. 2013
475 Kaibuysen – Kachardzan : I get a piece of candy and a short ride to the small village of Kachardzan. 2013
476 Kachardzan – Rainbow gathering : My destination is a 2 hour walk up the mountain. I intend to go to the ‘Peace in the Middle East Rainbow gathering’. It’s a place where people come together to enjoy nature, cook, play music, talk and exchange. The idea is to go back to a more basic livestyle for some time (no electronics, alcohol nor drugs are allowed). As I walk into the village a car pulls over with two young Armenian guys inside that push a beer into my hand and roll on again. I decide to drink it for it won’t be possible anymore up there. At the village’s small marketplace I get lucky and meet some people from the gathering that just returned from a town in the neighbourhood and offer to drive me up on the steep mountainroad so I don’t have to walk with my backpack. Sweet! 2013
477 Kachardzan – Kaibuysen : there are about 50-100 mouths to be fed on the gathering every day. This takes some logistics in order to get enough food to the camp. I join Alex, Lucas and Jeremy to Ljevan, about 30 kilometers away, where the closest market is situated. After we walk down the mountain we get our first ride of this foodmission in an old Sovjet van. 2013
478 Kaibuysen – Ljevan : we reach the marketplace together with a young friendly guy. He has a camera installed in his car that films non-stop in order to be able to prove to the insurance what exactly happened in case he would get into an accident. All the carcrash compilations you can find on youtube are made like this in the Russian speaking world. (we don’t get in an accident though). 2013
479 Ljevan – Kaibuysen : with our filled up backpacks we decide to split up and me and Jeremy get a ride by 2 guys listening to pretty bad music. 2013
480 Kaibuysen – Kachardzan : we drive the last stroll to the village with an old man. 2013
481 Kachardzan – Rainbow gathering : in the village we get offered to be taken up by one of the village man. Lucas, who is from Lituhania, translates for me as we slip and slide up the muddy mountaintrack killing the gas and the guy exclaims : there is no road! There is no road! But you know boys, the mountain air here is very healthy – you can easily drink 3 bottles of vodka a day and still feel fine like I do! 2013
482 Kachardzan – Dilijan : I leave the Rainbow gathering with 2 Slovakian guys, 1 Czech guy and a girl from Germany. We go to Georgia with the intention to go hiking! I flash my thumb to ongoing cars together with Jan & Juri and we get a ride from two ladies from Yerevan. Slovak is pretty close to Russian which makes communication with our drivers a bit more easy from now on. 2013
483 Dilijan – Vanadzor : we walk out of town and eat jummy apricots. Although we look very groovy with our guitar it seems difficult to attract a car. Finally a red van pulls over and as we jump in the empty back we entertain the father and son all the way to Vanadzor with some funky tunes! 2013
484 Vanadzor – Vanadzor : we get dropped of in the beginning of the city (the lenghty one) but luckily it proves it isn’t difficult to attract cars inside the city as well as we stop a friendly man that is driving us all the way through. 2013
485 Vanadzor – Pambak : it just takes a few seconds to be on the road again with a young guy that picks up a friend along the way. 2013
486 Pambak – Vahagni : just before it’s really too dark to hitchhike on the road we get picked up by another van. We take place in the back between the vegetables and sing songs together with the friendly family. As we get of in the tiny village of Vahagni and look for a market we attract a lot of people that want to make pictures with us, a few guys invite us back to their place to eat, drink, dance and drink again. We end up sleeping in a (very smelly) barn that is owned by one of the guys. 2013
487 Vahagni – Tbilisi : we wake up to a beautifull scenery, the village lies on the bottom of a canyon. We say goodbye to our friends and as we get to the road I flag down the first car that passes by. We get very lucky and have a straight ride to Tbilisi by a Georgian couple. Along the way we buy some fruits to thank them. Their car looks very groovy without the hood. 2013
488 Tbilisi – Natakhtari : after a late start and some icecream along the way we get a ride in a pickup filled with sand. We go to deliver the sand at a construction side and carry on our way. The man invites us to drink Georgian wine at his place but altough it’s the end of the day already we kindly decline. 2013
489 Natakhtari – Zhinvali : We drive along with 2 guys that like to keep up the pace and listen to 2pac. G-factor high again! 2013
490 Zhinvali – Ananuri fortress : we get our last ride of the day with a funny guy in an old lada. He drops us at a castle at a lake where we sleep under a fruittree. 2013
491 Ananuri fortress – Kazbegi : we wait a long time in the shadow of a bridge the next day untill we get a free ride in a taxi van. We get invited in by the other passengers ; a German/Georgian couple and their friends. The road we drive along is quite spectacular for it’s mountain scenery and isn’t paved everywhere (the Georgian military road). We visit a church, Gergeti Sameba, from where you have good views on mount Kazbegi. 2013
492 Kazbegi – Arsha : the next morning Jan crosses the border into Russia and Juri and I turn around to start hitchhiking towards Svaneti national parc. We get a ride out of town by a father and his son in a completly trashed small red car. Only the driver has a chair. 2013
493 Arsha – road crossing near Tblisi : we get picked up by two friendly Polish tourists. They are surprised how easy hitchhiking works here and wish they didn’t get this expensive rental car. They are in a bit of a rush though because they want to see a lot in both Georgia and Armenia and are only here on a 10 day trip. The cows here seem to like the bridges. 2013
494 Road crossing near Tblisi – Khashuri : its no problem to hitchhike on the highway here as a Turkish guy pulls over to give us a lengthy ride. We drive close to South-Osetia as he exclaims his opinions about Russia and Russian foreign politics : Schweine! He is happy we don’t want to stop at Gori to see the Stalin museum. 2013
495 Khashuri – Kutaisi : The 2 young guys that pick us up next are driving on the left side of the road the majority of the time (in order to take over the slower traffic). They invite us to have lunch with them. 2013
496 Kutaisi – Samtredia : we get to experience real Georgian hospitality with our next driver. Pater Herakli is the big bearded orthodox priest of the town of Samtredia. He drives us around, shows us his bees, gives us a tremendous load of different types of local food at the restaurant of a friend of his, insists on paying a hotel for us and comes to pick us up again the next morning to buy us both a bottle of the best Georgian wine of the region as a goodbye present when he drops us of in the outskirts of town. 2013
497 Samtredia – Teklati : we get saved from drowning in the pooring rain by a very enthusiastic truckdriver. He also isn’t to fond of the Russians, especially after what happened in the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South-Osetia in 2008. 2013
498 Teklati – Zugdidi : We get a ride from a friendly couple. 2013
499 Zugdidi – Zugdidi : a guy spontaneously stops for us as he sees two backpackers and gives us a short ride to the market out of town where he needs to deliver some food. 2013
500 Zugdidi – Lia : by now the rain is pooring down again. Georgia is very beautifull and green but this comes with a price. We use the parasol of the market as an umbrella to enable ourself to continue hitchhiking. A guy that visits the market offers to take us to Mestia for the, in his opinion friendly, price of 200 dollar. A bit after that we get a ride to the town of Lia by two guys. 2013
501 Lia – Jvari : we use the same technique at the first market along the road we spot and get a quick ride to Jvari by a friendly man. 2013
502 Jvari – Idliani : the further we get into the mountains the more deserted the roads become. We wait a long while on a bench in Jvari untill we decide to take a small walk. We approach an old man that is sitting on a wheelbarrow in the middle of the road. As we get close he looks up to us and starts puking horribly. Haha the Georgian countryside and random drunkenness – it’s quite something. A few hunderd meters after a police car overtakes us, stops and the two man aks us what we’re doing here. A few minutes later we’re joining them to the station in the next town. 2013
503 Idliani – Jorkvali : one of the policemen called their colleagues from the next town that are already awating our arrival. We get to the next mountain village with cop ride no. 2. 2013
504 Jorkvali – Mestia : there is also a cop ride no. 3. We change cars in the dark and encircle a random drunk guy on the road. G-factor is very high. Chairs are in lowrider mode, Notorious B.I.G. is blowing out of the speakers, elbows out the window. At a road crossing we meet some people awaiting us and give them a semi-automatic gun that was standing inbetween the two front seats (as we find out a few days later this was most likely to other policemen from Becho, a small town just before Mestia. The guys want to know where we plan to stay in Mestia. we randomly call out the name of the German girl that is still in Tblisi, Denise. They obviously know everyone in town (it’s a very small place) and insits on taking us to Deniz, a guy they think we’re talking about. It takes quite an effort to convince them it’s also perfectly O.K. for us to just be dropped somewhere near the main square. We’re kind of relieved to be out of the car to be honest. 2013
505 Becho – Zugdidi : after hiking in the mountains for a few days we get out onto the road at the village of Becho. Again there is not a lot of traffic but we manage to get a free ride in a mahrsrutka all the way back to Zugdidi. We stop half way to see a waterfall and quickly finish of some wine together with the busdrivers friends that are hanging around there, eating meat from a pigs head. 2013
506 Zugdidi – Tsaishi : we end up spending the night in Zugdidi in a garden. The people invite us in to drink a thea before going to bed but when we get in we find the table is fully served with fried fish, vegetables and potatoes. We end up drinking untill 4 in the morning with Spartacus and his brother, forcing us to drain glasses of wine in one go. Hilarious times! Especially when they wake me up again next morning at eight by coming into my tent with glasses of wine – having breakfast like this gets tricky. It’s a bit difficult to leave afterwards as they insist to show us their favourite fishingspot. We finally bid them farewell and as we get to the road I instantly stop a fast mercedes that can take all 4 of us. 2013
507 Tsaishi – Teklati : also on this ride Vilo & Denise join in. We’re still getting our stuff out of the previous car when I stop a big BMW. You don’t see that much expensive cars like this in Georgia. As I look to the speed counter I don’t really believe we’re only driving 120 km/h, untill I find out the car counts in miles. Speedy! 2013
508 Teklati – Poti : we’re racing in two teams again as Juri and I get a ride in a 4WD lada by a friendly guy working in the advertising department of a mobile company in Tbilisi. 2013
509 Poti – Kobuleti : we walk around the ring of Poti for a bit untill we get a ride. There is no conversation all the way untill i find out Juri fell asleep instantly when we got in. We get of in Kobuleti and enjoy a nice swim in the Black sea. 2013
510 Kobuleti – Batumi : the Georgian Black sea coast is pretty much built up, towns are very stretched and the majority of the ongoing traffic needs to pass on through which makes you can attract rides almost everywhere. We get one by a smiling courier from Batumi. 2013
511 Keta – Dandalo : Batumi is quite a big town and as we don’t really feel like walking out of it and finding our right road we decide to take a short local busride to the nearby village of Keta. We’re eating some sandwiches on the side of the road as we get picked up by a former nuclear physics expert, who is now forced to work as a trucker because there is not enough investment in Georgia and due to this, not enough jobs to keep everyone working. He invites us to drink a beer with him and his friends in Dandalo. 2013
512 Dandalo – Dandalo : one of the friends of our previous driver offers to take us a bit further. This was to be taken very literally as we stop just a few kilometers away to have more beers and to eat something. They also show us an ancient bridge. 2013
513 Dandalo – Khulo : as we decide it’s really getting time to move on again we stop the first car that passes by on this virtually deserted road. Somewhere inbetween the two villages the road stops being paved. The mountain scenery is gorgeous though. We learn this road gets blocked of by snow for about 4 months a year. We start to figure out why google directions tells you to take a detour by Kutaisi and to not take this road. Conditions get worse and traffic is very low. 2013
514 Khulo – road crossing : it’s getting dark and there is almost no one on the road anymore. we get a short ride out of the village. 2013
515 Road crossing – Dioknise : we manage to get one last ride for the day cramped in a small car with a friendly couple. We end up spending the night in a busstop. For some kind of reason there is a lot of people passing by during the night. Also the police comes by for a moment, only to ask if everything is O.K. and if they can be of any assistance. 2013
516 Dioknise – Akhalitse : early in the morning we get a ride in a mercedes van all the way to our destination. We share a beer with the driver that tells us it’s very difficult to get with the ladies in Georgia. As we pass by another hitchhiker on the road, an old man, i feel very bad when our driver tells him to fuck off (looking at us with a big smile on his face). It happens more often people tend to be very inviting and sympathetic towards us, backpacking foreigners, but not to their fellow countryman. We make a short stop at the highest point of the road and afterwards can drive a bit faster again as road conditions get better and asphalt returns to our lives. 2013
517 Akhalitse – Akhalkalaki : I say goodbye to my friends (we had a good parc party the night before) and hit the road direction Yerevan. I get a ride by a nice truckdriver that used to ride all the way through Europe to Portugal. His old truck gets into trouble easily and we need a lot of water to cool the engine down a few times. He drives me all the way through Akhalkalaki to drop me on a nice spot to hitchhike on. 2013
518 Akhalkalaki – Ninotsminda : as I get out of the truck a guy calls me from the other side of the road. At first I don’t want to go because of all the barking dogs that surround him so he comes driving up to me to tell me he can take me to the next town where he needs to deliver a package. 2013
519 Ninotsminda – Armenian border : 3 young Armenians drive me to the border. Along the way they invite me to have lunch at there parents place in Zhdanovi and even want me to stay there for the day. In these southern parts of Georgia the majority of the inhabitants is actually Armenian. 2013
520 Armenian border – Yerevan : at the border I meet 2 Iranian girls, Pardis & Negar, that are living and studying in Yerevan and just return from a small trip to Turkey. They’re hitchhiking as well and invite me to join them as they get an instant ride. I end up staying at their place in Yerevan and coincidentally there is a party that night at their favourite bar where all the people from the rainbow gathering (that is finished by now) show up as well! 2013
521 Yerevan – Parpi : I get a ride out of town by an old man. We fill up his gasbomb in the back along the way. 2013
522 Parpi – Agdzk : I drive a short distance with a business man from Yerevan. 2013
523 Agdzk – Byurakan : 2 young guys are curious of what I am up to. It takes a lot of gas just to keep their old lada moving. 2013
524 Byurakan – Kari Loch – Yerevan : I do some shopping in the lovely small village of Byurakan and as I walk out of town a big 4WD comes to a halt next to me. If I am trying to go to Aragats? I join the 60+ couple (a banker and a teacher) that is on their way to hike as well. The road I thought I would otherwise just walk up upon takes you all the way to a cosmic ray research station from the Sovjet era at an elevation of 3200 meters. We climb the southern summit of this strato vulcano at 3905 meters (there are 4 summits altogether, but timewise this one was our best choice). I get a hat against the sun from one of their friends we meet along the way and as I am about twice as fast as everyone I get to enjoy the surroundings hanging around a lot. We drive back to Yerevan when we get into a heavy thunderstorm and they invite me to stay the night at their place. I have some conversations about Jesus with their very religious son. 2013
525 Yerevan – Sevanavank : I take a local bus to the outskirts of town but get in on the wrong side and only figure it out in the end. Like this it takes a long time to get to a hitchhiking spot. Once there i get a ride quickly though. My driver delivers cosmetics to stores around Armenia and keeps a few distinctive opinions. He hates azeri’s and muslims (due to the conflict with Azerbeidjan about the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, where a lot of young Armenian man still get killed untill today) and thinks all fat ladies are dirty cows! 2013
526 Sevanavank – Tsovagyugh : after I have checked out the two churches at lake Sevan, and the drawings of the school class that is working there that day, I get a short ride from a friendly man that gives me an apricot. 2013
527 Tsovagyugh – Dilijan : I drive with two enthusiastic guys in an old German truck  that still had DDR on its license plate. The mountains in the south of Armenia are completly without vegetation and remind a bit of the typical Windows background, when we pass through a tunnel just before Dilijan the landscape gets a complete metamorphoses and there is forest everywhere. When i get out of the truck I walk into a few European girls that are here on an EVS-project and advise me to leave this boring place as quickly as possible. I am on my way girls! 2013
528 Dilijan – Vanadzor : I drive with a man that owns a few shops (a toystore and a fashionstore) in Vanadzor. He insists on buying me lunch and we hang out in his shop for a bit and I have a chat with a Russian girl from Volgograd that is working there and would love to come to Amsterdam. After i convince him I do want to continue hitchhiking he drives me all the way through town to find a good spot for me. 2013
529 Vanadzor – Spitak : I get a ride from a woman from Yerevan that loves climbing and bouldering and invites me to come to a big event in Iran in October. 2013
530 Spitak – Gyumri : I drive to Gyumri with 2 friendly man. 2013
531 Gyumri – Pokrashen : I walk through the entire town to start hitchhiking and get a ride by the first car that passes by. I sometimes forget that in these regions it mostly really doesn’t matter where you’re standing when hitchhiking and that you can get cars to stop for you whenever. We make a small detour to buy some bread before he drops me in a small town just a little uphill from Gyumri. 2013
532 Pokrashen – Torosgyugh : as i get into the car there is a young student studying on the backseat. As we reach their village the car breaks down and the 2 man suggest I can stay the night at their place. I politely decline and continue my way. 2013
533 Torosgyugh – Bavra/Georgian border : I walk a bit along the road since there is not a lot of cars but the scenery is beautifull with the sun that is slowly going down. A car stops for me and when i get in the 2 man tell me that they didn’t really trust it at first because they were wondering what I was doing here out in the nothing. They pick up another guy with a suitcase along the way. On a lot of places in the Armenian and Georgian countryside you have a lot of herds of cows and sheep just freely walking around btw. Especially in the villages we pass along this road there are a lot and the driver really needs to make a bit of an effort to get us trough without hitting any animals. 2013
534 Georgian border – Ninotsminda : I get wishled back for a moment because I am making pictures at the border (woops!). I get a ride from a friendly geologist that tells me he thinks I should have a bit more fun and try to get laid with at least one girl in every country I visit. 2013
535 Ninotsminda – Akhalkalaki : just before dark I manage to fix another ride with a friendly courier. 2013
536 Akhalkalaki – Borjomi : early next morning I get a ride with two old man in their empty van. I am sitting on an empty crate (I think there were fruits in there before) in the back. The drop me at the tourist office of the national parc I intend to visit. 2013
537 Kvabiskhevi – Borjomi : I get out of the national parc at the village of Kvabiskhevi and get back to Borjomi with a friendly truckdriver. 2013
538 Borjomi – Khashuri : I get invited to join a former coach of the Georgian skijumper team. He is still very passionate about the sport and got to see quite a bit of Europe because of it. 2013
539 Khashuri – Kutaisi : I need to walk a bit in order to change roads. I hang around with some old workers for a bit that tell me they want to drink with me but don’t have any. I bid them farewell and after i eat an ice-cream I get a ride from a guy that is on his way to Lenteki in the southern parts of Svaneti national parc. He is very curious about the price of a BMW in Europe. 2013
540 Kutaisi – Samtredia : I wait a long while to get this ride in! 2013
541 Samtredia – Senaki : there is two roads leading to the seaside. I first try the shorter one but end up walking back to go along the same one I did before with Juri. I get picked up by 2 guys that think everything is funny and we’re laughing about it all the way through. 2013
542 Senaki – Poti : in Senaki I walk into a policeman that starts stopping trucks after I anwsered his question of what I am doing there. The trucker is happy to help me out and doesn’t mind he gets forced to take me with him. 2013
543 Poti – Kobuleti : Groovy guy. Was actually just on his way to his house a little outside of Poti but ends up driving me all the way to Kobuleti. We talk about the differences in mentality between Georgians and Europeans. They’re more laidback here and it’s more normal to take care of your loved ones. Friends and family help each other no matter what. That is why there is almost no homeless people. A lot of people just built there own house in the countryside and live from the vegetables they make themselves. If these people would get a 1000 dollar each month they would just spend it in a few days partying with their friends. It’s better like this he sais. I sleep on the beach in Kobuleti and take a mahrsrutka to the airport of Batumi the next day to fly back to Amsterdam. 2013
544 Ghent – Brussels : Girl that designs clothing for a skateboardclothing brand she set up together with 2 other friends. They also lent a miniramp for events. She knows the reputation of BONKIE. 2013
545 Brussels – Namur : An electromechanic that checks the safety of cranes – according to him it’s mostly the Romanians and the Chinese that don’t give a damn about the safety rules. 2013
546 Namur – Exit 22 : Furniture designer from Walloon. 2013
547 Exit 22 – Houyet : Local courier. When i get of a lot of people from the hitchhikersgathering try to get into his car. I forget my small notebook on the first day of my trip. We eat monsterous amounts of skipped food. 2013
548 Houyet – Dinant : Cute lady. 2013
549 Dinant – Luxembourg : Businessman, makes a quick stop on the ring to pick me up. 2013
550 Luxembourg – Metz : Guy from Marocco. Used to hitchhike a lot himself. Now he is working as a courier for his family, mostly driving between Brussels and northern France. Typical tailgater. 2013
551 Metz – Nancy : Unfortunately declined a ride-offer i got in the first few minutes, then had to wait for over an hour to get picked up by Marc, a student from Liège on his way to Nancy to start a roadtrip with his girlfriend. 2013
552 Nancy – Dijon : Surgeon returning from a conference in Nancy. He shares his buggles with me. 2013
553 Dijon – Station de service after Villefranche sur Saone : very sympathetic businessman. Lets me use his Iphone in order to check if i have a place to stay in Lyon. Will later send me an email with a contact for ‘les vendanges’ (grape harvest). Also gives me 50 euro’s when i get out of the car – tried to decline multiple times and explain him that it’s really not necessary. 2013
554 Station de service after Villefranche sur Saone – Villefranche sur Saone : Friendly courier. (almost) Forces me to give my phonenumber so he can call me if he ever makes it to Belgium (makes it sound like it’s the other side of the world). 2013
555 Villefranche sur Saone – Lyon : Cute lady. 2013
556 Lyon – Grigny : Getting out of Lyon is a bit of a pain. I try a few different places untill I end up walking almost all the way out of town through a neighbourhood with various prostitutes. Then i get to a highway entrance where i get picked up almost instantly by a friendly man that takes me to the first petrol station on the highway. He tells me you should be able to find a working place for ‘les vendanges’ from here all the way up to the Spanish border. 2013
557 Grigny – Givors : Within the minute a guy from Marocco that looks (and smells) like he just came from a late party stops. My presumption gets confirmed when he offers me a beer when i get into the car. The thought of leaving the car crosses my mind for an instant but vanishes when he tells me he knows a good place to ‘faire de l’autostop’. After about 10 kilometer he takes an exit on the highway and drops me at a bad place. D’oh! Will i make it to Barcelona in one day like this? 2013
558 Givors – Givors : I get lucky when i get an instant ride from an old hippie to a better spot. 2013
559 Givors – Chanas : Traffic is low there though and need to wait over an hour to get a ride from a nice family. 2013
560 Chanas – Livron-sur-Drôme : I get a ride from a man that is visiting his family in Montélimar. 2013
561 Livron-sur-Drôme – Montpellier :Three friends listening to Händel. 2013
562 Montpellier – Narbonne : Ice cream. 2013
563 Narbonne – Barcelona : There is an old lady at the petrol station hitchhiking in direction of Bordeaux, asking me to buy her a coffee (which i do). Not too long after i get picked up by a young French couple, while crossing into Spain I am dancing on Daft Punk on the backseat with their 2 year old son Lucas. 2013
564 Barcelona – Girona : Friendly guy that gives sport- and massageclasses to among others tourists. He likes diving a lot and is looking forward to a trip he is planning to Thailand. 2013
565 Girona – Narbonne : 3 hour wait on a petrol station while skies are growing dark. Not a lot of friendly people and also the Gendarma that is doing some routine checks on cars leaving the parking lot (most likely why hitchhiking isn’t really working). Finally I get picked up by a French couple (an IT specialist and a saleswoman) and we listen to nice reggae music all the way. 2013
566 Narbonne – Livron-sur-Drôme :There are 2 guys from Marocco asking literally everyone that roles up the parking lot for 10 euro’s for petrol (their car is out of and their ATM-card is not working). Scam or no scam it makes all people quite weary and it makes it rather impossible for me to hitchhike since it got dark by now and everyone i try to speak to waves me away (possibly thinking I am asking for money as well). I share some chips with another hitchhiker from Grenoble that gives up after an hour and goes to sleep in his tent. My waiting pays off when a Porsche comes to a halt. A friendly German businessman on his way to Köln doesn’t mind taking a passenger. He just tells me he thinks it’s a pity it’s relatively busy on the road so he can’t drive max. speed. We still accelerate to 200 km/h in 10 seconds time. Luckily his drivingskills are not too much that of a maniac.. 2013
567 Livron-sur-Drôme- Valence : Get picked up early in the morning by a guy that is on his way to work and drops me on the beginning of the right highway. 2013
568 Valence -Torino : Romanian courier from Huneadora. Funny guy with a tight workingscheme. On the road through Europe for 23 days, then 10 days off to spend with his family and work on the house he is building. Because of GPS-trouble we take a citytour of Grenoble. We are being controlled by the douaniers in Frejus. Might be a strange couple for them, a Romanian guy and a Dutch hitchhiker. So my bag goes upside down. No help in getting everything back in though. A few minutes later we share peanuts and cupcakes as we are driving into the tunnel and into Italy. 2013
569 Torino – Asti : Horrible day. Takes a long time to get to the initial hitchhiking place, where i get reminded of how bad it can be in Italy to hitchhike. Very long waiting times. And almost get kicked out by the carabinieri (officially it’s illegal to hitchhike on the highway, even if you do it from petrol station to petrol station) – I play the dumb foreigner and they give me the benefit of the doubt as they see i don’t have an Italian passport, I can stay if I don’t show myself too much and just ask people at the restaurant, while i hide my bag in a bush. So I need to work on my Italian for a bit. After about 5 hours I finally get a ride to Asti (only 30 km) by 3 young musicians on their way to an indierock concert. 2013
570 Asti – Alessandria : New day, new chances. Get a ride from the first man I ask. 2013
571 Alessandria – Parma : Funny guy. First tells me no. But when he finishes his coffee his mind has changed. He is too late for a business meeting and says he likes the racetracks. Has another car for speeding (stories of how he would normally be driving 270 with it). 2013
572 Parma – Modena: Young guy. Makes good money working as the manager of a research institute fighting the selling of fake clothing brands (inspired by Dolce Gabana & Gucci). Thinks about quitting the job and travel around the world on his motorbike. 2013
573 Modena -……. : Asking asking asking. Finally get a ride from a nice couple from Napoli that visited Milano for a soccermatch. 2013
574 …… – Firenze : Get a beer from some Brits I meet on the petrolstation. They are on a 7 day race from London to Roma to spread awareness for breastcancer. Saw a few oldtimers on the way already. Wish the guys good luck since they have cartrouble and need to arrive in Roma the same evening. Then i get a ride from 2 young Danish on their honeymoon. 2013
575 Bologna – Modena : Nice French couple. Real hoarders. The car is completly stuffed with either camping gear or junk. We go for a thea and a croissant. They have some interesting stories about Kyrgysztan and the family they have there who they visited recently. 2013
576 Modena – Parma: Mother, son and daughter. Talk me into their car. 2013
577 Parma – Luzern: After a long wait (again) and asking lots of people I decide to ‘####’ la dolce Vita and to take the road up through Switzerland. Get picked up by a friendly young Italian guy that works as a researcher in an insitute for dentalhygiene in Zurich. He is heavily in doubt about his current life situation, considering his carrier and his girlfriend, who still lives in a town on the Adriatic coast. We share some choco and sandwiches and once again I can not avoid to be given money (30 Swiss francs this time). 2013
578 Luzern – …..: 2 young French gangsterboys pick me up. We listen to some bad remixtapes as we drive through the Swiss night. 2013
579 …… – Bern : Young worker. Loves driving his motorbike around. Travels like this in group with other bikers usually (knows some Dutch bikers from Rotterdam). 2013
580 Bern -Aix-les-Bains : Israelian hippie freak. Gets his money from here and there (for instance making the garden for a rich maharadja in India while travelling there). Went to India numberous times to drive around on his motorbike. Just came back visiting friends, lives close to the Côte d’Azur himself. Maybe should have gotten out of the car a little bit earlier, but felt desperate to leave Switzerland. 2013
581 Aix-les-Bains -peage : Friendly man dropping me at a place from which it is impossible to hitchhike on. 2013
582 Peage – VillageNo. 1 : Friendly woman I meet at the office of the peage. She would normally never take hitchhikers. 2013
583 Village No. 1 -Village No. 2 : French geologist living in Belgium. 2013
584 Village No. 2 -Village No. 3 : Rock ’n roll dude! Short ride. 2013
585 Village No. 3 -Lepin etc. : Friendly man. His son will also work in ‘les vendages’. Drops me at the trainstation. Get the first train to Bois d’oignt – Legny, just in time to make it to the first dinner at the farm. 2013
586 Paray-le-monial – Branez : The next three rides I am hitchhiking together with Lucille, a circuswoman that was working on the farm as well and needs to go to Dijon. Our first ride together is from a crazy dad in a big jeep with his two teenage daughters – mostly talking about foreigners coming to steal the jobs during ‘les vendanges’. 2013
587 Branez – Chalon-sur-Saone : Friendly young guy safes us from an impossible to hitchhike from petrol station on ‘le route national’. Takes a small detour to drop us at the northern entrance to the highway. We pay his 1 euro toll. 2013
588 Chalon-sur-Saone – Beaune : Business man. Only a short ride for me. Say goodbye to Lucille who joins untill Dijon. 2013
589 Beaune – Mulhouse : End up getting stuck at the pertrolstation. But in the most funny and hilarious way. 4 Polish hitchhikers show up. 2 guys that had been working as well, one broke his arm during the last party. They tell me to go more south next time, where i will be sure to find places that already start serving wine in the mornings haha… also the weather would be nicer. 2 girls that where travelling in Spain for 3 months. We play cardgames till 3 in the morning (memorygame), open my bottle of Beaujolais i got from work and since it started raining we end up sleeping all together in one of the toilets for the disabled. Hilarious times! Next morning i get picked up by a cool Romanian guy that is living in Madrid at the moment, the 2 Polish guys join in. 2013
590 Mulhouse – Rozvadov : Meet Lucas, a courier from Czech republic. We share some food. He hates the POLIZEI and doesn’t care to go on the emergency lane during trafficjams (almost get caught but get away with it by telling we’re running out of fuel and are desperatly in need of a petrol station. Escape a razzia by the police. 2013
591 Rozvadov – Brno: Decide to hitchhike through the night since it’s raining cats and dogs. Get picked up by a friendly man who likes good rock music. Have a strange experience because i am constantly falling asleep, waking up again the entire drive. 2013
592 Brno – Mikulov : Quite tricky to leave Brno. Wait 2 hours on another spot and then get a little lost walking over 2 hours through pastures to get to another spot where i get at quick ride out. Take a break at Mikulov, a nice Czech village with a superb view from the church on the hill. 2013
593 Mikulov – Wien: Nice Czech couple. Encounter some language barrier. Drop me in the outskirts of Wien. One hour later I walk into them again in the center. 2013
594 Stammersdorf – Lednice : Friendly Czech interior designer. Makes a big detour for me because they shut down the entrance to the highway at Breclav. 2013
595 Lednice – Brno: Laidback business man & well travelled. Still punches his liver every Wednesday evening with his old uni buddies. 2013
596 Brno – Olomouc: Nice couple that goes hiking in the north. 2013
597 Olomouc – Hranice: People on their way home that visited Olomouc for the day. While i am hitchhiking at the spot a car that ignores me looses his trailer – could have been a crazy accident but luckily there were no other cars around at that moment. Poor tree though that sacrifices itself in order to make the trailer come to a halt. 2013
598 Hranice – Hranice : Courier talking Russian, not caring I dont understand anything. Almost no teeth in his mouth. 2013
599 Hranice – Ceske: Factory worker. We listen to metal music. Used to go to Spain to work as a fruit picker. Gives me 4 apples from his garden when we part. 2013
600 ….. – Katowice: Lifesaver. Making sure I get to Katowice in time to make it to the airport. Groovy Polish dude in a Dutch car. We share some fruits. 2013
601 Samtredia -……. : 2 guys in a Lada pick me up as I am walking out of town. 2013
602 ……… -Senaki : Get pushed into a free mahsrutka by the local police. 2013
603 Senaki – Cross(@ Zugdidi) : Quick short ride. 2013
604 Cross (@Zugdidi) – Kobuleti : Russian man on his way to his countryside home. Georgia looks very nice and still very green in autumn. 2013
605 Kobuleti – Batumi : 2 guys that like to speed things up. I take a 1 lari marshrutka to the Sarpi-Sarp border. 2013
606 Sarp – Kemalpasa: It is dark by the time I cross the border. It’s a bit difficult to attract drivers in the dark untill I finally get a ride by a guy in a pickup with a big moustache. We listen to hardrock. 2013
607 Kemalpasa – Hopa : Douanier no. 1 (and a young and an old colleague of mine (fellow hitchhikers – since there was a lot of competition in the village). 2013
608 Hopa – Arhavi :Douanier no. 2. We drive behind people that are celebrating the national public holiday. 2013
609 Arhavi -Trabzon : 2 guys that deliver supplies for supermarkets. Typical funny Turkish dudes (quite childish and some signs of sexual frustation here and there). They pick me up while I am hitchhiking in the middle of a 3 lane road in the dark.They drop me close to the center of Trabzon. 2013
610 Trabzon – Esiroglu : While I get bad news at the Consulate of Iran (come back later). I meet Johanna, a girl from Germany. We will travel together to Kurdistan and a bit through Iran later on. She peaks Turkish which will prove to be very helpfull considering communication with our drivers! A friendly man picks us up in the outskirts of Trabzon in his small truck. 2013
611 Esiroglu -Macka : Man in a pickup driving all the way to Erzerum. 2013
612 Macka – …….: Small van. Fancy interior. 2013
613 ……. – Sumela Monasteria : Free dolmus. At the place we were hitchhiking we meet some funny ladies from Istanbul and have a photoshoot on an old tractor (with their camera’s that is). We visit an old Monastery that is build into the rocks of a steep cliff, quite an impressive place in beautifull surroundings. It’s funny and contradicting to see all other visitors take a lot of pictures with their tablets (civilisation making its way into nature). 2013
614 Sumela -Trabzon : After walking for quite some time we get picked up by a van with 4 friendly Turks. Smells like fish in there. They drop us of at Taksim cadesi (right in the center of the city). 2013
615 Trabzon – Macka: As we get another no from the Consulate (which will be closed for 4 days) we decide to hit the road and visit Kurdistan for 10 days. We get a ride from a friendly man. He gives chewing gum that tastes like cigarettes. 2013
616 Macka – Bayburt: Funny guy. Works as an engineer for a company in Trabzon. 2013
617 Bayburt – Erzurum : Trucker. We share some salty sticks and fruitjuice. Go very slowely due to all the beautifull mountains. It gets pretty cold to sleep outside this time of year, luckily there is a roadside restaurant nearby to drink chai and warm up in the morning. 2013
618 Erzurum – Köprüköy: Friendly trucker from Iran. We take a break to exchange petrol with some other Iranian truckers. Petrol in Iran is supposed to be very cheap so there is some money to be made on the side. All though the truck has a capacity of 1200 litres, he is only allowed to cross into Turkey having 500 litres in his petrol tank. 2013
619 Köprüköy -Yagan : As we stand looking over the ancient bridge we get a short ride untill Yagan. 2013
620 Yagan -Söylemez : Friendly intelligent old guy with a big moustache. We share an attitude opposing the ondemocratic Western foreign politics. 2013
621 Söylemez -…… : Father with his child. We decide to decline their home invitation and to hitch on through this very desolate landscape. 2013
622 ……. – Körsu: 2 friends. 2013
623 Körsu – Körsu :Short ride just out of the village to a petrol station with toilets. 2013
624 Körsu – Hinis :  a friendly man drops us at the market, where we have our first picknick on a mound of bricks. 2013
625 Hinis – Mus -Tatvan : Friendly courier. We deliver an umbrella in Mus and eat something inTatvan. Get the feeling he expects something from Johanna a bit – decline his offer to bring us to Sirt the next morning. 2013
626 Tatvan – Tatvan: Groovy owner of a hotel on the summit of Nemrut Dagi – a vulcano close to lake Van. He proudly shows us his guestbook with entries of people from all over the world. He wants to gives us a free taxi (proposes to call a friend of his), but we kindly decline. 2013
627 Tatvan – Bitlis: First time in my life i get a lift from a driving school! 2013
628 Bitlis – Ziyaret : Business man on his way to Duhok (Iraq) – because of miscommunication we leave the car more early (he will take a detour through Batman to use a better road and he thought we wanted to take the shorter way). Drove for quite a bit with him though and at a good pace (160 km/h). 2013
629 Ziyaret – Kartalan: Dutch speaking Kurd with his cute family – rather lives here in Kurdistan because he can’t stand the mentality differences in Western Europe. Supports the PKK (a Kurdish political and militant organization) but is strongly opposed to the killing – but unfortunatly sees it as the only way to put pressure on the Turkish government. In case we would pass by their town on the way back we are more then welcome to drop by for dinner (exchange phone numbers). 2013
630 Kartalan – Siirt : Previous driver flags down the next car for us at a crossroad. Get in with 2 young guys that give us sticky chewing gum and are so friendly to drive us along the ringroad to the other side of town. 2013
631 Siirt – Eruh : the guys from the previous ride help to flag a new one in. We enjoy a nice drive through the mountains with 3 car mechanics. We share some fruit and Johanna incidentally burns a small hole in the drivers sweater when she fails to throw her cigarette butt out of the window. 2013
632 Sirnak – Cizre: Get a ride in just before dark with two guys in their truck. They have some chocolate and biscuits as we speed closer towards Iraq. 2013
633 Cizre – Silopi: Fatih and his dad invite us in their car after they pass us when we are walking to a better illuminated spot just out of Cizre on the way to the border. The father has a function in the governement which makes the family gets green passports. They drop us at a petrol station in the beginning of Silopi. 5 minutes later Fatih is back to invite us to their home for the second time (as is expected we politely declined the first time – if they were sincere we could be pretty sure they would come and ask again like happened in this occasion). We spend the night at the familes place. We both get a bed in the room of the children. The parents are more open-minded then i would expect in this part of southeast Turkey, the daughter has a boyfriend and their son wants to become an archaeologist (although the mother is opposed) and likes photography (he has a 1000 questions for me). We get invited to drop by when we pass Cizre again to visit the city together. 2013
634 Silopi – Border with Iraq : we get a ride from a trucker in his personal car. He normally drives to Central-Asia but needs to go back to the border because he has some trouble with his passport. Since you can’t walk across the border he helps us to fix a free ride across the border with a dolmus. I never saw as much trucks together on a single border as i saw here. Think the line of waiting trucks started about 30 kilometres before the border, those guys must be waiting for days. There is a lot of investment coming from Turkey in North-Iraq nowadays, a lot of supplies coming into the country through this border. 2013
635 Across the border with 2 friendly guys. 2013
636 Border of Iraq – Duhok : Friendly Turkish man from Silopi. Drives from Silopi to Duhok and back every day and invites us to drive with him again when we are on our way back (but doesn’t leave us any contact details). 2013
637 Duhok – Amedi : we take a walk around Duhok dam and meet 2 friendly old man that send us to an archaeological site from the Assyrian period. We get in for free and get treated with an apple when we leave. I spot a car with Dutch licenseplate in town and meet the owner that has a Dutch specialities shop here. We get a chai from an Italian speaking Kurd (Multi bene!). We have our lunch in an alley with paprikapowderbread and get some fruits from surrounding neighbours twice untill we get invited in by a family of teachers who gives us thea and food (that is alot of food altogether). One of the families ends up taking us for a ride to a town close to their place afterwards. 2013
638 The village of Amedi is very nicely situated on top of a gigantic boulder. We meet Gaheen who is working for snickers in Norway and has a Colombian wife. He offers to drive us around town to show us the old citygate and invites us to have a barbecue with his friends at his house in the valley. Gaheen got send home from Norway and has to go through a lot of trouble now trying to acquire a new visa (going to both Tehran and Amman in order to try (it’s too dangerous to go to Baghdad)). He is a laidback guy that keeps a few weird opinions (but a lot of people like Hitler right?). The barbecue is a total carnivor one as we eat a few chickens each alternated with bags of sunflower seeds. The music goes on max. volume and we dance a bit around the campfire. His slightly fat brother is a very good belly dancer haha. They all try to teach me their way of snapping fingers (by more or less making a pistol out of both your hands and smacking your right index finger against your left). 2013
639 Gaheen’s house – Amedi : Next day we get back up to the village from Gaheen’s house in a pickup transporting sheep. We get some sweets and can’t stop Gaheen from paying our ride untill Sheladz (telling us it’s impossible to hitchhike in Iraq without paying). 2013
640 Sheladz – Sirye: Ride in a pickup. 2013
641 Sirye – Barzan: 3 friendly Turkish speaking man pick us up from a military checkpoint. 2013
642 Barzan – Ble : 2 Kurdish man in traditional clothing. 2013
643 Ble – Ble : After we enjoyed chai with a few roadside workers we meet 5 very excited teachers that want us to come and play the boardgame OK with them and invite us to stay at their place. We kindly refuse their offer. 2013
644 We have a picknick on the riverside after which we decide to hitchhike on but it got dark by now. A guy picks us up with whom we cannot communicate and wants 30 dollars from us when he stops in Rawandiz. No discussion possible. 2013
645 Rawandiz – Diyana : Short ride. Language barrier (only Arabic). 2013
646 Second unwanted taxi untill Harer (we get off as soon as we find out he does expect money for the ride (but at least he charges normal : just 5 dollar)). 2013
647 Harer – Shaqlawa : Friendly guy. We have some phone calls with a family member that does speak English to explain them what we are trying to do. 2013
648 Shaqlawa – Erbil : Cool guy. Possibly the director of the hospital in Erbil. He at least knows all the guys from the military checkpoints – making passing through very easily, just exchanging smiles with his big moustached face. 2013
649 Erbil – Erbil : as we walk out of town we meet a friendly man that lives in Den Bosch, a bit after this we get some Baklava for free as the owner of the shop finds out Johanna lived in Gaziantep for half a year (the best Baklava comes from Gaziantep and most people go there to learn the art and then fleed over the region to sell it in different cities). We meet a very friendly couple when we start hitchhiking. The place we where standing apparently was in the complete wrong part of town. They pick us up and drop us in the outskirts on the right road. 2013
650 Erbil – outskirts: we meet a well travelled man that speaks accentless English. He tells us Kurdistan is economically booming because corruption is bad here in stead of very very bad as in the south of Iraq. 2013
651 Outskirts – Gumanye : Groovy family. Straps are bags tightly on the back of his pickup with the belt of his traditional clothing. We refuse their home invitation (for Kurdistan you get a 10 day visa for free so our time was slightly limited). 2013
652 Gumanye – Koya: Short ride in a very full car. We look out over the plains of ‘impossible to go to southern Iraq’. 2013
653 Koya – Koya : After checking out the old castle in Koya we meet a smiling man selling honey. He takes us to the right road out of town. 2013
654 Koya – Dookan : Where is your office? Haha! Man that does seismic research for oil companies – tells us there are 40 companies working in the oil industry in Kurdistan (although there are 3 big companies that own most of the fields). He also sells DYNAMITE. The oil goes by truck to Iran (to go to Bandar Abbas?). 2013
655 Dookan – Suleimanya : German speaking Kurd and his 2 brothers. It’s busy in the car with 4 people on the backseat and my shoes are still very wet from the night before (woops). Our friend worked illegally in Germany for 3 years but had a very difficult time there (kein Geld, kein Haus, kein Arbeit) and came back. He is a christian and is very proud to eat pigmeat and tells us all the time how he would like to drink whiskey with us very badly. 2013
656 Sulaimanya – crossing : After walking for a long while to find a place where it’s safe to stop, doing some limbo dancing along the way, we get a ride from a friendly couple (possibly from Kirkuk in Iraq, a city that is said to still be too dangerous to travel to).Their little son seems to be floating above his chair and the dad looks like Frank Zappa. Groovy! 2013
657 Crossing -Dookan : Very friendly soldier. Was an asylum seeker in the Netherlands for a while. 2013
658 Dookan -S(omething village) : We say a short hello to the guys from the fishshop and the couch! Afterwards we meet a friendly Iranian guy that is transporting goods for markets. There is only one chair but we go for it anyway. 2013
659 S(omething village) – Shaqlawa : an Iranian history professor tells us about Shanidar cave in northern Iraq where the remains of a Neanderthaler where found –  I knew about it but haven’t been. His friend from Hamadan stops too late at a military checkpoints (actually was just driving through) which makes the soldier want to see my luggage. First thing he gets out is a pack of condoms. It’s quite emberassing as it seems like he doesn’t know what they are, he stares at them for a while then puts them back and let’s us go on our way again. The guys were actually going to Erbil but take a little detour for us. Also all 3 previous rides try to invite us back to their homes. We kindly refuse them all. 2013
660 Shaqlawa -…… : We get invited to drive with a security man from an oil company as he comes driving back thinking i was one of his colleagues. When we get out he gives us 25000 Iraqi dinar (about 17 euro’s), as i try hard to refuse over and over it gets clear he made his decision already. 2013
661 …… – Harer: 2 friendly man pick us up as it gets dark. It’s difficult to explain them the concept of hitchhiking as they start calling various people to try to fix us a taxi. They drop us at a road cross with 3 Iranian trucks. The truckers give us fruits, try to stop the passing cars for us and leave within the minute. 2013
662 Harer – some junction : We are an international company. One german girl, one dutch guy (ME), 2 Iranian man that were hitchhiking with us and the 2 Iraqi man (one of them is living in Wien) that picked us up. The guy speaks Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish, German, English and a little Farsi and was working in refugee camps during the Iraq-Iran war. We get dropped in the middle of nowhere and decide to make a fire to keep ourselves warm. 2013
663 Some junction – Zakho : Awesome Kurdish trucker safes us from what seems to be an impossible place to get a ride from in the dark. We get a long 5 hour drive and pass a lot of military checkpoints on the way where we have to flash our passports. We share some biscuits and drinks and he drops us exactly at the old bridge in Zakho. This used to be an important crossing point on the silk road. 2013
664 Zakho – Cizre : We get a free dolmus across the border. The only problem is our drivers are quite nervous due to the amount of cigarettes they are trying to smuggle across. I try to convince them to stop at the border so i can buy a new visa (my old one expired a few days before), they don’t want to listen though and also the douanier doesn’t look well at my previous visa and just gives me a new entrystamp. 2013
665 Cizre – Silopi : I am not too sure about my case since i read some stories on the internet from people that have been in a similar situation and needed to pay fines to not be in trouble. So we decide to go to the foreign police in Cizre. We have 2 young soccerplayers as our guides through the city to find the right building (everyone is asking the boys where they are leading us to – they tell everyone we have trouble with our passports). The line of followers gradually becomes bigger. The foreign police tells me my options : either risk a fine at the border when i want to leave Turkey or go back to Iraq and get myself a new one. I get a little frustrated and can’t handle all the staring people in town (which was never as bad in Turkey as it was in Cizre : where are you from?). So I decide to head back to the border. We get a very windy pickup ride untill Silopi. 2013
666 Silopi – Habur : Quick short ride. At the border we find out you can only get a new visa at the Turkish side entering from Iraq.This means we need to cross again. 2013
667 Habur – Zakho -Silopi : We wait around the border for a bit to see we can work something out untill a friendly guy comes up telling us he needs to go to Zakho and back the same day and doesn’t mind taking us. Quite obviously this man ends up being a smuggler as well. We join them to Zakho where we see the entire process. They put packs of cigarettes into women’s tights from China and reseal the packages. It’s a cosy atmosphere in a small garagebox in the outskirts of Zakho with our driver, his wife and an big moustached old man smoking one cigarette after the other preparing their business while it’s getting dark and raining heavily outside. We enjoy a quick meal and some chai together before we hit the road back to the border. This time we’re with a bit more professional smugglers.They don’t get nervous and i can take my time to get my new Turkish visa. As we get to Silopi our drivers insist we stay the night at their place. Very good! 2013
668 Silopi – Cizre : We have breakfast at the family’s place and meet the missing link in the smuggling business, a lady from a market in town who will sell the Iraqi cigarettes. The total amount of cigarettes comes down to 200 packages, which i don’t think is that much but a nice extra profit for a taxi service if you get to do this every day. One of the families sons married an English woman he met through the internet. Their other son was very intelligent and got to go to a school with 3 languages, where he got kicked of from because the first week he was fighting with one of the other students. As we bid the family farewell the driver of the smuggling thing decides to come along and helps to stop a car to Cizre. 2013
669 Cizre – Midyat: We get a ride in a van filled with petrol. On the way the guys want to show us a monastery which is unfortunatly closed. We also pass a few deserted villages. These used to be Kurdish villages but all inhabitants have fled for the Turkish army, in most places it’s still very dangerous for the people to go back. Our drivers show us some pictures of one of the villages where they went back for a few days the summer before. When we arrive in Midyat they insist we enjoy some chai, honey and bread with them in their small business. 2013
670 Midyat – Hasankeyf : Our truckdriver is delivering petrol and tells us the Kurdish region has a lot of oil but due to laws made after WOII Turkey can only start exploiting most of this oil after 2020. This also accounts for the Kurdish part in Syria, where Asad has chosen to not exploit the oil for a long time (in order to try to make more profit when there will be less oil in the world – is this maybe another reason for all the trouble there is in the region at the moment?) We pass a beautifull deserted mountainous landscape with just some sheep shepherds every now and then. We walk around Hasankeyf for some hours, its a beautifull ancient site that nowadays gets threatened by buildingplans. I get to see some parts i didn’t see the previous time i was there. The biggest part with the ancient caves was still locked but there were some other caves and a madrassa (ancient university) as well. Also the bridge was shut of now – maybe some activity in building the dam already got started. 2013
671 Hasankeyf – Batman : Groovy old man stops for us with his car that’s literally full of food and other stuff. We end up driving 3 people in the front seats in between the grapes. While we drive towards Batman we can see some of Turkey’s oil exploitation fields. 2013
672 Batman – crossing @ Diyarbakir : We need to walk through Batman to get to the spot i was previously hitchhiking from. Also here there is a lot of people coming up to us with the random – how are you? where are you from? questions. One young guy grabs me by the ass and doesn’t know how to handle himself when i get angry at him and comes walking back to politely give his excuses. Afterwards we get picked up by 2 young guys. We make a stop to get something (?) in Silvan on the way. We share some biscuits and soda and get dropped of at a road crossing in the middle of nowhere in the dark. 2013
673 Crossing @ Diyarbakir – …….. : Despite the dark we get a new ride quickly by a man from Diyarbakir. He is driving to a village a little further where he has his second house. We decline his invitation to spend the night at his place. 2013
674 …….. – Genç: It’s completly dark now. I use my headtorch to light ourselves up a bit when a car is passing (which doesn’t happen to often on this road). A small delivery van stops for us, we’re cramped in a bit with 4 in front. We unfortunatly kill a rabbit along the way. We get invited to drink some chai with the guys from a taxi company in Genç and warm up a bit. As soon as a truck passess by one of the guys were hanging out with runs outside to stop him and fixes a next ride for us. 2013
675 Genç – Middle of nowhere in the mountains : we drive in a big old truck loaded up to the top with cattlefood. Our driver is bound for Erzurum and we would arrive early in the morning. Awesome! But unfortunatly as happened before some man in these parts of Turkey have a certain image of western woman. Johanna and I normally pretended we’re married so they would hold themselves back. In the beginning our driver is very nice and sincere but as we get deeper into the mountains he tells us he doesn’t want to drive all the way anymore and thinks about taking a rest for a couple of hours and then continue afterwards. It’s no problem we can sleep in the truck as well he sais cause we should be aware of the fact there are wolves outside these time of year. By now we already know what he is really after. Even though I am there he kind of tries to get with Johanna. We get very angry and decide to just go out of his truck anyway despite the fact it’s 4 in the morning and very cold outside. We get extremly lucky as we walk away from his truck and within the minute on a completly deserted mountain road two coaches pass by. I quickly get my flashlight out and manage to stop one of them on the dark road. We’re more than happy to pay for this ride and are again on our way to Erzerum. As we get in the bus and look back we can see our truckdriver speed off, afraid we will tell the guys from the bus and they would come for some retaliation or something. The busstation isn’t located inside the city but on the ringroad way out of town. That’s perfect for us and means we can just hit the road immediatly again since it just got light. We give the old bread and cheese we still have from Zakho to some street dogs and flash thumbs to trucks that appear out of the morning fog. 2013
676 Erzurum  – Askale : Groovy trucker from Mardin. Drives between Istanbul and Asgabat in Turkmenistan with a big load of aluminium. A journey like that takes him 4 days. He tells us there is a lot of money in Asgabat, but even more corruption. There is only paved road in and around the capital, the other parts of the country lack behind, there is only dirtroads and transportation goes very slowely. Our friend told us way more but i forgot due to the headache i got from getting into the heated truck after standing outside in the cold at Erzurum for some time. 2013
677 Askale – Bayburt : We go to Bayburt with an expert in electronic devices. He is happy to have an archaeologist in his car as he is looking for a metaldetector that also detects gold, instead of just copper like most devices only can (his mood doesn’t change too much when i tell him i don’t know that much about this stuff – he still is smiling brightly). He tells us in and around Erzurum there are a lot of old houses which belonged to the Armenian community that used to live here. Due to the violence in the beginning of the 20th century a lot of these people where forced to fleed and leave their houses behind. He hopes to go treasure hunting and find some of the gold those people might have left behind in a hurry as well. 2013
678 Bayburt – Bayburt : short ride with a friendly man that tries to take us to the busstation. As soon as we find out his intention we politely thank him and get out of the car. 2013
679 Bayburt – Gümüshane : We need to wait for quite a bit here in Bayburt which is unusual for Turkey (normally waiting times don’t exceed 10-15 minutes). So we try some different techniques like the famous lasso hitchhiking (pretending to catch the ongoing cars and try to pull them towards you). We get a ride from 2 young guys but sleep is taking over by now and i only wake up as we get to our destination. We eat some chocolate in Gümüshane and play ministry of silly walks with 3 young kids that are walking past. 2013
680 Gümüshane -Tirebolu : Businessman specialised in Tadjikistan. We share some nuts and grapes and sweets. He sais he knows a quicker way for us to Trabzon but we end up taking a 100 kilometer detour towards Giresun and get dropped at a spot that is as far from Trabzon as where we got in haha. We do drive through a most beautifull scenery of high green mountains and a roaring river down below. 2013
681 Tirebolu -Trabzon : We’re cramped in again with 3 in front as we speed over the KaraDeniz highway. Our driver is a nice guy that has been travelling a lot to various corners of the planet but still sais he likes Turkey the most. He just isn’t happy about the fact that cars are so expensive in Turkey, for the amount of money he paid for his own car he could have had a Porsche in Azerbeidjan. 2013
682 Trabzon -Trabzon : Short ride. We get dropped of right in front of the consulate of Iran. 2013
683 Trabzon – Macka: We get a ride in a car with a license plate from Istanbul and listen to nice music from the Black Sea region. 2013
684 Macka – Gümüshane : A friendly truckdriver transporting petrol comes to a hold for us just a bit passed the bridge. He is yelling at the police in Gümüshane that have blocked the road due to a visit of the president that day. He treats us with çiskofte and ayran and tries to get us a ride to Erzurum with friends from his company. 2013
685 Gümüshane – Erzurum : We get a ride by another truckdriver. He is transporting chickenoil all the way to Tashkent. I take a picture of his truck and recognise it one day later at the border with Iran. While we drive through the mountains surrounding the plain around Erzurum we get some nice views on the moon and the setting sun. We try to hitchhike on from the ringroad although it got dark by now and it’s getting pretty cold. We manage to fix a ride but when we just got to a certain speed we find out it’s a taxi and we let ourselves out again at the next petrolstation a few kilometers further. We go and hang inside the restaurant and get invited by the owners to eat a bit. One of the truckers that is there as well offers us a ride out for the next morning (unfortunatly there is some miscommunication and we get up to late). We can sleep in the prayer room right next to the restaurant since it’s about -10 outside right now and the guys kept on telling scary stories about wolves. 2013
686 Erzurum – Agri: Early in the morning we get invited to join two barbers (one from Van, one from Ankara). One of them looks a lot like Barack Obama somehow. We get cartrouble on the way and get a bit of help pushing the car (were out of gas) by a villager with groovy sunglasses. Even after we manage to get new gas the car isn’t completely fine and we visit a carshop in the outskirts of Agri, where we wait for over an hour drinking chai and pretending to be the owner behind the desk. 2013
687 Agri – Dogubayazit : We drive to Turkey’s last big city with a friendly truckdriver from Iran. He has only one chair in his truck so we both get to sit like a yogi on his bed gazing at the lines of mount. Ararat appearing in the distance – we’re getting closer! 2013
688 Dogubayazit – Iranian border : Groovy truckdriver from Gaziantep. Invites us to come and drink thea with him but we can’t get to the truckerstop on the border and need to walk across. There is virtually nothing going on on the Turkish side of the border – we need to find someone in order to stamp us out of the country (my paranoia crossing the border with Iraq and going back for a new visa was probably not all too necessary in the end). The guys on the Iranian side are very welcoming and only want to know whether i carry any alcohol on me (the repeat the question several times). At the end of the line there is a guy smiling and telling you to enjoy his beautifull country! 2013
689 Bazargan – Bazargan : We walk around Bazargan for a bit in the dark and get invited to drink chai with some guys (I beat one of them repeatedly with tabla). The northwestern part of Iran is inhabited by Azeri’s, who speak a mixture of Turkish and Farsi, which makes Johanna can communicate with them a little bit. One of the guys drives us around to show the town and to let us go to a public toilet, he drops us on the outskirts where we have our first fitness session. We will find out it’s quite popular in Iran to do such a thing outside and most parcs have a section with various fitness instruments – all happily colored. 2013
690 Bazargan – Maku : As we’re in the middle of our fitness session a taxi rolls up and yells param yok at us (I don’t have money’ in Turkish). We get a free ride to the first bigger town in Iran. He drops us at the hospital and tells us it’s no problem at all to sleep there. We try for a bit but don’t really like the idea too much. 2013
691 Maku – Maku : We go and drink a chai in a shop that is still opened and meet a few guys that drive us around in search for a place to stay, there is only expensive hotels though and although it’s very cold we decide to sleep outside in the end anyway. We put our tents inside a big tent that is built up on the sidewalk.The tent got used for Ashura, the anniversary of the martyrdom of Hussein, a religious holiday where people scourge themselves on the streets. We unfortunatly just missed the procession by a few days. 2013
692 Maku – Maku : while we try to walk a bit out of town the next morning we get invited for chai by a friendly shopowner who ends up driving us to the beginning of the highway a few kilometers away. 2013
693 Maku – Marand : in the beginning in Iran we’re still a bit shy when it comes to attracting cars. The gesture changes (don’t use your thumb in Iran) ; you move the palm of your hand up and down to ongoing cars. We’re at a petrol station though so we can also speak to the truckdrivers. We get a ride from a friendly Turkish man, and listen to Album leaf, eat whiskey (!) flavoured chocolates and he fixes us a next ride at the place he drops us of. 2013
694 Marand – Tabriz: We get a ride in an old petroltruck. We share some cookies and chai. In Iran the chai is getting even more sweet since it’s normal to take a sugarcube, put it between your front teeth and then let it vanish with a sip of thea (like this you use about 4 to 5 of them with one small glass). Our driver drops us close to the trainstation in Tabriz. 2013
695 Tabriz – El Golic parc : while we’re walking on the sidewalk a car stops right beside us and the boss of the tourist office of Tabriz invites us to come in and drive around to chat. He ends up driving us to the biggest parc in the city where there is a camping ground. On the way there we stop to see the shop of his ever so smiling son. We sleep in the parc that night (pretty ### cold). 2013
696 El Goli parc -Tabriz : while we’re waiting for a citybus we get invited to join two young Iranian woman and their friend to the citycenter. 2013
697 Tabriz – Tabriz: It takes us two free citybusses and some walking to get to the highway. We enjoy a second breakfast before we start hitchhiking (a wrap with potatoes …very goodly). We get a short ride from a friendly man in an expensive big car. We were not even hitchhiking but he stopped to talk to us. He invites us home to meet his family but we kindly decline. As we get out of his car it starts to snow. 2013
698 Tabriz – Tabriz: we get another short ride by a very enthusiastic man in his small truck. After we get of we walk a bit further to find a better place for cars to stop and get invited to drink chai with the guys from a small woodfactory. 2013
699 Tabriz – Bostanabad : we get to a petrol station where there is chai awaiting us again. The owner offers to ask his clients and it doesn’t take long before we get a ride by a friendly man that takes the old road through a beautifull snowy landscape and drops us at the toll station at the entrance to the highway at Bostanabad. 2013
700 Bostanabad -Tehran : we get invited to join a trucker on this long ride (he will continue even further to Mashad in the east of the country). He is transporting rolls of dried fruits (lavashak), which I am trying as I gaze outside to the first landscapes of Iran, too bad most of the ride takes place in the dark. As we get close to Tehran he insists on taking us to eat and unfortunatly it’s also impossible to stop him from paying a taxi to take us into the city (since he is not allowed to leave the ringroad). I feel pretty bad about it since the price of the taxi is as much as 2 bustickets from Tabriz to Tehran would have been (public transport in Iran is very affordable). 2013
701 Karaj – Chalusroad : I am travelling on my own again since Johanna needs to leave for Esfahan in order to try to extend her visa. I meet German speaking Ahmed on the metro to Karaj (another big city within Tehran’s metropolitan area). He is a medicine student and will study neurology in Münster from next year on. As we get out of the metro we meet his father (gives me kisses on the cheek) and they drop me at the beginning of the chalusroad on the outskirts of town. 2013
702 Chalusroad – Aderan : it takes a while before I actually start flagging cars down. I get a ride from a friendly guy that is delivering big ceramic pots to a restaurant where he gives me a hot choco. There is some confusion as to what I am trying to do and I am on the phone with one of his female friends that thinks it’s very dangerous. I convince them it’s OK though and we drive a bit further to find a proper place for me to continue. 2013
703 Aderan – Chalus – Ramsar : I drive with Radin, a restaurantowner. We listen to rockmusic while we drive through a beautifull mountain landscape with snow capped summits. We stop at a restaurant to drink some chai. The surroundings get more and more green as we’re getting closer to the Caspian sea. Along the way he picks up a girl and an old man from the side of the road that pay him a small amount of money to support the petrol costs, he doesn’t expect anything from me though and invites me back to his parents place in Ramsar, where I experience a language barrier, very friendly people (a bit a grumpy father though) and get to eat tasty fish from the Caspian. We go out for a nightwalk, eat ice cream and smoke sheesha in a seaside hangout place. Next morning I can’t stop Radin from paying a savari to take me to Chalus. He gives me a Koran when we part. 2013
704 Chalus – Nowshahr : I get invited to join a crazy hyperactive trucker for a bit. He explains me in his signlanguage that he likes woman with a big butt while he is honking to every heavily made-up woman we pass by. 2013
705 Nowshahr – Nowshahr – Khuzeti : After being in doubt how to attract cars I get a short ride with an old man to the end of the ringroad of Nowshahr where before I know it he fixes me up with a savari. I don’t have to pay though and get invited to join Sayed on a short hike in the jungle of the foothills close to his place. He studies engineering and tells me he loves Thailand (it’s easy to get girls there) and has some strange sympathy for the SS. We eat some fish and gaze over the Caspian sea for a while before I am on my way again. 2013
706 Amol – Amol : I meet Farhad as I am asking for directions in the local pharmacy he is working in. He used to study in Kentucky but returned to Iran some years ago. He offers to drive me to Gombad mir Heydar Amoli, the ancient towers I was looking for. He tells me he would have loved to invite me to his place but he already has visiting friends that day and doesn’t have that much space. 2013
707 Kashan – Natanz nuclear facility : the day starts well as a father and his designer son hold their car and ask me how they can help me. We listen to Pink Folyd while we first go to drop of the son at a small village in the foothills. We pass a few places with heavy artillery, it’s protection for the underground nuclear facility of Natanz, a place that is nowadays highly important in global politics and reason for the sanctions Iran gets and the hard life for a lot of everyday Iranians. 2013
708 Natanz nuclearfacility – Abyaneh : a friendly sleepy man from Burdur takes me the last bit to the pitoresque town of Abyaneh. The houses of the city are made out of red sandstone and are beautifully situated in a mountainscenery. I share some dried apricots with my driver and keep him from falling asleep. 2013
709 Abyaneh – Natanz : after walking along the road for a bit I come to a place where some man are cutting up big trees. I turn around just in time to stop the small car that is passing by. I get a ride with a friendly teacher from Natanz and 4 of his young students that get dropped of in every ongoing village we pass through. I get dropped of right in front of the Imamzadeh, a mosque with nice symmatrical architecture and stones that is worth to gaze at for about 15 minutes before I decide it’s time to hit the road further again. 2013
710 Natanz – highway : a groovy old man drives me a bit out to the beginning of the highway. At first i expect him to be a savari driver but when I get off he gives me bread and dates and explains that this is the right place to wave to trucks and flag them down to drive all the way to cities like Yazd and Kerman. Geli goeb! 2013
711 Highway – Na’in: I get a ride by a crazy speeder from Yazd. As we pass a police control he uses one hand to fake he is wearing his seatbelt, the other one is hiding the hasj joint he was preparing, meanwhile we’re driving 170 km/h through a nice desertlike landscape with mountains on both sides of the road. He tells me life in Iran is very difficult for him and he mostly blames countries like America and France for it. Getting high helps though as he lights up his joint. He tries to make me go to Yazd with him immediatly but I politely decline and write his number down in case I would like to see him again when I do get to Yazd. 2013
712 Esfahan – Sexj: I take a short trip to Yazd with Pascal, a guy from Berlin, and Lubo, a guy from Praha, I both met at my couchsurfing host in Esfahan. We get to a place we can hitchhike from after taking two citybusses (we have to talk to a lot of people and cope with the upcoming confusion because of this in order to find out which exact busses we should take). I can’t really remember who picked us up here. We bought some nice bread just before it though. 2013
713 Sexj – Arqa : we get cramped in the car with two smiling friends. There is some communication difficulties and as the sun is going down we decide to go out of the car more early because we have the feeling they expect money for the ride – which wasn’t true as they only ask for a cigarette and some matches when we get of in the village of Aqda. 2013
714 Aqda – Aqda : We take some dinner at a roadside restaurant where we meet a friendly man that writes everything he sais out on small notes (Here this is for you. Here this one is to translate later.). We get a ride from the owner of the restaurant to a nearby mosque at a petrol station where he tells we could spend the night if we want to. We decide not to do so and walk into town where we meet Abdullah that takes us to his market (we eat a lot of pomegrenates) and fixes us a place to stay at one of his friends that comes with his motorbike to pick us up. We run after him throug the dark alleys of this mudbrick village at night, watch some crazy wrestling on his television (after he zaps away from the lingery fashion show we found on another net) and get confused when he tells us he needs our passports, apparently in Iran you need to register foreigners at the local police if you let them stay at your place (and you live by the rules). 2013
715 Aqda – Ardakan: a friendly man picks us up early in the morning. 2013
716 Ardakan – Yazd: while we’re eating some pomegrenates (again)  a car comes to a hold honking loudly. We’re surprised when Abdullah, the man we met the night before in Aqda, waves us in. As we drive through Meybod there is a long lane of pictures of victims of the Iran-Iraq war. 2013
717 Yazd – Yazd : we get a short ride along Yazd’s ringroad with a truckdriver. 2013
718 Yazd – Yazd : Pascal heads down south to meet friends in Bandar Abbas and Lubo and I decide to make another short trip for the zoroastrian pilgrimage site of Chak Chak. We drive a bit passed Yazd with the owner of a tilefactory and his girlfriend (or mistress?) in his fancy car (with automatic doors). He leaves his phonenumber for Lubo as he will drive straight to Tehran the next day. 2013
719 Yazd – Ardakan: we get of at a guy that is selling shoes on the road and fix a ride in an empty tourist van with green chairs. Our driver is very enthusiastic and wants us to join to Tehran or at least till Na’in. 2013
720 Ardakan – Chakchak : a groovy guy that hates the regime drives us into the desert and doesn’t mind to take a little detour to drop us right in front of the zoroastrian site of Chakchak. The site itself is slightly disappointing (more like a picknick place) but the surroundings are impressive (desert and steep cliffs/mountains). 2013
721 Chakchak – Ardakan : we escape out of the desert in a big orange truck. 2013
722 Ardakan – Meybod : we enjoy a very funny ride with a cute parfumed woman and her older guy (with a bottle of Bulgarian vodka behind the wheel). We share some nuts and they can’t stop laughing after we showed some movies of the places we slept the last few days. 2013
723 Meybod – Yazd : we drive to Yazd with a friendly engineer. 2013
724 Yazd – Yazd : we get a short ride inside the city untill the beginning of the ringroad. 2013
725 Yazd – Taft : Lubo heads for Tehran and I decide to start my archaeological tour. A friendly man drives me untill the ringroad of Taft. 2013
726 Taft – Taft : 2 young student drive me around the ringroad to the other side of Taft to drop me at the market of their favourite uncle. They tell me Goa in India is like a miniature of Thailand and how much they would like to visit Amsterdam, Europe’s sexparadise (as they heard). 2013
727 Taft – Islamieh: I drive together with a father, a son and their pet bird in a cage. They fix my next ride with a truckdriver. 2013
728 Islamieh – Pasargad : this friendly truckdriver gets convinced to take me with him by my previous drivers. He normally drives from Ahvaz in the west of Iran all the way to Tashkent. As we listen to music from Shiraz we share some nice Yazdi cookies and chai. Halfway I decide to skip my initial plan and not to go out in the desert village of Abarkuh but just to continue in the direction of Shiraz. 2013
729 Pasargad – Pasargad : a friendly man takes me from the main road to the archaeological site and tries to get me a place to sleep. He tells me it’s dangerous to sleep outside here because of the animals (wolves). We can’t find a proper place though and we decide to go back to the main road where i sleep in my tent in the garden of the Pasargadae tourism restaurant. I can warm up in their tv-room and experience a very cold night outside (there is ice on my tent the next morning). 2013
730 Pasargad – Pasargad : I get a short ride to the archaeological site of Pasargad. It’s mostly the scenery of the site that is impressive. The tomb of Cyrus stands alone in a vast deserted plain. There aren’t that much remains of this once enormous city (there is a lot of rubble and a lot of walking to be done (there are even taxi’s inside the parc that can drive you around). I have a short talk with Ali, the half toothless guard as we watch over the plain from the remains of the citadel. 2013
731 Pasargad – Pasargad : a friendly man that offers to take me all the way to Persepolis but once he finds out I don’t intend to pay he just takes me to the main road and turns around to his village. 2013
732 Pasargad – Sha’at shahr : a friendly man takes me to the next town. As I get out of the car I succesfully stop him from fixing a taxi for me. 2013
733 Sha’at shahr – Naqshe Rostam : my driver is wearing his best clothes and is very excited about the sexdate he has planned with his girlfriend (or mistress?) in Shiraz. The reliefs of the archaeological site at Naqshe Rostam are well preserved and the rock carved tombs are situated on an impressive location. 2013
734 Naqshe Rostam -Takht-e Jamsid : the caretaker of the site fixes a ride for me to Persepolis with the owner of a tourist shop. Takht-e Jamsid (Persepolis) is very impressive when you gaze at it from the surrounding hill while bombastic music is playing from the sites speakers. 2013
735 Takht-e Jamsid – Main road : I get a short ride from a guy that is restoring ceramics on the site. We accidentally hit a sheep from the Baktiary nomads with our old car. 2013
736 Main road – Marvdasht : I get a ride from a guy who’s car is filled with plastic jars. I refuse his home-invite in Marvdasht as I already have a place to stay in Shiraz that night. 2013
737 Marvdasht – Shiraz : just before the sun goes down I get a ride from two guys from the military. They are a little curious about ‘poel nedoram’ (I tell I can’t pay for the ride) and talk to each other a lot in Farsi (I only understand the word Police), but in the end there is no problem at all and they drop me at the northern entrance to the city. 2013
738 Shiraz – Kazerun : I meet a friendly pistache nuts seller on the side of the road that stops a car for me to Kazerun. It’s a very nice ride through a beautifull mountainscenery which somehow reminds me a bit of northern Spain. In Kazerun we pick up a friend of my driver. I get into a confusing conversation with him as he wants to know where I will be sleeping that night and wants me to come back to a hotel in Kazerun, while he is flashing a badge from the government. In the end he helps me to get a ride to the archaeological parc in Bishapur where I intended to go to. I almost succeed in entering Bishapur for free, the sympathetic guard is happy the site is being visited by a young European bostansjanas (archaeologist in Farsi) and lets me walk through right at the moment his colleague on a motorbike comes rolling by and forces me to pay anyway (ticket! ticket!). Bishapur once was a huge city as the remains (mostly rubble) are spread over a wide area. 2013
739 Bishapur – Bishapur : when you leave the archaological site of Bishapur in eastern direction you will pass a small gorge with ancient reliefs. I get picked up by two young Iranian musicians, Satar and Allamsoet (literally closer to Allah, or his synonym for getting high). We play some tambourine on the side of the road and decide it’s too late today to still visit Shapur cave like I wanted to.They invite me back to their orchard (pick! pick! everything you see is yours!) where apart from eating lots of oranges we also have a small bbq. Satar’s brother and a friend come over and start asking me tons of questions (it happens more often in Iran that it’s practically impossible to have a normal conversation with someone and it mostly ends up being a questionary towards my side – at a moment I get slightly paranoid and expect there to be governmentofficials looking for the wrong answers in front of me (what do you think about Iran and the people you meet? Do you write down about them?). 2013
740 Shapur – Bishapur : Next morning the musicians drop me on the foot of the mountain I will find Shapur’s cave in where a Dutch (!) jeep is parked (I forget to leave a note and it’s gone when I return). I climb the steep mountainside fully packed for over an hour to get to the cave (get some directions from a shepherd along the way). This place is impressive again – high up the mountain I find a 6 meter high statue of Shapur, once ruler of Bishapur. Ali, the guard that stays at this place for 48 hours in a row before his shift is over, invites me with his flashlight into a seemlingy never ending cavesystem behind the statue. I get back to the road crossing at Bishapur with two friendly man that invite me into their car as I am walking through the village that is below in the valley from Shapur cave. 2013
741 Bishapur -Qa’emiyeh : groovy man that is a little concerned about my safety and what I am doing here. He invites me to eat something at the restaurant of a friend of his, where the owner also fixes my broken hikingboots with an overload of superglue. I can’t really explain my driver what hitchhiking exactly is and in this way it’s very difficult to stop him from insisting to give me some money as we part (20000 toman – about 5 euro’s). As I try to decline he also stops a savari to the next town for me which he insist on paying for. I thank him enthusiasticly for all this help but feel very bad about it as well (it was not necessary). 2013
742 Nurabad – Masiri : I get a short ride from a young guy. Along the way he points at various ancient ruines. 2013
743 Masiri – Kupan: the people in this part of Iran are called Lori. I drive with a very cute family. They stop along the way to show their village and to pick up another brother with a big moustache. 2013
744 Kupan – Gachsaran : I try to catch a bus from the side of the road in Kupan in order to get to Avhaz in time that day to meet my couchsurfing host, but all busses seem to be filled with soldiers. I get helped by a young student that fixes me a ride untill Gachsaran, I drive with Farat through a very beautifull green mountain landscape as the sun goes down. We have some uncomfortable talks about money and devisions in the world and I promise to host him in Amsterdam whenever he comes. 2013
745 Esfahan – Sexj: Through Lubo I meet Patrick, a smiling gingerbearded guy from Ireland on a gapyear in his studies medicine making his way to Beijing by thumb, and Wytze, a humorous Dutch guy who coincidentally studied in Gent as well. So we’re with three now – that might be a challenge! Our first ride together is immediatly a good one as we drive with a very slow and very shaky truck which makes us spill (most of) the booze the truckdriver is handing to us. 2013
746 Sexj – Kupayeh: I don’t remember a single thing from this ride. So I’ll give you a picture of the surroundings. Yeah! 2013
747 Kupayeh – Na’in: the trucker that fell in love with Wytze (and his shaved chin). As we get in and Patrick sits next to him he points at Wytze to change places. As Wytze is getting out as the last person he wispers ‘I love you’ in his ear. Iran is ‘goeb’ -Wytze is ‘geli geli goeb’. 2013
748 Na’in – Na’in :we get a short ride into town by two guys from the army. As we walk through Na’in we meet the couchsurfing hosts of Patrick and Gwen at the Jameh mosque. 2013
749 Na’in -Na’in : we get a short ride to the outskirts of Na’in by a friendly man in a small withe pickup. I get in in front, the guys enjoy the windy ride in the back. A lot of the people that stop for us don’t speak English and we get tested on our minimal knowledge of Farsi or signlanguage. After a while you get the hang of it a little and you can ask for the right directions (it’s not like there are a lot of different roads in the desert anyways). It’s just bad that our language skills are too mediocre too really explain what hitchhiking is – we end up asking where they go (miri …. ?) and if the ride is for free (poel nedoram – which is very bad and actually means that you dont have any money at all – people get the idea though and normally dont expect anything in return except for the exhange of a few smiles and laughs due to the language barrier. You learn some words here and there though that enable you to tell everyone the netherlands are very small, flat, wet and cold! 2013
750 Na’in – Military checkpoint in the desert : a groovy trucker takes us deep into the desert  and provides us with warm thea all the way. As we get out I find a hat. It got dark by now. 2013
751 Military checkpoint in the desert – Khur : we get  of in the middle of the desert as our previous driver takes the northbound road for Damghan and we need to continue east in direction of Tabas. The guys here sure have an isolated workingspot but arent too surprised when 3 young foreigners jump out of a truck at nightfall. A soldier even fixes us a ride in a big truck driving to Mashad. Our drivers are possibly father and son. We have a lot of language barrier driven fun along the way. 2013
752 Khur – Khur : I need to get back to Esfahan to extend my visa. Patrick and Wytze decide to stay another day and visit another desertvillage. I get a motorbike ride from the falafel place to the end of the road. My driver gives me his phonenumber and explains to me I should let all my friends know about his travelagency that provides tours in the desert in and around Khur. 2013
753 Khur – Khur : I get another motorbike ride to the real edge of town by a friendly man. A bit after Patrick and Wytze come speeding by in their taxi to Mesr. 2013
754 Khur – Chahmalek : my next driver is concerned about where I will get my food and invites me to his place, I politely decline and convince him I should continue on my way. The citysign of Chahmalek shows big bulletholes. 2013
755 Chahmalek – military checkpoint in the desert : a friendly man in a blue pickup gives me a ride. I am slightly worried about my backpack we just threw on the top of the car when we got in. 2013
756 Militarycheckpoint in the desert – Esfahan : I get a ride with an old orange Mercedestruck. We’re very slow and the 300 kilometer ride to Esfahan takes us about 8 hours. We hold a cooking session inside the truck in Anarak (cabbage) and eat some more naan around Na’in. My friendly driver drops me on the ringroad of Esfahan as he is not allowed to go into the city. 2013
757 Esfahan – Esfahan : the man I ask directions to thinks it’s very dangerous I am out in this part of Esfahan at night and calls his English speaking friend, together they insist on taking me to the cheapest hostel in the city (I apparently need a receipt from the place I am staying anyway for the extension of my visa). That night I sleep in a closet (my room is literally just big enough to have one bed inside) and I meet Jonas again, the German biker I met in Trabzon when we both got our Iranian visa’s. Next day we both succesfully extend our visa’s for antoher 5 weeks – YeaYEAH! 2013
758 Esfahan – Esfahan : We’re a hitching threesome again and take another session of GPS busses out of town (and do the accustomary walk as well). A friendly student insists on paying for the first bus, we sign the fanatasy books of another man that wants to practice his English and we visit the sweetshop to have a cookie breakfast. We don’t make it to the place that sells nice bread along the highway this time as we get invited into a friendly man’s car that is completly filled with bread and we get a short ride. 2013
759 Esfahan – Sexj: we get another short ride with a security specialist of a nearby factory. 2013
760 Sexj – Kupayeh: our driver tells us he will continue untill Tudeskh, but when we get out at our road corssing he turns his car around, he changed his mind or we had another miscommunication. 2013
761 Kupayeh – Varzaneh : a friendly teacher takes us to our destination, a desert town famous for her woman who wear white (!) chadors. We have a game of who spots them first since the streets of the village are virtually deserted. The teacher fixes us up with a meeting with a friend of his, an ex-professor in geology that now has a touringcompany in the desert and to the saltlake. It’s difficult to convince him we appriciate his offer but want to go by ourselves as he follows us around town and in the end insists upon taking us on his tour for free (we still decline politely). We spot 4 white chadors. Patrick wins. 2013
762 Varzaneh – MON: we have a picknick in the middle of an empty road of which we think is the right one going to the wetland in the desert (we later find out it’s the shortcut from the village and not the actual road). For Patrick it’s a special moment as he takes in his 100th ride since he left home some months ago. We get a crazy (almost terrifying) ride on top of a tractor to the shed of some sheepshepherds. We get shown around, made sure the vicious dogs won’t kill us, and invited to drink some thea with two man that are smoking opium inside. 2013
763 Opiumplace – Varzaneh : this friendly man starts driving while Wytze is still trying to get into the car. Hilarious moment! 2013
764 Varzaneh – Varzaneh : we get a short ride to the main road out of town in our direction by a helpful couple with a baby. 2013
765 Varzaneh – Yazd: we wait for over an hour in the cold and make a movie of us hitchhiking during the sunset as the first truck that passes by comes to a hold and takes us all the way to Yazd. Our truckdriver, Abdulzafar, smokes opium almost the entire way only to swith to his crackpipe once halfway. Around Na’in he plays the acrobat to get our bags on top of his truck to give us some more legspace. He can’t drive us into the city and leaves us at the beginning of the ringroad as he carries on his way. We wish him well! 2013
766 Yazd – Yazd : we get a short ride into town to the Amir Chakmak square. 2013
767 Yazd – Shahr-eBabak : we get a long ride with an awesome truckdriver. Reza studied agriculture but just likes driving around in his truck more, his fat belly goes along perfectly with the motion of the road as we push on forwards and he has a series of hilarious quotes (I am a bad boy). We pick up another hitchhiker from Poland, Goebert, around Anar as we convinced Reza it’s a friend of ours. Goebert has the same destination as our driver, the portcity of Bandar Abbas, but decides to join us to the mountain village of Meymand (we we’re at first also not sure wether to go there because we heard it may be extremly cold there (-15) this time of year). Reza isn’t happy as he keeps on exclaiming ‘very badly, Goebert, very badly!’. As we get of in Shahr-e Babak it’s already dark and Reza helps us to get a good priced taxi for shopping and for the short drive to Meymand afterwards. 2013
768 Meymand – mainroad : we get a short ride with a friendly couple we meet at the edge of the village while we’re buying some nuts and dried fruits from one of their relatives. Goebert gets a ride here as well in direction of Bandar Abbas. 2013
769 Main road – Rafsanjan : we get a ride from the first car that passes by on this empty road. Altough our driver tells it’s no problem and there should be enough space, Wytze and I are completly cramped in on the backseat, for us their is no communication possible. Along the way we pass by the second largest copperexploitation ground and factory in the world (after Chili). After we got out at the ringroad of Rafsanjan we make a little nuts cracking session with some rocks and enjoy the almonds we bought back in Meymand. 2013
770 Rafsanjan – Kerman : we get a ride in the truck of Abdul Reza and Ali that instantly tell us our feet smell horrible. They take us to their working place on the outskirts of town where we find their boss smoking opium. We join them outside again and get shoved into a big red van with friends. They drop us in the centre and we get a half forced invitation to stay at Abdul Reza’s parents place. It’s nice, partly because his sister speaks good English (she works for the copperexploitation company, we passed earlier that day, as a remote sensing specialist). We also meet their friend Adel, who insists on taking us on a night excursion to a beautifull mausoleum in nearby Mahan. Adel used to work for the VN and is warning us repeadetly for government officials that would keep an eye on all foreigners that visit the country. After a big breakfast next morning Abdul Reza helps us preparing our shopping for the desert trip we’re planning to start and even insists on finding firewood for us. This ends up being a 2 hour quest around the ringroad of Kerman, being on the phone with Adel several times trying to explain it’s very kind but unnecessary, and in the end we even give up on it. Then we only still have to convince him we also want to hitchhike and not take a taxi, this also takes some time to get through before he takes us way out of town to drop us on the road in our direction. Abdul Reza is a man with a heart of gold and probably one of the friendliest persons I met in all of Iran but he also proved to us that hospitality sometimes can go a little too far. We got the feeling some people in Iran have a certain plan for you as they meet you and they will not really listen to you anymore and just keep on to their plan because they think that is what you exactly need and somehow expect from them to do while you actually feel like you kind of lost some freedom. 2013
771 Outside Kerman – Shahdad : while we wave Abdul Reza goodbye a big truck comes to a halt. I climb in the back like an acrobat to put the bags into place and find out the truck has previously been filled with camelpoo. It’s all good. We enjoy a very slow but beautifull ride through mountains covered in snow, go down and end up at an oasis village on the edge of the vast Dasht-i Lut desert. 2013
772 Kaluts – Shahdad : we find ourselves cramped in a truck. 2013
773 Shahdad – Sirch: we get a ride from a friendly man with a moustache and listen to some nice music. 2013
774 Sirch – Kerman: we enjoy an awesome, yet very cold ride in the back of a pickup truck. I sit in the back with Patrick making movies and waving happily to the truckdrivers we pass by that ignored us before (they obviously smile back!). 2013
775 Kerman – Kerman: 2 guys from a shop drive me through Kerman for a bit in search of a place to exchange money. They are very enthusiastic when they tell me the girls in Kerman are always horny, the most beautifull in Iran and that when you meet one you have at least 60 % chance she will invite you back to her place (ok?). If I want they can fix me up with a bottle of vodka, illegally imported from Dubai, for only a 100 dollar. 2013
776 Kerman – Intersection : at Beyram Abad meydan in the outskirts of Kerman Wytze has the strange deja vu to see the taxi driver that drove us into the Kaluts with the log, that sees us and spontaneously starts laughing and talking to his friends. We head of with a friendly man in his blue pickup truck. Afterwards we get a ride untill Sirch from a man with a glass eye and his son, as they unexpectedly want money in the end of the ride this one can’t count as an actual hitch. 2013
777 Sirch – Shahdad: the friendly teacher Hassan invites us to come to his place in Shahdad for the night. We politely decline his offer. 2013
778 Shahdad – DehSeyf : hilarious couple that thinks of us as even more hilarious. The car morphes into a discoparty as they are laughing out loud ‘haha are you going to walk the next 25 kilometers through the Dasht-i Lut in the dark’. They excuse themselves in the end though for not being able to take us all the way because they don’t have enough petrol. It gets dark and there isn’t a lot of traffic at all (the ones that do pass by ignore us) and I make a small campfire to stay warm. We meet a man that wants to take us, first overprices us tremendously, but after some discussion he all of a sudden invites us for dinner at a community center in the village with funny kids playing outside and afterwards takes us to the Kaluts for a normal fare. 2013
779 Kaluts – Mahan: we get picked up by two big pickups and divide us three over the two cars (impossible!). We unfortunatly lose a lot of our garbage along the way (plasticbags d’oh!) before we have the opportunity to throw it away in Shahdad, where we switch to one car and the friendly man takes a little detour in order to drop us on the main road around Mahan. 2013
780 Mahan – Rayen : we get a ride from a friendly man. Patrick leaves the car at the first military checkpoint on the intersection of the Bam-Jiroft road. We continue untill Rayen, where we see the Arg-e Rayen, a nowadays mostly restored castle that is only very impressive if you try to imagine how the place would have been when there were only camels walking around. The surroundings are very amazing again though as you gaze out upon the huge Kuh-e Hazar (4420 meters) behind the castle. 2013
781 Rayen – Jiroft: Hamid, the driver of a small yellow truck saves us from a small crowd of young guys that don’t understand what we are trying to do. We drive through a beautifull mountain scenery as we share some fruits. When we walk into him again a few hours later in Jiroft Wytze doesn’t recognise the guy. 2013
782 Jiroft – Jiroft: looking back at things we had quite a hilarious time in Jiroft. As we try to hitchhike further south on the ringroad almost everyone wants to help us by sending us to the busstation. Sometimes 3 to 4 cars stop at the same time and cause a small traffic jam. We enjoy some bread and oranges we get from one of our helpers and have the same small conversation with people in Farsi over and over untill we decide to walk to the outskirts of town where we decide to give up on hitchhiking and get a ride back into town by two young friendly guys. 2013
783 Jiroft – Kanuj: we can’t find a bus in Jiroft either and decide we actually want to go back to the outskirts of town to camp at the roundabout. While we walk there we hold at a market to buy some stuff and I get a ride offer to the next city with a guy that introduces himself as an english teacher. It’s a hilarious ride again as he ends up being close to the worst English teacher imaginable. I talk very slowly for him in a sort of psychopath kind of voice as he keeps on responding with the words; yes! I say yes! Most of the words in your sentence I do not understand! It’s a very friendly man that most likely just wanted to practice his English with us for a bit and didn’t even have to go to Kanuj. When we arrive  he ask us if we’re interested to join him back to Jiroft to spend the night at his place. 2013
784 Kanuj – BandarAbbas : in Kanuj we get our next ride with a friendly couple in a very similar way. We meet our new driver when we are asking directions to the busterminal at a market. 2013
785 Few trees beach – Hormuz : we get a ride from Mohammed and Mohammed, the two garbage man of the island (Wytze spends the ride in the back of the empty truck). They just return from delivering the garbage to a place on the island where everything gets burned (very badly!). 2013
786 Hormuz – Carpetcamp : we get a short ride from a friendly man. 2013
787 Qeshm – Qeshm : we get a short ride out of town along the coastel road. 2013
788 Qeshm – Dargahan : we get a ride from a friendly electrician. He thinks we’re looking for a taxi next and tell him to stop for us only after we already missed our road crossing. We buy some oranges (while we dream about safrano icecream we can’t find in the market) and walk back to the right road through a plain of very sticky mud that makes me grow at least 10 centimeters by the time I get to the other side. 2013
789 Dargahan – Chahkuh : we get a ride from a groovy man in a traditional white dress to the geological site of Chahkuh canyon. We have a very late breakfast on the beach and chat with a very young boy on a motorbike. We don’t meet the group of couchsurfers we were supposed to meet here since they don’t respond anymore and we sleep somewhere in our tents. 2013
790 Grooving around with Sayed & Mustafa : we join two young guys from Shiraz to the salt caves of Namakdan. It’s some hardcore army stuff as we crawl through tunnels that are only half a meter high. My shoes and pants get very salty but the real claustrophobia stays away and I enjoy our little crawling adventure. We have a picknick on the beach afterwards and decide to join the guys to Qeshm where we can stay at the appartment of a friend of them. We can’t get the washing machine to work and end up having to hang all our smelly socks through the room. Next day we join them to see Star valley (some sort of miniature Kapadokya) – Sayed nearly drops into the abyss twice while taking pictures of us. We enjoy a goodbye breakfast on Golden beach resort overlooking a close to collapsing old oil platform. 2013
791 Golden beachresort – Shibdezar jetty : we get a free ride in a taxi. No problem! No problem! Although he of course tries it once when we get of to ask for money. We tell him he shouldn’t have taken us if he really wants money and walk away. Against all ods we decide to take a dolphin watch tour – it’s more like a cat and mouse game (dolphins come up all speedboats go there, they go down and come up 100 metres away – the cycle starts over – they must find us stupid and highly annoying) It’s fun to look at all the enthusiastic people on the other boats though. 2013
792 Shibdezar jetty – Airport : we make some commotion when we return and the boatdriver suddenly wants more money from us then he promised. We get helped by a friendly couple from Esfahan and even get a ride to the airport with friends of them. 2013
793 Airport – Tabl:  We get a ride in the back of a pickup truck and share some cake with our drivers. As we’re driving along we think about how epic it would be when we would ask another pickup that’s passing by if he goes further in our direction then ours and to then just switch rides while driving. A lot of glory points to be earned! 2013
794 Tabl – Duran : we get a ride in a car with two guys that are driving very fast for these roads (close to 180 km/h). 2013
795 Duran – Chahkuh: we get a short ride from a friendly man. 2013
796 Chahkuh – Tabljetty : At Chahkuh we meet Carsten, a German geologist we spend some time with on Hormuz, again. We walk through a small patch of desert to get to the road from the canyon. There are camels walking on the road in the distance. We get picked up all together by a groovy guy that shares some chocolate with us (Tarof nist!) and who takes Carsten all the way with him to ‘star valley’ after he delivered us to the pier in the mangrove of Tabl. 2013
797 Tabl jetty – Tabl : there isn’t any clearity about the price of a trip on the boat through the mangrove and in the end we decide to skip it. We end up walking almost all the way back along the pier to town but get picked up by a friendly man for the last bit. The locals take a lot of the plants out of the mangrove (we wonder what exactly they would use them for). 2013
798 Tabl – intersection : we drive together with 2 young guys that actually would like us to join to Qeshm city for the doktara (ladies!) as they’re showing a lot of pictures of Iranian babes and also one of them both on a fast moving speedboat.They tell us they sometimes get goods from Oman to make some money on the side. 2013
799 Intersection – Laft : an old and a young man would have rather taken us all the way to Bandar Abbas. 2013
800 Laft – Airport: our driver tells us to join him for longer while we think we know the roads of the island better and decide to get out already. Wytze goes to look for flightprices to Dubai, but returns quickly (it’s expensive). 2013
801 Airport – Shibderaz : we get a ride from 2 friendly man that work at the airport. They tell us the turtles are sometimes visible around Shibderaz after 2 or 3 PM. 2013
802 I get a villagetour of Shibderaz on a motorbike as I approach a man to ask him for directions to the market. The second one is closed as well (the people hold the summersiesta here in the winter as well apparently). But a small boy goes to fetch the shopkeeper for me. We hang around on the beach for a bit with a very shy dog and see the head of a turtle above the waves every now and then. 2013
803 Shibderaz – Qeshm : while we’re hitchhiking on the edge of town we’re singing popsongs translated to Dutch. It’s silly. We get a ride from a nice guy that drives on the beach to show us Naaz island. He tells us he is more interested in the ladies of Qeshm though and gets back on the road. 2013
804 Bandar Abbas – intersection : we get into a confusing situation at a police checkpoint in the harbor area of Bandar Abbas. The guys enthusiastically invite us in for chai, tell us we shouldn’t hitchhike and that they will stop a free bus for us. The next hour nothing happens (except for chatting about the worldcup and soccerplayers) and we decide to just get up and leave – it’s no problem for them as we walk into the pouring rain and quickly stop a car  that drives us out of the harborarea. 2013
805 Intersection – Lar : We get a ride in a fancy car from a guy that is doing his Phd in advanced accounting and forces a lot of food into our bellies during the course of the drive. Once again it’s difficult to explain we don’t need a savari and we want to contine hitchhiking (somehow some Iranians only see the hospitality in themselves and don’t think their fellow countrymen will be as generous as they are). 2013
806 Lar – ringroad : a typical no, no problem but after 5 kilometer we do want money ride. We politely thank them to drive us out of town and wish them a good day. They threaten with the police. 2013
807 Ringroad – Jahrom : we get invited by a friendly smiling truckdriver that shares some peanuts with us. Another one that falls in love with Wytze as he starts touching his cheeks in a playfull way (Wytze does the same to get back at him when we get out). 2013
808 Borazjan – Borazjan : We experience some hilarious moments as were walking through Borazjan to find the right road to hitchhike from. We have breakfast at a sandwichshop with Bandari bread (very nice bread filled with eggplant and potato) and get into conversation with the guys from the shop next door, when we’re leaving one of them comes after us to give me a poster of a cheetah as a present. I clip it onto my backpack so everyone can see the beautifull image. A few 100 meters later I decide to buy some oranges from a stand on the street. I try to pay. The man declines. As I try to pay again he takes me by the hand to a shed where he keeps a lot of small trees and hands me one of them. He pretends to get angry with me as I try to pay again. Off we go with a orange tree! A few minutes later we get a ride, together with a friendly teacher from Shiraz we go to visit a tobacco farmer, the uncle of our driver. When we sit down in his house he first shows us a big brick of opium before he starts asking if we’re interested in buying a piece of land. He offers to pay us the profit every ten year (and continues while laughing loudly.. I won’t even make the first 10 haha.. come here give me your money). Meanwhile the tv shows a advertisment with workerman in Polish. Strange. We enjoy some chai. Wytze plays a bit more with the (not so) vicious dogs outside. The landscape here looks very similar to the Netherlands somehow (mind the palmtrees). 2014
809 Borazjan – Ahram : once again we get a ride invitation while buying something in a market. And once again we’re in a car where a woman can’t stop laughing when we tell what we’re doing. 2014
810 Ahram – Ahram : we get a ride from two smart guys that had their taxi-sign hidden somewhere in the glove compartment. We get out of the car as soon as we find out. 2014
811 Ahram – Khormuj: while we get in the blue pickup of our next driver some garbage flies out, Wytze runs after it to collect it and when we start driving again the guy takes it out of his hands to throw it out of the window with a smile on his face (this is how we treat garbage here). We fear for the amount of wind our orange tree needs to endure that is standing in the back op the pickup truck. 2014
812 Khormuj – Kangan : No money, no problem, no seats. Our next ride is in an old car that doesn’t have any backseats any more. Half way we get overtaking by a car in which the driver is holding a dead pidgeon up to us. Very strange indeed. Is this a bad omen? 2014
813 Kangan – Siraf: We plant the orange tree we got in Borazjan in a small green patch between palmtrees a bit northwest of a watchtower outside of Kangan. Our hitchhikingteam is back to two again. A friendly man drives us alongside very ugly industry (gas companies on the coast). I accidentally break his radio when I get into the car. Siraf is the ancient harbour of Shiraz but my interest-in-archaeology-meter is at zero. 2014
814 Siraf -Asaluyeh : we drive with a well travelled, friendly engineer. He is a bit of a dirty old man though as he tells us about his adventures in Thailand. 2014
815 Asaluyeh -Parsian (Gavbandi) : we experience a completly silent ride. 2014
816 Parsian (Gavbandi) – Bostanu : we drive to the coast through a beautifull landscape with a young man. Bostanu is a cute little fishersvillage. We find the frame for our bicyclebus. We hang out on a nice beach and enjoy sunflower seeds from a cliff up above. We don’t sleep before we burned through all the wood we found (and play some baseball with burning pieces). 2014
817 Bostanu – Parsian (Gavbandi) : It’s raining pretty badly and there aren’t a lot of people that are waiting for two wet backpackers in their car. We get some noga from young guys that come passing by on their motorbikes before we finally get a ride to the main road. 2014
818 Parsian (Gavbandi) – Parsian (Gavbandi) : we get invited to hang out at the place of a tomatofarmer. We get into the shed and there are 6 man inside, just half an hour later there are 14. Everyone is curious and we end up drinking a lot of chai. It’s hard to leave the place again when we decide to carry on anyways (it’s still raining). 2014
819 Parsian (Gavbandi) – Choobi : I take a few quick naps as we drive with a groovy old man in his tiny car. He has a good technique to drive over the speedbumps (his car is almost so small he can drive up to them). 2014
820 Choobi – Bandar Charak : 2 friendly guys that tell us they work on a ferry. Unfortunatly they go to Kish and not to Dubai. 2014
821 Bandar Charak – Bandar Lengeh : our last ride in Iran happens to be a silent one. 2014
822 Dubai – outskirts : Thomas saves us by suggesting he can take us to a spot where we can hitchhike from. Due to the size of this gigantic metropolis we end up driving for almost an hour untill skyscrapers have changed to sand, traffic dies out and there are some small villages and parking lots with markets and petrol stations where we could try our luck for once in the Emirates. 2014
823 Outskirts – No’mansland : We get a ride from a firefighter from Dubai. 2014
824 No’mansland – border with Oman : there is a stretch of about 10 km’s land between the two countries we drive thorugh with a friendly trucker. 2014
825 Border with Oman – Sohar : Yousef works at Dubai airport and gives us the first glances of Omani hospitality. He shows us his small fishervillage and we meet his friends that are playing cards in a house on the beach. We pick up his brother Moussa and drive on to Sohar together, we check out some beaches to find a nice place, exchange money and do some shopping together. Apparently you can only get a free visa for Oman if you enter Dubai by flight in the airport, so we end up paying 40 euro for a 1 month visa. Looking at our first experiences this isn’t going to kill our vibe since Oman seems to be like some sort of relaxed version of Iran where everybody speaks English – easy travelling! 2014
826 Sohar – Beach : the place we got dropped of at isn’t all that good in the end and we decide to make a walk along the coastal road. A man comes out of his house and gets enthusiastic when he finds out where we’re from; ha Holland! Very good! Apparently Shell has a big establishment close to Sohar and employs quite a lot of people he knows this way. We get invited by a group of young people to eat kebab and drink soda’s while playing an Indian boardgame. Wytze finds roller blades and decides to treat everyone on a show! A guy hands me a beautifull small white crab which a small girl instantly smashes out of my hands and crashes under her shoe. We walk on a bit and get a ride from 2 students that take us some kilometers to a nice beach where we enjoy a campfire meal and try to sleep in our tents to the sounds of the Omani playa’s driving their fancy cars around on the boulevard. 2014
827 Beach – Main road : we get a short ride to the beginning of the main road by a local fisherman. The sides of the road are covered in flowers. 2014
828 Main road – Saham : we need to cross the highway that is rather busy and since there is no actual way to stop for the cars that are going pretty fast as well, we decide to try our luck on a parallel road. We drive for a while with a man that seems to know everyone we pass and has 3 goats in the back of his pickup truck. He advises us upon going to Al-Rustaq to visit the hot water springs we should be able to find there. 2014
829 Saham – Suwayq : we wave all the taxi’s that are parked on the outskirts of Saham goodbye and drive with a whiskeylover that is on his way to Muscat. He likes to go to Dubai a lot and tells us we should be able to find beer in Muscat for 2 rial (4 euro’s). 2014
830 Suwayq – Al-Rustaq : we get another taste of Omani hospitality; this is for friendship! First we go off road a bit to see a patch of soil our driver is interested in buying. This is no problem since most Omani’s drive big 4WD’s. Our driver insists on showing us some sights along the way. We visit wadi Huwayl, a very beautifull place with palmtrees and ancient buildings around. A wadi is a dry riverbed (that can fill up when it rains occasionally) and you find them all over Oman. The people of Oman seem to love their Sultan, that invests the profits of the oilmoney in education and infrastructure. Since Oman opened up about 40 years ago the country got a complete transformation. We also pass by Al Hazm and see the ancient fort and the faraj (qanats or watercanals). We drive around Al-Rustaq for a bit and hear we should try to go to the suq (marketplace) next morning to experience the local customs of selling and yelling. We decide to skip the springs since there are way too much people. 2014
831 We decide to try to reach the city of Nizwa by going through Oman’s mountain range instead of around it. We get some explanation from a friendly man we meet at the market and that treats us with coffee at his place. We first need to try to reach wadi As-Sahtan which is 2 wadi’s further than the place we’re at. There is not a real clear road (like in a lot of places in Oman since everyone drives a 4WD anyway) so we end walking quite a bit and playing a stupid game with rocks along the way (hitting cans). After a while we get picked up by a friendly guy that is preparing a wedding and is happy to hear we will visit the village where he was born in along the way. We get dropped when the road becomes to difficult for his car and we need to start walking again (and come up with new rock throwing game) untill we reach the beginning of the wadi where there is traffic again. We take a small break at a beautifull village with the remniscent of an ancient fort. 2014
832 Wadi as Sahtan – al Fasah : we get a very groovy ride through the entire wadi in the back of a pickup truck. We enjoy the beautifull mountain scenery with steep cliffs and beautifull small villages with palm trees and friendly smiling and waving locals along the way. As the wadi comes to an end there is an asphalted road again as well and we start speeding like crazy untill we reach the village of al Fasah. 2014
833 al Fasah – school : we get our next open air ride with 5 students to a nearby place where the dirtroad in our destination starts. We walk for a bit and take lunch while watching a group of Indian man play soccer. Most of the construction work in Oman gets done by Indians from Kerala, by Bengali and Pakistani. Very friendlly folk from which I am afraid they don’t always get treated to well by the locals. All around in Oman you will find private palaces, the locals can choose their own patch of ground when they turn 16 and all make their own colourfull homes there. It’s fun to see all the different colors in contrast to the barren rocky mountains of the surroundings. 2014
834 …… – Madruj : we find ourselves walking again and need to get rid of two slightly annoying kids that are trying to point us in the wrong direction. We’re going up now and pass what could have been a beautifull camping spot as just before it gets dark we get picked up by a friendly man and driven to the village of Madruj, right underneath the steep cliffs of the Jebel Shams, the mountain we intend to cross. He drives us a bit out of his way because he doesn’t want to let us walk all the way. As we’re looking for a market in Madruj we spontaneously get offered the keys of a guys landrover; here take my keys! The closest market you will find in the previous town (we’re we had lunch with the soccermatch). Since the road we just came from is very steep and it has been ages ago I drove I don’t totally trust it. Luckily for us the guys don’t mind driving us up and down either. It proves difficult to give them a little bit of money for this favour but in the end we get it done. 2014
835 …….. – …….. : we walk on the unpaved road from Madruj for about an hour untill we decide to take a break for lunch and read a book in the sun for a while untill finally the first car passes by (obviously we could have just waited in Madruj since that is the only place cars could come from anyway) that takes us back to the beginning of the paved road down in the valley. 2014
836 ……. – ……. : we need to kill some time to wait for the market to open and hang around with the guys that are constructing the road. A Pakistani man refills our water bottles from a big tank and a group of man from Kerala are curious to see euro’s (i had some coins left). Also we get bullied by tree young Omani kids on bikes, they won’t leave us alone and we’re happy when we finally manage to get a short ride with the boss of the construction company. He drops us at the end of their progress, just a few kilometers further. We’re still in the middle of nowhere. 2014
837 ……. – ……… : As I pointed out before the roads here are really just empty riverbeds and there is no signalling. We’re lucky to walk into people who can show us which one is ours. We’re on our way to the village of Balid Seyt (as we can read from the crappy free map we got at the border). We need to walk down a bit to get to our road and are just in time to stop a car (one of the first ones we see in a long time). A friendly father and son drive us in their pickup through an amazing scenery of rocks and gorges. The wadi sometimes gets very small, just enough for the car to pass by in with steep walls on both sides. We go up a bit on a very narrow path alongside a cliff and get to a small village that is not on our map. 2014
838 ……. – Balid Seyt : we meet friends of our previous driver and find out we had been transporting 2 big cans of petrol for them that they came to pick up here. We change cars as well. We drive another half an hour while it’s getting dark on the most crazy mountainroad I have ever driven. Luckilly our driver has got the skills and the cars breaks hold it as we go down very slowely towards the tiny village of Balid Seyt. We have a late night cooking session on a campfire a bit up the mountain and put our tents down on the playground of the school. 2014
839 Balid Seyt – Hat : we start walking out of town and enjoy the view over the village for the last time. We get to a cross road with a big sign, only 39 kilometers to be out of the mountains again. We get a short ride by 2 students to the next village. 2014
840 Hat – ….. : when we get out at Hat it starts to rain silently. We’re a bit hungry and after a short moment of doubt and the fact the road is virtually deserted again we decide to make a little roadside omelette cooking session. As you could have guessed a car with two westerners comes rolling up just when the food is ready to be eaten. We ask if they drive to al Hamra (the first city after the mountains and the only real destination on the road), they look at us – look down at the omelette – look at our smiling faces – and without loosing face they tell us they don’t go there and don’t have space and speed of in their big 4WD. So we decide to treat our bellies to a nice feast and continue to walk a bit more on the road. After about an hour we get a short ride from a friendly local in a white pickup that has some huts a bit further up the mountain. 2014
841 …… – al Hamra : we’re quite high up in the mountains by now, walking in the mist. We’re walking for about half an hour again as a red 4WD comes by with a German couple. You can see the woman doesn’t want to but the guy is enthusiastic to help out and the situation we’re in (LOST) kind of forces the woman to give in as well. There is barely enough space though and our shoes are full of mud. We take them of first and put them in plastic bags I forget outside before we get in the back of the car through the front seats. I won’t easily forget the expression on the woman’s face when she hands me the bag with my smelly shoes (woops!). Things get more funny when we drive for about 2 kilometers and get to the highest point of the road – we’re completly surrounded by clouds and can’t enjoy the view, but the asphalted road starts again and there are a lot of other cars. We weren’t that lost after all! Our drivers just came from India and tell stories about the boattrips they did in the backwaters of Kerala. They drop us at a road crossing where we need to go left and speed of. We grab our stuff, cross the road and start hitchhiking. After a few minutes the same car comes passing again, apparently they went the wrong way but now the woman is in control and they certainly won’t stop again. 2014
842 al Hamra – al Hamra : we drive around al Hamra with a friendly local that has too much free time on his hands. He works for an oil company in the desert on a 2 weeks schedule – 2 weeks off schedule. He doesn’t really have anywhere to go and just likes to talk to us and drive his car around. We check out al Hoota cave which happens to be closed and then join him along some small Omani palaces of his extended family to the outskirts of town on the road to Bahla. He laughs when we tell him our story and lets us know it was impossible from the start anyways since the summit of Jebel Shams is a military zone. 2014
843 al Hamra – Bahla fort : we get a short and silent ride with a man that only speaks Arabic and maybe wanted something for the ride but couldn’t be bothered to ask us for it when he smiles and waves us goodbye at Bahla fort. We drink chai (so with milk) at and Indian place on the suq (marketplace) of Bahla. We find a place for our tents a bit out of the main road along an empty riverbed and hold our first pancake session that night. Wytze goes by a local bakery and gets a tremendous load of flower we forgot to buy and makes a nice oven out of a few riverpebbles to keep the oil damn hot! 2014
844 Bahla fort – Bahla : We decide to check out Bahla fort. It’s an ancient building that is mostly renovated. It’s impressive in it’s size though and you can walk around for about an hour going through all the different rooms and spaces. Also there is a good view from the surroundings from one of the towers and you can see parts of the walls of the ancient citadel that have preserved pretty well. Afterwards a friendly man with a pickup filled with palmleaves drives us to the edge of town and tells us if we will still be there an hour from now he can give us another ride as he needs to go to Muscat then. 2014
845 Bahla – Nizwa : we don’t have to wait this long though as we get picked up by a young man that is working for a travel agency. He is dropping his younger brother and a friend off at the university in Nizwa for their examinations. He shows us a 4WD is very usefull to avoid traffic jams as well as we leave the road at the university to drive through a plain for a bit to escape the busy traffic. He drops us at the suq in Nizwa where we score some veggies, take a glance at the castle and decide we’re ready to head of again. 2014
846 Nizwa suq – Nizwa : in Oman it’s no problem to hitchhike in the middle of a city as well. We get a ride from and English expat that as he calls it himself ‘dropped out of life’ and is now teaching Enlgish in Nizwa. He tells us he saw us 5 minutes ago and expected us to be gone already. The Omani people are very friendly and generous! 2014
847 Nizwa – Nizwa stadium : we drive for a short while with a young security specialist that forces us to drink his pepi’s as a gift when we get out. 2014
848 Nizwa stadium – Birkat al Mouz : we drive with 2 young students that are happy since they just made good exams. 2014
849 Birkat al Mouz – Jabal al-Akdar : the biggest pickup truck I have ever seen. We drive up the plateau with Mohammed, a construction specialist. He invites us to drink thea in his traditional village. His house has a guestroom with chairs for at least 25 people. He tells us the plateau is most beautifull in spring when everything is still green and the circumstances are ideal to grow pomegranates. People love the new sultan for his infrastructre works, the redistribution of the profits of the oil money among the population and the good educational system. Although he knows the plateau very well he drops us at a bad place to camp. We meet a French lady that advises us on a better one. 2014
850 to the Sultans gardens : a friendly guy that picks up a friend along the way. The plateau seems to be one big community where everyone knows each other (like in all of Oman). The man goes out of his way to drop us at the place as he turns around to drive back the way we came from when we get out. We find a nice place to camp on the plateau, overlooking Nizwa way down below, gather an extraordinary amount of wood and make a huge campfire and hold Pancake session no. 2! 2014
851 Sultans gardens – town : we drive back down to the village of Mohammed with a father and his son. On the way we pass by a building with watertrucks parked outside. We learn they provide the entire plateau of drinking water. 2014
852 to Muscat : we get a long ride in with 2 soldiers and their friend that works as a pilot for Oman Air. He is sitting in the passengers seats and turns himself around to sit like a yogi while we’re driving down the mountain and exclaims every now and then; ladies & gentleman this is your captain speaking! We get the feeling we migth smell a bit odd from the guy that is sitting next to me. But it’s ok as the speakers go more loudly. The music choice isn’t all for us though and we will have AKON in our heads for the next few days (smack him!). I also seem to have a small problem with my right knee which gets very painfull after sitting for about 45 minutes. When I get up and walk a bit the pain dissapears though – so I ask the guys to make a short break for chai at a petrol station along the way. They drop us on the outskirts of Muscat close to the airport. 2014
853 Airport – Qurm : Muscat seems to be a gigantic city in which all of the infrastructural works are already there but the buildings are missing in some places. It’s actually just a agglomeration of multiple inhabited zones (Qurm, al-Khuwair, Mutrah etc.) over a wide area. As we can see on the signs we’re still about 40 kilometers from the old town now. We try to get to Qurm with the intention to camp on the beach that night. After declining an offer from a taxi driver we get to drive with 3 young students in their fancy car (somehow a lot of students in Oman drive around in expensive looking cars). 2014
854 Qurm – al-Khuwair : We hold a failed quest for some internettime and pass the FUN zone in Qurm, where we meet young Omani’s that are able to backwards iceskate better then any Dutch person I know. We end up at Qurm beach and spend the night in a waterreservoir tower on the beach. It takes some time to come up with an idea of how to get into the tower. I first collect rocks on the beach to try to make some kind of stairs but Wytze finds a big ladder on a nearby construction site we can use. There is a boulevard next to the beach so once again we fall alseep to the sound of Omani G’s driving their expensive cars around. We get up and return the ladder. The Indian man that are already working there simply smile at us and tell it’s no problem at all. Our quest for an internetcafe continues and we get a ride from a friendly man that is reconstructing his house, drives us around several districts and in the end drops us off in al-Khuwair. 2014
855 Ruwi – Ruwi : as I am walking through Ruwi in search of an internetcafe a young lady in chador offers to give me a ride to a place she knows. This is quite an unicum in the area since I haven’t even really been talking to woman before in Oman, let alone drive in her car. It gets more clear when she tells me she is originally from New York and moved here a couple of years ago because it’s more easy here to get a better job in the business sector (less competition with others). 2014
856 al-Kuwair – Qurm : I end up not finding any place and have to go back to al-Khuwair to the internetcafe we were earlier that day. We finish our business and decide to search for what we thought would be a close by beach. We end up walking thourgh the diplomat district of town for a long while untill we get invited in a car by what will be the second female driver in the Middle East. Fatima was born in Oman but lived in Paris and now in London. She is visiting her family in Muscat and is very interested in the travel we’re making. She wants to know if were keeping a blog or anything like that so she could read some of our stories. She drops us at the other side of Qurm beach where there are a lot of bars with locals hanging out. We take a stroll along the beach and end up at our place from the night before, this time sleeping in our tents after we treated our bellies with some nice campfire made veggieburgers. 2014
857 Qurm – Wuttaya : we get a short ride to the Wuttaya interchange that is close to the Indian embassy. 2014
858 Ruwi – al Amrat : due to a traffic jam we decide to walk to the next roundabout that will lead us out of town. We’re about as fast as the other traffic and have some fun with a cabdriver that tries to yell us in by waving at him while we outrun him; why would I go with you I go faster! At the roundabout we quickly manage to get a ride with a soldier and a police man that are of duty and returning to their hometown. 2014
859 al Amrat – Mazara dam : we drive with Yusuf, an electrician, who is happy to show us the dam that is close to his village and invites us to eat buryani (rice) with fish at his uncle’s place. It’s funny as we struggle a bit eating with hands. His uncle is a teacher in a nearby town. We decide to hang around a bit more and join Yusuf for a soccergame. We play soccer with other local amateurs for over an hour on a rocky field. It’s a lot of fun and everyone plays very kindly. I borrow shoes from Yusuf and it’s difficult to return them afterwards (please a present). Since the guys have a meeting in the evening we decide to hit the road again and we get driven back to the beginning of the main road. 2014
860 Intersection – petrol station : although it’s completly dark by now it doesn’t take long before we get a short ride from two young guys from nearby Quriyat. 2014
861 Petrol station – Tiwi : after eating some icecream on the petrol station and being to lazy to hitchhike (a.k.a. reading a book) we get invited to join four 19 year old soccerfans in their car. They are on their way to Sur and as we can notice from the music that’s blowing out of the speakers they have a soft spot for Enrique Iglesias – Yeah! The next morning we find out we put our tents on an archaeological site. 2014
862 Tiwi – wadi Shab : we get a short ride from a friendly local. Both villages are attached. We’re stupid and decide not to pay for the boattaxi service to get to the other side of the wadi but to just walk through. I do think about getting my camera out of my pockets but forget my phone (it proved it can’t swim). Wadi Shab is a beautifull valley (if you forget about the old German tourist in bikini) and if you walk and swim all the way to the end you will get treated on a real life waterparc with ropes to climb up rocks to jump off from. It’s simply a great place to spend an afternoon in! We do decide to take the taxiboat back across the water. 2014
863 Wadi Shab – Sur : we walk up from the wadi and cross the highway. Although it’s dark it once again proves it isn’t to difficult to attract a car. We have a silent one. And we also pass by the first military checkpoint (there will be a lot more). Most of the times the soldiers don’t ask anything and if they do apparently a wrinkled paper copy of my passport (real one is at the Indian embassy in Muscat) is OK as well. We’re thirsty and get dropped right in front of a bar so we decide to hop in for a moment to see the beerprices. As there is only one man inside the bar we’re out immediatly again. 2014
864 Sur – Sur : we’re in the westernmost point of the city and decide to hitchhike into the city. We get a ride from a young unemployed guy that ends up driving us all the way to the other side of town. He is not too fond of the foreigners that are coming to Oman to find work since from now on it’s difficult for him to find a job if your English is not very good and life for him transformed to a being of soccer and sleeping. He is very unfriendly to an Indian guy that is working at a restaurant where we stop to drink a chai (he doesn’t get out of the car and just uses his horn to attract the guy and then yells his order to him). By now we have decided to skip the city because we think it will be more easy to find a quiet place to sleep outside anyway and we would be able to be on the road early next morning again. 2014
865 Sur – beach : we eat a falafel at a roadside restaurant and meet Jamal and his friend who offer to drive us to a beach where we could camp just a bit out of town. When we wake up the next morning there is a big plastic bag in front of my tent. Inside is breakfast and a complete theaset along with a note from Jamal ; I came at 6.00 AM but you where still sleeping, I will be back around 9 to chat! Apparently he came home to tell his wife he gave a short ride to two Dutch travellers, his wife got mad at him wondering where we would be able to find food the next morning and instantly went into the kitchen to start cooking for us (mmmh Omani pancakes!). That’s just great! Jamal thinks it’s completly normal expats earn very high wages in Oman ; of course they do, they have to come from far and leave family and friends behind! But he can’t really come up with a distinctive opinion when I ask him why this doesn’t account to all the Indian and Pakistani workers you see as well. 2014
866 Sur – Ras-al-Jins : we manage to stop two cars at the same time and decide to go with the driver that speaks the best English. We drive with a guy from the Emirates who is very happy he’s out on a week’s travel without his girlfriend. He has a repertoire of amazing songs with videoclips on a screen on the dashboard (among others a young Justin Timberlake). 2014
867 Ras-al-Jins – Ras-al-Jins : we instantly get a new ride as we get out of the car. We drive in the back of a pickup (there is just enough space due to the scooter that is being transported as well) from the mainroad to a place that is close to the beach. The beach is well none for it’s turtles, that only come out at night though. We just enjoy a swim in the clear water and hang around a bit untill we decide it’s time to go a little further south along the coast. 2014
868 Ras-al-Jins – main road : due to low traffic we end up walking almost all the way back to the main road. We try to hitchhike some camels along the way and manage to stop a car with 3 young Dutch guys that for some kind of reason don’t give us a ride. The last 2 kilometers stroll we do make in a car with an old man behind the wheel. 2014
869 Main road – Ar Ruways : we get a ride from 2 friendly Pakistani truckdrivers. They are originally from Lahore and tell us we should definetly go there once. We share some soda’s and they tell us in Oman you can be sure every truckdriver is from Pakistan (too much truckdrivers from Pakistan! Too much!) 2014
870 Ar Ruways – Sal : life is sweet when we get an ride chilling in the back of a pickup truck driving along the coastal road. 2014
871 Sal – Asilah : we get a ride from a friendly man that drives out of his way for a bit to drop us on a spot where we can hitchhike of from at a school on the outskirts of town. 2014
872 Asilah – al Ashkarah : we drive with two young guys that are dancing on their chairs to loud Omani music, making pictures of a house on the way with their fancy phones and treat us on a typical festival sandwich (chips & cheese). 2014
873 Al Ashkarah – Ras al Jilfan : we almost get a ride from a guy in a completly full pickup (there was no place anyway really). He forgets the handbrake when he gets out and when his car suddenly starts moving he decides to not take us anymore and speeds of. It all good since a little afterwards we can drive with the guy from the water distribution in his watertank. He needs to deliver water at a touristresort a bit out of town. 2014
874 Ras al Jilfan – Al Ashkarah : it got dark by now and apart from the tourtist resort there is absolutly nothing. We try to hitchhike on without a lot of succes and as there is more traffic going the opposite way we decide to go back to the town we just came from to eat and spend the night. We get a ride from 2 friendly man that went fishing on their day off. 2014
875 Al Ashkarah – beach : we get a short ride from a friendly couple to a beach on the outskirts of town. It’s completly dark there and we have a failed quest to gather enough wood for a fire and decide to just sleep early. 2014
876 Al Ashkarah – MON (cross to the Masirah island) : we get a ride from two Dutch (!) ladies. They decided to travel to Oman after seeing images of when queen Beatrix visited the country a few years before. One of the ladies travelled a lot by hitchhiking when she was young (to Tunis by boat from the south of Italy) and they say they have been giving rides to locals in Oman so far as well. Groovy! Meanwhile we’re passing trough a slightly surreal landscape where desert meets Arabian Sea. Some of the villages are entirely build up by tents instead of houses. 2014
877 MON (cross to the Masirah island) – Ad Duqm : not long after we manage to get a long ride with 2 guys in a jeep that is close to falling apart. The landscape is amazing though and we don’t pass any habitation for a long stretch. 2014
878 Ad Duqm – Ad Duqm : against all odds for Oman so far we need to wait for over an hour to get a next ride (normally we wouldn’t wait longer then 5 minutes before we were on the road again). We get saved from DBB (death by boredom) by an Omani safety engineer who drives us to a roundabout on the other side of town. Although Ad Duqm is a small place this is a longer ride then you would expect since there is a huge infrastructural work going on in this place. It’s a major project in which a port is being constructed that in the future needs to become Dubai’s big competitor in the Gulf. Also all of Oman’s big industry is planned to be moved to this place. The buildings aren’t there yet but all the roads are laid out and it’s eay to see how big everything is going to be. 2014
879 Ad Duqm – Dahar : we instantly get picked up by two young guys that only speak Arabic. There is some confusion and they even take the wrong road to their own village for a while. They offer to drive us further for some money but we politely decline. Although the village we get out of is very tiny we see most of its inhabitants drive around in big pickuptrucks. Some of them come up to us to talk in broken English and as the sun is going down we’re hoping to get a little further then this today. 2014
880 Dahar – al Jazir : a car that first passes us by comes rolling back slowely and we get invited to join 3 friends to the next bigger town. We take a little detour along the way to pick up another car at the police station in Rima that was stored there after a car accident. We start to understand why a little as the following part of the journey becomes a cat and mouse game between the two cars, chasing each other in the desert night. They guys want to take a break to smoke a joint which the driver all of a sudden can’t handle at all (who are they trying to impress anyways? Two Dutch boys?). 2014
881 al Jazir – MON : a cute family with a baby picks us up early in the morning. The man tells us he came driving back because he never saw people sitting on the side of the road in the desert before. Our driver takes a little detour to show us the small fishervillage where his sister is living in. We get dropped of on a road crossing in the middle of nowhere in the desert. 2014
882 MON – Shalim Wa Juzor Al Hallaniyyat : we have our breakfast in the back of a speeding pickup truck and enjoy the moment! 2014
883 Shalim Wa Juzor Al Hallaniyyat – Marmul : in Shalim we get some competition from an Indian worker. First comes first goes though and we don’t have to wait a long while before it’s our turn to flash our thumbs at an ongoing truck that comes to a halt instantly and makes us leave the coastal road. 2014
884 Marmul – Salalah : meet Kareem, a German Egyptian of our age. He is working in Oman for the touristcompany of his father, they hold fishingtrips out in the Arabian sea looking for huge kingfish (to set a record there needs to be a puppet from Guiness records in place though). Old European man pay lots to do so! It’s not always as safe though as he tells us he was once far out in the sea with a friend and they got shot at by Somalian pirates. They had to speed of in their boat to escape. He tells us a bit more about the story of Somalia, of how big western fishing companies fished the coast around the country completly empty forcing local fisherman into piracy. The weapons they use get arranged by Kenyan gangsters that get the most profit out of the hijackings, while the ones that take the biggest risks only get a fraction of it. Kareem tells us he finds it very refreshing to see young backpackers travel through Oman they way we do. He himself is looking forward to travel in a similar way to other countries in the region as well and we give him Iran’s LP as a gift. Simultaneously with us Kareem also picks up a Bengali man. He is in trouble and Kareem tries to do whatever he can to help him out. People from Asian countries can work in Oman by yearcontract which they can get via a local sponsor (they can give 5 of these contracts maximum) and need to be applied for in time. The Bengali man had a thriving restaurant business in the capital of Dhaka with his father but they got forced to shut things down due to bankruptcy. They couldn’t afford their bills anymore because he had to pay the dowries for his 3 sisters. He couldn’t make enough money in Bangladesh and saw himself forced to try his luck in the Gulf where for the region he gets heavily underpaid but still earns twice as he would do back home (about 160 in stead of 80 dollars). For 500 rial (about 1000 euro’s) his patron would fix his documents for him so he could continue working in Oman. The man didn’t keep his promise though and now our Bengali friend has been in the country illegally for the last two months, risking imprisonment and deportation. Kareem makes a few phonecalls with friends that can maybe help in such occasion and we leave the man at a mosque in a village close to Salalah where he can stay safely for the time being. Kareem tells us this kind of thing unfortunatly happens a lot in Oman and he feels like it’s his duty to do whatever is in his powers to help this man. Around Thumrayt we pass a huge American/English/French military base. It’s the biggest one of it’s kind in the region and strategically positioned close to the border with Yemen, where as we hear about 75 % of the population keeps themselves in a constant daze by chewing khat. We learn most of the military checkpoints in Oman are being maintained because Oman has to cope with refugees that try to get here by boat from Yemen. Also there are apparently a lot of reports on armed car thefts. The thieves dissapear into the deserts and as you can follow the cars by GPS they all end up somewhere across the border in Yemen. We will meet Kareem multiple times the next days. He fixes us up with the opportunity to take a shower in the cafe of a friend of his, takes us out for dinner in a hillside restaurant overlooking the entire city and coastline at night. He gives us a total make-over at a barberplace ((with facial scrub) – his comment; ah! Now you look happy!)) And even offers to wash our dirty laundry for us. We enjoy his company very much and it’s refreshing to have interesting conversation with someone about religion, globalism, treating your fellow man and how it’s like growing up in the Middle East as a young man. 2014
885 Salalah – Airport : when we walk out of an internetcafe in Salalah a man horns and offers to drive us around for a bit. We decide to head for the airport to check the fares to Mumbai with Oman Air. A no go! 2014
886 Salalah suq – al-Baleed : while we walk through the market of Salalah at night we meet the French lady we met before at Jabel al-Akhdar. She offers us to join her for the 1000 kilometer ride to Muscat. Although it’s very tempting we politely decline since we want to see some more of the surroundings of the city. We walk a bit on the boulevard and get invited by Ali to join him in his car for chatting. He wants to take us out for Mu’assel (Shisha) but we end up just driving around town for over an hour before he drops us close to the archaeological site again. 2014
887 Al-Baleed – Salalah : we get a short ride from two Pakistani guys to the city center. 2014
888 Salalah – port : we get picked up by a friendly man that works as some kind of government official. He is well travelled in the region and is planning another trip to Qatar soon. 2014
889 Port – Mughsayl : a young man drives back to his town and advises us to talk to the local fisherman, they might give us some fish he tells us with a smile! We don’t find the blowhole the beach is famous for but we guess it’s only operating during the kareef (the monsoon) when the seas are more wild. The place is absolutely incredible though! We spend a very nice afternoon on one of the most beautifull beaches I’ve seen, swimming in crystal clear water, even encountering 2 dolphins that are swimming in the bay just a few meters away from me. We play homemade backgammon in the shadow of our private beach shed and decide to take the guess and talk to the fisherman. Our friend was right and it’s difficult to stop the man from giving; we can’t eat that much please! 2014
890 Mughsayl – Salalah : we get a ride back into town by a Canadian lady we met on the beach the night before and joined our fishfeast. We talk a lot about the travel bug and the trouble it can cause when you get back home every now and then (after travel depression). We help her to properly return her rental car to the airport and fix her up with an affordable taxi to the busstation so she can make it to her bus to Muscat in time. 2014
891 Salalah – outskirts : it’s the second time we randomly get invited into someone’s car when leaving the internetcafe. This friendly man also insists on lunching with us before he trusts us back into the hands of the road. 2014
892 Outskirts – Khor Rori : we get a ride from a young Egyptian guy that is working for a construction company. He shows some hilarious pictures of important key figures in his company. We pick up a friend of his halfway and we can’t prevend the guys from paying our entrance fee to the archaeological site of Khor Rori. It’s an old portcity in a beautifull scenery, nowadays mostly a big collection of mudbricks that are being set back into order by Omani archaeologists. 2014
893 Khor Rori – beach near Mirbat : we walk back to the mainroad and get a ride in a big expensive car. It’s rather embarrassing moment since we bring a lot of flies with us into the car (we get another reminder we should have taking more care trying to wash our fishpan back in Salalah). The man can laugh about it though and drops us at a petrol station close to the beach where we can buy some food (and mango ice-cream!). The beach here has small sanddunes and we play a bit of soccer in the dark with a football we find before we randomly fall asleep in the sand under another beautifull starlit sky. 2014
894 Beach near Mirbat – Sink hole : we’re on a mission to find the anti-gravity spot we saw on our map. We pass the military check point on top of the hill (and shake hands with all the guys there) and read a book while hitchhiking on a deserted crossroad a bit further. After a while we get a ride from 2 Omani man that say they love nature and exploration. We have some small difficulties communicating and before we know it (and explained ourselves) we already passed the anti-gravity spot. The sink hole they take us to is rather impressive as well though! It’s a huge place where the earth literally just seems to have collapsed. It’s beautifull inside with a lot of small birds flying around in circles and the tree roots hanging down the edges like jungle lianes. 2014
895 Sink hole – Jebel Samhan – Salalah : we’re roaming around for a while with a hotel owner from Sohar and his nephew. We’re actually planning to go to a nearby cave but the AC in his car is very nice and we get promised to see one of the most spectacular views in the region from the summit of Jebel Samhan. He didn’t lie to us as we enjoy some chai and dates a little later while gazing to the Arabian sea way down below. The guys offer us work in their hotelbusiness and wonder if we couldn’t get some more Dutch people to visit Sohar (we would get a share in the profits for sure). We pass by the sinkhole again on the way back (Wytze forgot his book) and the Pakistani builders place (Wytze forgot his phone). This makes we do pass by the anti-gravity spot again as well and this time we do get to see how it works. You stop your car and put it in neutral and even though the road goes up a bit the car goes up very slowely as well. It’s fun! 2014
896 Salalah – ….. : we get a ride from a friendly young man that is visiting his family in a village in the foothills just outside of Salalah. 2014
897 …… – Thumrayt : after getting some ice-cream at a market we get cramped in a small pickup truck with a man and his son. Both driver of this and the previous ride want to know hotel- and carprices in the Netherlands – we guess randomly. 2014
898 Thumrayt – outside of al Gabah : there are a lot of Indian hitchhikers at the roundabout in Thumrayt. We politely wait for our turn and our patience gets rewarded with the longest ride I’ll have on this trip. We drive over 600 kilometers through a seemingly unchanging desertlandscape. Our driver stops in the middle of nowhere to pray at sunset. When you look on the road in both directions you see they red lights from other cars that have stopped. Our driver makes some easy money on the side by driving new cars from Salalah to the al-Ain border with the Emirates and by doing so makes 500 rial on a single trip (I wonder how legit this business is?). I fall asleep in the backseat for most of the ride and only wake up to have a sleepy dinner in al-Gaftayn. Our driver makes sure we can camp a little out in the desert from the military checkpoint where he drops us of in the middle of the night. 2014
899 MON (out of al Gabah) – Nizwa : The soldiers have forgotten all about us when we cleaned up our camp the next morning and start hitchhiking they come speeding towards us to check our passports again and ask what the hell we’re doing out here in the middle of the desert without a car. We think our driver only goes to Adam but when we get there we find out we will be out of the desert soon (landscape does get a little boring after a while) and can continue untill Nizwa. 2014
900 Nizwa – al-Khuwair : it’s no problem to hitchhike on the middle of the highway as we get picked up by the advisor of the minister of health. I fall asleep and only wake up when we’re reaching the city. 2014
901 Mutrah – …… : we get a ride from a young man that is studying to become a police officer. He offers to drive us wherever we want to but when we find out where he needs to go to and we reach the place we tell him it’s fine and that we will look for another ride to cover the last 15 kilometers to the airport. 2014
902 …… – Airport : we walk a bit along the road and meet a young Egyptian who gets mad we tell him all the cabdrivers are trying to rip us of. He needs to be in Seeb, the district next to the airport and it would be his pleasure to take us there. Thank you! 2014
903 Andheri – Bandra : today we challenge ourselves to try and hitchhike out of one of the biggest metropolitan areas in India in a team of 3. Although we don’t have to wait long to attract rides, the 60 kilometers we need to make to get out of the city take over 5 hours. It’s busy and traffic is horrific. We get our first ride on the inner ringroad at Andheri from a tabacco leaves chewing truckdriver and instantly get into a trafficjam. We’re not totally sure where he is going untill after about an hour of getting fried alive in the heat of the truck he kicks us out at a junction close to Bandra station. We could have done this by metro haha! Patrick’s GPS saves by pointing the right directions and we need to take a short walk trough a lively neighbourhood to get back on the right tracks. 2014
904 Bandra – Chunabhatti : We drive for a short while with a friendly guy called Jamel. The trick seems to be to only wave enthusiastically at the few big cars that pass by every now and then and to try to avoid rickshaws and taxi’s to stop for you. 2014
905 Chunabhatti – Govandi : we take a spicy lunch, walk a bit and continue again. We get to drive with Sudesh and Uncar in a big car with a police sign on the dashboard. ‘No problem; we will take you to a good place where you can go from’. When we get out we walk a bit further and pass a bridge over one of the dirtiest rivers I’ve ever seen. 2014
906 Govandi – Panvel : we get a long ride from 2 man that work for a charity. They provide educational programs all over India. We get lucky and they offer to drive a bit out of their way to drop us on the road direction south. This is the first time today we’re driving through less populated areas – we’re almost out of the city! 2014
907 Panvel – Mangaon : at the junction we instantly get invited by 3 enthusiastic guys for a lengthy ride. They try to teach us some Hindi and we make a stop for chai along the way. The condition of the road isn’t always very good and it’s usually just a two lane road filled with slow trucks we need to overtake. Also as a driver you need to take care of all the other stuff that is happening on the road (cows crossing, kids playing in villages, people on bicycles on the wrong side of the road etc.).This makes you can only do about 50 kilometers an hour. 2014
908 Mangaon – Mahad : we drive in the back of a pickuptruck with a family that is selling glowsticks. They get off halfway and we have some fun trying to attract other cars by promoting the first letter of the alphabet (GO-A!). Hitchhiking while hitchhiking unfortunatly doesn’t work out and we get of in the small town of Mahad where we try to continue in vain for an hour, even getting help from a police officer that is passing by, untill it gets dark, we give up and decide to drink a beer at a bar on the other side of the road. It is just a small shed that sell pints where some guys are hanging around. We meet 3 young guys that are working for a pharmacy and we join them to eat something at a restaurant. There is some small confusion as the guys don’t want to pay their share anymore like they promised before. There is a small arguement but to not let them loose face in their town we decide to do stay at their place that night like we said we would do before. 2014
909 Mahad – Poladpur : we get another ride in the back of a pickup truck. It’s the best way to experience the beautifulll jungle surroundings. Unfortunatly the Indian roads have a number of highy annoying speedbumps as well. The ones you notice more when your sitting uncomforatbly. 2014
910 Poladpur – Ratnagiri : we drive for over 2 hours with Sunil, an intelligent old man who invites us in for lunch (‘you are my guests’). He will retire soon and is planning to go roaming like we do (a lot of people use the word roaming instead of travelling and I like it!). He tells us a lot about the history of the region we drive through and he had a counter on his hand that he would continually hit every time he recited God’s name in his head in order to pure his mind. As we get out of the car he waves us goodbye with his words of wisdom ; remember boys, have a goal in life! 2014
911 Ratnagiri – Rajapur : we get picked up quickly by Ashish, a young guy that is on his way to a village in the south of Maharastra to go fishing with his cousins. Boulevard of broken dreams is on the speakers and will unfortunatly be in the mind for the next days to come. 2014
912 Rajapur – Nadgive : we drive a bit further with Vish and mister Sadh. I don’t remember too much of this one anymore. 2014
913 Nadgive – Wargaon : we get into a very slow truck (uphill only 7km/h) and decide to hop out for chai in the first village we have the opportunity to do so. 2014
914 Wargaon – Panjim : we drive a long distance with Arias Shoka, a.k.a. Rambotrucker. A hilarious guy that keeps on blowing his horn to the ladies (thinking this impresses us) and throwing his head out of the window of his truck to yell to other drivers (who, as he proclaims, are less experienced in driving then he is). At the Maharastra-Goa state border he tells us to duck down and be invisible (apparently police can charge truckdrivers when they give lifts to people). We drive across the checkpoint without stopping, hear a police wistle and just see Arias step on the gas a little more and laugh out loud! The fun thing about the situation is that a speeding truck in India only goes 40 km/h max., but the police couldn’t be bothered to come and follow so we get into Goa without any problems! 2014
915 Panjim – Panjim : we take a short ride in in the back of a big truck. The bumps on the bridge make me jump up a few times and leave my butt bruised. We get to the capital of Goa though and since it got dark a few hours before we decide to hang around the city for the night. 2014
916 Panjim – Margao : things get slightly difficult and we spend about an hour sweating in very hot weather before we get a free ride in a tourist vehicle to the next town. There are not a lot of private cars driving these roads at all. It’s time for icecream! 2014
917 Margao – Margao : we clock in another half an hour wait for a very short ride in the back of a pickup truck. 2014
918 Margao – Chinchinim : and another not too lengthy ride in the back of a pickup truck. We have a lot of happy interaction with the drivers that pass us by though! 2014
919 Chinchinim – Canacona : a car passes us by with a lot of small smiling faces on the dashboard and we know it’s right when Vinood flags us in. 2014
920 Canacona – Ankola : a very small car comes to a hold for us. Inside are three friendly IT specialists from Bangalore.There isn’t enough space at all but they insist upon taking us and we squeeze in with 2 guys on the passengers seat and 3+bags on the backseat. Very cosy. Even more sweaty! They invite us to call them whenever we make it to the states capital. And give us a reality check; yes, of course people pick you up you’re white! It would be completly different for a local to roam around here like you do! Before we go our separate ways we share a brilliant lunch with bananabread (drool) and chai. 2014
921 Ankola – Gokarna : we drive the last bit with truckdrivers Nasir and Sharin. They are very enthusiastic and smiling and manage to remember Kluivert when we tell them two of us are  Dutch. 2014
922 Hospet – Hospet : I wave a to a guy on a motorbike that instantly comes to a halt and offers to bring me to the outskirts of town. 2014
923 Hospet – Bellary : I get picked up quickly by two friendly guys in their small pickup. There isn’t really any space but i get invited in anyways. The guys own a small business and bring rice to different markets in the area. Along the way we pass a few enormous energy factory sites that look very dark and depressing – luckily my drivers make up for it considering the good atmosphere in the car! 2014
924 Bellary – Bellary : while asking for directions inside the city I get a short scooter ride from the owner of a tattoo- and barbershop that insists on giving me a shave (at first he wants me to keep my moustache) and a head massage. Thanks guys! 2014
925 Bellary – Farm : A friendly man comes driving back on his motorbike after he just passed me to tell me I should make myself more visible in case i want to attract rides. He tells me he did a Phd in philosophy but now has some paddyfields on the outskirts of the city and it would be his honour to show me his village and farm. We have some food at his brother’s place where their children ask about a thousand questions each and want to travel with me to Rome (because that’s were I am heading apparently haha). The farm is a beautifull place but my host tells its becoming more of a struggle the last 5-10 years to have a small scale farm due to intensification and competing farms getting bigger and bigger crushing the small farmers. He offers to drive me a bit further and even fixes my next ride with one of the trucks we pass by along the way. 2014
926 Farm – Gooty : I spend a few hours in this truck and its unfortunatly quite difficult to communicate. We stop on a truckers resting place about 10 kilometers before the city. 2014
927 Gooty – Gooty : Just before dusk two cars stop simultaneously and I get in the one that is closest to me. A friendly young man takes me into the city. There are two old farmers with bundles of rice in the back of the pickup hitching a ride as well. 2014
928 Gooty – Gooty : I try to hitchhike on for a bit more but it doesn’t make too much sense since the road isn’t illuminated and i am not visible at all. I hang around with a shopowner and his friends for a bit and after a while they offer to  bring me to the trainstation on their motorbike where they buy me some banana’s as a gift. 2014
929 Varanasi – Balatpur: I get picked up by two very young boys in a pickup and play guitar for them while sitting on bags of hay in the back. They somehow manage to get hold of my camera and don’t want to give it back untill there is a civilian cop driving next to them asking for their driverslicense close to Varanasi airport. I grab my camera back and jump out quickly. 2014
930 Balatpur – airport : I have another chai and get a short motorbike ride untill a little past the main entrance of the airport. 2014
931 Airport – Jaunpur : the longest motorbike ride i got in India. A bit over 40 kilometers. Which is long with a backpack and a guitar and considering the condition of the roads. It was sweet though and it really makes me want to have a motorbike once myself as well! 2014
932 Jaunpur – Jaunpur : after having some samosa and chai I easily stop another biker that can take me to the other side of this big city. There are numbers of cities in India you will have never heard of that end up having a few million inhabitants. And most of these places don’t really have ringroads. That seems like a hitchhikers nightmare, having to go through the entire city and find another place to hitchhike from again. But here it usually just works out fine to quickly manage to get through the city on motorbikes! 2014
933 Jaunpur – Badlapur : my previous driver insist on helping me out and stops another motorbike for me. I drive another 20 kilometer or so with a friendly man promising myself this is the last motorbike i will accept since my back is starting to protest seriously. 2014
934 Badlapur – Sultanpur : In Badlapur i soon get surrounded by a lot of people wondering what i am doing there and offering to help out. It’s difficult to explain to them it’s all alright and that it’s more easy for me to travel on without all the attention. They’re very friendly though but i decide to walk a bit further away (pretending to be a baba that is just walking through the entire country) and manage to get a ride in the pickup of two friendly guys that have a small company transporting food between Jaunpur and Sultanpur. 2014
935 Sultanpur – Lucknow : Aaren comes driving back for me; ‘I thought a foreigner out here might need some help’. He is a friendly young man living a busy life working as a manager for a company in Lucknow. He spends a lot of time on the road going out for meetings and business trips. Like this he was also once in Germany for 4 days but he tells me he was too busy to remember anything. His sister and mother are looking for his future wife at the moment for he will have to marry in a traditional way next year when he is turning 26. Like a lot of Indians he has the bad habit to chew on PAN; the people don’t only chew tabacco leaves mixed with glue but also a mixture of masala herbs (which looks horrible when they spit it out, like everyone has blood coming up) and is even worse considering what it does to your teeth. He tells me about the famous Varanasi PAN that is supposedly worth 10000 rupees (like 120 euro’s) and has tiny pieces of gold inside. The city of Lucknow is the capital of Uttar Pradesh state and is being build on growth. It has a giant ringroad that is currently still a bit away from the city but a lot of the patches of land surrounding the city are already being sold and have a destination considering huge building projects in the near future. I get dropped of close to the center at the trainstation and we exchange numbers in order to maybe meet later again that night. 2014
936 Lucknow – Lucknow : I need to go a little bit further to reach the beginning of the motorway and it’s not suprising i do this on the back of a motorbike. I get of at a place where there are two cows fighting each other and a few man are walking around with water bottles looking around mysteriously (taking dumps in the bushes). 2014
937 Lucknow – Sitapur : an enthusiastically smiling man stops for me in his small pickup. We’re transporting the answers of a state exam but can’t really communicate too much. 2014
938 Sitapur – Sitapur : I pass Sitapur’s ringroad on the back of a scooter of a seargant that’s on a 5 days holiday and actually wishes he could join me. Afterwards I get some unwanted encounters with youngsters that want to talk English and make it impossible for me to hitchhike on, it’s starting to get hot again already and i decide to make a short walk trough a small patch of trees. On the other side I meet 3 young guys that are standing on the side of the road waiting for tractors to pass by to steal sugarcane from the back and eat it on the spot. I decide to start hitchhiking again a bit away from them. 2014
939 Sitapur – Moradabad – Mozaffarnagar : the next 1,5 days I will spend with a Punjabi truckergang. The gang consists of 3 trucks and 5 characters. I swap places a few times and get to know them all a bit in the 36 hours while we drive about 600 kilometers (shanti shanti!). We’re transporting rice from Jaunpur to Karnal in Punjab and after one day rest they will make some sort of loop and deliver factoryparts in Gorakhpur – truly a life on the road. First of all I am with Mishel and his younger brother that blow the horn to every woman we pass by, then you have Raoul that invites me to join untill Karnal since its a very old city with a lot of history that goes back to the Mahabaratha, and his friend that doesn’t like girlfriends because they only cost time and money. I share the most sympathy with Raja, who tells me not to come to Karnal while the guys are drunk (which they supposedly mostly are – they take some sort of powder alcohol they scoop up with a 10 rupee note, throw it in their mouth and flush it away with some water – and even tell it’s supposed to enhance the concentration). He doesn’t want the traditional marriage his parents are arranging for him and meanwhile has a secret lovestory with a woman in Delhi trying to see her every now and then without getting caught by her strict father or her mercyless brothers. Raja’s truck breaks down a lot and we have to fix tirepunctures multiple times. We enjoy some good local dishes on the truckerstops along the way, drink bucket loads of chai (I am starting to get slightly paranoid from the brown spots my teeth start to show the last few weeks – maybe its time to try to knock down on the excessive amounts of sugar or see a dentist for once), exchange smiles and music from my guitar with beardy folk and Sikh truckdrivers, have Punjabi rapsessions and hold a midnight discodancing party during a traffic jam on Moradabad ringroad, where we end up driving on the wrong side of the road for quite a bit trying to find some kind of shortcut. The roads are in a horrible shape most of the time (only the main highway to Delhi is a 2 lane road for some time) but at least the countryside in Uttar Pradesh is very beautifull, lush and green. It’s India’s biggest state and very important for her agricultural production. There are a lot of tiny villages and wonderfull trees along the way. The guys kick me out on the ringroad of Mozaffarnagar and since it’s dark already I get myself onto a bus to Haridwar and afterwards to Rishikesh. 2014
940 Zwijnaarde – Brussel : There is construction works going on at the usual hitchhiking place in Gent (renewal  of the asphalt of the fly-over) so we need to make it to an onramp at Zwijnaarde before we can start smiling and waving at the early morning workcommuters. After a while we get picked up by a lovely Peruvian lady. 2014
941 Brussel – Luik : As always it takes quite a bit to get around Brussels ring. We take the ride with an English woman who is thinking about quitting her husband since she finds him not adventurous enough for her. She loves to travel herself and is planning her next trip to India. 2014
942 Luik – Aachen : We mark a goodbye sign of the petrol station with the letters (S) H E L L. It takes long, too long. We eat some nice sandwiches in the shadow though. Finally we get picked up by a friendly German man who drop sus on a petrol station at the border. 2014
943 Aachen – Köln : During this trip I wrote down all the descriptions of the rides on my smartphone – which unfrotunatly died before I took them of. This is one of the rides where I really can’t remember anymore who picked us up. 2014
944 Köln – Nürnberg : We get stuck again in the afternoon at a petrol station right before Köln. We meet a young Romanian truckdriver, drink a beer with him and in the end decide to wait for his shift to start again (during the night), it’s all fine for him and we can sleep in his truck before we start driving. Also the next day things seem difficult and when we find a straight ride to Bratislava with only place for one, we decide to split up and let Koen go already. I spend some more hours at the petrol station hanging around with a German juggler before I find my next ride. 2014
945 Nürnberg – Beroun : A friendly older couple save me from an approaching rainstorm. Their daughter is living as an Opair in the Netherlands at the moment and she is asking me through texts if I would like to hang out and maybe show her Gent some day when I return. Her parents are very friendly and give me some coconut chocolates and wish me a lot of luck on my onwards journey. 2014
946 Beroun – Praha : I get a short ride into the city by a friendly couple who used to hitchhike a lot themselves not that long ago. They stop very abruptly causing the car behind them to almost crash into them on the highway entrance. 2014
947 Praha – Mirosovice : I drive to the next petrol station with a happy worker, altough we can’t communicate that well it’s obvious he is happy to help me out for a bit and he gets reminded of the days when he was roaming Czech roads by thumb himself (puts rockmusic louder). 2014
948 Mirosovice – Brno : I get to Brno with a young Norwegian couple who are making a two week Central-Europe trip together with the guys father. They have been enjoying their time capital hopping and we enjoy snacks they brought from various countries along the way. 2014
949 Brno – Hustopece : It proves to be very difficult to leave Brno this day, even after Dominik left already and we’re only with two we still end up waiting up to 4 hours (Vilo practicing his new dance moves). Finally we get a ride from a business man who drops us on a petrol station a bit further where we read a book and watch the movements of a prostitute visiting most of the parked trucks for a while before we decide to camp for the night a bit further away. 2014
950 Hustopece – Sladkovicovo : Next morning we get a ride eaily and drive with a business man who takes a smaller road through the Male Karpaty to avoid Bratislava. 2014
951 Sladkovicovo – Sered : we get a short ride by an older couple who don’t understand we want to wait at the highway entrance. When we finally convinced them we alread passed it and end up walking about half an hour back to get there, getting a bj offer from a farmerlady along the way. 2014
952 Sered – Nitra : as it takes a long time to find a ride at this not too busy highway entrance we play rockthrowing games and even make a sign portraying our increasing waiting times. In the end we get a ride from a very friendly religious man who tells us a lot about the community service he is doing in his neighbourhood and the rewarding feelings he gets fort his in return. 2014
953 Nitra – Hlinik nad Hronom : we get instantly picked up by a local baker who treats us with a bag full of bread, cookies and small tomatoes when we get out. 2014
954 Hlinik nad Hronom – Banska Stiavnica : one of the first cars passing us by on this empty road comes to a hold and we drive into town with a local school director. 2014
955 Zarnovica – Hlinik nad Hronom : We drive for a short while with a local worker, missing the entrance to the national route along the way (forcing us to stay on the small local road). 2014
956 Hlinik nad Hronom – Zvolen : we drive with a couple who finds a lot of things hilarious and make jokes about us being prostitutes standing on the road like that. 2014
957 Zvolen – Banska Bystrica : just before dark we get picked up by a friendly young Estonian guy who is travelling in Slovakia at the moment. He is looking forward to go hiking one of these days. 2014
958 Banska Bystrica : Brezno : we get our last ride of the day in listening to hiphop from a friendly local that buys us a beer. He tells us he wishes he was brave enough to make the step to go travelling as well. 2014
959 Brezno – Podbrezova : we drive a short bit to the first intersection with two friendly local man on their way to work. 2014
960 Podbrezova – Chopok : we get lucky to stumble upon another hiker as well. He takes us up to the end of the road from we’re we can start hiking. 2014
961 Chopok – Tornala : there is almost no traffic at first since we come from a dead end road (only having a mountain hut and a hotel at the end), so we decide to start walking down to meet a bigger road further on. Before we reach this road we manage to get a ride from a Hungarian father. They just spend the last two days in Slovakia since he wanted to show his son some of the natural riches of the country. Being tired from the hiking, we both daze of a bit and don’t really notice the road and go further south then we should have done. 2014
962 Tornala – Kosice : altough we’re standing on some sort of highway with not a lot of place to stop, the low amount of traffic makes it easy for a van to pull over. We drive to Kosice with a friendly courier, who since it got dark by now and started raining suggest he can drop us at the trainstation. 2014
963 Stropkov – Presov : Since I have 5 minutes left before the bus arrives I decide to hitchhike and get a ride instantly from a friendly man who insists upon taking me for lunch at a roadside restaurant before dropping me of in Presov. 2014
964 Presov – Rainbow gathering : I get picked up by David and Ondrej who drive me to Kosice. Along the way they tell me they have a secret for me. They find it difficult to keep it a secret though. The tell me they just went to Kosice to pick up some stuff and their friend Diana and that they will be of to the rainbow gathering in Romania, my destination as well. Although the distance isn’t long at all, we really take it as a roadtrip, taking only small roads, going thorugh Hungaries wineregion, even ending up camping at Nyíregyháza. The next day we get completly off track on a small barely paved road in northwestern Romania. It’s a hilarious trip and we make it to the gathering eventually as there is no hurry at all. 2014
965 Sacuieu – Huedin : I get back to civilisation with a local forester in his jeep that is slowely falling apart. 2014
966 Huedin – Ludus : Right after a guy makes a joke by pretending to pick me up and driving on I turn around again and a van has really stopped for me. A friendly young courier tells me he can take me all the way to Brasov but half way he gets a call from his boss that changes his directions and he drops me of in Ludus at an intersection. 2014
967 Ludus – Brasov : I drive to Brasov with a typical Romanian man. He seems very though and bulky but is actually very friendly. He has a gem business with his wife and drives around a lot in Central Romania for it. 2014
968 Brasov – Bucuresti : I get to Bucuresti quickly with a business man who drops me of at Unirii. 2014
969 Bucuresti – Costinesti : I get out of the capital with a friendly couple. With don’t communicate too much. 2014
970 Costinesti – Vama Veche : I get a short ride with a Romanian man from Bucuresti, looking for a room to enjoy his weekend at the seaside. 2014
971 Zarnesti – Brasov : After hiking in Piatra Crauilui I get picked up by a great young guy who is working as a designer and builder in outdoor adventure parks in Romania, he shows me some of the designs that creep me out a bit due to my fear of heights. 2014
972 Brasov – Sighisoara : I drive with a great guy, who is working for a project that helped to provide literature to small communities all over the country. The project is coming to an end now and he doesn’t know well which job he could do or get next. 2014
973 Sighisoara – Sibiu : there are prostitutes advertising their services at the junction where I hitchhike (the inform wether I am interested as well). For a while I am hitching together with an old man with whom I speak German (he is on his way quicker then I though) and I get a ride from a friendly man – there isn’t a lot of communication possible due to our language barrier. 2014
974 Sibiu – Scoreiu : a friendly man picks me and another local hitchhiker up at a shopping mall on the outskirts of the city and drops me at an intersection, right at the beginning of the Transfagarasan road. 2014
975 Scoreiu – Cartisoara : I get a short ride from a friendly local farmer couple. 2014
976 Cartisoara – Transfagarasan : I drive up the impressive Transfagarasan road with a friendly father and his 3 children. We stop a few times on the way to make some family pics. I get of at Balea lake and start hiking a trail that will lead me to mt. Moldoveanu, Romania’s highest point. 2014
977 Manastirea Sambata de Sus – Sambata de Sus : I am quite destroyed from walking for over 11 hours this day and am more then relieved to find a car on this dirtpath. It’s a nice bunch of hikers I passed earlier the same day. 2014
978 Sambata de Sus – Fagaras : I get to Fagaras with a local in a silent ride. He wants to drop me at the busstation and i takes a bit of time to convince him that i really want to hitchhike on. 2014
979 Fagaras – Brasov : Hiphop in small 4WD. The guy comes driving back for me. We’re both very happy when we figure out where exactly I need to be dropped in Brasov. 2014
980 Brasov – Sibiu : Szid takes me to the outskirts of town. It doesn’t take long before I am on my way with a friendly man in his small delivery truck. He likes palinka and woman and manages to not get a ticket when we get a police control along the way (carelessly pretends to wear his seatbelt). 2014
981 Sibiu – Budapest : I drive a long stretch with a guy who buys cars in Holland, Belgium and Germany to fix and sell in Romania. Normally he has a cartruck to drive them but every now and then he needs to go on his own (although he doesn’t like the terribly long drive.. especially on Romania’s roads..). He is going to a small town close to Brussels but when night falls he decides to get some sleep close to Budapest. 2014
982 Budapest – Tatabanya : Religious Jonathan. Will send me an email with websites later. 2014
983 Tatabanya – Mosonmagyarovar : I drive the first bit of this friendly truckers morning shift on his way to Bratislava. 2014
984 Mosonmagyarovar – Wien : I get to Vienna with a crazily enthusiastic Serbian guy. Forgot what his job was exactly but he was in for the extremes. Own Carpe Diem attitude. 2014
985 Wien – Linz : I get picked up by a friendly young courier from Szeged. He offers to bring me to Bonn but gets a call from his boss telling him to turn around and pick up a colleague in Budapest. 2014
986 Linz – Grieskirchen: A trucker whistles at me and points that I should turn around – a car has stopped and I nearly missed it. Karla, Kerstin & Christine first tell me they can take me for a while but I find out soon their destination isn’t that far of, and when they invite me to join them to a party in a brewery it isn’t a difficult decision at all to accept. 2014
987 Grieskirchen – Gallspach : I get invited by a young local to the next town. 2014
988 Ride Gallspach – Meggenhofen : It seems easy to hitchhike in the countryside here as one of the first passing cars comes to a hold and a local woman takes me to a nearby highway entrance. 2014
989 Meggenhofen – Aistersheim : I spend a long time in the drizzle at an entrance to the highway before I get picked up by a friendly local man only to be driven 2 kilometers to the first raststatte, only if I would have known it was there I could have walked that distance several times. 2014
990 Aistersheim – Passau : I cross the border with an interesting well travelled business lady. She has a lot of questions regarding the parts of the Middle East I have travelled, and she is really looking forward to travel that region of the world once as well. 2014
991 Passau – Regensburg : I drive with a sympathetic young man from Slovenia who moved to Ingolstadt for his job in the metal sector. 2014
992 Regensburg – Nurnberg : I take another spin with a friendly German guy, wishing me ‘good luck sailor!’ when I get out of the car jst before Nürnberg. 2014
993 Nurnberg – Meursault : I need to get to the farm in France this day in order tob e in time for the job, as I still have 700 km to drive things start to look a bit shady untill I spot a French car on the petrol station and decide to wait for the owner to return. I get extremely lucky meeting this great Turkish man who is driving from Izmir to Bordeaux straight. He doesn’t have a GPS and is happy to take me aboard as his nevigator. It’s a hilarious ride in which we speak some mixture of French and Turkish and the guy smokes about half a pack of cigarettes every hour. 2014
994 Meursault – Beaune : I make it to the rendez-vous spot with a friendly local who explains me where I could go once my first job will be finished. 2014
995 Auxey-Duresses – Besancon : I get a ride from Remy, one of my colleagues during les vendanges, who is picking up his girlfriend in Besancon. He can’t imagine I will hitchhike all this long way (and to be honest even doesn’t know fors ure where Czech Republic exactly is). 2014
996 Besancon – Bruchsal : I get a long ride in with a friendly Japanese man, who moved to Frankfurt with his family for work. We listen to strange Japanese covers of well known popsongs all the way. 2014
997 Bruchsal – Heilbronn : I get onto the right highway direction east with a friendly Berlin hipster couple in their pimped Volkswagen van. They’re very curious about les Vendanges. 2014
998 Heilbronn – Beroun : I am able to continue instantly with a young Czech courier who tells me he is working lots and lots all over Europe in order to save up money (I forgot what for exactly). 2014
999 Beroun – Praha : Ben, a friendly man working in a clinic in Praha picks me up on his way to work. 2014
1000 Praha – Jihlava : A business man at first hesitates to take me with him telling me his car isn’t in the best shape. We go for it anyway and I find out he wasn’t exaggerating as the car isn’t the full 100 percent steerable anymore. We make it safely to Jihlava though where a friend of his has a car repair shop and promised to take a look at it. 2014
1001 Jihlava – Brno : I get to Brno with a friendly local. We need to find his carkeys first before we can get going again. 2014
1002 Pohorelice – Mikulov : I have a hard time getting out of Brno, even taking a bus to Pohorelice first and walking out of town. At a junction I get rewarded form y patience though when a biker with a spare helmet invites me for a thrilling ride to Mikulov. A lot of wind! 2014
1003 Mikulov – Wien : I finally make it to Vienna with a Polish student who picked up another hitchhiker somewhere before already. She is very curious and would love to make a long trip by hitchhiking ones as well. 2014
1004 Gent – Luik : I get picked up almost immediatly by an elderly couple. We don´t talk really but listen to an interview on the radio with Belgian author Hugo Camps. It´s a good moment to nod off for a bit. 2014
1005 Luik – Luik : I drive from a petrol station just before Luik with a young musician. We’re speaking French but unfortunately there is some miscommunication and all of a sudden we’re in the city center (never leave the highway haha!). Anyways I remember a spot from where I was hitchhiking a few years earlier and my driver kindly drops me of there. Ow yeah and btw apparently Luik has Europe’s biggest openair market along the course of the Maas. 2014
1006 Luik – Luik : it doesn’t take long before I am out on the highway again with a friendly young man. He doesn’t go very far though but we make enough distance to get to the first petrol station on the highway. I spend some time here before in summer with my friend Koen (I get a reminder by the ‘HELL’ graffiti we made on the shell petrol station. 2014
1007 Luik – Köln : I drive to Köln with a Portugese couple. They have been living in Germany for quite some time now and just returned from a short holiday in Portugal. I decide to join them into the city (why do you leave the highway haha) and take some public transportation out to a hitchwiki spot on the southeast of the city in direction of Frankfurt. 2014
1008 Köln – Köln : Unfortunatly it’s already pitch black by the time I make it to the spot. And it’s just an onramp of the highway in the middle of a forest without any illumination. I try with a headlight though and although the traffic isn’t low at all it takes 2 hours untill a friendly local gives me a short ride to a restplace along the highway. 2014
1009 Köln – Frankfurt : a friendly trucker invites me in for a ride. He is a very sympathetic man and speaks pretty good Dutch as well. We share some interesting conversation about modern day society, the problems the world is facing today and the unfortunate inability to change of the people/big cooperations that are in power. Also he is recording all of the way with a small camera since just a few weeks ago he witnessed a comet impact from close by and it was such a powerfull experience he wished he could have recorded it to show it to other people. 2014
1010 Frankfurt – Nurnberg : It’s close to midnight already as I get a ride by an extraordinary person. This Turkish man has been living in Germany for the last 45 years but proclaims to still feel completely Turkish. Before we start driving he puts a carpet on the ground in front of his car and quietly performs his prayers. Along with me drives a Hungarian woman who was hitchhiking from the petrol station as well. She speaks Dutch and was living in Utrecht for a while, where she wasn’t able to find a job and now she is roaming, jobless and roofless. We leave her in Frankfurt city center. The next 3 hours I have very interesting conversation about our European society and the possibilities for Turkish people to integrate. My driver is one of the key figures in a European Turkish political party that is active in almost all European countries. He has very interesting and beautifull future visions and possibilities that he likes to share with me. 2014
1011 Nurnberg – St. Polten : I spend a few cold hours in my tent on the petrol station. It’s a place we’re I have been a few times before trying to get rides to Czech republic. The same thing accounts now and I find most people driving in direction of München. In the 3 hours I need to wait I meet a student from Brno and I am talking about Iraqi Kurdistan with a young Kurdish man from Mardin. Then I get picked up by a friendly business man from Bonn that is on his yearly trip to Austria. It’s quite a long stretch and there are some traffic jams along the way. I find it difficult to keep focus on conversation and end up taking a few naps. 2014
1012 St.Polten – Wien : I drive with Daniel and Christian, two young Serbian guys working for Mobelix, a furniture company. There quite amazed about my stories and how easy hitchhiking could work and even want to make a trip like this now to the Netherlands (in the end the tell me they were joking and would rather drive themselves). 2014
1013 Wien – Wolkersdorf : I leave the city with a young woman returning to her parental home after a night of partying in Wien. She tells me she never picked up a hitchhiker before, but is very curious and would really like to roam Europe’s roads in this way once in her life as well. 2014
1014 Wolkersdorf – Mistelbach : It’s cold on a petrol station just outside of the city. Apart from a lady wanting to give me a burger there isn’t a lot of traffic untill after two hours I finally get a short ride from three 18 year olds that just paid the fastfood joint a visit as well. 2014
1015 Mistelbach – Mikulov : I drive into Czech republic with a friendly young couple. The girl just finished a 3 month internship in Wien and really liked the city. 2014
1016 Mikulov – Brno : I get to Brno with a seemingly wealthy businessman. He is entertaining me with stories of how he outsmarted some of his business world enemies. He seemed like a bit of a shady character but we shared an interest in history. He strongly believed the Catholic church is an ongoing rule of descendants of the Roman empire. 2014
1017 Rotterdam – Dordrecht : I get picked up quickly by a young kitesurfer. Very down to earth and nice person. 2014
1018 Dordrecht – Hazeldonk : I drive wit a friendly Indonesian man. He is a manager for a real estate agency that lents unoccupied historic buildings in the Benelux and is very interested in Wo I and II. 2014
1019 Hazeldonk – Antwerpen : It’s a challenge to get into the car without stepping in the giant puddle of icewater that is all around the car of the young Belgian guy who stopped for me. He is a nice guy but i can feel some uncertainty in his talkings when he tells me he just decided to buy a house in his home village while he thought he would never do so and actually pictured himself to be travelling on this age like me as well instead of having his long term relations hip and working full time. 2014
1020 Antwerpen – Gent : I get picked up by a promotion manager from Heineken. For me it’s funny to meet a Belgian guy that is working for this Dutch company since most of my friends in Belgium think it’s the worst beer in the world. He is very friendly and well travelled altough he immediatly admits he doesn’t really get to experience all the places he goes since it is for business mostly. 2014
1021 Gent – Brussel : I get picked up by a young Turkish man on his way to visit a friend in the capital. As most Turkish people in Gent he is from the region around Emirdag and as we talk I wonder of a bit back to my own travels in this beautifull country we’re disscussing. 2015
1022 Brussel – Luik : Getting around Brussels always prooves to be a bit tricky but this time it only takes a hour before i am on the road again with a young man and his mother on the road to Verviers. 2015
1023 Luik – Herborn : I instantly get picked up by a young German-Belgian couple, who rearrange their luggage so there is just enough space for me to squeeze into their small car. Their visiting friends in a small town north of Frankfurt and as I am not paying attention too well, we leave the 3 and I get on an unpreferable northern highway. 2015
1024 Herborn – Neuberg : I drive with a young Serbian man who claims to have been fighting in Syria. We have interesting conversation about religion. He strongly believes a lot of Europe’s youth forgot the ability to think for themselves and looses themselves in negative spirals of alcohol and individualism. 2015
1025 Neuberg – Wien : It’s very difficult too leave this petrol station and as it got dark and increasingly cold I spend most of the night sitting inside of the restaurant reading a book. After a total of 12 hours has passed since i arrived and asking numberous people I get extremly lucky to find a straight ride all the way to Wien. My drivers are two friendlw woman from Siegen driving there to pick up a Hungarian bulldog puppy. I feel a little silly for not talking too much and napping most of the time (due to the fact I didn’t manage to catch any sleep during the night) but I get to help them fixing their GPS in the end so everything is just fine. 2015

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