The sky sent an ominous warning, but my determination to hitchhike the 570 km to Berlin did not wane or wax against the upcoming obstacles of the day.
|Warsaw was completely levelled by the Nazis for its attempted uprising. Today the old town is beautifully restored|
About half an hour of thumbs out on the highway, some cops pulled over and asked me to come with them. They drove me to a gas station and rest stop about 10 minutes down the highway. They took down my information along the way, let me off with just a warning, and told me if they see me along the highway again I would "go to prison!"
|The calm morning before the dreadful storm|
That's when the weather turned. A mix of rain and snow began falling. I hoped that I could get a quick ride from sympathetic drivers seeing me shivering and getting wet on the side of the highway. The wind picked up and the conditions blew up to a big bad blizzard, snow beating my face and jeans, and trucks whipping up mists of spray, soaking me to the skin. And after waiting over an hour I was still eating pavement.
I went back to the gas station cafe to warm up. Asked a few people for rides. The wind dropped a little and I went back to the side of the highway. It didn't take long for the wind to pick back up again, and half an hour later, I was soaked to the bone, and cursing out loud at every passing vehicle for ignoring my plight!
|Hitching from Krakov to Warsaw, by the distances to other cities sign|
|The view from a truck while hitching in Hungary|
I began asking again in the cafe and within 5 minutes found a decent ride. The driver had done some yoga retreats in India, was very inspired about my travels and philosophies, and impressed by the journey I was taking towards actuating my beliefs.
I arrived at a rest stop near Poznan at 4:30 pm, now just 250 km from Berlin. I stuck my thumb out once again and, thankfully, for the last time. A trucker picked me up at around 5:15 pm and took me the rest of the way to Berlin's outskirts by 8:30 pm.
|Welcome to Berlin! A section of the Berlin Wall|
So I waited yet another hour in the darkness and biting wind of my new destination, for the next train, and finally arrived in the centre, to my friend's place after 11 pm, relieved and hugging the blankets of my warm and comfy bed tighter than ever.
On this hitchhiking journey I took 11.5 hours and 5 rides, including one police car, to go 570 km from outskirts to outskirts of Warsaw to Berlin. It took 15 hours to go from door to door. But I paid just 3 euros total on the day!
This is how, through my blog, I seek to redefine the term "rich" - I hitchhike because I am not rich in money - I am rich in time, and invest a wealth of trust in people. I am rich in gratitude - for the kindness I receive in return for the investment, for the simple things in life such as offerings of food from truck drivers and my friends/hosts, and a warm comfy bed at night.
|Blogging in bed in Berlin|
|A tasty and cheap Polish meal at a classic "milk bar" the only restaurant in Communist times|