Being Hitchhikers in Europe
Have you ever experienced hitchhikking in your life? Is it possible in the EVS countries?
Hitchikking: a world behind this word. That's right, because it doesn't mean just a cheap way to travel when you are broke, but probably the easiest and most amazing way to know the world around yourself, and the world inside you. Let's take a look at this philosopy of life.
Among the several adventures and stories that I experienced during my EVS, one of the best was using my thumb to move around. I Had a six months EVS in Craiova, in the south - west of Romania, for the "KROMATIKON" project. Planning our tasks in a smart way, making our job in advance, we could schedule our days-off to make mid-long travels more than once.
But you know, living as volunteer sometimes could be pretty hard (and axpensive if you don't pay enough attention). So when I asked to my georgian friend the first time "Which train Can we take to Sofia?", he answered :"What are you talking about? Let's go on the road!"
It was the first of many, keeping up after EVS as well. It's an adventure that you can't totally predict and schedule. You don't know how much time (minutes or hours..) you can wait on the roadside, who is going to pick you up sooner or later, but because of these doubts and fears, it's an important experience that helps you to understand what you are worth. But, of course, it's not always difficult: indeed, Romania and Balkanic countries are perfect places for HH travellers (HH is the sign for hitchhikking/hitchhikers).
Actually, hitchhiking belongs to the East European Countries' tradition. A lot of people who picked us up, said they used the thumb on the roadside in their youth, and often, their parents or old family members as well. About Romania, that we had the chance to know very well in six months, is perfect for several reasons: first of all, everybody knows is forbidden/extremely dangerous trying HH on the highways (DON'T DO IT!), but in Romania, actually they have just a few of them, so people are still used to move by old truck/national road (sometimes pretty slow). And that's great, because you can catch a car easily, in a safe way, and experience the road among the oldest villages of the country, with their own lifestyle and landscapes.
Secondly, Romania is in a very tactical position to move around and discovering new cultures and people. Actually, it has common borders with five countries (facing the black sea in its south-east part, where you can find the amazing Delta of Danube, and not just), so if you have already noticed and visited everything about Romania, just choose the direction and prepare your passport for the border!
So, in my experience, in this part of Europe you can find people who don't hesitate to give you a ride. Could exist some diferrences among countries, but by helping you can find a lot of information on the web, if you wanna be a little bit safer before the departure: for example, "hitchwiki" is one of the most common source of tips, and in its maps you can find nice spots in all over the world, marked by old travellers!
Drivers shared with us chocolate, coffee, cigarettes, stories and love for life! Someone gave us bus tickets in foreign cities, others offered us a couch for the night, some people made a longer round on their home way, just to leave us in a safe spot.
What can I say guys? Don't be afraid, prepare your bags and go on the road!