Our hitch hiking day started out badly and it was only down hill from there. We jumped on the wrong bus to take us out of town to a main road that would be easier to hitch hike from, so instead did a loop in the wrong area of the city, only to jump off and walk right back to where we started. The plus side of this was we came across a small café that sold meat pies, much to Tyral’s delight, so we convinced ourselves it wasn’t a complete waste of time.
Once we finally made it to the highway we stood waiting for a car for about an hour, waving dancing and getting frustrated as they all speed past us. After our hopes began to fade and the questionable feeling of why we were doing this sunk in once again, someone pulled over. It’s only the times you feel like giving up and loose all hope that someone rescues you, and your hope is restored.
Our second car ride in with an older man who only spoke rough sounding Russian, we pulled over on the side of a highway in the middle of nowhere. He was truing off in another direction to the way we wanted to go, and abruptly our ride came to an end. So there we where, on the side of a highway in dusk, 30 kilometres from any town with a bed to sleep in, and 60 from our couch surfing host who was expecting us about now.
Not many cars where coming past, but every one that did zoomed past us without a second thought. The sun was fast approaching sunset and soon it would be dark, we had no reflecting gear and we both dressed in black. There were discussions of trying to spend the night in an abandoned shed just off the road, but it was negative temperatures and we had no sleeping bags, so that idea didn’t appeal to me.
More determined than ever with every car that approached us I would try my hardest to get it to pull over, with no luck. We tried separating to give them more chance to see us, and longer to decide to help us. Still, no luck. The sun was well and truly gone by now, and just a bit up the road was a small run down gas station with the roofing collapsing and flashing broken signs for gas prices. I wondered inside to see if anyone was working, not a single car had pulled in since we had been there, and to our luck a little short plump Russian-speaking lady sat behind the counter. Not surprisingly, she spoke no English. Back on the road we tried using our phone light to distract cars and bring some attention to us, which didn’t work. When someone finally pulled into the gas station I tried my best with broken English and pointing on a map to ask if they were heading in our direction. Either they weren’t, or they didn’t understand me because they shook their heads and got in their cars and drove off. Back in the gas station a friendly man who spoke a few words of English, could understand that we were in trouble and stranded. Sadly, he couldn’t help us but managed to communicate to the shop assistant that we needed help. We spotted a workman vest in the shop, and paid the 3 euro so we could at least be seen in the dark. Usually our biggest challenge is getting someone to decide to pull over, but now it was trying to be seen. Our hopes were fading and our worry was beginning to set in, we were both sure we would spend the night sleeping on the side of the road.
It wasn’t until I had the vest on over my black clothes, dancing around waving my hands like a maniac that a car screeched to a stop 20 meters down the road. Two young guys were on a drinking road trip to the next down to pick up a speaker and would take us. Tyral, with a beer in his hand in the back seat, looked at me with a sigh of relief as we hurtled down the highway.
Our couch surfing host even drove the 30km out to us, sitting in a petrol station hungry, tired and cold, and drove us to his house to spend the night. We never expected to make it to his house that night, let alone have a bed, so we we’re pretty happy to snuggled into the warm bed after a cup of tea.