Hitchhiking in Europe - your thoughts & experiences please

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Hitchhiking in Europe - your thoughts & experiences please

Postby loveliberate » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:42 pm

Hello All,
I've hitched extensively in the US, a bit in Canada & a tiny bit in Costa Rica - now my eyes are on Europe! :D

'd love to hear from those of you who have hitchhiked in Europe and even better if you have done so recently. The countries that I am most likely to be in are: central to northern Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Czech and maybe Sweden so I would particularly like to know mor about hitching in those countries. I came across this: http://wikitravel.org/en/Hitchhiking_in ... #Countries - what do you think?
“I do not love the bright sword for it's sharpness, nor the arrow for it's swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend." http://www.a-human-right.com - http://www.corneredcat.com - http://www.aware.org
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Re: Hitchhiking in Europe - your thoughts & experiences plea

Postby soniczip » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:16 am

i used to hitchhike (in italy) when i was around my 20s. i never had a problem, but i can't assure you it's safe, especially if you are female and alone. i'd say, only do it if you are with others.
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Re: Hitchhiking in Europe - your thoughts & experiences plea

Postby loveliberate » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:09 pm

Thanks for the reply! :) How long ago was it that you were in your 20s/hitching? How long did you typically have to wait for a ride? Any suggestions or tips for hitchhiking in Italia - esp. anything that may be different there?
“I do not love the bright sword for it's sharpness, nor the arrow for it's swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend." http://www.a-human-right.com - http://www.corneredcat.com - http://www.aware.org
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Re: Hitchhiking in Europe - your thoughts & experiences plea

Postby soniczip » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:44 pm

when i was hitching, ehm, metallica were still a credible band and a big wall up north tumbled down, lol!

i had to wait from 5 minutes to many minutes, depending on how much traffic was there.

i can't really compare hitching in italy to hitching abroad 'cause i only did it in my country. i think a better source of information could be someone who did it recently, like those guys i was telling you about!
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Re: Hitchhiking in Europe - your thoughts & experiences plea

Postby loveliberate » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:55 pm

You are awesome! Thanks for all of the help. It sounds like hitching may be a bit easier over there then here. If you do come across the email of those Israeli guys you told me about, please PM it to me. :)
“I do not love the bright sword for it's sharpness, nor the arrow for it's swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend." http://www.a-human-right.com - http://www.corneredcat.com - http://www.aware.org
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Re: Hitchhiking in Europe - your thoughts & experiences plea

Postby Sid Delicious » Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:06 am

I hitchhiked with a friend from London to Croatia and then up to Prague. My advice - take plenty of food and water. And sunblock. I got sunburned after spending 14 hours stuck just outside of Koeln in Germany! The next day we spent 8 hours beside a corn field on the outskirts of Ljuljana. We got strip-searched at the Croatian border as the border guard was convinced we were hash and heroin smugglers. I got a laugh though when he tried to open my small bottle of paracetamol but gave up trying as he couldn't figure out the child-proof lid! :lol: Austria seems pretty conservative. We got ID checked and questioned by the cops every time a cop car went past us there.
My friend and I got stuck at dusk in a small village near the Austrian border with Czech Republic. We managed to get a ride about 10km down the road, in the middle of nowhere. We walked for a while then came to a pine plantation. A track led off into the trees so we followed it and found a big roll of carpet and lots of empty beer bottles. Obviously the place for local youths to drink. We went to sleep on the carpet but got woken up by rain. We folded the carpet over ourselves and went back to sleep. We woke up later when the rain got heavier and the carpet was getting wet. We got out from underneath it, folded it to double thickness, used a stick as a tent pole and got back underneath it. I woke up some time later to the sound of a truck engine idling on the road nearby. The rain had stopped and the sun was just coming up. My friend got up and ran towards the sound of the truck. Through the trees I could just see the driver standing next to his truck. When he saw my friend run out from the trees saying "Can you give us a ride" the guy looked shocked, quickly got in his truck and drove off. My friend came back and seemed surprised at the guys reaction until I pointed out that we were in the middle of a forest at about 6am and it must have looked a bit strange when a guy in black jeans and t-shirt with dreadlocks and bare feet came running out of the trees babbling in a foreign language. No wonder the truckie decided to flee!
We walked to the border and got a ride to Pilsen, from where we caught a train. Train travel can be cheap in some countries so take advantage of that when you can.
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Re: Hitchhiking in Europe - your thoughts & experiences plea

Postby soniczip » Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:28 am

:lol: oh man!
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Re: Hitchhiking in Europe - your thoughts & experiences plea

Postby Gulliver » Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:05 am

Mitfahrgelegenheit.de is a ride-sharing organisation in Germany. You'll be expected to hand some money over for fuel, but it seems to be fairly popular.
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Re: Hitchhiking in Europe - your thoughts & experiences plea

Postby chloe » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:24 pm

On the whole ive had a great time hitching around europe, sometimes its fast sometimes its slow.All depends on what mood you are in really.My boyfriend,me and our dog with two enormous packs and some smaller packs all hitched from east germany to london in two days.But the three of us also spent a whole week trying to get from dresden to caen in france.we only managed as far as Ghent then turned around and went home.It once took me 6 days to get from germany to the bottom of spain, but ive managed to get from germany to a tiny little town in france called st john pied de port in two days including a night at the farm house of the parents of the woman who picked us up, all of whom spoke only french, where they put us up and made us a breakfast before setting off the next morning.Ive hitched around rural France,Italy,Germany,Czech,Scotland and Spain, pretty much theres nowhere that you wont get picked up from sooner or later.In fact of all the hitching missions i ever done the only time ive admitted defeat and taken a train was in England!!I love hitching cos i love the people places and situations you experience that you would probably otherwise go a lifetime without encountering.Ive had drunk spanish fruit delivery drivers, off duty bus drivers,Poles that took me for 8 hours without a single word of any language in commen,the ceo of a french electric company in a brand new lexus tiny convertable BMWs countless romanian truck drivers!My dog and i once slept in a brand new car on the back of a massive delivery truck, in the morning i was meticulously trying to pick all the dog hairs off the seats!! i reakon i could write a book with all my hitching stories. deffinately some of the most intersting times ive had in my life. :-)
My tips would be carry a tent and sleeping bag!!dont be in too much of a hurry and dont plan to be anywhere at a specific time!
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Re: Hitchhiking in Europe - your thoughts & experiences plea

Postby loveliberate » Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:28 am

Thanks for the replies! :D

It actually sounds like hitching may be a bit tougher over there...

sid: what kinds of questions did the Austrian cops ask? Any tips on getting the cheapest possible train tickets?

Gulliver: Thanks for the tip! I used a similar service: http://www.allostop-quebec.com - When I was traveling in Quebec last year.

chloe It sounds like you've definitely had some fun adventures!

Might anyone be interested in hitching around Europe with me for a few days or weeks next August? :D
“I do not love the bright sword for it's sharpness, nor the arrow for it's swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend." http://www.a-human-right.com - http://www.corneredcat.com - http://www.aware.org
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Re: Hitchhiking in Europe - your thoughts & experiences plea

Postby Sid Delicious » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:03 am

The cops all tended to ask similar questions (I think we got stopped 3 times in one day crossing from Slovenia to Czech). They always asked for our passports, then where we were going, why were we hitch-hiking (with a look of slight disgust as we were obviously poor scum if we didn't have our own car). The wierdest question was when the first cops stopped us. They were calling back to their station when they started laughing. They then asked "They want to know, have you seen Star Wars yet?" (The Phantom Menace had just come out several days earlier).
I couldn't give you any useful train info cos it would be so out of date. Generally eastern Europe was cheaper for train travel, but that was 12 years ago....
Last edited by Sid Delicious on Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Hitchhiking in Europe - your thoughts & experiences plea

Postby veganlifter » Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:49 pm

What a great topic! I absolutely love hitch hiking and would still do it even if I was super rich. It is such a great way to meet people and explore the true culture of a place. Also you get to see the good and bad of a country which I think is important to get an overall understanding. It also makes you think on your toes, become very streetwise and adapt to any situation. I have hitch hiked in so many countries now that I have lost count! A few years ago I hitched from UK to China with a folding bike - check out my pictures at the post below:

viewtopic.php?f=30&t=22933

Generally I find much of Europe to be the same; however I find Poland, Bulgaria and Romania pretty good. Even with 2 guys hitching you will never wait more than 5 minutes for a lift in Romania (day or night). When you are in Germany just make sure you don't get stuck in those very quite sidings on the motorway as it can almost be impossible to get out. The only place I have had real problem hitching in Europe is Slovakia. I only managed 30 miles in 15 hours! Once I got into the countryside and closer to Hungary things picked up a bit. I think my speed record for hitching was from Stratford Upon Avon to near the Ukraine in 24 hours!

As for food I find it can be really difficult on the road if you are vegan. I think the worse place I have ever hitched for food was Kazakhstan, where I basically lived on bread and fruit. This is why I tend to couch surf every so often when I am on the road so that I can touch base and cook some proper food.

If you get a change I highly recommend doing some hitching in Africa. The people are so friendly and it is super easy to get lifts. I went to Nigeria, Togo, Benin last year and hitched extensively.

Good luck
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