When hitchhiking from The Netherlands to Vietnam I will meet a lot of people. Who took me in their car and gave me a lift? You’ll find it in my hitchhiking logbook below.
Day 1 – Hoogeveen (NL) to Magdeburg (DE)
1. Czech truck driver who gave me beer at 10 o’clock in the morning. Car: Renault Truck, Age: 50
2. German man who likes to hunt. Came back from work and brought me to the camping. Car: Nissan Navara Pick-up. Age: 55
Day 2 – Magdeburg (DE) to Poznan (PL)
3. Couple who were on their way to a funeral, the man was normally a long-distance taxi driver for sick people. Nationality: German. Car: Volkswagen Golf. Age: 50 & 45.
4. Two guys, a grandma and a dog. The driver worked for Porsche in Leipzig, they went back to Poland for the Easter weekend. Nationality: Polish. Car: Ford Transit. Age: 33, 35 and 78.
Day 3 – Stayed in Poznan
Day 4 – Poznan to Lodz (both in Poland)
5.Krzysztof, personal fitness trainer and student dietetics. Drove a bit further to drop me at the highway. Nationality: Polish. Car: Ford Fiesta. Age: 29.
6. Estonian surgeon who works in Poland. Funny guy who hardly speaks English but likes to accelerate extremely and laugh about it. He let me hear some Estonian music. Car: Mercedes A-Class. Age: 45.
7. Couple with baby, the driver used to hitchhike back in the days, he even knew the colors of FC Groningen (football club in the town where I live). Although they took me for only 15km, it was of great help because I waited for a bit more than an hour. They went to their family for Easter in Eastern Poland. Nationality: Polish. Car: Ford Focus. Age: 45, 40 and 1.
8.Young couple who picked me up directly after the previous lift. They were on their way to their flower shop in Lodz. They dropped me at the hostel. Nationality: Polish. Car: Mini Cooper. Age: 33 and 35.
Day 5 – Stayed in Lodz
Day 6 – Lodz to Katowice (both in Poland)
9. Truck driver who went with his normal car to work. He almost passed me with 90 km/h but braked heavily and drove backwards to pick me up. Great effort. Drove a bit further to drop me in the city centre. Nationality: Polish. Car: Volkswagen Passat. Age: 46.
Day 7 – Katowice to Zakopane (both in Poland)
10. Sales man of laminate flooring, on his way to work. Drove a bit further to drop me perfectly on the road to Zakopane. Nationality: Polish. Car: Skoda Octavia. Age: 43.
11. Young guy who brought his grandma home after Easter. His father died early so he inherited apartments which he rents now. He tries to grow this business. Furthermore, he studies psychology and does pilot training. He wants to become an intercontinental pilot. Nationality: Polish. Car: Ford Fiesta. Age: 22.
12. Carpenter who was on his way to the next job. Nationality: Polish. Car: Toyota Hilux pick-up. Age: 47.
Day 8 – Stayed in Zakopane for hiking the mountains
Day 9 – Stayed in Zakopane for hiking the mountains
Day 10 – Zakopane (Poland) to Strbske Pleso (Slovakia), hitchhiked together with Hannah from Germany
13. Polish man who didn’t speak German or English but helped us very well to drive a bit further to a good spot. Car: Ford Galaxy. Age: 44.
14. Elderly Polish man who drove in an old Mercedes truck. Funny man who makes us laugh although we didn’t speak the same language. He carried two horses in the back. Car: Old Mercedes truck. Age: 73.
15. Russian mother and daughter. They were on holiday because the mountains in Poland are closer to their hometown Moskva than the ones in Russia. The women was architect and the daughter in high school. Car: Dacia Sandero. Age: 42 and 15.
16. Forester in the High Tatra mountains of Slovakia. Nationality: Slovak. Car: Skoda Octavia. Age: 42.
17. Managing Director of quite a luxurious hotel near the high Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. Drove a bit further to drop us at the hostel. Car: Toyota RAV4. Age: 43.
Day 11 – Stayed in Strbske Pleso to hike the mountains.
Day 12 – Strbske Pleso to Kosice, both in Slovakia. In between was a castle I wanted to visit.
18. Very old man, I guess 85+ years old. Car: Nissan Micra.
19. A couple who took their child and me to the petting zoo. Nationality: Slovak. Age: 42, 40 and 1. Car: Skoda Octavia.
20. Wood artist who transforms pics to wood sculptures. Dropped me at the parking lot of the castle which I wanted to visit. Nationality: Slovak. Age: 34. Car: Volkswagen Passat.
21. Australian man who picked me up in the countryside of Slovakia, very surprising. Drove further to drop me in a good hitchhiking spot. Nationality: Australian. Age: 43. Car: Fiat Ducato.
22. Mechanical engineer and fan of Dutch metal bands. Dropped me in front of the hostel. Nationality: Slovak. Age: 45. Car: Alfa Romeo Mito.
Day 13 – Kosice (Slovakia) to Oradea (Romania)
Slovakian team manager in excavation work. Drove further to drop me right at the border. Age: 47. Car: Skoda Octavia.
Polish truck driver with a very good sound system in his truck, we listened to some progressive electronic music. He took me all the way to Oradea in Romania. Age: 36. Car: Volvo truck.
Day 14 & 15 – Oradea
Stayed in Oradea (Romania)
Day 16 – Oradea to Cluj (Romania)
Romanian man who was working as transporter of medicins. Age: 46. Car: Ford Transporter.
Day 17 & 18 – Stayed in Cluj
Day 19, 20 and 21 – Cluj to Iasi (Romania)
Slept in the following places: Cluj, Vadu Izei, Piatra Neamt, Iasi (all in Romania)
A guy from Iceland who I meet in the hostel in Cluj took me for days 19, 20 and 21, which was very great! We visited some highlights along the road like the Merry Monastery. Age: 25. Car: Volkswagen Golf.
Day 22 – Iasi (Romania) to Chisinau (Moldova)
Sales man of car paint who was working to me to the border with Moldova. Age: 29. Car: Renault Clio.
Guy who works as a waiter in a bar in Iasi, Romania. Furthermore he works as an agent for renting appartments. He went to Chisinau to visit a friend. Age: 26. Car: Ford Focus.
Day 23 – Chisinau (Moldova) to Tiraspol (Transnistria)
Taxi driver who didn’t get a passenger from the airport. So instead of a passenger, he took me for free. Very kind. Age: 46. Car: Mazda Capella.
Day 24 – Tiraspol (Transnistra) to Odessa (Ukraine)
The father from the hostel owner took me to the main road to Ukraine. It was just before an abandoned police checkpoint from Transnistria. There was also a mother, daughter and baby in the car, not sure, but I think it was family. Age: 64. Car: Mazda Capella.
For the third time in a row I was in a Mazda Capella! It might be a popular car in Transnistria. This man work for the justice in Transnistria. He told me he was the ‘major’, which sounds important to me.
Not sure if I understood it right, but he could be with retirement, although he was only 41. Anyway, he had a free day and decided to bring me to the border of Ukraine. Which was about a 45 minutes drive. So this was super friendly! Age: 41. Car: Mazda Capella.
I walked across the border. I heard this might be a border where they ask for bribes. I was told €50 by other travellers. And you should ask for a Moldavian exit stamp. Both things were really fine, no problems occured.
A young couple with a simple car. All unnecessary parts were out of this car. There was literally a light switch where you would normally have a dashboard. Also the ventilators were not in the car anymore. The only luxury was the radio. But the lift was good, they brought me all the way to downtown Odessa.
Age: 31. Car: Renault Megane.
Day 25 – Odessa
Stayed in Odessa
Day 26 – Odessa (Ukraine) to Galati (Romania)
Ukrainian man in a van took me for half an hour. Age: 42.
Man and younger colleague came back from either promoting their wine or getting raw materials for it. They had Bulgarian roots, but live in Ukraine. They were very hospitable as they gave me a lot of food. Also they gave me 4 types of sausages and two bottles of wine as a present. We visited 3 times some family members. First to try honey, then to drink tea, after that to drink wine. Great experience. Age: 46. Car: Nissan Juke.
I wanted to walk over the Moldavan border to Romania, but it was not allowed. Luckily the first car who arrived (it was already dark) took me over the border. This was guy from Romania who spoke French. Age: 36. Car: Ford Focus.
In the night I searched for a place to wild camp. As I encountered a lot of stray dogs, who were barking a lot, I decided to go back to town. Then a home delivery guy of food offered me to take me up the hill to the hotel.
Day 27 – Galati to Bucharest
A guy who looked like 24, was apparently 42. He took me right to Bucharest, very friendly and cool guy. He transported meat for a big company, so we also went to the company in Bucharest. From there he took his own car to drop me at the metro. He even gave me a big piece of ham in the end. Car: Iveco.
Day 28 and 29 – Bucharest
Stayed in Bucharest
Day 30 – Bucharest (Romania) to Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria)
Lift 38: Romanian man, 41 years old. Took 2 local hitchhikers as well. This man drove a little bit further to drop me right at the border. Car: Renault Clio.
Lift 39: Young Bulgarian man, 29 years old. Normally he is a truck driver, driving all around Europe. “Bulgaria is not Germany” he told me. He told me hitchhiking is not save in Bulgaria. He was very kind and showed me a bit of his hometown Riese. After that he bought me a bus ticket, because I shouldn’t do hitchhiking according to him. I told him 3 times it was not needed, but he just bought it and refused my money. Very friendly! So from Riese to Veliko Tarnovo I used the bus. Car: Fiat Stilo.
Day 31 – Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria)
Stayed in Veliko Tarnovo
Day 32 – Veliko Tarnovo to Bozhentsi (Bulgaria)
Lift 40: Bulgarian, 73 years old man in an old Lada picked me up and invited me for a barbecue in the mountains. We ate meat with friends of him, drank a lot of Rakija, which those man made themselves. I could sleep in the house of the driver this night. Super hospitable and great day! Car: Lada.
Day 33 – Bozhentsi to Plovdiv (Bulgaria)
Lift 41: As the driver of last day had to get up really early, he asked his friend to drop me at the nearest big road. So his oldest friend, 83 years old brought me there. And the other friend from the barbecue was in the car as well. Car: Honda.
Lift 42: A man who worked in a weapon factory brought me around 15 km further. Age: 34. Car: Volkswagen Golf.
Lift 43: A Bulgarian with a big beard happily brought me up the mountain. He drove a very difficult road especially for me, so I could visit the communistic Buzludzha monument. He wasn’t going there, but he just did it for me alhough we could hardly communicate. Very friendly. Age: 59. Car: Kia.
Lift 44: Spanish guy who rents a car for his 5-day trip in Bulgaria. He couldn’t get more days off. He drove me all the way off the mountain of the Buzludzha monument and brought me to the nearest village he was going to visit a monastery. Age: 27. Car: Dacia.
Lift 45: Bulgarian couple. I had a sign for a village 5 km down the road. They stopped and asked me where I wanted to go in the end. It was Plovdiv. Luckily they told me they live in Plovdiv and were driving there. Roughly 150 km further! The woman was in the back seat because she took care of the baby. I could whisper with the guy in front as they were very afraid to wake up their baby. Luckily the baby didn’t wake up and I had some cool talk with the driver as his English was very good. Age: 31. Car: Nissan.
Day 34 – Plovdiv
Stayed in Plovdiv.