A party in Germany – nightswimming in a lake at 3 in the morning, and the water is quiet, fresh and clear. Looking above the sky shows countless stars and the milky way. Afterwards we sleep on the beach while some other friends just seem to get more and more energy as the night slowly turns into day again. Later there’s football, and the village of Aschaffenburg just starts boiling with crazy Italians after Germany has been defeated. This night the Italians are everywhere with their green-white-red flags, honking their cars or partying on the street.
It takes a while to get back into the travelling rhytm, but the first day of hitchhiking works out fine. As I’m sitting eating an apple on the middle of a hot day on the side of some road, I see in the distance a car dropping another hitchhiker off. A guy with dreadlocks carrying about four different bags. As he comes nearer I’m very suprised – it’s Sharon from Israel whom I met a couple of weeks ago in Berlin! He gets by as a streetperformer and so he does a juggling act to gets peoples attention while I hold out my universal “10 km” sign to state where we want to go. It works like a charm – not in the last place because the whole situation is so funny that we share a lot of laughs.
Sharon has started travelling in June. After a couple of rides, as we’re sitting in the shade on a gasstation, he tells me why he’s travelling: “I’ve been in the Isrealian army for four years. I’ve fought as a tankgunner. Going to the army is compulsory, but I don’t fit in that system. These travels are my way of relaxing after this period.”
We’ve all got our own reasons for travelling; earlier that day I share a ride with a female hitchhiker – she acts shy, and is probably not older as 19. She’s hitching a short distance to get home, just to save some money. Still later that day I meet yet another hitchhiker. A very relaxed man of about 35, wearing a half unbuttoned jacket. When I meet him he’s just enjoying the sun on a German gasstation and tells me he’ll probably be sleeping in the forest at the side of the road that night. Already travelling for 2 years he shares his stories about surviving in the tougher seasons. After talking for a while I get the feeling this guy just doesn’t want to live the standard working life. By the looks of him, he’s doing pretty well.
So many things happen – I’ve met some great friends, had dinner with Eva’s grandparents, hitchhiked alone, hitchhiked with a Polish guy, hitchhiked with a Polish guy and a German friend, saw many small villages in Bayern, discovered that falling asleep in the hot sun can be very painfull and spent some days with beautiful women.
What’s next? Tonight a party with some old friends in Brussels, tomorrow I’ll be staying with some hippies in the forest and next week I’ll be going to pick up Chris in Germany – together we’ll be travelling in the global direction of Romania for a while. Of course on the way there’s also the couchsurfing collective to take part in. I love this website, and even more when after a recent MAJOR crash it appeared that the whole 90.000 user community had lost everything and they still rebounced, thanks to people all over the world cooperating for a couple of sleepless days to recover as much as possible. (The contribution of FBI data analysis experts may also have helped a little here..)