Hitchhiking Europe Part Four: Amsterdam to Luxembourg
Oh Amsterdam, I love you, but it’s time to go. I experienced another first when leaving Amsterdam: a designated hitch spot. It is an area along the highway that has a wide spot and a sign telling you to hitch here. Amazing! In the states hitchhiking is frowned upon and even illegal in many places. In Netherlands, it’s promoted!
The excitement of hitchhiking next to a hitch sign wore off after a couple hours in the freezing weather with no luck. So we hiked to the next spot mentioned on hitchwiki is stead. It was such a long walk through small forests and along motor ways and suburbs, that I was in a pretty bad mood by the time we arrived.
I was dreading that we would have no luck here as well, even after our long, cold walk. It was a rest stop, so when we arrived I went in to get some hot chocolate, and sorta prepare myself for a long session of standing on the road with my thumb out in the wind.
As I was making the coco, a couple older Dutch lesbians came over to use he machine as well. After a few minutes conversation I timidly asked if they were going south and if we could tag along. They happily agreed, and for once we had a ride within 5 minutes of arriving at a hitch spot! So much relief.
The lovely ladies showed me another awesome thing about the Netherlands that day. Apparently, in the Netherlands, there is a radio. Station that you can call into a report when and where you see police on the side of the highway. Everyone calls in and gives the GPS location of the cop watching for speeders, then they broadcast it like a storm warning! Everyone puts the coordinates into their GPS’ and then speed away until they are near the spot. It’s amazing! Everyone is traveling very fast, and then at the same time every single car (not once did I see a car without a GPS in Europe) slows down to pass the “hidden” cop car. Then off they go again. I was fascinated. They also have automatic speed checker that read your plates if you’re speeding, and yet were reported and broadcasted as well.
The ladies dropped us off at another rest stop outside of the heavily wooded Eindhoven. Our luck had ran out that day, however.
We hitched for hours. One of us at the exit ramp and the other asking drivers at the gas station. No one was going to Belgium. I was wearing every price of clothing I owned, it was so cold. Finally, sometime after dark, we wandered into the big rest stop lounge and restaurant building that was (thank god) open 24 hours. We sat down at some chairs an tables in the corner and fell asleep, tired but glad to be warm.
That was my first tine being caught without a ride after dark, but it turned out fine. ( though some of the employees gave us the stink eye). We continued our hitching as soon as the sun was up. Thankfully we got a ride after only a couple hours, and were on our way. Our ride took us the way to Antwerp, Belgium. We were too tired to try hitching any farther, so contacted a friend we had in Antwerp. They said we could stay the night, but that they would be at work for 4 more hours and we had to kill the time around the city.
We walked around the city for a while and eventually ended up at the old train station. It is one of the coolest stations I’ve seen. At first I thought it was an old cathedral, as that’s what it looks like. We ended up being so tired by that point that we found a quiet spot on the cold marble floor and passed out for a couple hours.
The next morning out friend took us to another hitch spot, and it was a short wait for a right all the way to Brussels. You might be wondering now where the hell we were ultimately heading on this trip, but I can assure you, we didn’t know either. We had planned to try to hitch a boat to England, but then a friend called and said he had his parents summer home on the shores of Lake Como in Italy, and said we should come down. We had no set plans and hasn’t been to Italy, so said why not. So for the first time in this trip, we were heading east and not west.
Brussels was pretty. We stayed in another couchsurfers house and it was awesome. We had a big room to ourselves with wifi. We were next to this giant and beautiful church. Our host took us to this place that was an abandoned government building that was being use as a squat community. It had a lot of people in the 10 story building, and every week they do a big community dinner, with ingredients that were donated from local markets. It was a really good experience. Everyone was homeless, but trying to help others. They were all living in this abandoned building, yet still trying to give back to the community.
We ended up staying in Brussels 5 days, but eventually took to the road again. We hit the road and within the hour we had a ride going to Luxembourg. The driver told us to “please excuse my excessive speeds, but Germans are never late”. Apparently he was a German who worked in Luxembourg city, and refused to be late.
We hit 200 kilometers an hour and it was fun and scary at the same time. It wa scary because he was a music teach, and as he was driving he was writing music on paper on the steering wheel. Be noticed my side glances and assured me that this was a daily thing for him; that he usually got drunk after work and forgot to do his home work, so did it on the drive.
Our couchsurf host in Luxembourg City was the most exciting yet. When we requested her couch, she replied that she ran an exotic dance studio and that she lived at the place. She said we could stay with her, and that we would set out mats to sleep on after the last class of the day. We quickly accepted.
When we arrived we felt very put of place. We were vagabond looking dudes with dusty, worn out clothes and we were in the rich city center of Luxembourg at a dance studio with model-quality woman. We are most assuredly guilty of staring, I’m sure. There was a class going on, about the techniques of pole dancing, when we arrived. There was plenty of things to do in Luxembourg.
It was a little awkward being at the girls-only stripper school, so we headed out to see the city. It was an amazing and beautiful city, though I think we had hot pole dancers on our minds most of the time. After dark we headed back. Out host had big gym mats laid out for us, among the stripper poles. It was a good night with plenty of “hot” topic convos.