I slept under the Eiffel Tower in an awful thunderstorm as my hitchhiking through Europe continued. Then I met up with my new friend (from the evening before) for breakfast. We decided to hitch-hike together for a little bit. On a whim, South seemed like a good idea and we headed for Lyon.
A Senegalese man picked us up. He was very strange. He spoke only French and worked as a bodyguard, but right now he had driven 700km to perform a special mission. We politely made an excuse to remove ourselves from his car before we were picked up by a French man. He drove twice the speed of the Senegalese man, rolling a joint in one hand and playing with an iPad in the other. Our other rides were more reasonable.
We free camped by a petrol station and I took a photo of a map, so that we could plan our route. We settled on Italy and a small place called Portofino. I had never heard of it but it was on a peninsular and it looked rather small. A friendly Spanish man dropped us in the most terrible place after buying us lunch; the middle of a Genova. Never try to hitch hike from the middle of a city. It is near impossible.
We stayed for a night in Santa Margherita and a day in Portofino. I ate real gelato ice cream and swam in the warm sea for several hours. We cooked dinner on the beach in a tiny camping stove and camped on the one piece of grass that we could find in the whole town, avoiding the extortionate prices of the prestigious port towns. Supposedly Frank Lampard was in town, Wayne Rooney got married there, and there were several boats the same size as small villages.
From these beautiful places, we headed North to Como and swam in the lake before parting ways. I spent the following days climbing mountains around the lake and moving onto Zurich via some of the moth breathtaking European scenery I have ever seen. The endless mountains were decorated in snow as we passed from peak to peak, avoiding the heavy traffic that passed through the tunnels below.
I enjoyed sharing an adventure with someone else who was willing to let go. Just for a little bit. I am happy that our chance meeting happened.
Alone again, I walked to the top of a funicular and back down again. It took me nearly six hours. I found an abandoned house along the way. I was too scared to go inside so I walked around. The walk was perfectly calming.
Hitchhiking through the mountains in Switzerland, a car stopped for me and pulled aside as I bent down to pick up my bag. Upon turning around, another car had stopped between me and my next ride without me realising. I jumped into the worng car to shouts of, “No, no, no!” before realising my mistake.
Much of my life is kept in notebooks. Currently I have three and they are all rather important to me. Unfortunately I left one in the car of a lovely Swiss girl that picked me up. The feeling of disappointment was overwhelming as I sat alone on the side of the road.
A handful of minutes later, she returned with my notebook after finding it in her car. It must be important she said. I smiled. It was something that she didn’t have to do, but I will always always be grateful for.
Thank-you Judit*. Very very much. You are my notebook hero.
*An exception to my no names in my blog rule.