On the next morning we left Brighton with refilled energies and luckily the weather was on our side, too. That day turned out to be full of super-interesting and kind people. Our first driver was a english lawyer who spoke german and specialized on fighting the death sentences in the United States. He worked for german and english citizens there as well as voluntarily for some NGOs that try to control the pharma-experiments made with death inmates. Very serious and sad thing to talk about, but so nice to hear about the successes they could achieve!
He took us to the hugest service station, I have ever seen, Londoner ring. They even had washing-mashines, besides a dog walking park, a coach park, a small recreation area with a lake, picnic area and of course the obligatory shopping mall and fast food patio. We didn´t find food, so we went on. Walking towards the exit to the highway a nepali taxi-driver stopped for us. We told him we didn’ t have money but he invited us for a ride anyway. He was going home to a town close to Dover. What a lucky day! With him we had very nice talks, too, about what exactly I don’t remember now. I think it was about Nepali immigration, military service, his family and so on.
At the station right before Dover, we dumpstered loads of tomate-mozarella baguettes and colourful donuts and met another Hitchhiker!! He was really cool, a boy around 20 and in very fine clothes, it was his first time hitchhiking, he just like that started doing it by himself. He was well prepared for a small Europe-tour, little lugagge, maps in rainproof portfolios, etc. We showed him how to skip, told him that the ferry was hitchable and invited him to come to the hitchgathering in August! (I think he was a little afraid of us dirty people). When we left after eating, again we didn´t even reach the hitching spot yet, when Jakob, a polish truck-driver asked us if we wanted to come with him and of course we wanted. The ferry reminded me of the buquebus between Argentina and Uruguay, exept for the white cliffs. I always had been thinking you could not go outside on deck and when they told me you could I was amazed, it was really beautiful! We didn´t pay because the trucks pay per vehicle not per person and even got offered food and coffee for free – as much as we wanted 🙂
On the french side of the channel it was raining, and it was an hour later, but Jakob told us he could bring us a few hundred kilometers further through belgium. There we saw a beautiful doble rainbow that we approached so much that the coloures we so strong we thought we must be able to touch it! (of course in a photo colours are not so good). We went from Calais, to Belgium, and stopped somewhere near. it was already dark, and now strongly raining, but we didnt want to sleep at the service station. Right in the moment we jumped out of Jakobs truck a guy called us, we ran through the rain and jumped in the next car. He was belgium a city guide that spoke many languages and had lots of stories to tell but had to drop us after few kilometers near Brussels. We thought now maybe it was about time to go sleeping and pitch the tent, but were too lazy to get up and start. So we just asked the only people around that late hour if they could give us a ride and they said yes. They were two really tall basketball players in a really small car. They were from a Congonesian family and told us about the language ngala which they were speaking. They had just won an important match and were on the way home to their party, super exited, partying, singing with the music. The one of them who lived closest to the motorway offered us to sleep on their couch, but he had a small child and we didn´t want to call him out at night, so we kept on trying to hitch the night.
We checked out the dumpsters (no luck) and decided to ask the drivers that come to charge gasoline. The first one was a social worker that didn´t go further with his car, but bought us a beer and kept for a cigarrette or two and some conversation. He worked with heroin-substitutes, had studied sociology, and was a huge fan of Ulrich Beck. People in Belgium all seemed very open, muticultural, educated. A car arrived, the guy went in the shop to buy something, but forgot to pull the hand brake so his car slowly rolled backwards. We ran in to tell him, but he wasn´t concerned, and very slowly walked back to his car. Our friend told us he was the famous candidate for some conservative EU party, he even had a picture of himself printed on the car.
Our friend left and no more cars arrived. It started to rain. We were just asking ourself where to pitch the tent, when a car arrived. We asked him if he could give us a ride and he did. He was a film director, that has been working in the US and a little disappointed we didn´t know any of his work. He talked and talked, he was on the way to meet his girlfriend who was waiting for him in a cabin in the countryside close to Namur. He drove by the last open seervice station and of course we told him not to drive back, but to leave us just on the exit of the highway, we were tired, and he too. So it happened that we camped close to the 2013 post-hitchgathering spot, the village next to Houyet along the same railway. It looked familiar, even the weather and the slugs everywhere seeemed the same! Good memories!
– to be continued –