Day 34-36, Breda, Redhair Day ’14, Breda – Berlin

To the photos

Day 34, Breda II

Breda at the first week-end is full of gingers. Normally when we arrange a meeting it’s like “I’m the one with red hair. You cannot miss me.” This week-end it would be the opposite. People with every tone of red hair and beard are walking through the town. Each year it gets bigger.

But what’s special about that day, what is going on there? Well, we all sit together and discuss a plan how to take over power, for the new red world order. But frankly it was mostly about the people. Of course there were some activities like photo-shootings or styling events. We e.g. went for a differently organised speed-dating. In the evening we joined a pub crawl.

Earlier that day we changed our host. So at midnight we left the pub crawl and went back by bike. Our new host wanted to take us to an illegal rave. It was so well hidden, that we didn’t find it. We were not the only one. With the time we were a group of about 25 people cycling around a specific area without finding the spot. When the police arrived, we returned home. But still on our way home, people were coming from the opposite direction, looking for the rave.

Day 35, Breda III

At noon was supposed to be the big group photos. Whereas at most events non-gingers were gratefully “allowed” to join, the group photo was for redheads only. We got up at 12.30pm.

Nevertheless we cycled into town because our host and her housemate wanted to see the redheads and there were still some events going on. In addition my friend wanted to take some photos with nice red-haired-chicks.

In the evening we made some barbecue.

Day 36, Breda – Berlin; 800km, 4 cars, maybe 14h travel time

T36_1 Breda-BerlinThe last step on my journey: Going back home to Berlin. According to the hitchwiki homepage the industrial area in the west of Germany, Ruhr Area, is best avoided while hitchhiking. So I decided to try the route via Utrecht and Apeldoorn in the north to Germany. Unfortunately the third driver thought he would do me a big favour in going south in the direction to the Ruhr Area again. So I found myself at a gas station where people were going to the Ruhr Area or even more south near the place I’m living, but not where I wanted to go.

Then I saw a Polish van. I approached to driver. “Are you going to Germany?” – “Yes.” – “Are you going to Poland?” – “Yes.” – “Do you pass Berlin?” – “Yes.” I was afraid to ask the next question. “Can you give me a lift to Berlin?” …….. “Yes, no problem.” Whooot whoot that was it! I managed it – cool. But before, Piotr had to pick up two Polish seasonal workers and sold a bike. That’s why we were going a bit zigzag at the beginning. But I didn’t care. One of the workers was annoying since he wanted me to find some jobs for him in Germany as if I was the German Labour Office. Even Piotr kind of lost patience with him, because every 10 minutes he asked for some paper and a pencil.

Anyway Piotr even drove me near the station where I had to take the train home. Well and that was basically it. On the way home to Karlsruhe I had the fasted hitchhiking trip ever. I got there in 6 hours, which is as fast as going by train and even faster than going with my family’s car. Till Nuremberg I went with a guy that had worked for eBay. At the service area I saw a Russian car and was really happy, when they agreed to take me to Karlsruhe. Actually, they were on their way from St. Petersburg to Lisbon via Barcelona.

It was nice talking to them – of course about Putin and Crimea and interesting as well, because I could proof some facts, like Russian soldiers had been on Crimea due to my trip there early that year. In addition they told me – I already knew it – the EU/US sanctions mainly aimed the population. But another interesting fact had been, that pensions of babushkas are taken to build up Crimea again, which they were upset about.

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Day 34-35, Breda

Day 36

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Day 31-33, Granada (ES) – Breda (NL) – Insane 2300km hitchhiking

Read it, don’t jump to the pics right away

Day 31-33, Insanity: Granada – Breda I; 2320km, 13 cars, 53h

T31_1 Granada-BredaLet the fun begin. Get up at 7am, starting hitchhiking at 9.30am. I waited maybe 90minutes till I found a truck driver who took me about 100km to Braza. There I found a Moroccan, who was going to Strasbourg and was already happy. BUT I forgot that the Moroccans have every possible space covered, so of course all three passenger seats were already reserved…quel dommage.

But soon I found two Spanish guys who took me another 240km to a service area near Elx (Elche). At this service area I thought to won the jackpot. There was a truck with a Dutch number plat. I had to convince the driver, Jeffrey, to lie down the fear of taking hitchhikers – or at least me as a hitchhiker. He was going directly to Breda. How lucky can you get? But my luck didn’t last long. It disappeared the sooner we came to Valencia. Jeffrey had to load his truck. At first the spot was Barcelona, which was not a problem at all. Then Valencia, and staying overnight there, which was bad. Then Barcelona again, yeah. But then it finally changed to Zaragoza and one day stop there. How I hate that place. Of course I couldn’t join Jeffrey now, because I had to be in Breda on day 33. But my unlucky “streak” continued.

At the gas station where I got out I asked a driver, if he was going to a specific place, I showed him on the map. He agreed. Fine. But I had to realize, that he was going somewhere totally different and when I realized, I was already nearly in Valencia at a gas station where nobody would stop to continue north to Barcelona. Though the stuff said, there has never been a hitchhiker at their place, who had to stay overnight. And just when I wanted to cross the highway to hitchhike back, they found someone who was going to a better spot.

T31_2 Granada-BredaIn my opinion that gas station was not a better spot. I checked the internet for hitchhiking spots and found Sargunt, north of Valencia, a train was going there. The first driver I asked, it was a sweet girl who has never taken a hitchhiker before, drove me to the station. I had to run, because the train (only 3,25EUR) was leaving 5 minutes after we arrived. From Sargunt train station I had to walk another maybe 80 minutes until I arrived at the service area. It was already about 11pm. There I found a Romanian truck driver who went to Barcelona and agreed to take me the 325km. Finally I got some luck. He was on the phone all the time, so I hardly found some sleep.

At 4.30am we arrived there. The service area was sleepy. No cars or trucks were going at this time. So I ate some bread with Nutella and at maybe 6.30am I found an old German couple who, against my prediction, hadn’t have a problem to take me. They were going to Germany via Lyon so the way I wanted to go. There was the hitchhiking luck again! 600km and the man didn’t drive slowly. They played a big part in arriving in time in Breda, thanks for that!

But to be honest the next stages that followed I lost the time I had “saved”. We arrived at an aire before Lyon at noon. Not until six hours later, at 6pm, I could continue. The reason was pure laziness. I just couldn’t run around asking people like in Malaga on my way to Granada. However at 6pm a guy going to Paris took me 150km further near Dijon. After one hour of searching a Czech truck driver, who was even taking some extra driving time for me, drove me another 150km near Langres. There I spent the night. But not sleeping. Nobody drove in my direction. Well a father with a baby son did, but he (not the son) didn’t have the balls to give me a lift. But ok, a little child is a fair reason….though even young mothers with children had already given me lifts.

Anyway after the second night with no sleep and a Dutch driver who said his boss wouldn’t allow hitchhiker, a Belgian truck driver drove me the last kilometres in France and through Luxembourg near Brussels. There it took me at least two hours to find a ride. Just we I started to talk with a British biker and man whom I asked before came back to me and said I could come with him. He was passing Breda.

So I was finally there….only 5km left to the centre and I was exhausted and lazy so I figuratively thumbed a ride for the last time, which I got after 10min. I arrived at Breda station at 2.30pm.

Summary: I hitchhiked more than 2300km in 53h which is an average speed of 43,4km/h – pretty bad. I barely slept, only for minutes and although I sometime tried with a sign, I always got my rides (besides the last one) after talking to people.

But why did I even want to go to Breda? Well the reason is as simple as this: International Redhair Day. I had heard of it before and a friend of mine has been there in 2012 and convinced me to join him this year. Since my hair colour and the date fits well into my journey schedule I agreed. I would have been really sad, if I had managed hitchhiking there in time.

But everything went…more or less smooth. At 4pm I met my friend who was arriving by train. Then we met our Couchsurfing hosts, ate something and went out. But at midnight, I got really tired after 65 hours of not sleeping – I beat the “record” from 2012, when I travelled from Egorievsk (south of Moscow) to St. Petersburg and continued to Petrozavodsk, by one hour.

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