Living and dieing in Portugal/Spain.

I am writing this story because It's getting very repetitive telling it to people who are interested over and over again , so if you want to know about the trip , this is it. Enjoy!
I apologize in advance for spelling and grammar i tried to write this fast.

It began,
We left on an average crappy cloudy day in Amsterdam , Hitching just down the street from the casa with a sign saying Utrecht .Our first victim came after only about ten minutes of waiting we hopped in , he said he wasn't going to Utrecht but he could drop us further down the highway in a better spot, He said he used to hitch and has hitched all around the world, we only talked for about 3 minutes and that was the end of that ride.The place he dropped us off was unbelievably crappy and there was nowhere for cars to pull over in order to pick us up , so we walked back to where we were before . Again after waiting for about 10 minutes a man with a really nice car pulled over and we asked if he was going to Utrecht , he said he would take us but how much will we pay him??? ummm nothing we replied.He then continued to be a dick and told us we would NEVER get a ride to Utrecht for free.Ok man , whatever you say , I guess you didn't get that car giving people free rides.

Anyways we waited another 5 minutes and bam a ride with a Dutch man and his girlfriend from Kazakhstan.Turns out they were going to Paris for a romantic get away , they told us if we behaved they would take us to Belgium , and if they really liked us to a Peage before Paris!!Wicked!!! Except the part that I got extremely car sick and had to get them to stop at a gas station so I could throw up the cheese and bread I had eaten that morning.We continued on to Belgium where they were stopping in at their friends house for some food and coffee , they said we were welcome to come with them and they liked us , partly because I didn't throw up in their car so they would take us to Paris if we wanted.HELL YEAH.We went to their friends house with them had some Belgium waffles and coffee talked about hitching and their experiences.Apparently the only time the man had hitched was around France and he and a friend as well as a random girl they met got stuck in Paris for a day when they finally got ride out they were dropped off in the middle of nowhere and slept in a field.They thought the girl they were with was a little bit off and realized she had a giant machete with her, when she fell asleep that night they got up and ran away from her.Anyways we left after about an hour and were on our way to Paris Talking about Sex addiction and eating blood oranges.They were lovely people.We arrived at the Peage said our farewells got their addresses on heathers beautiful hitch gathering post cards and that was that.

we waited maybe ten minutes and the sweetest man in the world stopped for us.He could barely speak English and our French sucks so it was difficult to communicate but we managed , he took us far out of his way so we wouldn't get stuck around Paris and to the next Peage the biggest in Europe apparently and he then was trying to give us 10 euros.He wouldn't take no for an answer so after about five minutes of trying to not take this mans money we eventually took it , shared some big hugs and said goodbye.Also getting his address as we did with pretty much every driver we had on this trip, which was alot.We had about 3 more rides and we made it to Blois France at about 9pm to drop off hitch postcards to Misha and spend the night , pretty much in the side of the castle where we drank Leffe and French wine...mmmm.Bright and early the next day we went to the Peage and started hitching, Five minutes later a Moroccan girl and her mother stopped and picked us up.We couldn't communicate with her mother because she didnt speak french nor English , but the girl could speak English fairly well , their plan was to go to Tours and that was the point they would take us to .After a little while and a phone call there was a change of plans , they would take us all the way to Spain, road trip anyone?.She had made the call to her friend In San Sebastian to see if they could stay with him so they could take us all the way to Spain.Such sweet ladies.

We were dropped off in the middle of the city and didn't really know how to get out so we cheated a bit and decided to take a bus to Madrid where Shauns friend was. The next morning very early we arrived in Madrid and slept .We stayed for about 4 days , drinking in parks with Spanish people , a free concert ,drinking sangria in the sun in Lalotina, eating tortilla patates , and hanging out with a really cool black cat named Paw in english.We hitched from Madrid hoping to get to Portugal if we were lucky.We waited about two hours in extremely hot conditions and were picked up by a family of farmers and dropped off at a gas station in the middle of fucking nowhere, there was barely any cars and we sat their thinking how the hell will we get out of here??, as I looked at a baby frog that had been fried on the pavement , I just hoped I wouldn't end up like that.But after an hour in came an angel in a Hippy van , that was our ride.He was going all the way to Sagres Portugal to go surfing but our plan was to get to Lisboa and he was going a different route, so he took us to Badajoz, where we roasted in 38 degree weather on the side of the highway praying for a ride soon before we became puddles on the highway.

We were picked up by two young people the guy was from Badajoz and the girl was from Brazil, she spoke perfect english so communication was easy and she was translating between us and the spanish guy.We were dropped at a gas station Almost in Portugal, we were picked up shortly after and taken into Elvas, where we were picked up walking down the street and taken to somewhere in Portugal, where? I have no clue still.All that was there was a gas station and very little cars , we tried hitching for a few hours and decided it was time to call it a night so we set up our tent next to the highway and listened to the beautiful sounds of transports driving by, truckers pissing and farting by our tent as well as every dog in the vicinity barking all night while we tried to sleep on the hard ground and stumps.

The next day we hitched again waiting for about an hour we decided to go further up the highway where we discovered the turn off for the highway leading directly into Lisbon , we were hitching from the wrong spot that entire time, Ten minute wait and we were picked up by a trucker from Brazil who would drop us off in Lisbon.Communication was difficult so it mainly happened through drawing pictures.He was a very sweet man though , giving us water and food.He couldn't drop us off directly inside Lisbon so he left us at a train station where he forced us to take money he offered us because he felt bad that he couldn't take us all the way.Another angel.We took a train and after about 2 hours walking around Lisbon in the blistering heat with giant bags we finally found the place we were to stay .It was one of many abandon buildings on the street a big yellow building with graffiti, It was the squat.

The place was six floors with Anarchy designs everywhere and some really cool punks that lived there as well as their dogs.They have great plans for the place and it seemed when they looked at it they already saw what it will one day be.They planned to make a few bars , a huge garden on the roof , a lecture room , a giant free shop and generally a very cultural place where everyone can live together and build something truly amazing.We spent a few days there , eating great food in great company , talking about nomad bases and how to make everything work, playing with puppies ,drinking wine and jam sessions that lasted hours, laughing, sleeping on the roof and swimming, and even talking about having the hitch gathering there, the only issue was that they didn't really want any legal problems if there were that many people.The place has everything it needs to be amazing even a private swimming pool up the street! The city center of Lisbon was beautiful , every building was a work of art , the churches were beautiful and also cool on those 40 degree days , old street cars with children hanging off the sides, we ran into a parade going down the street loud drums and music people dressed in beautiful colourful costumes, some as monsters who were scaring people in the crowd, a man with a scary mask and a big hairy costume grabbed me from the crowd and gave Shaun a thumbs up , whatever that means.A really neat thing to see though .The only thing about Lisbon is if your a vegetarian and want to eat out , you really have no choices because EVERYTHING is meat .Our last day at the squat as we were leaving we were saying our next stop was Sines , they asked if we had anywhere to stay and we didn't , so Cervario (not sure if that's how its spelt) A Brazilian

punk gave us a phone number of an old women he stayed with there , he called and asked her if it was OK and she said of course.He said he thought she won the lottery because she lives alone in a big house over looking the ocean with four floors.We arrived there by night time and met up with Isabel and her friend Zuka, we went straight to a bar where she was buying us beers.They were drunk. She wasn't allowed in certain bars because she has been wasted there before.We went back to her house where we drank more beer and ate some food and she took us to our room.It was her mothers room but her mother never stayed there with her, the balcony from the room over looked the ocean.It was beautiful.We stayed in Sines for about 4 days and I have never eaten so well in my life, This women was like my mother , feeding us fresh fish that her boyfriend just caught and when we thought we couldn't eat any more she would bring out dessert! She was a great cook and she liked to drink so we got along great.Sines consisted of days hanging out at the beach looking for shade because there are no trees.And relaxing .Our last night there we went to a restaurant with Isabel and Zuka to eat and I asked what the land was used for beside us because I noticed it had pic nic tables and a little building in the middle of it with sinks and she said when they hold the world music festival there in the summer its used for free camping.She said it would be a good spot to hold the hitch gathering, which shaun and I agreed, that definitely would be the best place and the ocean is close by.We went back to her home that night and Zuka who makes beautiful things out of carving wood presented us with a Giant staff he carved for us ,its sitting beside me as a write this actually.We loved it but Shaun and I were both just thinking how the hell were we supposed to hitch with this giant stick? Honestly.Plus the way its carved and painted makes it look like a weapon , its sharp at the end and the end is painted red , like blood.But against the odds we made it through Spain hitching with a huge weapon.It was sad to say goodbye to Isabel , she was so kind and wonderful to us , she didn't even know us but she treated us like her children and days after we left we still found ourselves missing her and her delicious food.

We hitched that day not knowing whether we were going to Lagos or Sagres .We took two rides to Odemira and one ride with an old women who really didnt want our giant staff in her car but we stuck it in anyways as she shook her head at us.We made a decision that if people refused to take our stick then we would refuse to go with them, we dont take kindly to staff discrimination.Anyways she dropped us off at a crossroads, one way went to Lagos , one to Sagres , we rock paper scissored it because that's how we roll and decided on Sagres, but it didn't matter because we were just going to go with whatever car picked us up, if they were going to Lagos we would go there, if Sagres then there.

Our ride was to Sagres with a young couple German and Swiss who were visiting Sagres to surf.They said Lagos is all tourists and not to go there and you have to visit Sagres because its the most south west point of Europe, the edge. We arrived there and went straight to a bar to drink beer and use internet .There was a camping sight about 3k up the road but that night we decided to sleep on the beach.We stuffed ourselves into 1 tiny sleeping bag and slept.We woke up at around 3 in the morning and the tide was coming in.We couldn't really move because behind us was rock , beside us rock and the other side rock and also what we thought was a police car .Shaun stayed awake while I slept the tide coming extremely close .He made a "woo protective barrier" as he called it so the water wouldn't hit us.The waves made it to the barrier where our feet were but luckily didn't come any further , after that we slept soundly till around 11 we walked in the heat to the camping grounds.We stayed in Sagres four or five days I don't remember .We camped the whole time , hung out on the Beautiful beaches Drank at the local bars with the surfers , saw a cool reggae band , discovered the dung beatle,their the shit (as mark said haha), got chased by local children while running away with a pizza, laying in the hammock, walking Alot , collecting sea shells, making jewellery, hanging out with an old Irish man who was also camping, and getting burnt for the somethingth time on this trip.Sagres was Beautiful very quiet and fucking hot.All I can say is it is REALLY fucking hot.

We started hitching from Sagres that morning not aware that this would be the hardest part of the trip.We got a ride from an older man he dropped us off in Lagos where I barfed my guts out on the side of the highway, love care sickness/ heat sickness. We were dropped off at a crappy spot and needed to get back to the main highway so we walked with big bags and a staff in 40 degree weather down the side of the highway where 10 feet in front of us we could literally see the heat waves in the air like lines of gasoline spilt on the pavement.We had to walk all the way through the town for about an hour to get to the other side where the highway was.We waited quite a while when we got to the spot dieing in the heat and drinking our last bit of water when a man in a big work truck picked us up.He really liked to talk He used to work on cruise ships he was an interesting guy with great taste in music , he was telling us of all the bands he's seen live and that he actually knows Brian Adams.The only bad thing about that ride is the spot he dropped us off .He left us on the side of the highway , he told us if we walked a little bit we would get to the part we needed to hitch from.We had to walk down the highway in very dangerous spots, through the crappy ditches , dirt and mud and we realized we had no water ....shit......I was trying to ignore the nagging feeling that I was going to die on the side of a highway in Portugal and look happy to the drivers passing by while my mouth felt like a desert my skin was on fire and I was starting to feel sick to my stomach.Shaun was feeling the same and his scalp was seriously burnt , he also had blisters appearing on his arms.Finally after a long wait and praying to a god I don't believe in to get us the fuck out of there two Romanian angels came our way and picked us up.If it wasn't for them I don't think we would have managed to get a ride from there, we were not even getting glances from people , not to mention how dangerous it was and it was very difficult for cars to pull off to the side because how fast they were going.We were ill at this point from heat stroke and probably would have been in serious rough shape if we stayed on that asphalt death trap.

They dropped us off at a service station not too far away where we immediately got water , popsicles , and juice and drank like we have never drank before.We asked a few truckers if they were heading to Spain and got alot of no's. An old man ended up giving us a ride just past the border of spain and Portugal to a service station.He was a wise old guy , and very sweet , he wanted to keep in touch with us and just kept telling us no matter what to enjoy life, don't feel like we have to settle down any place or do anything that doesn't make us happy .we got his email address and he wants us to message him in a couple years when we are back in Canada.At this service station we hitched from about 7 pm to 12and then went to sleep on the pavement , the next morning we waited from 7 am to around 1 pm in the scorching heat again.The people at the gas station were really nice and gave us ice cold bottles of water , it was another insanely hot day and neither of us could even think any more because our brains had been cooked into scrambled eggs.We were making bets on what colour the car was going to be that was going to take us to Sevilla .A red car pulled into the gas station with two people in it , but even though It didn't look like there was room I said that's our ride. Sure enough the girl comes up to us and asks us in Spanish if we speak English. YA , so did she they were from England , anyways they said they were making room in their car and they would take us to Sevilla.They were really funny people , around 40 years old but they looked WAY younger then 40 .They told us how they were at the G8 summit in Italy when the protester was shot by a police man , they used to be part of the black bloc group .They were also in Copenhagen at the climate change summit.One thing that has stuck with me that they said was " we used to be black bloccers but look at us now , driving old nana's car to go on vacation".It made me laugh.They were going all the way to Granada and we decided , why not , lets go to Granada instead.

The ride was somewhat unbearable because it was a very small vehicle with alot of stuff , shaun and I were buried underneath our bags sweating any liquid in our body out and turning into raisins.I was feeling like barfing, as usual.We arrived in Granada and thought fuck it, we dont have anywhere to stay , we are sick from the heat and the sun we're staying in a hostel!!!.After a nice shower and laying in front of the fan naked the sun was setting so we thought we would go explore. We just went walking around that night and ate Falafel cause we were both so sick from the sun , it felt like a terrible hang over .Granada was breath taking though , we wandered down all the little streets admiring the architecture , there was a cat on a roof literally howling at us .The next day we went to the Alhambra wandered through with the herd of tourists but aside from that it was beautiful , we took so many pictures there because It felt like we couldn't get enough of them.We stopped to sit in the center of the castle and there was a little Spanish boy about 4 years old putting on a show for us and his parents.He couldn't understand him but we think in the future he is either going to be a politician or an actor, someone that commands attention anyways.

We went around the small shops and people selling things on the streets bought some beautiful things then went to drink sangria at a tapas bar where we had lunch for free .The brought us a jug of sangria , spicy potatoes bread and meat on skewers and the lady lit something on fire and stuck the meat on it .I was afraid of the fire and shaun was telling me to blow it out but it wouldn't go out when finally a lady sitting beside us said to me , you just take the meat out , its that simple.WOW I felt like an idiot , but at least Shaun got a good laugh out of it .Although we don't eat meat usually ever we ate that otherwise it was going in the garbage. We stayed out till 1 that night wandering through Granada and then went back to get a good sleep because we were leaving the next day.But Granada I think we both fell in love with , its a shame we only spent 2 nights there, but someday we will go back.

The next day we tried to message a friend in Valencia that we were supposed to stay with but his number wouldn't work we didn't know how to get a hold of him .So instead of going there we made our way back to Madrid and stayed with Shauns friend again, we just ate and they drank wine , I still couldn't stomach it because of dehydration and heat stroke.Luckily his friend was going to Bilbao the next day and he offered to take us! It was the best ride yet , smoking hash joints , listening to good music munchin out . We drove all through really beautiful areas and he dropped us at a gas station the best one so far .There was a perfect spot beside the station to set up the tent for the night and get a good sleep , plus all night bathrooms and water wahooo!!

The next day we woke up early and waited for maybe half an hour when a German women approached us and asked where we were going , well we said we're going to Amsterdam , but anywhere in that direction is great.She was going to Germany but was stopping in Paris to sleep for the night .So we thought we would stop in Blois again .She worked doing bike tours around Europe she was doing them in Spain and then she was going back to Germany then going to Estonia to do more bike tours.She said she doesn't really have a home she just lives out of a bag and follows work around.She said she often picks up hitch-hikers , usually she has another co worker with her but not this time but she said she has no problem picking up couples because their not as scary apparently. She was such a sweet girl , all smiles and laughs the whole ride.She dropped us off in Blois where we met with Mishas old room mate Jeremie we went to the castle and drank wine then back to his home and drank more wine and he fed us pasta , where we talked about hunting and watched chef ramzy whip some restaurant owners into shape.Drinking that night wasnt a good idea for me , because 4 glasses of wine gave me a hang over the next day .

We hitched from a Peage and got a ride quickly from a French business man going into Paris , he dropped us off at the Peage before Paris where we hitched a trucker again who was heading towards lille , he was crazy.I was in hiding because their only allowed to have one other person in there but I had a nice nap anyways.He was a really sweet crazy man though , he said you dont know what will happen next in life today we needed help so he picked us up , who knows maybe tomorrow he will need us for something.He told us no matter what to always stick together through everything bad that happens , as long as we are together anything is possible.He was married with two children 12 yrs old and 4 yrs old , you could tell how much it bothered him being away from his family and he had their photos displayed in his window so he can look at them while he drives, his wife has had cancer three times now and he said no matter what he would never leave her everything is fine as long as they stick together , through being poor , sick , unhappy , anything, as long as they are together its ok , he talked of how strong she is , and women are much more strong then men .He said his father travelled alot and told him to never be afraid and to keep his mind open as well as his heart and life will be good for him.Even though he was crazy ,he was sooo kind and you can tell he has lived through alot in life.He continued to tell Shaun that I am dangerous and you should never trust anyone so quiet and if he were shaun he would find someone else because he thinks im dangerous...but he said he was joking .....i hope he was.haha .

Anyways he dropped us off at a gas station close to lille we exchanged emails an said we would keep in touch.Another angel...We went inside and decided to get something to eat because we hadn't eaten that day then we went outside and it was pouring rain we were standing under shelter with a man who was smoking we were talking about getting a ride and the man came over and asked us if we needed to go somewhere we said yeah anywhere towards Netherlands.He was going to Lille so he took us to the next service station just before Lille .We asked alot of truckers and saw soooo many cars with NL licence plates but no luck for a long time .Then a little green car pulled over , as we were walking towards it I started feeling uncomfortable , I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach .It was really difficult communicating with the guy and I told shaun I didn't want to take the ride , he didnt hear me , so in we went. The guy said he had to stop somewhere and he would drop us off quick but only for ten minutes and then he would be back to get us...Ok, we got out and I was relieved I just wanted to get to somewhere we could hitch from and not take the ride.There was no reason for me to feel this way it was just a generally bad feeling , I trust my intuition when it comes to people and usually when I get a bad feeling im right , and this feeling was overwhelming.I told Shaun I didn't want to get back in and we could just hitch from a shitty spot down the road so we tried but guess who pulls up asking us where we went?...I knew he knew I was afraid and didn't want to go but we took it anyways.Through out the ride he was staring at me through his mirror , even when I made eye contact with him he wouldn't look away he would just give me a creepy evil look.So I just stared out the window and acted like nothing was wrong.He then started going the wrong way and down smaller roads while speeding insanely , Shaun was trying to communicate with him that we were not going that way we were trying to get to Gent that night , he pulled over on the side of the road and looked at the map, all that was going through my head was grab the shit and jump out .I tried to tell Shaun we needed to get out and I could tell he had a bad feeling too.But we kept going and we said we would get out at a service station near Gent .When I saw it approaching I was beyond relief but I was keeping a straight face the whole time because the guy was staring at me as he was driving off the road.He dropped us off , FINALLY , it felt like the longest ride of my life being so uncomfortable it was like having a brick in my stomach , ice in my bones and a fire on my head all at once.He dropped us off fine and I faked a nice goodbye while he kissed my cheeks four times and I was beyond repulsed.I feel like a completely terrible person feeling so terribly about someone who didn't really do anything but it was the most over whelming feeling I have ever had and I think If i were alone with him he would have done something.

Anyways it was fate that we took that ride because at that exact moment there was a man about to leave straight for Amsterdam and I am sure he was probably the only person all night that was there going to Netherlands.We walked to the front of the gas station and before we put down our bags he asked where we were going , we said Gent, he said ok then you come with me.So we get in and Shaun trys to speak to him in French and he said I don't speak French Im Dutch , and shaun said oh we are actually on our way to Holland..where he asked...Amsterdam shaun replied...Well then you can ride with me....WICKED.It was also fate that we met this man because he has a company that is going to sponsor Shauns bike trip and donate for the school , he liked the idea so much because it was to help the children and that's what he wants to do .He also gave Shaun some other contacts that are his friends and he said they would donate alot of money .That ride made me really realize fate is real, that was the ride we were supposed to take , no other one and in order to have had that ride we needed to take every single other ride that we did or we could have missed him.It was also funny, as he was dropping us off at the Casa he pointed to a place a few doors down and said he I live there , we were like WTF? Your our neighbour , but he really said he used to live there , not anymore though.

So now we are back at the Casa , we were welcomed with brownies and tequila and it felt like home again.Shaun leaves in about nine days Im going to miss him but Im so happy that through him I have been introduced to this place ,people ,travelling and hitch-hiking.I was raised to be afraid , the world is dangerous people are dangerous my parents always told me, but on this trip so many angels were placed in my path and I realised there is no reason to be afraid the world is beautiful and people are beautiful, heaven is on earth.Life is as it is for a reason and I wouldn't change it for anything.Its fate.


diwata's picture

Hi there!You have a long

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topi's picture

don't panic

It's a long story it seems, but don't worry about dividing it into paragraphs, this way it's way more authentic (a flow of thoughts, places, passages, life itself).

I'm glad that you guys made it back safe though! The sizzling hot roads in the middle of nowhere devoid of nice rides and populace and drinking water sound like hell on earth...

Katherine's picture

yes that's why unfortunately

yes that's why unfortunately we did not make it to Lyon but im sure we will make it there eventually :)....Jass , it was a great trip Im not bored of telling the story's really I just have trouble remembering alot of the details so writing it was a better idea for me haha.Anyway we miss you here and wish you could be drinking cold beers with us too !!! As well as eating Pizza and Cheese cake for Marks birthday! Best luck in your future endeavours whatever they may be.Sending you hugs from Amsterdam to Switzerland

sitarane's picture

Fucking long-distance drivers!

So that's because of that German bike-girl that you didn't visit us in Lyon...

Thanks for the story. It's cute. You should consider publishing it.

Jass's picture

Seems like you had a

Seems like you had a wonderful journey. Everything matters, everything. Trust y'r guts above all things! Don't fear disliking people, sometimes you just sense these things, learn to shovel out the shit of paranoia with the veins of your instincts.
Ah, wish I could drink a beer with you guys at this moment and exchange stories. Although you seem to be sick of telling them now..;)

Hugs from switzerland, just about to leave for an arts festival, yeee!

Katherine's picture

I sort of forgot about

I sort of forgot about paragraphs while writing oops. Yeah I was trying to not show any signs of panic and was keeping myself calm by telling myself I was just crazy and burying my emotions.I have not yet mastered the art of not panicking in general though.Maybe I am crazy and he was a nice guy that just liked to stare , who knows?

guaka's picture


Lovely story, good flow!

But yeah, forget about your towel and your fears, the best rule for hitchhiking (and everything else in life) is DON'T PANIC.

I've been in cars with freaky drivers, but even if someone actually has something bad in mind, and even if the person is going to do something bad (which never happened to me fortunately) it's probably best to stay calm. When you stay calm you'll be better at making judgments and doing the right thing.

Arthur C. Clarke even said Douglas Adams' use of "don't panic" was perhaps the best advice that could be given to humanity.

P.S. would be nice if you could add a division in paragraphs.

Katherine's picture

wow this is huge...i wrote

wow this is huge...i wrote more than i thought