Hitchhiking Europe Part Five: Strasbourg to Zurich
We hit yet another Hitchwiki spot leaving Luxembourg towards France. It had us at a big rest stop on the motor way, where it turned out to be a long hitch. There was only one spot to stand, at the exit to the motorway, and our options were limited. After about a couple hours, security from the massive shopping center came to kick us out. He said it was too dangerous of a spot, and we had to leave. Our last and only option was to go to the back parking lot and personally ask drivers if they were going towards Strasbourg. It was another cold hour before we finally found a ride.
This nice elderly couple whom gave us the lift, were only going as far as Metz, in France. So after consulting my trusty road map, we found a nice road side rest-stop where to get dropped off. It was before the exit ramp to get to the E25 motorway, heading due-east, so that we could find a ride hopefully going all the way to Strasbourg, or if we were lucky, all the way to Basel, Switzerland. It was a long hitch. Probably only three hours, but standing out on the highway in the middle of nowhere with your thumb out, it seems like a lot longer.
Eventually a tiny car stopped with a French student inside. He was going to Strasbourg, so we crammed inside. He was a really nice guy, but didn’t speak a word of English, so it was kind of a long, quiet ride. I was pretty ok with this, considering how damn tired I was.
We arrived in Strasbourg a little worried. It was just after dark and since we had planned on making it much further, we hadn’t arranged for any accommodation in the city. (To be fair, we hadn’t arranged any accommodation in Basel either, so this situation was probably inevitable). We got dropped off at the central train station, knowing that it probably had WIFI, and we could try sending out an emergency couch request on Couchsurfing.
We arrived in the station and sent out requests as quick as we could. We weren’t real hopeful that we would get a couch, and were resigned to the idea of sleeping on benches in the station. But then we started to get worried when we were informed that the station was not a 24 hour station, and that we had to leave. Damn.
We really didn’t want t crash outside in the freezing cold, but didn’t know what else to do, so headed out. The cold eventually drove us into a McDonalds, where we could use the WIFI, in hopes someone had noticed our request. We had no positive replies, and they were closing soon and we needed to leave. At the last minute we checked again, and there was a reply! A host in Strasbourg who hosts many guests, gave us directions to his place, and we headed out. Pierre is one of those Couchsurf hosts who is extremely active. He fills his living room every night almost, and shares stories with people from all over the world. We shared his place with a guy from Portugal, and Ron even got to sleep in a hammock that’s set up in the room. Great night, and it beat the park.
The next morning we were up bright and early, to head out to a good hitch spot, to do some hitching in the cold. As a backpacker I hate carrying around big coats, and prefer to just wear a lot of clothing when it’s cold. This day I was wearing every shirt, sock and hoodie I owned. We luckily only had to wait an hour or so, before we got a ride in a BMW towards Switzerland. We actually got picked up with another hitchhiker that we met on the road. Our friend got dropped off just inside the border in Basel, but luckily for us, our ride was going to Olten, which was near where our friend lived. Once we arrived, we wandered around the town for a while, until we finally got a hold of our friend. She lived in the nearby Lostorf, but had to work until late that night. We checked out the bus prices, but decided since we had so much time to kill, we would try hitching. I’m glad we did too, because we found a ride straight into Lostorf within five minutes of hitching
Once we finally hooked up with our friend in Lostorf and settled in at her and her parents house, we had a great time. we ended up staying 3 nights, exploring the castles and forests by day, and bars by night. I started to really build some love for Swiss towns and scenery, in this tiny place called Lostorf.
We eventually needed to hit the road, and our friend decided it would be fun to do some hitchhiking with us, and so we decided to hitch to Zurich together. Coincidentally, trying to hitch a ride out of small town Switzerland with three people, turned into a long ordeal. I think we must of had a three hour wait. Eventually though, we made it the short distance to the capital. There we stayed with her family again, and once again had an amazing time. These generous and awesome people showed us every inch of (sorry, centimeter) of the city, and the lake. It is now one of my favorite capitals. Even the small details, added up to make a great city. Small things like public water fountain that you can drink out of, and every street. To me, that was amazing, being able to get clean water from a random fountain in the street. The water was clean and good, as was the air and people. I love Switzerland. Next stop, Lugano, in Southern Switzerland, and then on to Italy.