Hitchhiking is really extremely addicting. At least I cannot stop doing it. I hitchhiked with a friend to Amsterdam which is about 141 kilometres away from Leeuwarden. I already planned to go to Amsterdam since a very long time; however it was not possible because a train ticket costs about 50 Euros. Hitchhiking therefore is a great opportunity to travel on the cheap and besides one gets to know new people with a lot of interesting stories.
Equipped with a sign, camera and provision for potential long waits we walked to the town exit. Arrived there we first took some pictures with the ‘Amsterdam sign’. We did not even start trying to find a lift when a car stopped behind us. Two young guys who were in Leeuwarden working on a film offered us a lift to Alkmaar. It was a really funny drive and we were on very good terms with them. Probably for that reason they even drove us to a motorway restaurant pretty close to the city centre of Amsterdam. We were really lucky that we have met them.
Beside the restaurant there was a gas station so that we decided to approach a few people. This is a good opportunity to get a first impression of the car drivers and these in turn can also get an idea of the person asking for a lift. We walked up to a young couple. Firstly they said that they are going to another direction. However after a small conversation they took us to the city centre of Amsterdam.
Much earlier arrived in Amsterdam than expected we first did a canal cruise. It takes about one hour and costs 14 euros. Not really cheap but it is worth it. Amsterdam is really a beautiful city and we enjoyed walking through all these small side streets, across the impressive squares and through the nice parks. It was a very nice day and definitely not the last time I have been in Amsterdam. Everyone who has the opportunity should visit this city.
The way back started a bit more difficult as we were in the middle of the city. The cars could not really stop and the most people did not drive to the motorway. We asked a few people near a parking structure however most of them were tourists as well who stayed in Amsterdam for a few days. So we waited for 15 minutes and started walking down the street. The street going out of the town however was not really busy. Infrequently some cars passed by. No one stopped for us.
We started getting desperate. It was already 8 pm and we really wanted to go back to Leeuwarden. For a short moment we were thinking about taking the train back. The train station was nearby and we could be back in 2.5 hours. Anyway we thought about all the people we have informed about our travel plan. Most of them said it would be impossible to hitchhike to Amsterdam, and especially back to Leeuwarden. We really wanted to prove otherwise.
Our patience became rewarded. We were walking down a bridge when we saw a car stopping 500 meters in front of us. Firstly we thought he wants to park or to pick someone up. To our great joy he waved to us. We could not hear what he shouted as it was too far away but we immediate started running as fast as possible. Finally someone stopped for us.
When we entered the car we felt like back in the 60s. It was a real hippie who wanted to enjoy the last sunbeams. He actually was on the way to the beach however decided spontaneously to bring us to a good spot, a gas station outside the city center.
Arrived on the gas station we chose the same strategy as already on the way there. The station however was not that busy and no one drove to Leeuwarden. We were in the middle of nowhere. It was getting dark and no chance to walk to the next village even less to a bus or train station. We had to get a lift. That was our only chance.
I do not know why but that are the situations I like the most. You do not know where you are. You have no idea how to get home or where to sleep. You do not have enough money to go by taxi. These are moments where you can only hope for someone who do not know you but nevertheless fully trust and supports you.
Our hope has fulfilled. We have met two wonderful people. He was originally from Turkey, she was born in Hungary. They are living together in a village between Leeuwarden and Amsterdam, however about 70 kilometres before Leeuwarden. Nonetheless they drove us home and then all the way back to their home. As if that were not enough he was adamant to buy a drink for us. These are travel experiences you will never forget and which you will never gain by booking a travel package or with a detailed planning.
Thank you, Jacky for a great day in Amsterdam and another unforgettable Hitchhiking experience.