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The Way Is The Goal

Tag: Germany (page 1 of 2)

Travel Without Papers

What’s the single most important thing to bring when traveling – except your sense of humour and (not) knowing where you’re going? A passport, right? Now that’s what I forgot before going to Berlin to attend a pre-meeting for the 2010 edition of the European Hitchgathering.

I traveled in Europe without identification before and was hold at the French-Spanish border (“open borders?”) while the border-officials were checking my story (which they couldn’t – but I got released anyhow). So I know traveling without papers can be done.

But Germany is another challenge. The highways are filled with German cops and they pull over anyone that looks suspicious: a foreign license-plate, an interesting looking cargo or your profile. And if you’re with no papers, you are asking to be taken in.

Traveling from The Netherlands makes you suspicious, for no other reason than that. So, when we drove across the border I was unthrilled to see dozens of police. One officer stood in front of us. A look into the car, a break of two seconds… and we were cleared. Sigh, take a breath.

We drive through and laugh. The price of the car, a German numberplate and the fact it had a female driver, might have helped.

Though danger wasn’t over yet! She drops me at a small parking-lot just before Osnabruck. It is cold and few cars. An hour passes when a police car enters the parking and drives slowly into my direction, holding still at 70 meters. I hold my breath and then think of the story I would make up, knowing that German police often interrogates hitchhikers and do check papers, when just then another driver opens its window, offering me a 350 km ride.

Magic flute

Magic in your life, hitch, play and fly. A flute maker finds you on your way – after a long night of  sleeping cold along the highway – and he brings you further. You allow it, you surrender to the magic of the moment and you meet … your love.

She was dancing in the moonlight – in front of the bonfire on the tones of the flute you received, the flute that ‘has a life on its own‘ and that ‘will take you on an adventure’. Together you started a story that appeals and inspires, a story that truly can be called the magic flute trail…

Thanks – and I will never forget the beautiful Kira smile.

Whatever The Random Roads

Eleven cars, and thirteen hours. A baker, a development-aid worker, a flower-man, a sales-manager, a hunter (!), an IT-manager, and six more random people. They all gave me a ride yesterday, some only for a short distance, others for like 150 km.

At least on the map Munich seemed not too far from Bern, 430 kilometers my online route-calculator told me. I did foresee some difficulties as the roads before and after the border were pretty bad but as long as you’re in a car going a long distance, who cares about that. So in fact what happened on this day, I dared not to expect.

By chance I went on a 13 hour long touristic tour along small villages in the South of Germany. I was encountered with local police, foolish people beeping horns and hundreds of families coming back from a day-trip on the German side of the Boden See, and too conservative to pick up someone nice and smiling, while the sun was almost going down for a a long-night rest…

For the first time I allowed a bit of frustration to enter, but I perfectly understood that not all days can be perfect hitchhiking-days and I kept believing in it. “Everything is gonna be alright”, I kept singing while waiting on a spot where no car arrived.

Until now I had traveled between 50 and 80 km per hour but now it was around 30. I never had to wait that long at most places, but once I had to walk even three times from place to place before I got at a location where cars were passing by and also stopping.

Earlier that day I had already been in the middle of nowhere, close to the border on a B-road, or maybe even a C-road with no cars either. Thankfully I was given a map by the driver who stopped me there…

But then suddenly someone pulled over and gave me a good ride to a petrol-station along a small highway, where I was first told to go back and opt for my initial route, and then I was told to go forward.

I was all whatever. I now had a map, and at that moment still enough time left. Let’s first get out of this country and get back to Germany. I immediately convinced a business man to take me with him in his big BMW, who asked me why I had taken the longer route.

Anyway, the day was nice. I saw a beautiful countryside, very nice towns, and I got a fantastic view on this huge lake with Germany on my side and Switzerland on the other. I even got a ride in a 46-year old sports-car convertible, and just before the sun went down – I saw it literally going down the horizon – someone picked me up and brought me into Munich, meanwhile telling me about his amazing hitchhiking stories in the US fifteen years ago, and how never to give up. At was at this stage I had fully come to realize it had all gone according to the random rules of that day.

Next time you may hear from me, will be Monday or Tuesday next week when I am in Salzburg. Now I will have a small break as I will be taking a long weekend break enjoying sun, love and green.

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