Bitter in Brno Sat April 14

Woke up and had a big breakfast buffet. We went to the central station and said goodbye. I got on the train to Chodov metro station and tried to follow the directions from Hitchbase.com. The

Woke up and had a big breakfast buffet. We went to the central station and said goodbye. I got on the train to Chodov metro station and tried to follow the directions from Hitchbase.com. The directions made no sense at all; it said “walk 10 min to the highway” but the highway was only 5 seconds walk away. I started walking South next to the highway, but the sun was shining heavily and my backpack enriched with 10 kilos of strategy games on top was just unbearable. So I walked back to the metro station; there was a small onramp from there. It seemed highly unsuitable but I gave it 7 minutes and 10 cars.

From studying the map I saw that there was a an onramp/gas station that looked excellent a little bit to the north. I started walking along the highway but didn’t see a gas station till I was on the Praha highway ring, which was too far up north. There were a few cars parked there, but I was too shy to ask any of them, except for a Volvo that made me feel safe. He was very nice, but not going South.

I figured that this gas station was serving cars to all thinkable directions and I found it better to hitchhike on the onramp in the Southern direction. The onramp was a bridge – not an ideal situation – and I gave it 33 minutes and 74 cars. One of them stopped, it was a couple that were going somewhere else but South. I went to an onramp upstreams and stayed there for 7 minutes and 14 cars, but I found the onramp too fast.

I figured that I must have missed that perfect gas station/onramp I had seen on the map, so I walked back South again. This time I literally kept the highway within a meter’s distance from me, thinking that the sneaky gas station must have hidden in some bushes that I had walked around. And there it was. It was pretty empty, so I thumbed on the sliproad next to it. It was too busy for hitchhiking, but yet a car with two women and a dog stopped to tell me they were not going in the Brno direction. After 10 minutes and 138 cars I stood thumbing at the less busy gas station. After 60 minutes 53 cars had passed by without stopping. The only conversation I got was with a truck driver who had his day off and was wandering around with a beer in his hand.

Except for the fact that I was not getting anywhere, I felt good. The sun was shining and I was reading my exciting Svinalängorna book. After an hour I tried the busy sliproad again; this time for 30 minutes and 356 cars. Another hitchhiker came and scouted the area and then left. He didn’t talk to me and that was very rude. Among the hundreds of cars there were many Hungarian trucks. I figured that they must be coming from somewhere and I decided to find the source of these Hungarian trucks. Like an explorer in the Amazonas I voyaged upstreams the river. At every junction I waited for a few minutes to see from where most of the the Hungarian trucks came. This was a very stupid idea and I knew it, I just couldn’t resist the beauty of it. After an outrageous waste of time I realized that most Hungarian trucks came from an inner-city highway, and that I was walking up this highway and would sooner or later end up in central Praha. I flipped a coin to randomize myself out of the madness but when it didn’t work I just slapped my face and told myself to forget all kinds of monkey business and smart ideas and just old-school crazy-walk towards the South till there was a decent place.

I walked for an hour. The highway was lined with construction works but the workers didn’t mind me. Sometimes when I had to climb fences and jump down from places I felt that the ends of the two aluminum bars at the top of my backpack frame were penetrating my box of games every time I bent forward and the box hit my head so I stopped when I found a pile of old newspapers and wrapped them into tubes that I squeezed in between my backpack frame and the game box to protect it.

Eventually I found a perfect onramp. It was so perfect it already had two hitchhikers on it. I talked to them and suggested that I wait in the grass till they were gone, but they said “no no, thumb here”. After 1 minute and 2 cars one of them had got a ride to Brno and we were all invited. Two of us got in while the third person kept cool and waited for someone straight to Bratislava.

The driver was wearing only boxers and a big beard. He was suntanned and looked like a motorcycle gangster and treated us with chewing gum. It was hot in there and we shared the water I had bought in the gas station where I spent a 100 damn minutes.

They woke me up in Brno and he said: “here is the road to Bratislava”. I walked up the offramp, crossed some tram lines, and found the onramp. I considered getting on the tram to some kind of tram hub where I might find any of the trams mentioned on Hitchbase.com. But it felt like I could get lost, and since sunset was approaching I stayed on this onramp.

It was 18:48 and sunny. At 19:10 101 cars had passed by and I started crazy-walking along the highway. It turned out to be a good idea; I soon came to a crossroad where the cars for Slovakia took off from the rest. There was an IKEA here, which made me delighted. Not just because civilization had come to Czechia, but also since this was one of the hitchhiking spots mentioned on Hitchbase. From here there was one direction “Brno” and one “Bratislava”; straightforward enough. IKEA-customers are perhaps not the best hitchpickers, but there was also a large gas station here that seemed to serve long-distance drivers pulling in from the highway.

I stood at the narrow onramp after the roundabout at 19:43; the sun was going down. At 20:48, 215 cars had not stopped and I gave up and took a walk around the area. There were many trucks sleeping here, and in a bar next to the gas station one of them was sitting with a beer. I thought that he was perhaps my ride to Slovakia/Hungary and got in and sat working one of my language game ideas for a while. After one glass we started talking. He was not my ride from here, he had some kind of bureaucratic problems and would have to wait here for days to get new papers from his company. He was from Antalya in Turkey and taught me a lot of inappropriate vocabulary. We tried hard to communicate for an hour or so, and then I found it best to just have some sleep so I bought some food in the gas station and looked around for a forest and found nothing better than a bunch of trees next to a river so I got in there, snuggled down in my sleeping bag and fell asleep. Goodnight!

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