14 hours (and 17 minutes)

Yep, 14 hours. And 17 minutes. It's not even a record for hitch-hiking between Amsterdam and Hamburg. One time it took me 24 hours, of which I only slept 8h, so the total of active hitch-hiking would be around 16 hours.

That's an average speed of 33 km/h.

I started in the wind and the rain at the spot near the house. My sign said "A1, Hilversum". In less than 20 min, a guy in a delivery van told me : "You're completely on the wrong side of town! Hop in, I'll drop you off in a similar place, near the entrance of the A1". Which he did. Which was good. The spot there was the very entrance of the ring, it was highly hitch-hikable, but it still took me another 20 min before someone else stoped. Though I'm positive that at least 20% of the traffic was going my way.

I was standing before the "cars only" sign so I was fine. But the guy stopped on the emergency lane, one and a half metre after the fateful sign. I crossed the line, hoping that the angry Eye would be watching another way, walked two paces, put my hand on the door handle and a police van materialized out of thin air. They told the guy to go away and I was left alone to deal with two of them.

Goddamnit! I wish the roles had been reversed. I wish I had been in that car, and I had stopped to pick-up a hitch-hiker and the police would have suddenly dropped from the sky to prevent me from making a good deed. God help them...

But I wasn't. They threatened me with a very arguable 25€ fine and took me back to the city.

I started again from the Amstel official spot, that is notorious for being SHIT. The rain and the wind were a little bit less rainy and windy. One guy finally stopped that was going to... Hilversum! Yeah, rock n'roll baby! My first 10 km!

He dropped me off at the first gas station on the way out of town, where I quickly found a truck driver that was going to Groningen. He just had to deliver something in Apeldoorn before. I decided to try the Groningen way.

He dropped me off at the border (there's a gas station right on it). It was already night. The highway up there is... disused by night. I had one car every 10 minutes. That were of course only driving to the nearest exit. I spent probably two hours there, touring the truck parking, but they were all feuerabendt (on pause for the night) and interviewing all the drivers that happened to pull over. There was this polish trucker, to whom I said "hi", "please" and "thank you" in polish (pretty much everything I can say, with "One beer please"). He wasn't at all going my way but made a detour to get me past Oldenburg, near Bremen. We had no common language whatsoever so it was a pretty silent trip. God bless him.

Same desused gas station. Neon light pouring on a empty parking lot. One disabused attendant reading a magasine at the counter of the customerless shop. The bulk shadow of a couple of trucks, vibrating to the sound of their engine sometime, and sometime to the snoring of the road-warrior within. Chilly wind, no rain.

"Sorry, I'm going to Bremen" ... 10 min ... "Sorry I'm working here" (sorry to hear that man!) ... 15 min ... And so on of another hour. There was that one guy that was only able to speak in "fast forward". He told me something like he was not going my way, but that there was a bigger place, with more people where he could drop me at. I got a ride for 15 km, to a strictly similar place, that was, I found out later, completely on the wrong direction.

Stayed there another hour, I had a bad book, but plenty of patience so I read it anyway. After a while came a couple of kids that pitied me and took me with them. They were indeed going in the direction of Hamburg and, leaving the gas station, they did a U-turn at a neighbouring exit to find the right way again.

They left me one gas station away from home. Spirit was high! I was sure of waiting less than 20 minutes before I found a direct ride home. Half an hour later, a guy that was going to Denmark shared the end of a joint with me. Spirit went higher! Half an hour after, I got a ride. Finally! To the next gas station...

Stillhorn is the name. The hitch-hiking spot to get out of Hamburg. Because the westside of the highway is reacheable by public transportation. Needless to say, I was on the eastside. After a while, a delivery van took me in and drove me right in the heart of an industrial area. "Walk that way, there's a bus station" - "How far?" - "How should I know, I've never been here. Bye now".

There was a bus station, but it was actually in the opposite direction. I found that out after having walked 30 min in the wrong way. I decided to hitch-hike the way back. Man! One car, one ride. One 40 year old man, that was looking at me with wide-opened eyes : "WTF you're doing here at this time!". He took me to the bus station, that indeed had nightbuses. Right after I got out of the car, one of them came that was going to "Altona Bf." That's straight where I live.

I was home shortly before 2am.

Love, peace and mass destruction.



Mirto's picture

life is tricky

this story sounds somehow familiar to me... Robin, your location causes troubles to many honorable hitchhikers. Reconsider teleporting the Casa somewhere else.

And me, today, first time in my hhiking carrear I got off the car in the middle of the express road. I am pretty happy to be safe and sound writing to you those words. Funny as this morning I was saying to my driver that it has never happened to me;)

love too all!

robino's picture

haha, you hitched with the police :)

Great story - but why couldn't the police just let you be? Or even better, bring you to the next petrol station... argh, Dutch policemen. Anyway, sounds like a truly nice day of adventures all along. I especially like the detail of the kids who picked you up before Hamburg and making that U-turn. They themselves were there also by chance I understand? Funny how these things always go when u surrender yourself to the random roads :D