On the road again: hitchhiking to Serbia


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Europe » Serbia
August 30th 2008
Published: September 11th 2008EDIT THIS ENTRY

Short facts:
Participants: Me and my boyfriend Livijus
Destination: Serbia
Length of the trip: 14 days
Approximate distance there and back: ~2000 km
Music: Pink Floyd/Queen Adreena
Books: Master and Margarita (started and finished during the long driving in cars), The Bridge on the Drina (started during trip, finished at home)


The First Hitchhiking Day



So it was early morning of 12th of August. I woke up with excitement and some sort of fear at the same time - the first day of the trip had come. First time hitchhiking, first time to Serbia, first time together. The excitement of being on the road again and trying out hitchhiking, which I have always wanned to try out, overwhelmed the fear and I rose up from bed with happiness (even though it was early morning just after 5, usually I am not happy when I get up at this time). So we finished packing our bags and went by bus to hitchhiking place. And not even 10 inutes passed when a car stopped - it was a couple of hitchhikers themselves (and as we experienced later the hitchhikers or ex-hitchhikers tend to pick up mostly). They gave us some tips and dropped us near the road we had to hitchhike towards Poland. Then we had to wait longer - half an hour passed and no one stopped. Then we started going to other spot and had sign of "PL" on the back of one bag - suddenly we heard a beep and a car stopped. The nice Polish man took us to Warsaw. He had good music (the Beatles, the Doors and alike) and we communicated half English half Russian half Polish. He took as to tram stop and told what tram goes all the way through the city to the other end where we needed ad we went by it. It took 1,5 hour to go all through Warsaw! And in the other end some people were hitchhiking in the bus stop. We asked people if this was the way to Krakow and started hitchhiking. And in 3 minuted a truck stopped. A woman whom I asked the question talked to him in Polish and then turned to us and told to go to truck and that it would take us almost all way to Krakow. The driver talked only in Polish and he was not a silent one. But again the knowledge of Russian helped us understand him. He took as far wan and even found us another truck through their speakers. The next diver was Frank! Oh we will remember him for long. Not a talkative man but extremely nice. Apparently he was going not only to Krakow but also to Slovakia further. So we stayed with him. At the border he stopped at a their garage place and asked where would we sleep. We said we have a tent and he offered to sleep in an empty truck container. That is officially the weirdest place I have ever slept in! We had our dinner there and we ate beans warmed by candles.

Secondt Hitchhiking Day



The next day we decided (by Franks offer) to go to Bratislava and hitchhike to Budapest from that place. And so we did. He let us out by the border of Hungary and we said our fast goodbyes (as it appeared later he made a 60 km round trip for us, let the roads be good and safe for this wonderful man). We just crossed the borders on foot and were about to go buy some ice-cream when a German woman asked where we were going and offered us a ride. So they got us near Budapest (though let us out in really bad place). we somehow hitchhiked to Budapest and then we had to find our way through the city. It was a difficult task - it was evening and firstly we had to find ATM and get some Hungarian money. The we got on a bis that got us some way through. We went to metro (where absolutely no one of information people spoke English, nor Russian, nor German) and somehow got to place where buses had to go to place we needed to hitchhike. But the bus stops were so scattered and no one knew where our bus had to stop! So when we found teh stop it was already too late - buses were not going anymore. So we walked and walked and walked... It was about 10 km that we walked till we found some green triangle between two roads with some trees and bushes and we put our tent there.

Third Hitchhiking Day



The next day was not very cheering either. One p;ace we hitchhiked for 3 hours with no luck. After that we went 3 km to other place and just in about two hours a Serbian truck stopped - at last! And the took us to border itself. Border crossing was easy - just walking. we got a little stamp by the Serbian border and thats all. Just out we met Hungarian hitchhiker couple - they were going to Rainbow Gathering and planted an idea going there too in my head. we went further and hitchhiked just about 20 minutes and a Turkish truck stopped (truck drivers are the best friends of hitchhikers for sure!). He was a generous man - bought us coffees and refused the money. And this thing happened quite a few times, I really did not expect that. He took to the entrance of Novi Sad. We had to walk quite a lot till we found a hostel that Lonely Planet was talking about. But we were happy - we did it, we reached Serbia and it was unexpectedly fast. So we stayed at a hotel and went out for a walk in a town. At first it seemed to be quiet but as soon as we turned to street after one churches we save a swarm of people there drinking beer and other stuff in outside cafes and some street musicians playing. So we joined the crowd and tried Serbian beer which was really nice. The moving crowed and relaxed feeling of the pedestrian street and the squares invited us to stay for longer but we were very tired after trip and went to sleep to hotel sooner than we wanted to.

In Setrbia



We explored Novi Sad the day after that. During day time it is quite quiet, although there still are many people there. But in the evening the fun starts again. It really seems that they go out every day in a week. I can say that Novi Sad is one of my favourite cities I have visited - not too big like capitalks, not too small, very relaxed and really fun. Theday fater we went to Krushka Gora. It is a hilly place with lots of monastreys. It is quite big place (all in all about 80 km in length) and there are no buses in it (so we were told, there actually were some mini buses going to little cities there). So we walked and walked, but we enjoyed walking. Came to one monastrey and walked again. We met some people harvesting pumpkins, asked for directions and got pumpkin for free. We started hitchhiking on the road as distances were huge. And soon we got lucky - nice couple took us to Vrdnik city and to its monastry. The monastreys were not something very special - maybe if we would have visited more of them with some bus or car it would have been better. And the surrounding nature - which was announced as National Park - was not special either, just lots of bushes and agricultural places. So we decided to go to some lake and camp there through the night. We hitchhiked again and a car stopped very soon. Again it was aged couple and they took us to the lake itself even though they were going to other direction. And gave us contaxt number in Novi Sad in case we come back. Then we were searching for place to camp. Appearantly the lake was not for swimming at all and not ncie at all. We camped a bit further and camping itself was fun. The next day we came back to Vrdink and then back to Novi Sad. The same day we went to Belgrad. We wnt to one of hostels there (the prises were already a lot higher than Lonely Planet claimed). In the city once again there were many many people. The pedestrian street was full and moving. The next day we went to the forstress whcih was very nice. It was big and people were sitting and resting everywhere. I can see that my city lacks such resting place with lots of benches, nice views and stuff like that. We did not stay in Belgrad for longer and went to Bor and after that to Zlot - the place where Rainbow Gathering was happening. Bor bus station was awful - all trash, no information. But soon a bus came and tqo hippies came out from it and told that the rainbow is already not far. Soon we were in Zlot - miny town with a police station, post office, municpaly services and many things elsei n one building and a newspaper kiosk secretly selling home made Rakija (plum brandy). We got to antoher bus and got off on teh road to Rainbow Camp... it was 14 km away in the mountains. But luckly soon a minibus picked us up - it was going to that direction and dropped us off 5 km away form camp, so hardest part was done. Not even got into came we felt welcomy warm feeling from all people we met. And the camp itself was wonderful, a very special place and very special people. We spent there three days and went back, as it was timeto hitchhike back. The coming down was hard and it waa hot, but we made it. We went back by buses to Belgrad, spent the night there and went hitchhiking again.

Hitchhiking back day 1



We went by bus to the place it was recomended to hitchhike in the guide, but there was a road construction so we had to go few kilometres further. In some time we were picked up and the person got us to gas station. After that we it weas about few hours and just few stops, but not to that directions. Eventually a couple stoped. They were Hungarians going to Budapest and they were hitchhikers themselves some time. They spoke good English so it was easy to communicate. They were wonderful people - they got us to Budapest and asked if we wanned to hitchhike or to spend night in their place as it was already late. So we spent night in Budapest and even walked a bt in this big and nice city - it was a lot different experience than the last time. We spoke with our hosts untill 1 a.m. and went to sleep.

Hitchhiking back day 2



The next day they got us to hitchhiking spot. It was quite long again until a Slovakian couple stopped - at first tehy though we were Sovaks as were holding sign "SK". But they took us anyway to Slovakia. Eventually they took us to cafe and ordered a national food (which was great) and insisted on paying. They left home and we happily ate and went hitchhiking again. Then again after long time a young couple stopped and took us ab it further. Then after somet time a person with strong political views took us further. We did not catch a car after that and went sleeping by the castle which was few kilometres away.


Hitchhiking back day 3



In the morning a young computertist took us to other city - he was going to work. And then it was a long long time until a car stopped and it was Autrian car, but two guys foem Cechenia were in it. It was a crazy ride - they were going to Lublin, so we wnt there too. It was 8 hour ride, as roads in Poland are being repared and it was hard to drive. ALlso the ywere smoking weed and listenign to same 5songs over and over again... Of course we were just thankful that they picked us up. In lublin it was already late and we just found some wird place to put our tent and slept there.

Hitchhiking back day 4



I woke up with excitement "We gonna get home today". We were holding the sign "LT" and it was not long way to home. But soon the excitement deminished as almost no one was stopping. We got few short pickups and we got stuck in each place. In one placewhere we hitchhiked for 3 hours I almost got crazy - Lithuanians cars were passing but none of them stopping. One Polish guy took as to other place 20 km away and then we hitchhiked again for quiote long time until a minibus from Belarus stopped. The guy took us and another Polish guy who was hitchhiking to Suvalkai. I was really happy. Although eventually it appeared that he did not stop without his own need - he did not have enough gas to get to the border of Belarus, so he asked us. We had to choose - we would have got to Vilnius anywya, but we could either help him or not. So we did. And we asked to get us to homeplace and eventualy we got. Oh the happines! After such trips you really do enjoy the simple joys as own toilet, bath and bed very very much.


Also what I noticed, I do not know if it is true ot just my imagination - the landscapes of countries so close, like Lithuania and Poland for example, even them seem to me so different as if the nation living there would give something unique of their own to the surrounding. Ot maybe it is just my imagination...





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16th March 2010

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Is hitchhiking legal in Europe?

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