Distance traveled: 1509km
Number of lifts: 16
Number of countries passed through: 4
Days on the road: 7
Money spent: 51,84€
The biggest problem with hitchhiking to and from huge cities like Berlin is always getting to or out of the city centre. When I arrived in Berlin I was lucky enough to have my Polish driver Pjotr, a huge guy with a friendly face, going quite a lot out of his way to drop me off at Berlin Schönefeld airport from where I then took the suburban train to the Hauptbahnhof in the centre of the city. Public transport is a good friend of the economically traveling hitchhiker. Although you pay a small amount of money for the ticket (or freeride of course) you immediately get to where you have to be. I did the same thing leaving Berlin: I bought an S-Bahn ticket to some suburban area and got off at the stop Heiligensee. According to the directions on hitchwiki.org there would be a small pedestrian path leading from the main road outside the station to a bridge crossing the motorway a few km further. Exactly as described on the website I found the bridge after having walked for 45min on the path that led through a forest. thankfully I welcomed the shelter of the shadows casted by the leaf canopy over my head. Since I had only left Céline´s appartment at 2pm and lost another hour or so in public transport it was after all 3pm already and the sun was burning merciless at this point. After crossing the bridge I took a left, following a sand trail running parallel to the motorway. Another 2km further I finally found what I was looking for: a fence bordering the motorway resting area. I threw my stuff over, climbed over myself (not without some trouble and a few clumsy failed attempts) and walked over to the gas station. Sweating like a horse (is that even an expression?) I paid 0,50 euro to refresh myself in the bathroom, refilled my water bottle and made sure by looking in the mirror that my appearance was acceptable enough to be picked up by drivers. Because of sheer exhaustion I threw my backpack right in front of the middle gas pump, where the drivers couldn´t ignore me while I could still sit protected from the sun by the cantilevered roof of the gas station. Half an hour later (I had just changed my sign from ´Hamburg´to ´Nicht hier´(not here)) a German couple stopped and told me they were going to Schwerin and could leave me at the last resting area before Hamburg. I gratiously accepted their offer and was on my way again. A hundred something km further I was yet again sitting on my backpack on the side of a service station. This time I decided to take faith into my own hands and walked over to the drivers of some commercial bus service that apparently ran between Berlin and Copenhagen. I asked them if I could join the other passengers, who at this point were all curiously peaking through the windows to watch our negotiation. To my surprise the driver said they couldn´t stop somewhere around Hamburg but that I could come to Copenhagenfor free if I wanted. Good karma yet again! My plan to visit Laure in Hamburg thus changed last minute (sorry Laure!) and I was on my way to my first stop in Scandinavia. On the bus I chose to sit in the last row (cool kids always sit in the back) and made the acquaintance of Anders, the Danish guy who was sitting next to me and who was on his way home after spending a week in Berlin. The bus drove for several hours, crossed the sea on the ferry between Puttgarden in the north of Germany and Rødbyhavn in Denmark and continued its way to the Danish capital. We eventually arrived at 1am. Not sure where to go or what to do next Anders noticed my hesitation and offered me a place on the floor of his nearby appartment. Yet again I was saved by the goodess of a complete stranger.
In the morning I said goodbye to Anders, left my huge backpack in a locker in the central train station (this cost me 9,50 euro for 24h, as much as the total amount of money I had spent until then) and departed on a sightseeing tour across town that led me past some really impressive (Christiania) and some less impressive Copenhagen highlights (stupid little mermaid).
After a full day of traversing the city I was exhausted and blisters started to appear in the strangest places. I retrieved my backpack from the locker and, covered by the dusky shadows characterising the twilight hour between day and night I pitched my tent in a dark corner of a park in the middle of Copenhagen, hoping that everybody who would pass by in the morning would leave me in peace. And then I slept. Like a baby.
Awakened by the increasing light of dawn shimmering through the thin canvas of my tent I slowly came back to the land of the living. To my astonishment I heard voices at what seemed to be less then 10m away from my tent. I waited in a nervous silence, hoping I was wrong and that these people were only passing by. Who even goes to sit around in a park at 6.30 in the morning?? Ten tense minutes later they were still there. I decided to take a quick look and opened the zipper of the tent just enough to stick my head out and check out the situation. A couple was actually snuggling right in front of the bush I parked my tent behind. In complete disbelief of the situation (the park was huge and completely empty, why did they have to choose my bush to make out in the early hours of sunday morning?) I waited for them to leave and got more and more frustrated. In the end I decided they were so busy with each other that I just got out of the tent and started packing my stuff without giving them another look. They didn´t even notice me. Love really makes blind.
After a quick pitstop in the tourist centre to charge my phone I went back to the train station and took the first S-tog (some kind of metrotrain) out of Copenhagen, into the suburbs. My drivers for the day were a Chilean woman who talked to me in quick Spanish and drove me past Roskilde, another woman who said I wasn´t standing in a very good spot and brought me to a better one a few km further, and a guy who said he could bring me halfway to the ferryport where I planned to hitch the ferry to the most western part of Denmark. In between I got a banana thrown at my head from a passing car, drank half a liter of cheap Czech beer at some gas station because I felt like it (it was still burning hot after all) and thought I was going to die when the last guy decided to drive me all the way to the ferryport after saying that he had to pass by his house first. I accepted without much choice and suspiciously kept my guards up. During our conversation I secretly tried to estimate if I would be able to handle him if it would come to that, and concluded I would. At his beautiful house in the Danish countryside (no one would hear me scream!) he offered me a drink and went away for a sec. Then he came back with an iPad showing the hours of the ferry, and decided we should hurry. To my huge relief we left right away and he left me out right in front of the ferrygate. Despite our nice conversation and the fact that in the end he only had good intentions I was glad to wave him goodbye. Together with another hitchhiker I thumbed my way onto the ferry for fee, and after arriving in Aarhus an hour or so later we said eachother goodbye and I waited next to some fast food joint where a friend of the boyfriend of my friend Dagmar, whom I met during our time in Valencia and who lives in Aarhus, came to pick me up. We drove up to Dagmars house where I was welcomed with open arms. They had prepared a barbecue with a few friends and we spent a delighful evening sitting around the table talking, after which I got to sleep in the lovely guest room. On monday, our Belgian national holiday, we took a long walk with the dog and wandered along the coast, checking out a castle and a sand sculpture festival from outside. In the afternoon they showed me the city itself and we went to an outside beachbar where we spent an absolutely perfect afternoon drinking beer, playing beachvolley and tanning in the sun.
I´m a lucky guy.