Yesterday was a fun day. I left my hostel in the early afternoon and made my way to the bus station. From there I caught a but to Auchan, a huge shopping center on the outskirts of town. I walked across the overpass, to a nearby gas station, and began my effort to hitchhike the 300km to Krakow. Not two minutes into my attempt another traveler walks up and says he is also hitching to Krakow. He is Rick, a guy from Los Angeles that was studying in Munich and now, like myself, just wandering Europe. His sign is bigger than mine (and yes, size does matter), but mine is funnier. We decide to join forces and made an even bigger sign that almost requires two people to hold. After about half an hour we decide to reevaluate our strategy. I felt that instead of standing by a busy highway, where cars are already going 150km/hr, we should relocate to the nearby on-ramp. Right away I knew it was a good idea, as the back of the road sign where we were now standing was signed in black marker by many previous hitchhikers.
It took another 15 minutes or so, then an older Dutch couple stopped and picked us up. However, they were only going about half-way on the highway, then to their tiny village. So they dropped us off at a rest stop with a gas station and a KFC. After lunch we tried our luck at getting the last 150km. After 15 minutes one guy stopped, but said he could only take us as far as Katowice, and I was specifically told not to stop there because I would probably get stuck. So we passed, and 15 minutes later another guy with his 3-year-old son stopped. It was quite a cramped ride, but turned out to be quite an adventure. He was Polish, but he lived in the UK. He was just in town on Holiday and borrowing his sister’s car. Which is why he had forgotten about the broken fuel gage. We only made it about 15km before the car rolled to a stop on the off-ramp. So the three of us pushed it past the toll booth and off to the side of the road. He put his son up on his shoulders and started walking. It was about 3km to the nearest gas station, so that gave Rick and I plenty of time to play frisbee and talk about our adventures.
About an hour later he came back with about two liters of gas and a bottle of apple-flavored iced tea. We drank the tea then cut the bottle in half and used that as a funnel to pour in the gas. From there we went straight to a station to fill up, then it was (once again) off to Krakow! We had to stop like six times for tolls, but we eventually made it. He dropped us off about 2km from our hostel, offered us some weed for some reason (Rick accepted), and then was off.
The first hostel we tried to book was packed. The second, half a block away, was not. I quite like it here, except for all the stairs. And the Wi-Fi is crap at best. We quickly met two other girls staying in the next room over and the four of us walked to the Jewish Quarter for food and ice cream. After that Rick and I walked around the central square in a light rain just to get a general lay-out of the town.
This morning Rick left early for Auschwitz. I plan on going, but maybe a bit later in the day. I walked around town for an hour or two, then found a cute little deli for breakfast. I had a caprese omelette. The caprese part was good. After sending out a few more postcards I returned to the hostel to plan and organize my day. I need to wash some laundry and get my hair cut for sure, then get a bunch of little errands done.
This hostel is booked until Thursday night I think. From there I’ll be finding my way south to Budapest. Not sure how, but hitchhiking was atually pretty fun, so I may try that again. The only problem would be the international borders, but I’m pretty sure Poland, Slovakia and Hungary are all Schengen, so most likely won’t be an issue.
Time to get some things done. Until next time…