Fifty-six cents was the fee at the border with Croatia but no change was given. “Welcome to the Balkan”, said my Slovenian driver as a response.Â He had picked me up from a gas-station ten minutes before and was used to the toll-worker not giving him back the change. My driver is a pizza-maker who “knows people here very well” and whose only interest in me is the price of drugs in Amsterdam and Barcelona.
So I finally made it to the Balkan. Slovenia was already a beginning but now I really have the feeling I arrived in a country where culture seems to be very different to what I am used to. People look different, they talk different, interact different, and so on. After a tough hitchhiking day, this was quite something I had to get used to.
My day already started in shock. I just got out of nature and my host dropped me at a famous hitchhikers-spot just outside Ljubljana where the highway starts. It was a weird and alienating experience. Straight out of nature and suddenly standing in the middle of four roads with tons of cars and very little space for them to stop.
I even (!) got a bit scared -for the first time during my trip- with big trucks passing me from the left and the right. Nearly did I get run-over by two very noisy and enormous fire-trucks that were moving from left to right across the little space for those brave enough to hitchhike…
As if this was not enough torture, I had to wait for nearly two hours until even another hitchhiker joins me, with a police-officer waving to us. We teame up when somebody stops: a businessman who sells “everything which gives money” and travels “wherever there is money”. He had just closed a deal, so he is happy and buys us some coffee at a restaurant and to have a social talk.
They drop me at an exit about 70 kilometers from the border, where a Catholic man who works as a waiter picks me up, and drops me just before the border. There the pizza-maker is my saviour. I could literally see Croatia from the petrol-station but could not find any car going to that direction or drivers friendly enough to give me a ride.
The pizza-man (“A kilo marijuana would cost you 5000â‚¬”) had no problems though and brought me save and excited over the border, into Zagreb, into a new culture, a new city, and yet again, a new experience. The first thing that caught my eye? More people hitchhiking…