Last week I tried my hand on my first long haul hitch hiking trip. Antwerp to Heidelberg: a 450 km long trip over well connected motorways. We left in the morning and were almost immediately joined by the rain.
It was harder than we thought. It started off slowly in Antwerp. We got our first short ride after an hour with our thumbs up and only after we changed location. After that we got several short rides and by 2 pm we had reached Maastricht. There was still a long way to go but first we made a stop in a little cafe to get some soup out of the rain and to make new signs for the rest of our journey.
Our next goal was Aachen. Leaving the cafe they told us that hitch hiking was not really allowed here and they showed us the bus stop that was just a few dozen meters from the front door. In a few minutes a bus to Aachen was going to pass by so we decided to just jump on it. The small villages we passed on the way were absolutely charming. It was nice to see something else than the motorway the entire time.
In Aachen we checked the trains. It was already afternoon and it would have been nice to get a definite ride to our destination but Aachen-Heidelberg would be 90 euros so we decided against it and continued our hitch hiking adventure. We found a spot close to the motorway and got a ride to a gas station in Duren with a mother and her two children. From there we got a ride to a gas station just before Koln and from there we got another short ride to just before the airport Koln-Bonn.
We had not been lucky so far, only getting short rides and now we actually had gone off route because it was the only ride we could get. Here we were stuck for about an hour meeting people who would only go as far as the airport. A nice man offered to bring us to a different motorway where more traffic would pass going to Frankfurt. He dropped us of at a crossroad going on to the motorway in saint Augustine. Our luck was not about to change. We stood there on the side of the road for at least 2 hours. The sun was slowly setting and traffic became less and less. We were at a point of desperation joking that we would sleep in one of the garden sheds that where for sale in the garden center behind us. At last a lady offered to bring us to the next town where there was a train station. We were so ready to get of that crossroad, we accepted with glee. it was almost 9 pm then. In Hennef, in the trainstation we had to decide what our next move would be. Already being to late to continue hitch hiking we looked at our train options. A ride to Heidelberg would cost us 77 euro. Luckily there was wifi in the station and we were able to look up some buses. We decided to take the train back to the Koln-Bonn airport and get on a long haul bus to Heidelberg, approximate arrival time 3:30 am.
In the middle of the night we finally made it to the haubtbahnhoff of Heidelberg. Luckily our friend who lives there was so kind to pick us up so we didn’t have to walk the last 3 km to her house. It took us 8 hitch hiking rides, 2 bus rides, train ride and many hours to get there but we made it in the end.
After a glorious day and a half in Heidelberg it was time to head back to Antwerp, I decided to take the bus back.