Hitchiking on a Saturday is not, it seems, a simple task. Well, not if you’re headed to Berlin instead of Hamburg, as we were. We got quite excited that the hitch looked so simple on HitchWiki – there’s a bus all the way to the nearest service station. However, two and a half hours later, we had been offered many lifts but none going the right way.

For the first time, we tried asking people, rather than simply standing at the road side. It quickly became apparent that I’m a much better candidate for the job than Josh, since at least people will actually speak to me! Unfortunately, whilst I would love to put this down to my inherent charm and witticisms, it’s definitely because I’m a woman. I developed the tactic of first asking, ‘Do you speak English?’ since if they’ve already said ‘Yes’ to one thing, they might be more likely to say yes to more… However, most cars were full or Hamburg-bound or both.

Even more frustratingly, another person turned up, also trying to hitch to Berlin, and got a lift before us! Nonetheless, at the average speed (of 100mph even in the pouring rain) we travelled at, we may even have arrived before him…

Eventually we picked up a lift with a BMW-driving (‘I’ve had this model three times already’) mistress-pursuing Frenchman whose car glided to 100mph with ease. This experience was certianly more calming than sitting in the MG (with spoiler) of an English engineer who insisted on driving unbelievably fast even when the visibility on the road was almost nil.

‘What, might you say, would be the stopping distance of a car like this in this weather?’ Josh asked.

‘I’ve no idea, but don’t worry, I just changed the brakes on this car.’

Apparently he had time targets to keep – London to the border to the Ukraine in eighteen hours with only Red Bull to keep him awake. This all made sense when he explained that he had a date with a bottle of vodka at 10pm that evening…  Luckily, I was too preoccupied with the sensation of crushing from the rucksacks, suitcases and day bags on all sides to truly fear for my life.

On a different note, we managed to extract from him the fact that, from an engineer’s experience and knowledge, biodiesel is ‘complete bollocks’. He also had a similar opinion on climate change, but we’ll forget about that for the moment.

Three lifts took us all the way from Hannover to Berlin, and having only set off from the original service station at 1.30pm, we arrived in East Berlin in  amazing time – before 5!

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