14 Days on the road. Hitchhiking from Holland into the world. Initially sleep in a one-person tent, but from Croatia and on a bit more luxury: hostels. It’s cheap, they’ve got wifi, food and other travel buddies.
The eleven guys from Oman
The eleven guys from Oman. I met them in Bihac, Bosnia (great town btw). They wanted to go to the Plitvice waterfalls. I could go with them in the van all day. The next day they even took me 300km further to Sarajevo.
After exploring Sarajevo it only took me 2 rides to get in Mostar. The road from Sarajevo to Mostar is impressive, great valleys lead you through the huge mountains.
Two Italian guys
Mostar is a nice place, but a bit touristy. From there two Italian guys took me to Montenegro. We rented an apartment together at the Bay of Kotor, beautiful town and area. I would recommend to climb the old city wall.
From Mostar is it only 380km to the capital of Albania. The more south, the more sunny, so let’s go. The sun was up early this morning. In the afternoon I am waiting in the burning sun for a ride. I am carrying my big backpack when walking along the road, searching for the perfect spot. Many cars pass by on this sandy road.
With Michael Schumacher to Albania
Then out of sudden there stops an old Mercedes. The man is asking me €5 to go with them, his wife and sun are in the car as well. So far I didn’t pay for a ride. But with 38°C this ain’t a bad deal. I’ll try to bargain to €2 anyway.
The driver, a man of around 55, looking a bit louche, does not agree immediately. With €3 we’ve got a deal. I take a seat in the back of the car and the man drives away like he’s Michael Schumacher.
Next to me there is a guy from around 30. Does he speak German? Yes he does! Great! Just to test if he really did I asked him: ‘Wie alt bist du?’, which means ‘How old are you?’. Unfortunately this question is too difficult. To speak German must have been a long time ago for him.
Let’s give it another try: Are you family? Yes they were, as I expected. As we drove further with Michael Schumacher behind the wheel, I got my doubts about this family. The guy next to me seems to be in the same situation as me, he paid for the ride. This is not unusual in Albania, but it tells me that they are not family.
We are approaching the border. I read the border control can be corrupt here, which makes me a bit nervous. Just a few hundred meters in front of the customs the wife is leaving the car.
The driver asks my passport and talks to the border police. It takes about 20 minutes, a very long 20 minutes to me. Just a bit behind the border the same wife comes out of a restaurant. She gets in the car again. Weird.
With traditional Albanian music on the radio whe are heading to the largest Northern town of Albania, Skhodër. Michael Schumacher kicks the pedal again and passes loads of cars for another half hour. In a small town we stop at an old house. The wife gets out. The driver talks to some street guys and enjoys a cigarette. Meanwhile the guy next to me and I are waiting in the burning hot car. For some reason the air-conditioning is not on.
A couple of minutes later the wife gets back to the car from the other side of the street. She carries a box. Once in the car, when we drive again, she opens the box. I can see this is a new set of kitchen knives. They seem sharp. Razor sharp.
To be honest, I’ve felt more in other cars.
Anyway, we drive further to our destination. Apart from the dangerous overtaking nothing really happens.
The wife leaves the car again. This time for real as she is takes all her stuff. The guy next to me and I are dropped at the bus station. As it is getting late I decide to take a bus to the capital Tirana. I withdraw some Albanian money when the same guy helps me.
After double checking my wallet I ask the guy a last question about this couple. He thinks they didn’t know each other. The wife was another hitchhiker like us?! So they were no family at all?
Special ride. Tiring day. But I arrived Tirina. A day full of impressions.