Monthly Archives: October 2014

31. The 26th of October : hitch-hiking from Zagreb to Belgrade.

I hitch-hiked and got a ride to a pay toll in Zabreb. I got stucked for 1 hour and a half. Walked to a a gas station and asked a man to give me a lift. He brought me to Kutina. I decided to try my luck on hitch-hiking on the high-way. After twenty minutes a police car stopped. After checking my passport the agent told me i had to pay a fee with my credit card. I lied that i didn’t have one. He told the same thing again. I said i had only ten kunas. He told the same thing again. I said i could pay by post office which meant nothing but i just acted like a stupid and lost french tourist who didn’t know and understood anything. He asked me the same order for a fourth time and i didn’t say anything. Then he told me the lesson, gave me back the passport and told me to leave.

It’s totally fine that things happened like that. Hitch-hikers shouldn’t do that on high ways.

I still think life is made to take risks though. And i had to take this risk.

I went to the pay toll in Kutina. Went in center. I spent four hours in Kutina. At 5 pm. When it was dark, i hitch-hiked from the pay toll and this croatian driver brought me back to Zabreg where i asked my host Hrvoje to host me for an extra night.

The day after, Hrvoje brought me to a strategic place where i met right after i left him four truck drivers who had a breakfast between two trucks. I asked them if they were going to Belgrade and one of them brought me there.

It smoked. Tea, the air when we breath out because it’s cold, cigarettes, the food as they warmed the bread. Good atmosphere, food, good company.

I met my host Dejan in Belgrade around 7 pm.

IMG_1668.JPGA cathedral in Belgrade

IMG_1663.JPGThe fortress of Belgrade

IMG_1661.JPGFrom the top of a hill in a park in Belgrade

IMG_1674.JPGmy room in my host’s place. He is Dejan.

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30. The 24th of October : Zagreb.

When i found a driver who accepted to bring me to Zagreb from this gas station. I ran to the camping car and had quick farewells to Max, Claire and Hadrien. Matea and one other man brought me to Zagreb.

We arrived there, actually just in front of the building of my host Hrvoje. He hosted several couchsurfers at his place. I met people from spain, Usa, Croatia and the Philippines there. IMG_1650.JPGZagreb, a church

IMG_1648.JPGThe Cathedral of Zagreb

IMG_1647.JPGA slovenian poetry session in a croatian pub-library with free food and drinks with a couchsurfer from the Philippines : Eduardo

IMG_1652.JPGParis style in Zagreb.

29. The 20iest of October : hitch-hiking from Budva to Dubrovnik.

image image imageAfter spending the night in a field near Budva, i hitch-hiked in front of a bakery for one hour and one driver gave me a lift to Kotor. I spent two hours there to visit this small town with its port and its castle. Then showing this sign with two letters ‘DU’ for Dubrovnik, one driver stopped and brought me to Risan which is something like 20 kilometers further. From there i decided to walk along the beautiful adriatic coast and hitch-hike at the same time. For 3 hours i walked with some breaks near the sea. I hitch-hiked from a bus stop where a camping car stopped. A french couple with a baby, running a live-concert bar in Tour in France.

We went to Dubrovnik together and i traveled with them for four days as we get along with each other very good. A very nice couple, Max and Claire with their baby Hadrien and their camping car which they called Simone.

They have lent me a tent where to sleep. We had dinners and lunches together. Dinners near the camping car, cooking muscles with pastas for one evening and some brochettes on a barbecue accompanied with rice for an other evening. We spent great time sharing stories, food, beers, kilometers and walks through Dubrovnik and Zadar. I was lucky to have met them.

We stopped several times in camps to find a place to sleep. In one of them we stopped and walked near it to find an abandonned area with empty and destroyed luxury hotels, buildings and holidays places left after the balkan war.

Max and Claire were great and very helpful with me by asking with me in one gas station to several drivers if they could give me a lift to Zagreb where i wanted to go. Max and Claire were coming back to France and we had to leave each other.

Definitely my best hitch-hiking experience. A spontaneous and great meeting.
IMG_1617.JPGMax

IMG_1580-0.JPGAn abandonned luxury hotel near a beach where we swam

IMG_1598.JPGDubrovnik

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27. The 18th of October : hitch-hiking from Ohrid to Tirana.

In Ohrid i slept in the top of a mountain with a nice view on a lake with its waves which made me relaxed and sleepy.
I hitch-hiked to Struga where those Macedonian guys brought me. The driver said : “your name sounds like Gandalf! And you look like Harry Potter!” Not the first one who said that… He said to say good bye : “Ciao Gandalf!”. I said :” I’m Harry Potter, please don’t make mistakes.” A funny meeting. I need to give up my glasses though. He gave me one delicious and enormous apple and two bottles of energetic drinks.

From Struga i walked and after 1 hour and a half a driver stopped. Naim, 28 years old. He was going to Tirana. I was lucky this day. We said good bye to Macedonia and hello to Albania.

IMG_1520.JPGTirane

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IMG_1517.JPGTirane. I’m going to Budva in Montenegro.

26. The 17th of October : hitch-hiking from Skopje to Ohrid.

Skopje. I met nobody, nobody replied to me through couchsurfing, i didn’t had my best mood there which didn’t make me appreciate this place. So i left Skopje after one night.

I went outside the city hitch-hiking with a sign “OH” for Ohrid. After 30 minutes, one driver stopped and brought me there. Easy.

We spoke a bit in english. He offered me traditional food from Macedonia with one coca-cola for a break. He told me about corruption in his country in Macedonia and that several people left it for working abroad.

In Ohrid i walked through the center. A beautiful city near a lake. I went far from the touristic zone and walked near the lake where i found a coffee hidden in a small street. I spent a couple of hours there with this beautiful view on the lake and mountains, drinking coffee and writing. It made my day.

Then i continued my walk along the lake and went on a top of a mountain where i spent the night. I slept very good.

IMG_1506.JPGThe lake in Ohrid

IMG_1507.JPGI found this pub near the lake in Ohrid. I stayed there for a couple of hours. Writing, drinking coffee. I love to do that. Good musics, cats everywhere, amazing view. Moment of happiness.

IMG_1494.JPGA market in Ohrid

IMG_1514.JPGA church in Ohrid. I slept not so far from this church, on the top of the mountain.

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25. The 16th of October : hitch-hiking from Thessaloniki to Skopje.

I loved Thessaloniki. I spent three nights there hosted by Kate. She is a writer, translator, a very inspiring and clever person with an artistic soul. However, who am i to define her personality as i just spent four days with Kate? It’s the same for each meeting and each person. Anyway, she is just great.

I took several buses to find a good spot to hitch-hike. After two minutes, a driver brought me to the border between Greece and Macedonia. I crossed it by walking. It was 1 pm.

The next driver who accepted to bring me to Skopje was at 7.30 pm. A guy who own ten trucks for a big company. He drove very fast. He is named Flamour.

I went to a gas station during the afternoon where i hitch-hiked for four hours. Around 5 pm a driver stopped.

He went to me, shaked my hand and said :

-” Hi, what’s your name?”
-“I’m Gwendal and you?”
-” I’m Dragon. Where do you go?
-Skopje.
-who are you?
-i’m Gwendal.

Not conviced by my answer he asked again :

– who are you?
– i’m a guitar teacher.

While asking me questions he was hitch-hiking. With a very strong energy. Almost in the middle of the road. Then he asked me questions about God and everything in his direct style, looking straight into the eyes.
This meeting made me stronger because i was not stressed or impressed by this situation and i didn’t show weakness or anything. This guy just wanted to help me. But by listening to him, it was as if it was the apocalipse.

After a while police came as Dragon left his car not so well parked with an opened door on the road.

They bothered him for a technical stuff about his car and told me it was forbidden to hitch-hike near the high way.

Then Dragon told me to come back to the border and said by looking at me into the eyes and then to the sky by pointing it with his finger :” Believe!”.

I’m not into religion but i totally respect those who are into it.

I believe in me though.

IMG_1486.JPGSkopje

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22. The 10th of October : hitch-hiking from Brasov to Bucharest.

I went to a gas station at 8 am. A man stopped and brought me to maybe 100 km further. We spoke about religion in english. About one accident in the road. He was praying like 1 time each 15 minutes. He is michael.

Then a man brought me to Bucharest. From a starbuck coffee i wrote to my host Catalin who said he was near this coffee and joined me 5 minutes later around 12.30 am. Good timing!

IMG_1308.JPGBucharest. The Parliament.

IMG_1322.JPGWith Catalin we went to have a drink in center. We didn’t go to the Hot touch massage though.

IMG_1311.JPGA passage in Bucharest.

IMG_1313.JPGA church in Bucharest.

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20. The 7th of October : hitch-hiking from Chisinau to Iasi.

A tram to go outside the city. I walked for a few kilometers then. This car stopped. They asked for money but i explained my situation with the map of the world and the expected route and they finally accepted me. Inside, a couple even gave me chocolate and something like 50 cents of euro for a sandwich or something to eat. Then i had a lift from an other driver. Then an other with whom i speak a bit. He invited me at his house where we had dinner together! Bread he made, chicken from his farm, drink from rawsberries, soup, sweets, vegetable from his garden, marinated tomatoes which makes a firework of gustative sensations. I gave him the chocolate this couple gave me and played guitar for him. Then he brought me to the border where i stayed for 2 hours.

A truck driver accepted me to join him to cross the border. 30 minutes later i hitch-hiked ( he gave me a lot of grapes, a full bag) for 2 minutes and a truck driver, 26 years old gave me a lift to an industrial zone near Iasi where i met Codrin my host.

IMG_1273.JPGRomania

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IMG_1675.JPGThe map i show to drivers to explain about my project. The idea is from Ludovic Hubler who wrote a book about his hitch-hiking trip he did for 5 years around the world.

IMG_1676.JPGThe note book i use for writing differents words and sentences in different languages. The basics to communicate.