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Europe hitch

a travel blog by bethy

After finally graduating, me and Ben decided to celebrate our degrees and the world cup by a 2 week hitch hike around Europe

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Day 1: The hitch begins - Birmingham to Brussels

Brussels, Belgium

Well, we set off from home at around 7am with no solid plans and no accommodation booked, and 2 days to hitch hike from Birmingham to Cologne for the next world cup England match. All we took was some cardboard and a bag each with some clothes, a sleeping bag and a sheet of tarpaulin.
The plan was to get a bus to New Street then a train to the NEC. However, we got picked up before the bus turned up and dropped off near the junction to the M1. Here, after Ben won the argument over where to hitch from, we were stood next to a roundabout for hours wondering how the hell we were gonna get out of Birmingham. Eventually, I got fed up and went over to the slip road where I originally wanted to stand... and lo and behold... I got us a lift within minutes! Somehow, in our attempt to travel South towards Dover, we ended up North, just outside of Nottingham... and started to realise that if we didn't get a good lift soon we were gonna miss our ferry!
Anyway, several lifts later some bloke missed his shopping trip to Mothercare with his wife to go out of his way and dropped us off at a service station near the M25. After pestering half the people parked at the car park we stumbled across a Spanish bloke in a van who was also going to Dover.
After all our panicking, we actually managed to get on an earlier ferry to Calais (where we were originally planning to sleep) but we hitched a lift with a family to Brussels!

permalink written by  bethy on June 18, 2006 from Brussels, Belgium
from the travel blog: Europe hitch
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Day 2: Brussels to Dortmund

Dortmund, Germany

After many, many hours walking around Belgium in hunt of a permanent marker pen, we eventually found some in a post office. I came up with the fantastic idea of also buying some paint and a paintbrush (which got thrown away several hours later, but nevermind!).
We quickly discovered that Belgium is a ridiculously easy place to hitch hike around! Our pattern over the next few hours seemed to be getting picked up within minutes (if not seconds!) and taken a few junctions (but every junction counts!). After being moved off the side of the highway by the Belgium police, we eventually got stuck at a service station and put our England shirts on hoping the colours would attract pity from fellow fans also heading to watch the match. Ben discovered a minibus full of blokes going our way, but alas, there was no space for us. After attempting to hitch a lift on a school bus, it started pissing it down with rain... and luckily the minibus blokes felt sorry for me standing there like a drowned rat and made space for me and Ben. Several beers later, and to my suprise, since I thought we were getting dropped off at Cologne, I find that we'd actually been taken past Cologne (with Bens permission) and to a fan camp in Dortmund. After I'd been for a pee in the police station and had a shower, we went out on the piss and joined the Swiss street party.

This is where we met Antje (or better known to us as Miss Swiss)

permalink written by  bethy on June 19, 2006 from Dortmund, Germany
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Day 3: Cologne

Cologne, Germany

Today we cheated and got a train from the fan camp to Cologne, since it was included in the price of staying there.
Once in Cologne we met up with Steve our Geordie boy and sat drinking down the Riverside for several hours before meeting up with Liam and heading over to the fan fest to watch the match on the big screens.

Ben the alcoholic muppet was passed out on the concrete by around 5pm
. After harrassing a load of people into filling in Steves dissertation questionnaires I made an "interesting" find in one of the portaloos. So, not long later me and Liam were running around the fan fest singing and dancing and generally just going completely wappy... and my memory is really fuzzy for the rest of the day. All I can remember is being stood at the bar for ages and having a huge argument with a big fat bald bloke who threatened to kill me but then became my new best friend for about an hour, then I went back into the crowd where I couldn't find everyone so as soon as England scored I promptly dropped 2 of the 4 beers I was carrying, then eventually I managed to find the lads sitting on top of a not very stable looking portaloo!

After this, I managed to lose the boys again and wandered around the bars of Cologne on my tod, absolutely slaughtered, gatecrashing in on random groups of England fans.

permalink written by  bethy on June 20, 2006 from Cologne, Germany
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Day 4 - 6: Prague

Prague, Czech Republic

Well I woke up the morning after the England vs Sweden match on the window ledge of a bank opposite Cologne train station, with an hour and a half to get to the airport, no battery left on my phone, no money, and absolutely no idea where Ben and Steve were. I crawled out of my sleeping bag, asked a copper how to get to the airport then slowly stumbled into the train station in search of some water for my poor dry, furry mouth. Miraculously, I turned around and saw Ben running past me. After catching up with him who was on his last round of the station before him & Steve were gonna head off without me, we made it to the airport with about ten minutes to spare. Somehow in Cologne, Steve lost his digital camera and got his phone robbed while passed out next to the Riverside where i couldn't find him again, and Ben had lost his bag and therefore ALL of his stuff. Neither me or Ben can remember the plane taking off or landing... we literally passed out pretty much as soon as we sat down!

Anyway, in Prague we managed to do several walks around the city (bar crawls), go rowing on the river, sample some fine czech wine, walk around the football stadiums and the castle, and visit the scary sex machines museum.

permalink written by  bethy on June 23, 2006 from Prague, Czech Republic
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Day 7-8: Stuttgart

Stuttgart, Germany

We left Prague early in the morning, got a tram to the outskirts of the city and hitched from there. We decided it would be easier to hitch hike slightly North before hitching west to Germany.
A few lifts and lots of prostitute sightings later, we ended up in Munich where we watched the second half of the Germany match in a pub. Afterwards we managed to get a lift nearly to Stuttgart. Unfortunately we got dropped off at the side of a highway with no hard shoulder... and no speed limit... and in the dark... and had to leg it quite a way to the next junction absolutely crapping ourselves. That night we stayed on Liams hotel room floor.
After watching the match in the fanfest & singing the german bomber song 200000 times on some stairs with thousands of other fans, we went to a pub & drank with some Germans, then stayed at Stew's awesome flat on the German-Swiss border

permalink written by  bethy on June 25, 2006 from Stuttgart, Germany
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Day 9: Bern

Bern, Switzerland

Hopp Sweiss

permalink written by  bethy on June 26, 2006 from Bern, Switzerland
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Day 10: Leuvre

Leuven, Belgium

Vodka in Strasbourg, Luxembourg and all nighter in Belgium

permalink written by  bethy on June 27, 2006 from Leuven, Belgium
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Day 11 - 12: Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands


permalink written by  bethy on June 29, 2006 from Amsterdam, Netherlands
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Day 13 - 14: Gelsenkirchen

Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Essen & Gelsenkirchen

permalink written by  bethy on July 1, 2006 from Gelsenkirchen, Germany
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Day 15 - 16

Birmingham, United Kingdom

Hitch hike home.

permalink written by  bethy on July 3, 2006 from Birmingham, United Kingdom
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