Published: July 13th 2009October 21st 2008
Arbeit Macht Frei
The infamous "Work brings freedom" from Hitler's concentration camps.
Only a couple of minutes waiting in the special Hitch-hiker spot at Vilnius and we got a ride. We were happy. Our destiny was showing it's bright side. It wasn't until afternoon it started to show it's dark side. The couple in the car took us a few kilometers ahead and dropped us off, a few minutes latter they passed again by the same spot and decided to take us further. We were advancing very quickly and were amazed with our luck.
We were dropped off in the main highway to Poland, it couldn't be a better place. The excitement of the good start, disappeared little by little every hour we waited for a new ride. (Claudio after the second hour started complaining as he always did and swearing to the drivers that passed by and pretend not have seen us.)
It's amazing how much you can see when you are on the side of the road. You can almost have a conversation with the driver in the milliseconds he takes to drive by you. The lesson of the day: If you don't want to give a ride, just don't stop. Don't pretend you haven't see. It's all clear
from the road side
Auschwitz Concentration Camp's fences
About 4 hours later, a truck driver stopped to us. A very nice fellow going home for a few days after months on the road taking goods to Kazakhstan. "People happy are the one that usually give you rides, and you have more chance with Truck drivers from Russia, Polish truck drivers are always angry, you don't have a chance with them..."
- Told us our new friend. He kept comparing nationalities and behavior of drivers and police officers, was great fun, we got to know who you can bribe, who you can't etc.
He took us all the way into Poland, and dropped us off in a gas station on the side of the road. There we stayed for another two hours until a gentle soul stopped for us. He said this was the entrance of the town and we would never get a ride there and offered to take us to the other side of the town. By the time we got to the other side was getting dark and we where starving (we haven't eating anything since we left)
. But we couldn't miss the chance of getting a ride while there
The Administration buildings
was a little sun light. After another hour the night finally came. So we walked to the nearest road restaurant and had a traditional Polish dinner, we don't remember what we ate, but was warm and refilling.
Near the restaurant was a a little garden bench with a roof. Didn't protect from the cold and the wind but had a roof. We could camp there, but we decided to try another time on the road. For our luck a student going to go out to meet his girl-friend in the next town decided to give us a ride (The "happy people give you rides" theory worked again)
. The city was small, and he dropped us off in the road towards Warsaw.
Cold an tyred, we waited for another hour and nothing. It was 23:00 and we put our hopes down to find a lift. We walked back to the city and all we could find was an expensive hotel with a big reception area. Of course we couldn't afford a room, but we could stay at the lounge and warm up a bit before they kick us out. Unfortunately this was only an hour latter.
Streets of Krakow
The city is gorgeous and we did one of the many free tours offered.
around the city and we found a church, it was closed of course, but on the side there was some bushes and together with the church wall, it formed a kind of protected area from the wind. Exausted we put out our sleeping bags and slept. A couple of hours latter it started to rain and we didn't have a roof. We had to leave before getting the sleeping bags wet. Another pilgrimage around town, this time not only cold but rainy. We couldn't find any shelter until we pass by one ATM. Fernando remembered our cousin Flavia's story of sleeping in the ATM (She traveled with us Thailand and Laos, remember?)
and after we found out that was heated it turned out the best idea on the planet. There wasn't space enough for laying down stretched, but the heat and the shelter was perfect. About 6 in the morning when the first client came in, we had to leave. The sun was starting to rise and we could put ourself to hitch-hike again.
Soon that morning we got a ride all the way to Warsaw, with included free breakfast and a free tour around the city. Couldn't be
On of Fernando's many artistic pictures from the windows of Krakow
a better reward for such terrible night. In the new HH spot we waited for about 3 hours. With no success we decided to take a local bus to the next city on the highway and try our luck there. Another 3 hours and we got a ride only a few kilometers forward. It was getting late and Claudio already tired from sleeping in the street asked to be dropped off at the little town bus station were we could go by local bus to a bigger town a find a couch to sleep. the bus ride took a few hours and we arrived very late in the town. Everything was closed, no Internet cafe open to find a host. Paying a hostel, no way! We would sleep in the train station together with the homelesses. When we got to the train station Claudio just in case asked for a late train going to Krakow. Hte lady at the counter said there was a slow one, with two connections that would take 7 hours to Krakow. Hummm, It's cheaper than a hostel, we would have a seat to sleep, a bathroom near by and would be in Krakow by the
Used to be the Polish Jewish ghetto. The movie was filmed here.
morning. Its perfect! We take it!
We found a CS host in the last minute as always. Bartek, once stayed in an apartment in England that the host received as many as 10 people every day, as he liked the atmosphere he decided to do the same in his apartment. And for our luck he hosted us in the last minute. Was great fun, was like a little cool hostel.
Once in Krakow we couldn't miss visiting Auschwitz. We have visited memorial of almost all famous genocides in the world; Rwanda and Cambodia. We couldn't miss this one, not that we like visiting this place, because we don't, they have such a negative energy and a dark history. But you can understand better how far men can go. And how easily someone or a society be brainwashed to think that killing is the correct thing to do it. It's amazing that right and wrong is just a concept. And if you convince someone that the wrong is the correct he will act according to it with no bad conciseness about it. You can convince someone to kill his family, friends and children and in the end this person
We love CouchSurfing. The enviromnent is great, people so nice. Great fun!
will think he did the right thing (This happened frequent in the genocide of Rwanda)
Three great nights and great cookings from Fernando we left Bartek's apartment to Berlin. This time by bus. Was our last trip and we were lazy and didn't want to be late for our flights home. Yes, yes, next stop will be the last of 3 years on the road.
There are more photos below