Day 25-30, Gibraltar – Granada, Granada

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Day 25, La Linea – Granada I; ~245km, 5 cars, maybe 3,5h waiting time

T25 La Linea-GranadaCovered in ashes I got up and saw that the smoky cloud was now covering the Upper Rock of Gibraltar. I didn’t eat breakfast, but started hitchhiking nearly right away. A guy from Ireland drove me to a service area where I asked to guys who then drove me to a service area at Malaga. There I met a Polish couple, who wanted to hitchhike along the coast but didn’t have any success yet. I asked people for about 90 minutes until I found a Polish guy who drove near Granada. The hitchhikers had decided to stay and go with a Polish truck driver to Paris the next day.

It took two more rides until I finally was in Granada at 4pm. On the way I picked some of the special cactus fruit.

In Granda a friend of mine, E., whom I know since kindergarten studied for 2 years now. I waited for her at Plaza Nueva with some ice cream. She picked me up some minutes later and took me to her apartment which terrace had a stunning view of Alhambra, the famous fortress.

Together with her friend Borja and their two dogs Lanu and Umbra we went to a small stream to chill. In the evening her French roommate made crêpes with different tastes, very delicious, for us and some of his friends.

I chose the terrace as sleeping berth, because it didn’t get colder than 22°C at night and the view of Alhambra was just too nice.

Day 26, Granada II

We were invited for dinner by two friends of E. and I was shown the town for a bit. In the late afternoon till evening we went across the Alhambra are a bit and rented a car for the next day to go to the beach.

So I enjoyed the cliché day of Spanish lifestyle, siesta, relaxing, taking things easy (and slow).

Day 27, Granda III, beach near Motril; 80km, 1 car, no waiting time

At noon we went to the airport to get the car – a Volkswagen Polo. I was the one who should drive to the beach. We were 5 persons and three dogs – if that was legal, I don’t know, but it was quite an experience.

It was a bit difficult to find the beach but we managed. I just went swimming for some minutes and then searched for shelter from the sun.
E. and her friends intended to stay overnight, but I wanted to return the same day. So when the first people started to go at 7pm I just approached two of them asking if they were going to Granada and if so, whether I could go with them. And well, yes and yes. So E. needn’t drive me to a bus station where a bus would have left a time none of us knew and I saved the money of the ticket.

So I before I returned home, I stopped by at a supermarket and then had a relaxing evening on the terrace.

But this day really made me thoughtful. At home I would have never ever asked strangers that are about to leave a beach if I could go to town with them. I guess it’s mainly because I can hide behind the English language and “just being a stupid” tourist/traveller when I’m abroad.

Day 28 (Sunday), Granada IV

I slept till the heat of the sun woke me up. That was at about 11am. After a fruity breakfast I started a walk around the area. There are little mountains, since Sierra Nevada is not far away. Caves can be found in some of these hills in which people are living. You can see chairs in front of even wooden entry doors, washing lines with clothes on it. These caves are no temporary “apartments”. Since I thought E. and her friends would return late in the evening I arranged a meeting with some guys from the crêpe-event.

The bar we went to served ridiculous sized beer. It was more of a beer shot than a glass of beer. I wanted to go on quickly, that was depressing. On the way to the next bar, we saw some Serbian basketball fans partying. We went into the bar that served Tapas as well and ordered some beer. Among the guys was a Polish girl, A., and because the other guys were kind of afraid of the Serbs we both decided to join them alone. They were already in a good mood and invited us for some more beer. I was soon called Albert Speer or Albert….that’s how a part of Serbs are. When they started to fight each other, because one of the Serbs was given a shirt from the opponent, we left for another location and at 4am I went home.

Day 29, Granada V

I visited the famous Alhambra fortress, but since I’ve already been to Iran, honestly I didn’t find it that interesting.

Since I wanted to hitchhike directly to the Netherlands the next day, I bought food and nice falafel. But there was something inside, that made my stomach revolt again.

It is strange; after all these journeys, where I honestly didn’t pay much attention to what I ate or what I drank – sometimes I drank water from the tap although most people didn’t recommended it – never had any health problems. And now, in Europe, I have problems two times in a two weeks.

Day 30, Granada VI

That’s why I had to stay in Granada. Fortunately E. was OK with it, because I couldn’t have done extreme hitchhiking in that shape since it’s a 2300km trip to Breda.

So we cleaned the apartment, ate some ice cream and looked how I could get to my hitchhiking start spot. In the afternoon two funny friends of a friend of E. arrived and we had a nice chat altogether. But I didn’t join them going out, I had to be fit for the 2300km-nonstop-hitchhiking.

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Photos of the inside of Alhambra
Day 25


Day 26-30, Granada


Inside Alhambra

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Day 11-13, Ézaro – Cée – Finisterra – Cangas – Ponteareas

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Day 11, Ézaro – Cée via Fisterra; 45km, 1 car

T11 Ezaro-CeeAfter having gained enough sleep I was guided by a local fisherman to the tourist information to get some hints about Monte Pindo where I intended to hike. After I assured the lady behind the desk multiple times, that I will return before she closes (sooner than 7 hours from that time), I could leave my backpack there.

The mountain area was affected by a huge fire a couple of months before, so dead black trees rose between the stones everywhere. On the peak the view of the beaches was nice and it was possible to see even Fisterra (Finisterra – The end of the world).

Two hours before the information desks closed I arrived and could visit Fisterra together with a Spanish-French couple. In ancient time Fisterra was believed to be the end/westernmost point of the known world (Europe and Asia). It was the official final destination of the Camino de Santiago as well and it seemed common to burn a part of clothes, which resulted in many small fires and a strange smell of burnt shoes and T-Shirts.
Because it was Thursday I wanted to check out the festival in Cée. The couple drove me there, I pitched my tent next to a church after I reassured two times, that nobody would care. Unfortunately it was not a traditional festival but only a commercial whoopee. At least when I came back, neither of my things was stolen, which I was a little afraid of. That is one negative fact when travelling alone.

Day 12, Cée – Cangas; ~160km, 6 cars

T12 Ezaro-CangasIt was Friday and I intended to stay the week-end in the Portuguese national park of Gêres. After two rides, I had to walk through a small town and ate two super delicious balls of ice – white chocolate and pistachio.

Later that day I ended up partying with 3 Spanish girls, but before hitched with 5 different cars, went too far and had to hitchhike back. Then Matilda, Moira and Icía stopped. They were on a week-end trip to relax at the beach and do some partying. While we drove Matilda and Moira, who was driving, were already preparing for relaxation smoking one joint after another. First we drove to a beach and to a spot which seemed to be famous for its sunsets. Then we drove to an octopus party in Cangas. Due to the high prices at the party, the girls asked some police men where to go instead. There they ordered multiple different meals: pizza-like pieces with seafood, cucumber called “Padros” (if I’m not mistaken) that can be very spicy or not – it was lottery and dumplings.

It was very delicious and made me full until next after-noon. Before we returned, we went to a bar and ordered Liquor-café, which is what the name describes and very tasty.

We pitched our tents near the beach we’ve been early that (or the previous) day although according to a sign it was forbidden and could be fined with 600 EUR. Anyway at 4.30am it was time to close the eyes.

Day 13, Cangas – Ponteareas; 55km

T13 Cangas-PonteareasWe spent a calm day at the beach and I did a little hiking tour with Icía around the coast. I was sure I wouldn’t need any shoes, but it was a very bad, stupid and painful idea. After my feet were kind of painfree again it was also time to visit a small festival. We made many detours before we arrived there. Then we ate some can food and joined the festival at midnight.

Around 30 people were attending the “festival”, where fortunately no electronic music was played. The place was outdoors. It was basically kind of a parking lot with access to a small river. In the middle were the speakers and the DJ. We danced till the early morning respectively when the music was shut down. But because there was still some cakes and beer left, we were given two litres of the delicious – and in my opinion only real beer in whole Spain – Estrella Galicia (Star of Galicia). At 6am we returned to our tents.

 

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Day 11


Day 12-13

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Day 9-10, Tapia – As Catedrais – Ézaro

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Day 9, Tapia – Ribadeo / As Catedrais; 21 km, 1 car

I didn’t hurry to get up and decided to walk to Ribadeo. The way was part of the “Camino de Santiago”, so I can say that I pilgrimaged the Camino – for 15 kilometres. But before, I entered a pilgrim hostel to take a shower that was like a reborn after a couple of days without.

Unfortunately when I arrived in Ribadeo, I found out that the As Catedrais, which are some coast formation recommended by Susanna from Andorra, are some more 6 kilometres away. I was too lazy to walk for another at least 1.5 hours. In addition with an about 24kg heavy backpack it wasn’t an amusing journey. I was often asked if it’s not too heavy. In fact I went part of the Camino, but not on foot, but with hitchhiking.

So I hitched a ride near the As Caterais, charged my mobile phone and camera batteries at a restaurant. After 4 days without electricity both were nearly dying and especially the camera batteries were essential for me.

I pitched my tent at an empty parking lot. The formation As Catedrais was only accessible during low tide –so two times a day. When I arrived it was the next day at about noon and that night at 11.50 pm. So I spent some time reading at started to go at 11 pm.

It was just breathtaking and magical. There were about 15 people walking along the cliffs and the cloudy sky revealed a nearly full moon after some 30 minutes.

Day 10, As Catedrais – Ézaro; ~250km, 6 cars, 7h travelling

At night it had rained which affected me for the first time this journey and only second time during my journeys from 2011 on. Because I wanted to visit the Catedrais during daylight again, I had no rush getting up. But others had: At 10 am. I got out of my tent to see the parking lot completely full. Completely? No, a little German hitchhiker blocked space for one car. But he couldn’t resist the numerous cars which drivers became very nervous when they finally saw the opportunity of a parking area.

This time, the area was full of people so I soon started to get further. I waited nearly an hour and was about to take a break, when a car with four Italian ladies stopped. I squeezed myself in the back row and the backpack on our legs. They told me, they especially had turned at the next exit to pick me up.

Shortly before A Coruña I got out, but was a bit lost there. I walked around for an hour till I figured out a possible route to my destination. With the help of a nice Galician guy I got to the right way to – at that time Muxia. Via the highway I got on the local roads of the Costa del Morte region.

At Arteixo I was taken by a guy who built windows. His excuse of not knowing English was by far the best that I had heard since. Mostly people said, it was because of the bad teachers. He instead said it was because his teacher was so pretty he could only look at her and couldn’t concentrate on what she was talking – for six years of school… He recommended going to Ézaro instead of Muxia if I wanted to do some hiking. So I just changed my destination.

From the gas station where he left me, I caught a ride some 10 kilometres further. It was some village and nearly midnight and again 10 minutes were left to the deadline, when I wanted to find a sleeping spot, when a family stopped and took me all the way to Ézaro. The son told me of a music festival from Thursday to Sunday in Cée that was nearby.

They left me at a beach where according to them I could pitch my tent without any trouble and it was true.

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Day 9


Day 10

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Day 8 (Monday), Zaragoza – Tapia

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Day 8, Zaragoza – Tapia; ~670km, 3 cars, a couple of hours waiting time

T08 Zaragoza-TapiaI got up early. I wanted to continue. So I said good-bye to the two girls who wanted to take it easy and the first people I talked to at the service area were eager to give me a 470kilometres lift, which was awesome. It was a Spanish couple and the husband wanted his wife to speak English that she was learning at evening school. So it was a win-win for Carlos, Anna and me.

They were heading to Llanes in Asturia so we passed the rainy Basque region. To be honest like the people who never heard of Andorra, I would never have imagined that Spain can have some kind of rainforest of Eucalyptus trees. But the clime covers the northern countryside in green. The beaches are wide and empty, which may be reasoned in the stormy Atlantic Ocean. Nonetheless I liked that part immediately; not only because I had escaped the heat for some days.

At the last gas station before the crossroads of the highway to Gijón (my direction) and Oviedo (south) I spoke to a Pakistani, if he was going to San Sebastian. So after only minutes of waiting I got a ride again. The problem was, he was driving in the wrong direction. I mixed up Santiago and San Sebastian in my head. That’s why he of course was going to the right direction, but in the same time I was driven back to where I just came from…. Luckily after some kilometres was a small service area where I ran over the highway to the other, the right side.

There the time passed, cars came and went away without me. At 10pm an employee gave me a free tea and pitied me. But shortly before midnight, Ainoa, a girl from Basque region, took me to Taipa where she was working and which was only 10 kilometres from Ribadeo, where I intended to go. Unfortunately she refused to speak English, so it was quite a quite drive.

Having arrived in Tapia at about 2 in the morning, I walked along the cliffy coast until on top of one I pitched my tent and fall asleep to the sound of breaking waves.

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Day 23-24, Faro – Tarifa – Gibraltar

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Day 23, Faro – San Luis de Sabinillas (near Marbella); ~500km, 4 cars, much time waiting

T23 Faro-MarbellaIn the morning I joined A. and A for breakfast and left together with them.

It took forever since I got the first lift. It was to a supermarket incredible 2km further away. At least I could buy some fruits and port wine for home there. With two other cars and after endless dozen of minutes I found myself on a service area where after some time English guys stopped. One was going near Malaga and I decided to go with him. First I intended to go south at Sevilla and via Cadiz to Gibraltar and Tarifa, but now I would approach the two destinations from the east. The English man was living in Spain for 16 years and delivered beer. At the service area where I got out a young guy on his way to work near Estepona gave me a lift. He worked at security at a restaurant and was upset of Russian tourist who in his opinion are mannerless.

After he dropped me off I tried for maybe an hour to get further and thought about sleeping on a round-about, but it was quite visible that’s why I rather followed the street for maybe 3km and found a more appropriate place for my tent.

Day 24, San Luis – Tarifa – Gibraltar – La Linea; ~120 km, 5 cars

T24 Gibraltar TarifaIn the morning I continued to walk to the next gas station where a couple drove me to another gas station before Algeciras, where I ate breakfast.

Algeciras is one of the main ports of ferries to Morocco. That’s why cars completely full with passengers and stuff as well with packages as high as the car itself on the roof were driven around.

After about two hours a young couple took me to Tarifa where the most southern point of Europe was supposed to be. When I arrived there was even a sign, welcoming people to that point. The only problem was, it was not the end of the small street. There was some fortress on an island called “Isla de las Palomas”. And on that island was the real “Punta de Tarifa O Marroqui” – the southernmost point. But entry was not allowed because it seemed to be kind of a military area that separated me from the 600m far point.

But a ridiculous Spanish military area is nothing that could hold me back from visiting the last of the whatever-mostern point of Europe. So I took off my shoes, walked to a part of the fortress that didn’t seem occupied by military. I climbed up and left my backpack there and continued to walk or sneaked along the coast. No stuff member bothered me and with GPS switched on I walked to the real southernmost point.

High tide started and I did to Gibraltar. After the passport control – unfortunately I didn’t get a stamp – I wanted to put my passport back in the backpack in the customs area. Suddenly a customs officer said, I should ask for permission. I didn’t know what he meant, laughed and asked if he could repeat what he said. He said I should ask for permission again. I asked if just for putting the passport away and laughed again. He got grumpier and said it wouldn’t be funny. This area was for customs purpose only and I had as an impolite tourist had to ask for permission for whatever doing there. Maybe he thought I’d pull an AK47 out. Anyway I didn’t reply anything but walked away.

It was really funny in Gibraltar. Gingers were all over the place and to hear the British accent while having Spanish weather outside was pretty nice. Also you have to walk over the airport’s runway when entering the city.

I was given two postcards for free, because I only had 10 Gibraltar pounds as note and after having filled them with words, I started to climb the Upper Rock. But it was the wrong one since I wanted to see the airfield from above but I went too south. At least I passed some monkeys who are important for the citizens. Because if they extinct Gibraltar would be part of Spain again.

At least on my way back I had the opportunity to stand at the runway when an Easyjet plane took off. We stood around 100m away from the air plane taking off. Then I walked out of La Line de la Concepción and tried to get to Granada. But at 1am – I didn’t get any further – I was told that the highway was closed due to a bush fire. As I walked to highway entrance I could see the horizon shimmering in a red tone. So I lay down behind a gas station supply building and when I woke up at night, the air smelled heavily smoky and ash was flying from the sky.

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Day 23


Day 24


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Day 2-3, Bellinzona – Monaco – Perpignan

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Day 2, Bellinzona-Monaco-village near Monaco, 6 cars, 3h waiting time

T02 Bellinzona-MonacoAt 7am the sun rose between the mountain peaks and woke me up. After a typical hitchhiking breakfast I asked for a lift with a sign saying “Genova”. An older couple from Germany, who saw me the evening before, took me all the way, since they were boarding a ferry to Corse.

At Genova I walked a bit to get to a highway entrance. There was already a guy who told me right away what a bad spot this was. He had a big sign with multiple lines. Anyway as he walked on I ignored his “advice” and after some minutes a car stopped next to me and this young Italian couple was going in my direction. Some hundred metres further they picked up the other guy. He turned out to be an Erasmus student, who was super annoying. Apparently, it was his first hitchhiking trip and he couldn’t hold back with his “awesome” experiences he already had. He couldn’t shut up.

At the gas station where they left both of us, he got an earlier ride, because he was continuing to Barcelona, whereas I wanted to make a detour via Monaco. The gas station was not very busy. There was a small car that was completely full. I asked its owner, a young Italian named Pietro, and expected that he would decline my request. I wouldn’t have totally mind because the reason “Sorry, but the car is full.” was true, not – as usually – a stupid excuse. But to my surprise, he still managed to find space for me and even my backpack. He even intended to drive me directly to Monaco, but didn’t have time in the end.

That’s why I had to accept a ride from a rich Russian woman in her Porsche Cayenne. Uhmm was a pitty… I had to go in a Porsche… how unfortunate. She seemed to live the cliché life of a Monacan wife: Together with her husband, who was the rich guy and her two children in a huge house, not working. She said, Monaco is a very nice place to live, but sooo expensive – well who would have known that Monaco is an expensive place to live??? Nevertheless it was funny having gotten a lift by her.

Anyway I continued by foot the border with France again, passing Ferraris, Maseratis, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, shops like Svarovski, blablabla [insert something really expensive]. The people gazed strangely at me, while I was passing with my outdoor/hitchhiker clothes and the backpack…yeah I didn’t (want to) belong there.

Behind the border I was picked up by a priest who was collecting food to donate for poor and homeless people in Nice. At the gas station inside the city, where he left me, I waited quite a long time till someone stopped. The owner was a hitchhiker himself, but couldn’t increase my hope to get away tonight. However a car stopped, but it turned out only because I had a sign showing the driver’s hometown (Nîmes). He said he could bring me to a toll station (péage). On the way Didier suggested I could sleep and eat in his house. Due to the fact it was already 11pm and dark I accepted his offer. His house was in a small village with a great view to the Mediterranean Sea and Monaco.

Day 3, Village near Monaco – Perpignan; ~470 km, 5 cars, >7h waiting time

T03 Monaco-PerpignanAfter breakfast Didier left me at a toll station (péage) before Nice. This experience should have never made me being left off at these places (toll stations): I had to wait for about 5 hours, because the cars just passed by. When a driver finally stopped at the small parking area where I was standing next to, I hurried to catch him before he drove off. He took me to the next service area (French “aire”) near Cannes. It was not far from the péage, but a way better spot.

A truck driver took me some 100 kilometres further and from there I went with the Dutch-Spanish guy Joris to a service area just before Perpignan. He just came from Nice, where he spent a hard party week in the house of his super rich friend and was now returning to his family living south of Barcelona. We had a nice chat, but from the service area he dropped me, I didn’t get further this night.

To make it worse – actually I didn’t care about the first fact – a melon was kind of squeezed in my backpack and its juice was now over in my backpack. In addition the stupid melon was not even eatable any more…

At 1am I put my sleeping bag on a soft carpet made of dry fir needles and, hoping it wouldn’t start to burn, soon slept, which made some insects happy…..

On French highways there are electronic screens, that, if a car is too fast, show its number plate and a hint that it’s going too fast (“trop vite”).

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Day 2


Day 3


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Day 1, Monday, 4.8., Karlsruhe – Liechtenstein – Bellinzona (CH)

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Day 1, Karlsruhe – Bellinzona via Liechtenstein; ~500km, 6 cars, ~7h waiting

T01 KA-Bellinzona_50kmAlright, it’s impossible to start a journey without Haribo. And I forgot to by them the Saturday before I departed. That’s why I didn’t need to hurry but had to wait for the supermarket to open at 8 am.

Fully equipped now, I walked to my hitchhiking spot. But it seemed nobody was going in direction to Stuttgart, which is very strange, because usually most cars are going to Stuttgart.

However after 2,5h I was picked up and brought to the next service area, being 30 kilometres away. There mostly Dutch people with their mobile homes and full cars were interrupting their driving, but after some time I got a lift from a Belgian drummer. He was actually even going to a place in Austria not very far from Liechtenstein, my first destination.

Though the place I chose to be left was quite bad; without access to the highway. Luckily there seemed to be a convention nearby, so many cars were going in the direction to the highway.

So I got a ride to a gas station in Switzerland where I could go with the first guy I asked. I only wanted to cross the border to Liechtenstein to take a photo that I’ve been in this huge and country that is famous for…..whatever then to continue. When he got this, he made a little detour for me.

With some Dutch workers I got to Chur. There it started raining, but still an Alfa stopped. The driver’s first question was not where I was going or if I was a murderer. No instead he asked, whether I had dog shit under my shoes. I was perplexed since I didn’t expect such a first question. But to be honest, it’s quite reasonable.

Though I’m sure every hitchhiker who notices having shit under the shoes would remove it immediately. Still it was a funny drive with this Swiss couple. They left me at a large service area near Bellinzona, but I only tried half-hearted to continue.

Last year I usually was always highly motivated to get further as soon as I arrived somewhere. But with the wisdom and experience of age, I got more relaxed. And I mean I was travelling gipsy style anyway – meaning with a tent, mattress and sleeping bag I needn’t care at all about anything. I could sleep where I wanted, just making sure not to bother anyone to call the police.

A river was nearby the service area and its bank was made of large stones, where I could perfectly lay down in my sleeping bag. It didn’t rain and was warm, so I didn’t pitch up my tent.

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