July 12, 2012 by farbolino
So on Monday I left Copenhagen much later then planned for my hitchhiking journey to Aarhus, and by the time I reached the outskirts of the city it was nearly 3 pm. Somehow I managed to have a streak of good luck and catch a ride half way to Aarhus in a decent amount of time.
The guys who picked me up were about to embark on a road trip from England to Mongolia for a charity origination. They were driving 17,000km over the course of 7 weeks and going through the former Yugoslavic countries, Turkey, Iran, Kazakstan, and a few other Central Asian countries that I truly envied. I’m already on a tangent; back to my point.
From Odense, I caught another ride within 15 minutes (during some light rain) for another 50 km to a small town. This small town didn’t have a good place to stand before the onramp, but that didn’t stop a middle-aged carpenter with his teenage daughter from picking me up in a little over 10 minutes. They even went 5 km out of their way to take me to a service station less then 40 km to Aarhus.
From here there was very light traffic, and I figured I’d be waiting for more then an hour for a ride. Within 3 minutes a young guy pulled over and drove me straight to my Couchsurfing hosts door since it was on his way anyways. How awesome is that? I arrived in much less time then expected.
Yet today I attempted to Hitchhike back to Copenhagen via the ferry which everyone said was way easier then hitching by land. I would likely find a direct ride to Copenhagen since most cars were going all the way there. Sounds super easy…
I rock up early for the 1 pm ferry, no one pulls over. I walk around the security and walk around with a KBH (short for København) and I’m looked at like I would give a airborne disease to someone if they looked me in the eyes. Eventually I got kicked out of the area, and there were no more cars passing since it was about time for the ferries to leave. Great; time to wait for the 4pm ferry. In the mean time I went back to my CS hosts place to hang out.
This time I arrived so that I would be there before any cars would pass through the checkpoint. There was already another hitchhiker there just using his thumb. Great, I’m not a fan of competition but it’s always good to see that hitchhiking is alive and well in Europe. I walked over and asked if he’d like me to stand in front or behind him. He told me he didn’t know, it was his first time and he wasn’t going all the way to Copenhagen but just across the water to where the ferry docks. I opted for behind him, right before the cars pay for the ticket. Not long after I see him jump in a car. I moved up to his spot since traffic was building right in front of where I was standing and not all the cars could see me.
Now there was another Hitchhiker with a sign. He was too far away to read it, but I waved and he waved back. 15 minutes pass and he jumps in a car. I had some hope that maybe the same car would stop for me, but it didn’t as it was now full. I decided that maybe his spot was best, since cars had a low speed where he was standing, so I moved up again.
About 75m in front of me I see two more hitchhikers. This time a guy and a girl, but even though I was quite far away they looked like smelly hippies. I was confident that I would get picked first. It might be important to note that I now saw a nasty storm in the distance closing in, but was hopeful that it would change direction or I would get a ride first. I didn’t; but the smelly hippies did.
Just before the storm closed in ANOTHER hitchhiker showed up and she was female. Girls always get rides before guys. The storm hits hard and it’s pissing down rain so hard that the large drops hit the ground and splash up onto my shoes and jeans. At least I had a small umbrella to cover my upper body, which the female hitchhiker didn’t. Yet a minute after the rain started she was swooped up by a fellow female driver.
Long story short I stood in the pouring rain until 4 o’clock and the ferry left. 2 ferries, 5 other hitchhikers, and no ride for me. I decided to not even try the 7 pm ferry for sake of my sanity, and give it another try tomorrow.
I guess my point here is that I left Copenhagen with the uncertainty that I would arrive in Aarhus before nightfall and was at my destination with hours to spare. Then; apparently the much easier route back to Copenhagen (which I had all the confidence in the world would work out) I don’t get a ride and I was dripping wet to boot. I guess the unpredictability is half the fun though, and it certainly beats paying the $59 for the train or the $50 for the bus. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.