Diplomacy in Warsaw

Trip Start Jul 01, 2006
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Trip End Ongoing


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Thursday, August 31, 2006

August 30

I woke up early and Marie did even more early than me, she strangely even left while I was still preparing and taking my shower... strange girl? I did wonder what has caused her sudden kind of angry change of mood. I can't say I was bad as I tried to stay pretty nice and making sure everything was going great for her.

I have to wonder now though if she will do come back and do something about HC or if I simply carried her into it as another future empty inactive member? Makes me slightly mad though thinking about it.

Then, when I was ready I talked a bit with Anjay who walked with me to the bus station to get me in the right bus out of town to the hitch-hiking spot. Then saying goodbye, and in no time I was at the shopping mall area to HH out of town but needed to walked over the highway to get to the direction of Kaunas. As I did the rain started to it and on the other side there was this little kiosk for food and newspaper where I shelter and as the first car was getting ready to leave I pulled my thumb up and he made me sign to come. He was about to drive me all the way to Kaunas but we stopped on the way to meet someone and have tea with some young people in a village. It was nice talking with them shortly before getting back on the road.

My driver with whom I could only speak some basic german left me at a tank station along the highway but there was some police doing some control and he got pull over to show his paper and I was feeling bad to have him run into this annoyance. Anyhow, I was at the petrol station then but didn't know how to approach people.

There was also another hitch-hikers who noticed me, a guy from Estonia going back home and he came to me so we could talk in english and he tried to help for a while but finally we found him more a direct ride to Estonia, so he went to say bye to his current lift that was having a break at the restaurant there and left with them.

Finally, I went to a guy leaving and asked and managed myself a ride to Mariampole further on with a russian guy going to Kaliningrad. Then I was at another petrol station along the highway before Mariampole but it looked more difficult there, but my luck continued as someone came to talk to me and finally offered me to lift me until near the border, they had to wait for some delivery there and he could afford it. We talked as I learned he always wanted to go to Canada but he was denied as they weren't giving him the visa, now he has his family so he wasn't thinking about it anymore.

Then as the border was nearby, I started walking in its direction with the thought that it would be pretty near. I got passed by an old german man riding his bicycle through Europe and now heading back home who stopped to talk a bit as he saw my flag on my bag. The sky was looking dark so we decided to continue with the thought of maybe meet again at the border. Then I arrived to another petrol station along the way, so obviously the border was still further on and it would be more hard to walk it. I went to the first car and asked 'Die Grens?' the guy told me about 5km... mmm, then I directly asked him if he would give me a ride till there and after his coffee break we were on the way.

The guy was a bit worried to make me cross the border though with my bag, so I told him that I would cross it by foot and we could meet again on the polish side. So I walked along all the cars and crossed it pretty fast... my second border by foot.

Then the guy took me over and we could ride in direction of Warsaw. Which tough was still about 6h away. After a part of the ride, I also noticed the quality of the polish road. No highway, constructionn everywhere, narrowed and bad quality. That ride was going to be rough.
Talking a bit with my driver who was an old chemist working at a national center and now changed into a business man for international trades. We stopped on the way to a little polish truck stop, I didnt have any money at all so he bought me a little salad and then we hit the road again. Under the rain all the way for some hours.

It was so long that at the end I couldnt hold anymore and was looking forward to arrive, as I was tired and hungry. Sadly when we were at sight of Warsaw, either my driver was bored of having me or so but he changed his mind and left me along the highway on the outskirt of Warsaw under the rain in the dark instead of bringing me to the city. I crossed the highway to a petrol station and tried to ask people if the center was far... most refused to answer me as I was approaching them in English. To add to the desespair my phone died... then I went to another guy and asked him some information, finally he told where I wanted to go was pretty near and he could bring me there. In no time then I was at Ela's (hc: elaija) place meeting with Roberto (hc:psytek, Vita (hc:awiete) and Ela's family, having food at last.

We got a really great late evening, some other HC members came over and we talked with some drink. Then we went to sleep somehow later, of course for me its been forgetting we had changed time between Poland and Lithuania!
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August 31

My alarm rang really early as it was still on Baltics hours, so I was awake before everyone and it had awake Roberto as well. Great breakfast and later than expected we were getting to leave.

We got our bags and left all 5 to the city to reach a hitch-hiking spot outside on the way to Poznan. Getting on the public transport, of course without money to buy ticket we decided to get like that. The three girls did get tickets though but not me and Roberto has we had no zloty at all. Of course it had to happen, the tram got controled!

Then we walked out, me and Roberto said we were both canadian and of course we had no money at all... they still wanted us to pay a special tax, but there would have been no way we would have paid cash anyway (which we didnt have). On the 2 controlers there was one cool one (the one speaking english) with whom we could argue, and a bad mood one (the one who spoke only polish) who was pushing the other one to make us pay. We argue long, they say they were going to call the police, we said do so!

Finally, as the time flew by and as I only had few euros or baltics money, I walked away, being followed by one of them to find someone who would want to exchange me 2 euros for 2 tram tickets. After few attempts, I manage to do so and gave the 2 euros to the persons even if he at first didnt want to take it as the ticket were formerly costing nearly nothing. Then back at the tram stand, I said we are fine we have our ticket now. Of course it was making them even more armless but still wanted their tax...

The talk went on for nearly an hour there, and finally after much more explanation and shows that we had nothing for them but even more by saying the word 'autostopa' that they understood they would get nothing out of us as we were already just a bunch of bums. Then their face changed so fast, on the way 'aahhh autostop... damn they are really poor!' And hop we were sent away. As proof of my good will anyway I gave them the 2 tickets whose they could then disposed as they wished and helped them not feeling too loser in a way.

Finally, we managed to get back on the way with the tram and bus to arrived at the edge of town where we would start the hitch-hiking, splitting and spreading in little groups along the road.

Me, Ela and Ola were standing further along the road... but at three it was unlikely a car would stop. The first car who stopped was for us but would have took only one for a certain distance. We let it go and agreed on something. I would team with Ela and Ola would go with the first car stopping that would go to Poznan. Luckely it happened and she got her ride... then we waited some more and finally saw Vita (HC:awiete) and Roberto passing in a car... so only us were left. It still took a long time before at last a car took us out of Warsaw area then we rode all the way to the crossroad of Lodz. Then we tried to HH some more and as no car were stopping we walked till after the crossroad and tried there... but strangely there was no car passing anymore. I found this really suspicious but Ela said that it was the good way and that the other way was going to the highway which we shouldn't take cause there was something wrong. I didn't really understand but its from there that we obvious took the wrong decision, we continued on the way until a priest took us for few km further... then it went more fine as a minivan carrying horses took us at last all the way to Poznan, but we were reaching it only by nightfall. Pretty bad. They left us on the way at a petrol station outside of Poznan were we ate something and were rather exhaust. No money, no food, no water... stuck in Poland in the chill night. As the time was advancing, I was thinking of setting the tent somewhere in this still urban area... but then we noticed a truck and went to talk to him and he could drive us to the crossroad to the way that goes to Germany, I said let's take it. Sleeping here or there anyway!

We did, there was luckily another tank station nearby but on the wrong direction. We tried to HH some more in the middle of the night but it was lost, as nobody was willing to stop and we were cold and exhaust like hell. So we looked for a spot to put up the tent and did and went to sleep in it quite fast!
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September 1

Then in the early morning we woke up, waking as creep as you could be when having a bad night in a tent and of course hearing rain drops on the tent... :\

Then we fastly came out and packed the tent before going to the Petrol Station to relax and try to get our ideas and mind in place, washing in the toilet. Ela manage to find few zlotys that allowed us to buy 2 buns of bread that we ate with peanut butter I had. After this intermezzo we walked to the crossroad and luckily nearly the first car stopped just on time as the rain started. Sadly, the woman was only doing few km and left us along the road further while it was raining and no shelter to be seen. We tried some more to lift the thumb... Then I couldn't believe it: A mini fiat stopped! By mini I mean mini, the kind of cars you always find funny and would like to see the inside but actually never expect them to stop... luckily it did. We had to manage to stuck ourselves in with our 2 big backpacks... we succeeded (I don't know how!).

Then we got a ride to a more important crossroad which was great... but immediately then the rain pour even harder. I knew no cars would stop for a wet hitch-hikers. There was a sign for a truck stop 3km further, so we walked. The rain got harder and the passing truck were pulling even more wetness. When we finally arrived at the truck stop, which revealed to only have a restaurant and other crap commodities that wouldn't be attracting plenty of cars, we were soaking wet. I needed to fully change my clothes and to spread the thing of my bag to dry. It's been good cause it somehow worked as we were waiting a long part of the afternoon for the rain to stop.

The owners of the restaurant weren't too happy to see us bumming around but well... We were so low anyway, we asked the people if they were going to the good direction, someone finally said that there was a Cee-Bee in the restaurant which we could contact trucker. Of course only Ela could do so and we gave it a try... in the meantime I stole some pieces of bread and left over at the table of those who left.

She sent the messages and the rain also calmed down, now the only thing we needed to do was to go next to the road. Then we also noticed a truck, went to ask him and we got our ride as the rain poured again! We were suppose to ride some distance but finally we got left at the famous 'nevada' truck stop, the last before Germany. There is hundreds of cars and trucks from all countries. So we were spotting the car plates from Germany, I saw Belgium and asked too, look at the leftover at the restaurant. Finally, its a polish guy who approach us and asked us.

Then it happened we were getting our ride to Germany at last! We reached the passport control and were in Germany. Yééééé by the late afternoon!
Our driver was going all the way to Ireland with his car, he didn't really know the route so in the meantime I took the map and marked him all the way to his ferry in Cherbourg - France. The first 'Rasthof (resting area)' we stopped to discuss about it, the police came to control our passport as we were in polish car (obviously). The funny thing is that I gave my driver license as they don't really have to see my passport anyway nor the right to do so. But we actually somehow ignore them and kept talking about our route. On the 2 policemen, the one speaking English was amazed by my Canadian driver licence and lookingat it how it was made while the only German speaking one was acting with bad mood not understanding us or so... finally they asked us the basic questions but as I was Canadian, answered their questions promptly and net without hesitation, they left us quiet within seconds. I believed they would have been more harassing if they would have only talked to our driver who only knew polish and could barely speak other language.

Then we rode further and reached our last 'rasthof' before our way splitted, for us going south and for him going west. On the last minute he said... are you sure you don't want to go to Ireland?
Gosh, it brought some strong hesitation for me!
(it's the second time something like that happen that I could have cross the whole Europe with one ride!)

There was other hitch-hikers at the rasthof but none going to Kloden. So we didn't bother talking with them more. We tried to find ourselves a ride but it revealed more easy when they managed to leave and get one themselves.

Then it hasn't been long, I went to ask a woman about her destination and she could take us to the good exit to Wittenberg. Then once there we HH along the road and not too long after, a guy stopped and asked where we were going. As we said Kloden, he thought a bit and said, yes I can bring you there!

Then we had our lift to Kloden, the temperature was hot and sunny here. Better than rainy Poland.
Kloden revealed to be more far than expected. I was anxious to arrive... then on the way we passed another hitch-hiker... whom I recognised immediately and said 'It's Perry!' (HC:pmelange). As we said, our driver pulled over and we took him over. And we were riding in the little street of the tiny hamlet of Kloden and arriving at the site of the camp by the early evening exhausted. I thank our driver!
And some people gathered to us to welcome us, especially Roberto and Kruopa.

I was so exhausted, hungry and I had a headache from the last day. I fastly met with the people there that I already knew: Frank Verhart (HC:fverhart), Radek (HC:meenzer), Ken (HC:uaflyer), Chris (HC:zaubii) etc... but also went to the registration asking first the 2 most important things 1-food! 2-shower!
The answer didn't please me so much, especially in the mood I already was: 1-self-cathering, you bring your food! 2-shower are between 10-12h tomorrow!

I just wasn't in the mood for these answer and it took me some minutes to accept it more correctly, so I simply withdrew from the stand for a few minutes to get my anger away. Then I get back not knowing till when I was staying (or that I would be able to stay) and not having the direct money in my pocket (unless I was going to my secret back pocket... which I did) and paid for the whole week-end.

Then I could try to solve my own things... food. I surveyed around and people heard fast my situation and I got several offer for food or sharing meals J
Then also Ken said he should be going to the grocery himself and we did. I bought a huge box of things for the whole week end from then on walked with my stash food box the whole week end like a proud cock.

Then back from the shop, I also met with Irma (HC:iru) with whom I traveled to Spain the previous year. It was wonderful to see her again and I was glad to talk a bit more with her face-to-face.
Later I went to build up my tent in a remote calm corner, in which I would sleep calmly in it.
Chilled with the people and ate a lot so my headache at last went away later in the evening as I kept cheering with members new or already known.
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