Hitch-Hiking in France Part 2To read the first part of this European hitch-hiking story please go to Hitch-Hiking to Andorra in WinterMira and I walked on from the highway junction that lead to Ales towards Nimes. We just tramped in the glorious French countryside and figured that if we would not get far hitch-hiking, we [...]
To read the first part of this European hitch-hiking story please go to Hitch-Hiking to Andorra in Winter
Mira and I walked on from the highway junction that lead to Ales towards Nimes. We just tramped in the glorious French countryside and figured that if we would not get far hitch-hiking, we would at least hike. We had everything that we needed- three sleeping bags and enough clothing- to sleep the night outside, so we cared not where we ventured to. We just about gave up the idea of hitching to Andorra, when a car came to a quick halt next to us and offered a ride to Nimes.
We were back in the saddle again.
So we jumped into the car and introduced ourselves to the driver. His name was Yannick and could speak a little English.
“English was my favorite subject in school,” he said, “everything else, I did not learn.”
So Mira and I gave him a good ol’ English lesson as we rode on to Nimes. Yannick proved to be as hospitable guy as he seemed and he offered his place up for us to stay at for as long as we wanted. If Mira knew the cold night that was in store for her, she may have jumped at this offer.
But we were again set on making it to Andorra, and quickly set out to get a little food and find the highway once in Nimes. This task proved arduous as we had to walk across the entire city in order to find the on-ramp to the highway. A couple of hours slipped by, and it was near evening before we found it.
Once there, we walked up to the toll booths and began hitch-hiking.
Zoom, zoom, the cars flew by without scarcely noticing us.
I tried to hide in the bushes, so that the drivers would think that Mira was a poor little girl wandering alone, but she only received the interests of sleazy looking truck drivers, and we decided to give up this pursuit.
Then Mira started dancing.
“Stop dancing!” I yelled between bouts of laughter. “Nobody wants to pick up a dancing hitch-hiker!”
She refused to stop dancing.
We begin wrestling a little. I was trying anything that I could think of to just make her stop dancing, but she persevered and kept dancing on. We are laughing and having a really good time at this point and pretty much forgot all about the task of hitching a lift.
Then something odd happened:
The cars began to stop.
Four different vehicles full of laughing French people stopped to offer us rides to Marseille, which was the opposite direction from which we were traveling. We turned these rides down as we still wanted to make Andorra, but the dancing hitch-hiker graft was really working.
Mira kept dancing, and a passing sports car almost immediately ground to a halt to pick us up. We decided to just get inside and go wherever the driver was going. If we go to Marseille, then we will continue on to Italy . . . if we go to Montpellier, then we keep on to Andorra. Surprisingly, the driver was going to Montpellier, and we got a ride all the way there.
Mira sat in the front seat and did not say a word to our host for the entire time. I think she may have creeped him out a little. Especially since she kept peaking behind and whispering to me in the back seat. I began feeling like a real weirdo, sitting in someone else’s car in stone cold silence, but I could not restrain a little laugh at our discomfort. I tried to get Mira to introduce herself to the driver, but she just giggled shyly and refused. Finally, I muttered something in French from the back seat, and was surprisingly understood. We now knew each others names, and that was all we needed as we rode forth to Montpellier.
We had the driver let us out by the highway on-ramp, and waved a big good bye. We were now in the dusk of this day and light was quickly fading. We walked up the other side of the highway ramp and stuck out our thumbs for one last chance at making Andorra before day’s end.
We were not in the best place for hitch-hiking, as there was way too much traffic going a little to quickly. But we stood with our thumbs out and hoped for the best.
And we got the worst.
The ugliest woman in Europe soon swaggered up to the highway with a mass of luggage. It became apparent that she was also hitch-hiking, so I offered a friendly wave. The ugliest woman in Europe then flew into a rage and began screaming at us to go away. Hitch-hiking is sometimes very competitive in Europe, and we had to make it clear to the ugliest woman in Europe that we were going to stand our ground, and she began yelling at us with a new found intensity. She wave her arms, contorted her already ugly face, and shot us every rude gesture that she could think of while screeching about how hitch-hiking is prohibited. We soon grew weary of this ugly lady yelling at us, so I attempted to look tough and told her to go fuck herself.
She went away.
The ugliest woman in Europe soon got picked up by a truck driver, and I can only imagine what she ate for dinner that night.
After waving goodbye to the ugliest woman in Europe, Mira and I got the feeling that we were not going to get out of Montpellier that night. So we then began looking for a place to camp out on the sly. It would be cold that night, so we walked into the shopping district on the outskirts of the city to try to get some tentative warmth by hanging out in a department store. We found and Ikea and got really lost inside of it. But we came out with a bottle of Christmas Glog (a Swedish spiced cinnamon wine) and drank it heartily as we trod on through the night.
We went looking for suitable place to sleep by the highway, but only found brush, briars, and burrs. We debated just laying out the sleeping bags and ignoring it all, but the brush proved to be a little too much. So Mira and I went across to the other side of the highway to find out how we would fare there. We soon found a good little sleeping place on the lee side of a culvert, and bedding down.
The next morning, after a sleepless night of freezing, Mira was not in the mood for hitch-hiking any more. Even though I slept soundly that night, I understood. I did not want to bring my cold little woman into the even colder Pyrenees Mountains. So we called off this hitch-hiking voyage for the time being and set off for a day of lazily walking about Montpellier.
More photos from France can be found at Photographs from the Open Road France Photos
Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
December 22, 2007
About the Author: VBJ
I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. VBJ has written 3679 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
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