Friday, June 10, 2011

Living life at 220kph

Ive finally made it to Attendorn after hitching for 2 days from Prague.

I arrived yesterday evening and at with Thilos parents before heading to a hill that overlooks the city.
It will be a great weekend canoeing and camping.

The first day I hitched I made it all the way to Heidleberg on the Autobahn. Taking 4 different vehicles.

Going from Prague to Plsen I rode in a Flatbed Tow Truck.
From Plsen to Nuremburg I road between two tots in their child seats...that was quite a squeeze but we had a good time playing.
From Nuremburg to Frankenhöhe I road in a car with a nice gentleman who after hearing about my journey so far gave me 20 euro and a box of merci chocolates!! 
Because of his generosity I was able to have all my food costs covered the next day. (I only had a $10 arriving to Germany).
 I had the highlight of my hitching on my last trip that took me closer to my destination and just past Heidleburg. I road in a Mercedes Benz (I dont know what model number but its one of the brand new ones) going 220 Kilometers an hour at some points..thats about 140 mph for my American readers...and the ride was so smooth. The driver that drove it is a break designer and tester so gets new models for high end cars so he can test the breaks. How cool of a job is this!  But that wasnt the most remarkable part of this driver. He told me a personal, first hand story about his experience with the fall of communism in Germany and the Berlin Wall..which sadly I dont know enough about. I will definately go to the museum Checkpoint Charlie that he recommended to me. It tells of all the myriad ways that people would try to cross over into West Germany.  His story though..was so touching..about family seperated for decades and then suddenly..showing up at their door in Western Germany.  I love stories with a happy ending!

I camped that night behind the Bergstraße station. Now, a thing to keep in mind is that wild camping is illegal in Germany although many people still do it. So I found a semi-discreet spot and broke some small trees and bushes to cover it up from the backroad. Itd only work for the night though...
I didnt sleep so well so I slept in the morning when it was warmer and woke up again at 9:30am and quickly broke the tent down. Just as I was putting the cover away some police drove by, stopped, reversed, and got out. I greeted them with a Guten Morgen and they asked if I was camping. I said yes I just woke up. I couldnt find a place to sleep last night and dont have any money at the moment so it was my only option. While the male officer looked at my passport the female officer asked me about my trip and then the male officer returned, gave me my passport, and told me to have a nice day. Not too shabby!  Thank goodness I didnt have this scenario in Ukraine! haha 
This day was a bit complicated for hitching. I just had to go from Heidleburg to Attendorn, which is close to Köln, but the first people to pick me up took me INTO Frankfurt. So it took me another hour to get back onto the Autobahn which is the only place one can successfully hitch from. Once on the autobahn I had some lunch at Burger King..I missed Burger King after so much McDonalds, and then I had to walk along the autobahn to a bridge, cross over, and then walk back to the station going the opposite direction.
I waited around 2 hours for a car at this station. People would just shake their heads or completely ignore me as if I was a begger here..yikes!  Definately not the same as yesterday when I was in Eastern Germany.
A young man picked me up and took me up to A45 on the way to Olpe..which is the town next to Attendorn. After around 30 minutes I got a lift from a Turkish truck driver (who admittedly doesnt like Americans much but made an exception with me and even gave me his map book of europe) He really liked that I traveled around Turkey. He dropped me off at Siegerland.
Finally I was picked up by a man named Achim who is an online radio dj and has the widest smile ever. He took me all the way to Attendorn! 

Some things I Noticed while traveling the Autobahn:

There is A LOT of nature and trees along the road!
People in Germany are really generous. On my second day I was given around 20 euros..sometimes without even mentioning my story or that I had no when I was in frankfurt trying to get back onto the autobahn.
The cars here are REALLY nice and almost all of them have blue-tooth phone capabilities so people can listen through the car speakers and just talk normally.
Most cars here are Manual..NOT automatic.
Thats all for now, I'll add photos when I have a chance.

Now I must shower, pack my things, and get ready for a wet and fun weekend in the countryside. See you all next week

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Prague on the go

I am now in the great city of Praha, Prague   Czech Republic after arriving Sunday night.

After being dropped off at the turnoff for getting to Centrum or the Center I walked, and walked, and walked until I came across a McDonalds. From there I was hoping to find a couch but since I couldn't I did some more walking heading north and found a discreet place to put up my tent that was void of needles and bums or drunks.

Clandestine Operations inside Prague
After a good night's rest..except for a helicopter, the city is oblivious to my presence
At 9:30am I packed my things up and went to the McDonalds where I spent a good portion of the day working on some photos and submitting my resume to more places. It was a stormy day and I did not want to be outside for the intermittent downpours.

At around 4pm after the rain subsided and I had a couch confirmation I went to Malostranski Metro so I could cross the bridge facing the Charles Bridge. Crossing the Bridge put me in Old Town. I met some 3 German girls that were on Holiday after just completing their medical degrees. We walked for a bit and came  to The Old Town Square where I took some 360degree panoramas (which I can't seem to create so no photo available)

By the time we were there it was already around 6:20pm so I had to head back to meet my host, Adam, by 7pm. Adam took me to his favorite afterwork chillout place where we knocked down a few cold ones before heading home for the evening. Unfortunately on our way home the heavens opened up and let loose a
torrential downpour.I didn't get too wet though since I have rain gear but dang! Luckily today is really gorgeous.

So TODAY the plan is to venture around Praha Zoo
to see how the animal world goes about their business in captivity.

From there I'll take a metro to visit Prague Castle and once I get some nice photos of Prague Castle and some of the surrounding palaces. 

 I'll call it a day and head for Germany taking this route.

View Larger Map Tomorrow I'll meet Thilo and his beau before heading off for a weekend camping/canoe trip.

The best part of it all is that 
I'm doing all of this on less than $20. 
Who says you need money to enjoy life?