Hitchhiking is a way of life, a gateway to randomness, trust and sharing. My first experience as a hitchhiker was 12 years ago and I still remember the four rides I received from Nijmegen to Amsterdam.
Hitchhiking will never stop amazing or surprising. Every ride is different, every road is new and every driver has something else to share. And hitchhiking will always remain. Some weeks ago, at the SHE-conference on hospitality exchange,Â I was lucky enough to host around 10 hitchhikers in my flat… 10 (!). Imagine the crazyness of that.
But now something really amazing is to take place as around 100 hitchhikers are gearing up to join the first European Hitchhiking Day ever; on the 8th of August hitchhikers will be coming from different parts of Europe and beyond with one common destination: Paris. Don’t miss it, if you have the chance!
From a bike in Romania, back by plane to Holland. Happy I was, cycling from village to town, over mountains and rivers, coming to places where no sane traveler would ever come, finding myself on that same very day, just after sunset, bleeding and scratched, fainting and screaming for help.
Three weeks ago, I was in this small town close to Sibiu in the Transylvanian region of Romania. It was a marvelous day, with great blue sky, big white clouds and a warm sun. I was cycling just by myself, enjoying one of the nicest tours of my life, while my travel-partner was out on a museum-day.
As I was cycling through a beautiful countryside with hills and greens, I realized yet again how priviliged I was. Passing through the numerous small villages where hardly a stranger ever comes, I was greeted by many. I waved back and asked how to avoid the high hills, as I explained I am from Holland and that I like flat land.
But these events soon turned differently and my laughing turned into crying. A man send me up a different road and an hour later I had to walk up a hill with bike in hand to find my way home. Seeing the sun going down, my pace increased as I went down the hill on the other side.
I lost track when a big hole in the ground appeared in front of me. Breaking turned impossible to avoid falling so I jumped high and landed well. But I couldn’t avoid falling as I landed in yet the next hole and I had to dive, away from the bike, towards the ground.
I deny the pain and get back up the bike again, only to faint 3 seconds later. I look for help when I wake up and spot a horse with some people slowly driving away from the scene. I call out for them, without result.
Thanks to a stranger that appeared, a taxi driver who was his friend, some villagers and an older lady, I got to a hospital an hour later with my travel-partner and our hosts who were able to locate me after a phone call and a long search. The doctors took away the pain and told me to get straight back to Holland.
Three days later we were on a plane, a particularly funny event when you know your travels are over. At the hospital here they explained me my collar-bone was dislocated. No operation was needed. All I need to do is rest and relax…
The main question tourists ask here in Romania is: “Who was the real Dracula?” For us the question rather is: “What do people have for breakfast and where?”
In Turkey they eat tomatoes and cucumbers, a boiled egg, feta and bread. In England they serve baked beans and scrambled egg, and in France you find croissants and chocolate breads. But we looked and looked while in Romania for two weeks now and still don’t know what to eat for breakfast and where.
Walk around in any random town other than Bucharest and, really, you will have a very hard time finding a spot to have breakfast – even bakeries are hard to find. So what do we have for breakfast? After a morning in Sighisoara looking for breakfast we stopped at a place for tea, coffee and… pizza.