So it all started about 4 years ago, when I looked at the map. No, this wasn’t my first time looking at a map, I always loved them since I was a child. Even before I went to school I loved my father’s Great World Atlas. But it was an older edition, so when I finally got to a geography class in school I was surprised that a few countries disappeared, such was Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia. (I had to look up the spelling, I’m neveg gonna be able to learn it, sorry…)
But this isn’t really important.
So it all started about 4 years ago, when I had a funny thought. My home town’s name is Tata. When I mention it to foreigners they laugh and some of them says it means something in their language. That’s why I thought I’d try to look for other cities with the same name. And indeed I found one.
My brother and I decided to travel there and visit our town’s namesake. But since we are not rich guys with huge private planes, our only option is a low budget hitchhiking tour. So then we started to plan our trip and thought this summer we would take an experimental tour around Europe to see how it really works. None of us did this before, only I have a few friends who do it regularly. Based on their records and after a thorough research on the internet – the academic approach is very important in every situation – we planned the trip, then packed our backpacks and left. I asked my brother what place should be our ultimate goal and he immediately answered: “London”.
First day, first friends.
Our first two rides didn’t take us really far, in the afternoon we were still only 40 km from home. And no one would pick us up. We kept walking around the petrol station asking people if they would help us to move forvard. No luck. Then we met two men whom I asked
– Elnézést, beszélnek magyarul? (Excuse me, do you speak Hungarian)
They just stared at me
– Excuse me, do you speak English?
No answer for a while then one of them noticed the map in my hand and asked:
– Gde putuješ? (Where do you travel?)
Hearing someone just to speak to me in Serbian made my heart leap. I explaind them our plan. Unfortunately they were truck driveres, not allowed to take the highways during the weekend. Anyway they invited us to have lunch with them. They were from Macedonia, and on their way to Bratislava, Slovakia. Later with my brother we made a sign to Vienna, but no one would pick us up. We were devastated, and considered giving up. (no, not really but we were very very disappointed) We were also given dinner by other truck drivers, very hospitable people from Portugal. We didn’t even ask for it, they just told us to join them. They spoke Spanish and Italian, I speak English, Serbian and a little French. But they were still extremely friendly.
We waited a whole night there…
About at 6 am we were already waiting for a ride with our sign “Vienna.” A van stopped, a red haired lady leaned out of the window and told us to get in. They said they don’t go into the city but can take us to really close to it. I explained that we were on our way to the Atlantic ocean and the sign simply indicated the direction, and we thought we can have more luck if we don’t write a place too far. She said they were on their way to Paris, so we are welcome to join them all the way to France. We accepted and had great time with them during the 19 hours dirve. They dropped us near a metro station, and we headed to the city centre still unable to believe how lucky we were.
Spent mostly with sightseeing, so there isn’t much exciting or funny things to tell. My brother kept quoting from movies in every situation, which was hilarious and we had lots and lots of fun. Later in the afternoon we took the train to Écouen cause we thought it’d be easier to get to the main road from a smaller town than from the middle of a metropolis. So we arrived into the most beautiful little village I ever have been in. An by the evening we got to the A16 highway. The night was incredibly cold and long.
Early in the morning we got up and a truck driver picked us up who was on his way to Belgium.
(to be continued…)