Thumbing for a ride from Graz to Zagreb

The date to leave home for quite a long time was planed for the 19th of September. It was quite late for the route I had in mind but I needed the time to get the last things sorted out as this travel should be a little longer than everything else I’ve done before. I moved out of my apartment in Villach, I was living in for the last few years, sold my car and much of my other belongings. It wasn’t an easy time for me, sorting through all my belongings and deciding what to keep and what to give away.

Moving back to my mums place at the End of August wasn’t easy as I still hadn’t sorted out a few things and the todo list, of things to organize, was still quite long at that time. And for sure some tasks where still not covered on the list either I haven’t thought about it nor my mum hasn’t told me all the stuff I should fix before I’m leaving…

As well there was also a Motorbike trip to Swiss at the beginning of September I had planed to do over two years before I even knew that I’m going to travel at this time. As plans are luckily very flexible the trip got longer than expected and I not only visited Switzerland by Motorbike - I also decided to visit a friend in Antwerp before leaving. So instead of doing an 1600km road trip it ended up in a 3500km round trip with stops in Italy, Swiss, France, Belgium, Germany and finally back at home in Austria.

Wenberg to Graz (#1)

My first planed stop was Graz where I planed to visit my cousin to hang out with him for a few days. Still exhausted and tired from my Motorbike trip I started my hitchhiking adventure on Monday morning the 19th of September on the highway gas station in Pörtschach. A friend of my mum dropped my off there at about 08.00 am in the morning. It was quite a hard start for my trip as I waited for about 6 hours till I found a ride. Karin, a young woman was the first person that picked me up and took me nearly directly to my destination in Graz. It was definitely worth the long waiting time as I enjoyed my trip and the conversation we had.

Graz to Zagreb (#5)

cardboard: direction south
cardboard: direction south

After spending a few relaxed days in Graz, hanging out with my cousin and meeting friends, it was again time to move on. The next planed destination was Zagreb. I had no idea if could reach it within a day or if I’m going to make a stop over in Ljubljana. I started my trip near a highway junction point in the south of the city with a cardboard where I put “Zagreb / Croatia” on it. After a seemingly endless waiting time of about 40 minutes I decided to change my strategy and put the wordings “South / Süden” on the other side of the cardboard. This worked out after a few minutes I got a ride to the next rest station on the highway. Awesome! From there I found a Ride all the way down to Zagreb. A young truck driver, Daniel was going home to Zagreb after being on the road for the last three weeks. He spoke quite good English and while driving down, direction south I got a few interesting History lesions about Croatia, different regions and an inside on his job.

hitching my first truck
hitching my first truck

He told me about his family and how proud he is about his kids and that he is looking forward to see them again. He sadly only manages to get home twice a month if he is lucky. Driving his truck all over Europe always with the pressure of delivering the cargo in time. He doesn’t earn a lot of money but he told me it is even better payed than most of the jobs he could do at home and he needs the money to save it for his children to get them a better education and more opportunities for their future.

After about three hours of driving he dropped me near Zagreb and I started to walk to the city center. I still had no Couch for that night but I had the chance to meet some locals with whom I met up for some drinks and explore the city.

In Zagreb I spent only two days because I haven’t found a couch the days before and the only option for me was camping. As the night temperatures already starting to fall bellow 17°C and the weather forecast showed that it will get pretty fast colder I decided to stay only for two days and instead travel to my next destination. Zagreb is a beautiful city always worth a re-visit!

Zagreb to Plitvicei (#7)

The evening before leaving Zagreb I hiked to a camping spot, outside the city center. From there I had only a short walk of about 1 km to the motorway ramps.

on their way back from the football game
on their way back from the football game

The next morning, when I arrived at the ramps, I was writing down the name of a city to my cardboard and I haven’t even finished writing it down and a car pulled over to offer me a lift to Karlovac the city where I had to change the roads. From Karlovac I got another two drivers to reach Plitvice.

Got a lift on his way to Bosnia
Got a lift on his way to Bosnia

The next day I spend walking around the national park. At the beginning I couldn’t enjoy the surroundings as I was tired as hell and too many people where already walking around the entrance. But after a while I left the main tourist paths and choose to use the smaller, less used ones. Beautiful! The Silence of the hidden spots the beautiful views and the nature where just peaceful. I have also never seen a park that was that well prepared with stable paths for the visitors. After spending about 8 hours there I decided to use the last 2 hours of sunshine to try my luck and hitch to Zadar.

Plitvice to Zadar (#8)

hitching to Zadar
hitching to Zadar

Luckily a lot of tourists where leaving the park too and it was only a matter of minutes to catch a ride. A young couple gave me a lift directly to the city center of Zadar. In Zadar I was going to meet up with a friend where I could also crash the couch for a couple of days.