Ho,ho,ho- here we go! Christmas time is coming and before we hitchhike home for Christmas (haha…) we want to present you the first Advent calendar on tramprennen.org! Every day until Christmas (or even longer) we want to present one story about the first time we used the best way to travel: hitchhiking! Have fun with the stories! And you are more than welcome to add your own experience! Just send it to gro.nennerpmartnull@ofni! Whoop,Whoop!
Your own car, the train, the bus, a rideshare… Today there are a ton of ways to get safely from point A to point B. Why would you even go hitchhiking than? Nowadays you could consider it a real anachronism. At least that’s what I thought when I was in my early 20s. Hitchhiking. That was something mom and dad used to do. Back in the days when the Berlin Wall was still standing. But rideshares, however, were cool and extremely convenient. Until, well, some friends came up with an idea: A Hitchhiking race. As a competition, we’d hitchhike around Europe and experience crazy stories. When I think about it this way, it doesn’t sound old-fashioned after all. Even if it does, it’s still pretty neat! And, man I definitely wanted to be a part of that! So, out of an experienced user of rideshares (which I was by my early 20s), I should become a hitchhiker.
Nothing easier than that (I thought). I’ll just hitchhike from Dresden to Eisenach. I had more than enough time and a rideshare was taking off in the late afternoon, anyways. I more or less ignored the advice I’d gotten about doing some research on the internet beforehand since I had friends in Dresden who knew a place to start hitching. The only downside was that I was consulted by friends who (just like myself) had never been hitchhiking before…in their whole lives.
So, there I was (kinda naïve) at the “Elbepark” in Dresden trying to go west. First at an American fast food restaurant, then at the neighboring gas station and lastly right at the freeway entrance ramp. In the beginning, I boldly wrote “Erfurt” on my old pizza box but nothing helped. Not a single car stopped. Not even one. The problem was: Everyone stopping by the restaurant wanted to go to Dresden or Poland. And stopping at the freeway entrance was rather difficult. But then, as the police politely asked me to leave the freeway entrance, the motivation dropped. The sun burning down on my head wasn’t helping either. My sign changed from “Erfurt” to “Hermsdorfer Kreuz” and lastly I ended up with “A4”. So I was standing at the freeway A4 with a sign that says “A4” and still not a single car stopped for me. Except for the police.
The hours went by without any prospect of improvement. After about four hours I had enough and I called the rideshare I had as my worst-case-scenario-backup-plan. “We’re all booked, sorry!”. Those final, devastating news frustrated me even more. But I didn’t want to quit just yet! I’ll give it a try for another hour.
And there it was, as if on cue, my little miracle: Suddenly a wonderful Cabriole stopped in front of me! For real. And it didn’t just stop for no reason, it actually stopped for ME. The driver was going to Leipzig, not to Eisenach, but it didn’t matter. I just wanted one thing: get the hell out of there! It was fabulous: a sunny summer weather and me in a Cabriole. And on top of that, a driver who had some stories to tell. The driver even dropped me off at a truck stop near Chemnitz. There wasn’t even closely as much going on as I (the naïve, freshly deflowered hitchhiking-virgin) thought it would. Still, after only a few minutes a student gave me a lift to the next real gas station. Once I got on the motorway everything went very quickly. I met a half-German-half-Polish guy who was on his way to work, in Hessen. I couldn’t believe it but he was passing right by Eisenach. We had an easygoing ride and so the seven-hour long adventure had a happy ending after all. And I was starting to become a real hitchhiker. One that doesn’t just want to get from point A to point B. One who never knows what will happen between point A and B.
And also, one who looks up the best starting place on Hitchwiki before the actual journey. A week later, I was standing in Dresden again. Although, this time I was at a gas station in “Hansastraße”. How long did it take me this time? Less than five minutes. Almost a little boring when I think of my first adventure…