Hitchhiking Europe Part One
Feb 3, 2013.
I’m in Europe now, and as you know, I’ve been on the road two years now, and whenever I run out of money, I have to stop and work where ever I am. Last time it was in Thailand. This time, I’ve ended up in Tallinn, Estonia. I love Old Town Tallinn, with it’s mid evil architecture, but I am getting the travel bug to see the rest of Europe. Another fellow traveler working at the same hostel as I feels the same, and one day we decided to hit the road, regardless of how little money we had. This will be my first time hitchhiking Europe.
Our Mission is to hitchhike and Couchsurf our way around Europe, seeing how many countries we can get to on a tiny amount of money. For me it was about 350 Euro.
Our mission to hitchhike the whole trip was blown out of the water when someone offered us cheap bus tickets. It was from Tallinn all the way to Warsaw for only $40. So we took it. We made our way south through the Baltics. The snowy and beautiful forests of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were a wonderful site. It was a very long ride, with stops in Riga and Vilnius, but eventually we made it to Warsaw, Poland.
A benefit of working at a hostel, is that you meet amazing people from around the world. A week or so before we left we met the beautiful Karolina and Ula from Warsaw, whom offered us a place to crash if and when we made it to their city.
Unfortunately for them, we take those offers seriously, and called them up. They probably never thought we would actually come, but welcomed us with open arms and full Polski shots anyways.
We had an amazing, albeit short time in Warsaw, and Karolina was great, putting up with us playing tourist and taking a million pictures as she showed us Old Town. Read about my post on Warsaw here!
We wanted to make this trip the ultimate adventure, and planned on hitching as much as possible, but Polski Bus offers bus tickets all the way to Poznan for 3 Euro… who can say no to that?? Hitchiking Europe wasn’t the only cheap way to get around apparently!
I’d been real sick for the last couple weeks, and when we arrived in Poznan, I could barely function. My lungs were burning and I would cough until I would nearly puke.When we arrived in Poznan we went directly to a hospital where I could get checked.
Hospitals in Eastern Europe are crazy. In the States I would have been stopped as soon as I walked in the door, told to fill out a form, then given a number and told to wait. After a while a nurse would come around and escort you to a room. “the doctor will be right with you”. More waiting. After the checkup, I would be escorted to the reception again where you’re required to pay before you leave. Everything completely controlled and organized.
In Poland, we walked into what looked like an abandoned hospital in a zombie movie. Not completely abandoned I guess, since in the otherwise empty waiting room there was an old lady yelling at a kid in Polish. (I think that happens in horror movies too actually).
We wandered around with no clue where to go or do, until finally finding an old, semi-official looking lady that spoke some English. (about 7 words). I told her I needed a doctor, and she pointed down a dark, scary looking hall and said wait at door 6. ( More like- ”You go there. Stand. wait.”)
There was no “hospital music”, cleaning people, wall hangings, decorations, or even other patience around. It had nothing in the way of frillery or unnecessary decor one gets accustomed to in America, just white walls, cement floor, and flickering halogen lights that make a buzzing sound. I was half creeped out, but also started to realize why American health care costs so much.
There was still no system at door 6 to see the doctor. People just walked in as others walked out, in what ever order they arrived; no one to say “Next!”.
The only non-sketchy thing in the place was the doctor. He was a legitimate saw-bones, and diagnosed me with bronchitis. And what did this impromptu doctor exam cost me? Nothing but a story and some conversation. Doc was happy to be able to practice his English, and was interested in my travels.
I was definitely not his typical room 6 visitor. When I went to leave I took advantage of his knowing English and asked where I should go to pay, and how much it was. He shrugged, handed me my prescription, and told me not to worry about it, it was free.
Our contacts paid off again as we stayed the next 3 nights with Anne, a polish student and fellow traveler who Ron had met in France a couple years before. I took a few days to recover, and then it was on again. Now we are determined not to pay for any more rides, and will hitch to Berlin in the morning.
Did you like reading about my adventures? Check out part two of my adventure hitchhiking Europe!