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Up North to the Netherlands… part 5

My first big adventure travel is just by its culmination
... The hitchhiking Up North on an extremely tight, almost unexciting budged, with no return date, actually with no plans at all... So, stay with me and lets see what the cat will bring at the end... 🙈🙉🙊 (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)
You can also fallow the Up North trip in Polarsteps.
Not to overload the post with pictures, most of the photos you can find at the end of it divided into galleries.

15 September 2021 – Villach, Austria

Although I did like Slovenia from the first sight, I had to leave it soon and continue my amazing Up North trip.

One thing that impressed me, though, despite the fact that people here are quite different than those few kilometres away, was that every third person in Ljubljana was riding a bicycle.

On the way to the Austrian border
On the way to the Austrian border

Anyway, I had to say goodbye to my lovely hosts and continue to Austria. (That auto correct always try to put Australia in there! Okay, I promise, I’ll go there one day as well!)

Kadir drop me out if the city right where the highway begins and soon Nenod passed by and took me few more kilometres ahead.

After that I was almost taken to Bled lake. I wanted to visit the place, but still didn’t dare to take the risk of being stuck there, so I got off just at the crossing.

My first helper for the day
My first helper for the day

Where a police car stopped by me… After checking my documents, they explained that it’s forbidden to hitchhike there and I should live at the first exit and go by the old road.

They warned me though, that if I am caught one more time, there would be a serious penalty. (That’s the right human way of doing it! Thanks! They should definitely teach some lessons to the Croatians!)

My last Slovenian ride - really interesting woman
My last Slovenian ride – really interesting woman

So, right after I got on the other road, Damyana took me for a short distance, then decided to drove me all the way to the border.

It turned out that there is no other way of crossing the border, but a highway. And that was a problem. I have already been warned and the troubles could rapidly increase. So I did ask her, if she can not cross the border with me, just to leave me at the only gas station I found on the map.

The lovely German couple who took me exactly to the address I was going to
The lovely German couple who took me exactly to the address I was going to

From there an young German couple – Pia and Maxim, was my final ride by just in front of the door of my Couchsufing host. Thank you guys!

The few meters I had to walk to reach the exact address were quite fun with some a Slovenian taste!

Up North - Slovenian welcome in Austria
Up North – Slovenian welcome in Austria

My host Bettina met me on the way and took me to a cafe. After that we went to her place to have a shower and some rest. Then she took me for ice coffee and a nice walk by the river, followed by a dinner with Italian wine on the terrace… Gorgeous!

16 September 2021 – Klagenfurt, Austria

After getting up early, I made myself a coffee, washed my clothes and waited for Bettina to wake up and get ready for the planned bicycle tour.

Up North - a walk around Villach, Austria
Up North – a walk around Villach, Austria

As I walked around the house, something kept bothering me, and I kept ignoring it.

As soon as I met Bettina, my intuition turned the red light on, something was not quite right. But we all have our quirks, right?! And this is not necessarily a bad thing. So I agreed with my intuition, but did nothing.

Up North - a walk around Villach, Austria
Up North – a walk around Villach, Austria

At about 10 o’clock Bettina appeared (my intuition kicked me in the ankle, but I told her to watch its own business) and said that she needed to freshen up, etc. About an hour later she reappeared and said she wanted to be alone and I had to leave immediately. No explanation, no warning, not even giving me a time to search the internet for anything else, as I relied only on her wi-fi.

No, she just said: “I do need my coffee right now and I want you to leave!
My jaw sagged.

With my host Bettina in Villach, Austria
With my host Bettina in Villach, Austria

I was literally thrown out on the street with no time to react. Prices here start at 60-80 euro per night. My next appointment with Couchsurfing host was in 3 days. My phone had a half-dropped battery. I had no internet. It was going to start raining any moment. And my wet laundry flutters on the balcony.

It was difficult for me to assimilate what was happening

Damnit!!! Well… My leading principle was that there is no situation without a way out!!

Up North - a walk around Villach, Austria
Up North – a walk around Villach, Austria

My external battery had power, so the main problem remains the internet. I asked for the password in a cafe nearby, sat down and searched. Nothing!

I had searched before, I knew what the options were… In my desperation I wrote to, perhaps the only host I hadn’t written to, and I just got “declined” without even a word. Perfect!

I closed my eyes and tried to regain my ability to think. I turned towards the exit of the city in direction of Klagenfurt, where I had an appointment to stay, although after 3 days. There is no plan, but my friend in Munich won’t be available in more than a week, so it was pointless to continue north. I “only” had to deal with 2 nights

On the street I passed by a boy from a courier service and impulsively asked him for help and advice where could I spend a non expensive night. He turned out to be from Colombia and spoke only Spanish and German.

And here my Spanish, no matter how bad it is, saved my pretty ass!

My new Colombian friend - Yeen
My new Colombian friend – Yeen

The boy expressed regret that he lived in only one room and was in another city (Klagenfurt!). I told him I didn’t care at all. I have no problem sleeping on the floor and the city doesn’t matter either. We entered his address in my navigation, exchanged phone numbers and he continued with the deliveries, saying that he would be home around 4:30 o’clock.

I had not yet been able to assimilate the previous situation, it was hard to believe in this now. Well, I didn’t have a better idea anyway, so I just continued on to Klagenfurt wondering if I am going to see that boy ever again…

The Austrians also do not kill themselves stopping for hitchhikers

Up North - hitchhiking in Austria isn't a piece of cake...
Up North – hitchhiking in Austria isn’t a piece of cake…

However, 3 stopped for me, albeit for short distances and I was already about 8-10 km from the address when it start raining. I put a raincoat on the backpack, but didn’t care how wet I myself would get. It didn’t matter anymore…

Just as the rain was getting heavier, a car pulled near me and the lady inside waved my way. I feld an urge to hug her! I didn’t even care about the dog in the back seat (not that it noticed me in any way). We talked on the way and I explained the situation to her, where Vanya gave me her coordinates and told me not to hesitate to call her in case something went wrong. Then took me right to Yeen’s address. Thanks, Vanya!!

How Slovenians (even in Austria) let you wait for the rain under their roof...
How Slovenians (even in Austria) let you wait for the rain under their roof…

It was raining hard, so I asked to wait under the roof of the cafe next door. It turned out to be Slovenian’s, as well as Vanya in fact. And not only did they allow me to stay safe and dry, but also provided me with internet, served me ice water and hot coffee! Thanks a lot!!

While rummaging through my phone, I dialled Yeen unintentionally and hung up quickly. Still he called me back and said he was close and would be home in about 20 minutes.

I did not dream! Someone had taken me home again without even knowing me. Right from the street! A foreigner in this country…

Up North - My Colombian guardian angel!
Up North – My Colombian guardian angel!

When he called me again to tell me he was home and waved me off the opposite sidewalk, I still couldn’t believe it was real. While I was unpacking and we were preparing something for dinner (he had taken care of it), he kept asking me why I was smiling all the time.

I couldn’t answer. I grinned like a pumpkin and felt so unreal that, despite the pain in my feet, I wasn’t sure if I am not dreaming…

At a latino party in Klagenfurt, Austria
At a latino party in Klagenfurt, Austria

Yeen, the saviour of the day and of my pretty ass, saved me one more time.

After he took me to its home, we went to a Latino party on the next day. There I learned some bachata dancing (turned out I am a natural talent 😆) and have lots of fun with people all over Latin America. It was just amazing!

On the next day I had to leave and go to a host from Couchsufing. The guy was on vacation, but he has left a key for me (Thank you Kurt!!) and his housemate should be home. So at least I would not break in someone else’s house… 😆

When I went there though, no one met me and at first I was worried I am in a wrong flat… Then I did look around, noticed a sticky note with my name and phone number (obviously left for the flatmate) and sigh with relief – I was at the right place.

Then another surprise. I found Kurt’s housemate quite unresponsive – either drunk or on drugs (or both). I felt even more odd, tense and insecure. Didn’t like that feeling at all. And when Yeen called and I told him, he just said – you know I am waiting for you at home – mi casa es tu casa!

Walk around Klagenfurt, Austria
Walk around Klagenfurt, Austria

I did not need more, just got the backpack and started backwards. Spoke latter with Kurt, who felt really sorry about the situation and did apologise many times. It was not his fault at all and I told him so. I did not blame anyone for anything. Maybe next time we will have the chance to meet in person.

Everything was fine, as I had my Colombian angel by my side! 😉

Walk around Klagenfurt, Austria
Walk around Klagenfurt, Austria

Spent five relaxing leisure days in his home. I haven’t even suspected how tired my body is! We spoke a lot (Spanish!), went for a walk and had great time together.

I have found a friend for life!! 🤗🤗🤗

Up North: 22 September 2021 – Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands

Are you familiar with the feeling of unreality? As if this is not happening to you and you are just an observer?

Sometimes you think that the one who came on a white horse right at your birthday is your gift from Destiny… But it turns out that the real gifts are hidden in much simpler packaging: a crowded bus at a Bulgarian’ bus stop; a courier van on a small street in Austria; a shared breakfast in a modest guest house in Bosnia…

Up North - on the top of the hotel in Klagenfurt, Austria
Up North – on the top of the hotel in Klagenfurt, Austria

After Yeen took me home for a second time, he said he is happy with my company and I could stay a month or more – as long as I want to. I was all full of gratitude!!

I myself had no idea what had I done to my body until it said Enough, I have had enough of your stupidity!!

Walk around Klagenfurt, Austria
Walk around Klagenfurt, Austria

Great! And now what?!

I am in the middle of my journey, in one of the most expensive countries. Up North things are not getting any cheaper either and I have nowhere to spend even one night. The weather is starting to get worse and I have to hurry up to reach the Netherlands before it worsened too much.

Up North - walk around Klagenfurt, Austria
Up North – walk around Klagenfurt, Austria

I can’t even walk without the backpack, no chance to take more than 2 steps with the load. Yeen is a sunshine and my savior angel, still I can’t overuse his hospitality, no matter how much I enjoy it. And I have to get ahead of the cold.

But I can’t walk… I can’t take even a step

I can not go back, can not continue further, can not stay at Yeen’s place indefinitely either! Seems like I finally found a situation with no way out… No need to describe more, right?!

In this moment of despair and hopelessness, my salvation appeared in the face of an almost stranger, who was somehow not a stranger at all

Walk around Klagenfurt, Austria
Walk around Klagenfurt, Austria

Do you remember Alex, whom I met for breakfast in Bosnia in less than an hour? The one who took me to the highway in Visoko to continue to Croatia? We didn’t have the opportunity to spend more time together, but we stayed in touch and just at that moment he wrote to ask me how I was and how the trip was going.

I usually answer “I’m fine“. So I would do now if he had called just an hour earlier or later. But at that moment I needed a friend and I gladly accepted the offered shoulder.

Up North - Meet Alex, my hero of the day! :)
Up North – Meet Alex, my hero of the day! 🙂

Laughter through tears… You know what I mean, don’t you?! The tears were pouring down my face already and the laughter came when Alex simply saidI’m leaving Bosnia today, I can simply pass by and take you with me to the Netherlands.”…

My jaw sagged once again…

It will take too long to describe all the feelings, emotions and everything that happened from that moment on. I was already feeling unreal for a while and now I just found myself in an unsuspected fairy tale. Just found it hard to believe…

Up North - On the way towards the Netherlands
Up North – On the way towards the Netherlands

We (Alex) arranged a hotel for the night (there were no more space in Yeen’s place) and after all day driving, Alex picked me up at the evening and we parted with my Colombian angel. It was an emotional moment too, as we have become very close friends in just a few days.

In the morning we went for a short walk to the lake in Klagenfurt and started towards Netherlands. More than 12 hours of driving and we were there – Bergen op Zoom!

A few days later I can’t stop smiling, just because I am happy!!! My Up North adventure is so unbelievable amazing!

I have The Alex story in a different article with more details after the arrival, but in short – I was in the Wonderland!!!

I was in the Netherlands. In just a couple of days I have the perfect job (as a masseuse!), I did not even dare to hope for. Had also not only a place to stay, but the best possible accommodation within 100 meters from my work. In the very historical centre of the beautiful Bergen op Zoom!

Up North - on a walk nearby Bergen op Zoom
Up North – on a walk nearby Bergen op Zoom

And, most important, I have an wonderful person as a friend, staying firmly by my side and having my back!!! A person, whose existence I did not suspect until a week earlier! Yet it feels like I have known him for years.

Words are not enough to thank you for everything, Alex!!! 🤗🙏🏼🤗🙏🏼🤗🙏🏼🤗🙏🏼🤗


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