|Amsterdam was beautiful |
in Autumn colours.
After some debate about where to find our first ride, we decided to follow the advice of the local Hitchwiki page and took the bus out to the ‘Aachener Land’ shell station in Eschweiler, it was in the opposite direction to where we were going, but right on the Autobahn. Our first challenge was to walk 1.1km each way through the grass on the side of the road, to make a safe bridge crossing over the autobahn, to the shell on the other side – so that we were facing in the right direction.
With wet feet, but finally at a good starting spot we tried to get started. My stomach pains had upgraded to feeling like I was being punched with every bad thought. N, was feeling bubbly and enthusiastic. Neither of us knew where to start. Finally we puckered up some courage and asked a girl travelling alone, filling up her car. She couldn’t help us but the friendly encounter filled us with hope. One couple we asked soon after felt bad that they couldn’t offer us a lift, so they invited us to drink a coffee with them. The kindness of them washed away my fears and I was ready to hitch our first lift. Soon after the coffee break we found a lift to the next petrol station over the border into the Netherlands, with a friendly young couple, having their first holiday without their kids in 3 years.
Our next lift came almost instantly with a young Dutch man, driving an Audi, who works in football player management. He was funny and introduced us to a great Dutch band. He dropped us in the Total Tankstation just under Utrecht. Here a lady who couldn’t give us a lift, flagged down a leaving customer to see if he could help, which he did! Our last ride was with a lovely old Dutch man, who told us he used to hitch hike with his wife when they were younger. He took us to his hometown in Amstelveen, where we took a local tram into Amsterdam centre.
Time taken: 5hrs
Money spent: 8,05 euros (buses around Aachen, tram into Amsterdam)
We spent the evening at the home of a kind couchsurfing host. We cooked dinner for him and ate together, talking like old friends. He offered us a comfortable bed in a private room and we slept well, excited and exhausted from the days adventures.
At Maastricht we hugged our new friend goodbye, and set out to take the bus the last leg home. The bus, naturally, burst a tire 5 minutes into the journey, however this was soon sorted and we made our way home.
This weekend was a welcome reminder for me about the goodness of people. Thank you to each of the drivers for giving us a lift, sharing your conversation on the journey. Thank you to N for helping me challenge myself. Thank you to each kind person we spoke to. Thank you to P, our couch surfing host. And thank you to Adriene, for bringing such a wonderful group of people together - you touch so many peoples lives and I was amazed by how much energy and enthusiasm you brought to your last class. Also thank you for allowing me to make an announcement to find a lift home.
I am so very happy to have faced this fear, and come out on the other side feeling richer and happier for the experience.
For pictures taken at the event see here. See if you can spot a fairy looking for a lift!
|A banner created by one of the attendants =)|