Hitchhiking through England IV

 

Day 13: Chester

I spend the last day with Julia in Chester. A nice historic city. A bit like York, but more lively and less like a museum. Plus, it has all these elevated secret passages. The cathedral is very cool, too

Spendings in Chester
£ 13 pizza + coke
£ 5,50 groceries (dinner for my friend and me for 2 nights + snacks for the day + breakfast)
£ 2,12 bordnig pass print
£ 4,20 ice cream x2
£ 1,60 breakfast + snacks

Day 14: Back to Leicester

Getting a lift out of Chester takes a while. But eventually I can hitch to a service station at the motorway. I find out that the lorry drivers are actually very willing to take hitchhikers. On my very first day in Cardiff a trucker has told me that due to insurance restrictions, in Britain they couldn‘t give me a ride. I think he just used it as an excuse. After a few minutes, I find a lorry heading towards Birmingham. Very lucky for me he‘s changing to the M1 and can drop me off right outside Leicester. A long-haired geologist then takes me into the centre. Back onto Laurence‘ couch. Back to sandwiches and People Just Do Nothing.

Spendings in Leicester 2
£ 4,50 fish + chips
£ 5 sandwiches
£ 1,80 snacks

Day 15: Nottingham

It‘s a bit sad to bid farewell to Laurence, not knowing when and where we will meet again.

In Nottingham, I meet up with my couchsurfing host Akor in the uni, where he works on his PhD. We talk about our studies and admire each others photos. Suddenly, he starts writing a poem after staring at one of my photos for a while. I feel both impressed and complimented. While Akor gives a lecture, I explore the city and the Contemporary Art Gallery. I like the atmosphere in the city far more than expected. Everyone has told me that it‘s just like Leicester and not much going on. But there are loads of interesting small venues in nice, old streets and everything seems very students-influenced and lively.

In Akor‘s flat I get the opportunity to try out the vinyl that I bought earlier on this trip while we cook pasta. The Chick Corea record is even better than I thought. Another couchsurfer arrives and we notice that all our studies have a lot of overlays. It is a lovely evening with refreshing conversations, tasty wine and a lot of pasta.

Spendings in Nottingham
£ 0,20 banana
£ 10 loads of snacks + wine and coke for my host (to spend the pounds I have left)

Day 16: Long way home

The alarm goes off in the middle of the night. I shower very quickly, grab my bag and the breakfast that I have prepared the day before (which feels likes only minutes before) and leave the house. The walk to the coach terminal is easy, but due to the lack of sleep and the importance of reaching the coach I‘m slightly stressed. In the coach I struggle to fall asleep but am not really awake, either. Then, halfway to the airport check-in I suddenly feel strangely unladen. My jute bag is missing. I run back to the coach. Luckily it‘s still there. But in the moment I step through the front door I already know that I didn‘t have the bag with me when I entered in Nottingham. It takes a few minutes until I realise that I can only have left it at the bus station where I took off my backpack to look at the map and reassure I‘m on the right way. So my unsettledness wasn‘t completely unreasonable. I‘m too tired to be angry about it. At least I could listen to some of them once.

I didn‘t think hitchhiking in Germany would be so hard. After I often heard that it‘s relatively difficult in England, I expected this to be plain sailing. The spot I chose to get onto the Autobahn has over twenty votes on the hitchwiki maphitchwiki map whereas most of the spots I used in Britain have between one and three. After a long, unsuccessful time waiting with a sign, I try approaching drivers directly at a traffic light. But most of them are incredibly unfriendly and some don‘t even lower their windows. In Britain a lot of people tried to help me or at least wished me luck when they weren‘t heading my direction. After some hours, a polish guy gives me a lift halfway to Dresden. Once on the Autobahn, it‘s always easy to find someone at a service station. A very prissy couple on a holiday trip takes me to Dresden. They drop me off just in the city centre on the way to their hotel. 45 long walking-minutes later I reach the petrol station where I hope to get the final lift of my trip. To my surprise, the average friendliness is even lower here than at the airport. One person angrily gives me the bird just for holding up a sign. Finally, I find a very nice person that is happy to do me the favour. He works for the Flüchtlingsrat Sachsen and complains about daily hostility against him and his work. He drops me off right on the Autobahn at the exit to Weimar. One very last lift into the centre and I meet my flatmate for an early dinner in our kitchen. It was a long day and my bed feels like heaven.

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