i've never had the slightest interest to visit berlin. but after our last hitchhiking experience, all signs pointed east. everyone we hitched with recommended it. and it just made sense. so off we went!
this hitching adventure, which we estimated would take about seven hours, ended up taking roughly fourteen.
we left amsterdam at noon (a bit too late) and caught a bus to the highway in search of a "liftplaats" which, believe it or not, is a designated hitchhiking spot in holland. when we found that strange thumb sign, there were three blonde boys from denmark already looking pretty desperate beneath it. so to avoid looking like an impossible group of 5, noelle and i carried on to a gas station near the highway for our first hitching spot.
we had enough time to make our cardboard signs and scribble in our journals a bit before catching a ride with a nice dutch business man. he taught us about holland the entire hour and a half ride, before dropping us at another highway gas station down the way.
we quickly got a ride with a redheaded polish guy who spoke very little english. note to self: make sure the person driving you through a foreign country can FULLY understand you before agreeing to ride along! this sweet guy meant well, but dropped us off on the other side of a town we shouldn't have been in.
after some brief anxiety at a very quiet gas station in god-knows-where holland, a young dutch guy came to our rescue and got us back on track, dropping us right where we needed to be.
at this next gas station near the border of germany, noelle was still in the process of writing out our new sign when a polish guy looked over her shoulder and comedically spelled out what she'd written so far. "you going that way?" he shrugged his shoulders and said mayyyybe, before running off to talk with his friends.
we rode with this group of polish guys over 3 hours into germany, and it was one of the funniest car rides of my life. we took vodka shots, talked about american culture, and learned every handy polish word (although we have no plans of visiting poland).
they dropped us off at a huge gas station which we should've quickly gotten a ride out of, considering all the traffic coming through. but something about this new german soil felt noticeably less friendly. so we set up camp, had a picnic, and watched the sunset while we waited. we got a couple encouraging smiles from people with full cars, and even got an offer to ride in a semi truck (!!!), but had no real luck until the sun was fully down and exhaustion set in.
an eccentric german man wearing black frame glasses and tight green pants finally drove us all the way into berlin. he gave me coffee and blared electronic music to help us stay awake--as if it was necessary. this crazy person was driving 180 km/hr at one point and swerved a bit more than i'd like. i maybe feared for my life the whole. damn. ride.
but alas! we made it to the outskirts of berlin alive. we caught the metro to our couchsurfing host's street at about 3 am. never have i been somewhere so alive at such an odd hour of the night! young, hip party-goers were swarming all over the place, as if the gig was just beginning!
a sure-fire bit of foreshadowing of our week-long stay in berlin.