Made some rookie hitchhiking mistakes and got a nice sunburn today to prove it. The second guy who picked me up had a big “XXX” tattooed on his neck, but these days it is more remarkable if someone doesn’t have a tattoo.
I always imagine the conversation in the car between an older couple as they approach me hitchhiking:
Woman: “Hey, there’s a hitchhiker! Should we pick him up?”
Man: “Where is he going? He doesn’t have a sign.”
Woman: “He looks tired.”
Man: “The kid’s probably on drugs”
Woman: “He looks like he’s in his 40’s.”
Man: “He’s probably the kind of guy who forgets his camera at home–he’s on drugs.”
It is part of hitchhiking lore that a pretty blonde girl in a convertible picks you up, but it really happened today! It’s not just hairy Bulgarian truck drivers, you know. Since no one would believe me, I asked if we could take a photo before we went, and she was amenable. Of course, this picture could be staged, Photoshopped, etc, so you have to take my word for it that she really did pick me up. There were quite a few people in the parking area that witnessed this in disbelief.
She might be the last pretty girl to pick up hitchhikers as once in Vienna there was confusion about where to leave me and it ended up being bad for both of us. We both had to backtrack after I was dropped off. My sixth and last car was a Mini Cooper, only my second one ever.
I am visiting two families here quickly. I met the girls 21 years ago and now Monika is a reporter for the national radio station and for 22 years now Judith has kept the Austrian national swimming record in the 50 meters freestyle, which is all the more amazing because it has stood up through the buoyant swimsuit era.
And I’m still traveling in circles. Something’s wrong.
Hitchhhiking to Munich tomorrow in the heat. Not good for the sunburn.