Overland 1972 - Day 11

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February 23rd 1972
Published: February 26th 2013
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Day 11 - Wednesday 23rd February

It feels as if today is the real start of the journey. So far we have stayed regularly with old friends and knowing local people always makes sightseeing so much easier. We have hitch-hiked a distance of 320 miles from Koblenz to Munich in 9 days and now we plan to do a distance of 400 miles from Munich to Florence in 2 days.

It has been decided that I will travel with Heather for this journey and it is always nice to have company especially for any long periods between lifts. Munich YH followed strict rules and so even if we wanted a late start, it was not possible as you have to leave by 9am (in 1972 anyway). Alas not a good start as we take the wrong train and do not arrive at the Autobahn until 11.30am - still part of the fun of hitch-hiking is not knowing how the day will unravel - you just have to keep your spirits. The first lift was a friendly American who drove us 15Km to Starnberg. This was followed by a very well spoken German who drove us 80 Km and therefore near to Garmisch - we passed Michael en-route and there was enough room in the car to give him a lift as well. The third lift drove us to Garmisch. Garmisch was hosting the World Curling championships at the time and so there were loads of world flags on display. Our driver told us what a bad year it had been for snow BUT of course fortunate for our hitch-hiking journey as today was sunny and not too cold. We noticed the ski-jump.

The next lift was the best of the day from Garmisch to Innsbruck. The drivers were one German and one American and great fun. Allied to this was the beautiful scenery - snow capped mountains and the typically Alpine houses with painted walls - they always look so perfect and picture-postcard. It would have been nice to stay here but we had agreed to head for Florence (later we found out that Michael had stayed here and had been up the mountains in the cable car - which was quite annoying !). Anyway we continued our journey and a very helpful Italian provided the next lift to Bolzano and gave us loads of useful tips on life in Italy. After a brilliant day, it was now starting to get dark but we manged to get a lift by lorry to the outskirts of Trento which is another 40 miles down the road - this was one of those embarasing lifts where neither party knows a common language - still kind of him though. Then of course the hitch-hikers nightmare - stuck in the dark on a road with little traffic but hurray a final lift direct to the Youth Hostel. We have managed to get halfway to Florence. The YH was very old and had very basic facilities and no hot water. Still it only cost 500 lire and I had a good night's sleep. The YH was fairly quiet but we chatted with an Italian who had spent some time in Cambridge.


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