As it was impossible for me to stay in Estonia longer without any activity and income there, I just had to get myself somewhere else.
After getting my last 50 EUROs from local Social Services and some help from my mom and aunt to buy again one small back-bag and I was able to buy a ferry ticket to Helsinki. So, I went to a friend on 6th of May and stayed in Finland nearly two weeks. But Finland was so cold, rainy and boring this time of the year. So after I had meetings with friends there, I decided that it has been enough to drink her coffee and when there was a first sunny day, I just took my back-bag and went to hitchhike towards Turku to catch the Stockholm ferry.
Meanwhile I registered myself for all listed strawberry picking jobs with an hope, that maybe I could do some work to earn enough for the computer without anyone getting back to me.
It first started to be difficult to hitchhike in Helsinki but at the end, it turned to be fine. Even one Finnish couple admired my courage to get to Paris without having much money in my pocket and gave me 20 EURos for the road. It was nice from them as I was able to buy some food for the trip from Finland having then no idea what kind of food prices they have in Sweden and Denmark.
From my last money left from Estonian Social Services, I was able to buy the ferry ticket to Stockholm. It was marketed in Internet as 10 EUROs but actually costs 5 EURos extra when it will be purchased in harbor. There are no Viking Line offices anymore, so everything is in Internet nowadays. But paying only 15 EUROs for the 20 hour trip was still much less compared to 24 EURO ticket for the 2 hour Tallinn-Helsinki trip.
I loved how they had priced coffee in Turku-Stockholm ferry. Usually it costs something around 1 EURO per cup anywhere in Europe but they asked 2 EUROs there. But with that 2 EURO price, you could have a second cup of coffee free of charge. Maybe they just should get bigger cups or something?
Anyway, Stockholm was the worst place to start hitchhiking for me. First of all, I didn´t had a city map and somehow people convinced me that I should go out to west from Kungsholmen. Even when I finally found a motorway starting there, it went to North and not to South but as I didn’t had any Sweden maps, it took me long time to figure it out.
Secondly when I tried to brush my teeth in the morning on that island, I slipped on slipper stone and was in deep water unable even to catch those stones to get back to shore. So, I had to swim a little bit with my clothes on to find a place to get to the shore again. And of course, all the papers and especially the tobacco, I had collected before, was wet.
Anyway, after a few days I was able to find right place to hitchhike to south even local tourist information wasn’t much helpful on that. Rumors that others have told me before are actually true. Swedes doesn’t take hitchhikers. My drivers where Iranian, Albanian and Danish who took me to Copenhagen.
It’s now clear for me why Swedes want to have their own money and not EUROs. When you calculate their prices to EURO, you will be shocked. Simple cheapest baguette, which usually costs around 25-35 cents, will cost there over a EURO. Thanks God, that one friendly Swede gave me enough their crones to buy a bread and cheese there. It was a paper money but lasted only for those purchases, including two apples which where extremly expensive.
Copenhagen took me with surprise. They doesn’t have EUROs there as well! And even it was a big Fiesta and carnival there, I just found some bushes in Christiana to sleep and continued next day. I assume, that their beer prices would have been too much for my pocket.
When I finally got to Flensburg, I saw their EURO prices for wine and even it was near two EUROs per bottle, I had to take it as other supermarkets where closed due to holiday and the prices in Danish crones showed a similar amount for a bottle of wine that it had been previously for a small bread. So, I stayed there and drink a lot.
So, next day having a good wine finally after so long time, I got myself quickly to Hamburg. And it was the last sunny and warm day there. Afterwards it went cold, the rain season started and lasted for me few weeks, when I got 200 kilometers south from Paris after two weeks.
In any town of Germany, you just need to take first step to local railway station, ask city map from tourist information and the place to get free meal from Baunhofmission. At least in Hamburg, there is a nice place called Caffe nit Hertz in SeewartenStr 10 (It’s a big complex so you need to find an entrance covered with white roof) where you can find breakfast with lot of bread, butter, sausages, salad, coffee and in afternoons 2PM-4PM they have warm soup as well. I do not remember, is it open on weekends as well.
Interestingly, when I tried to find similar place in Copenhagen but found only St.Maria church. There they could give you small piece of bread but will ask for a coffee or tea 2 Danish crones. Maybe they have warm meal in weekdays but I didn’t had any chances to find out there.
So, I stayed in Hamburg two days as it was a little bit rainy before hitchhiked further. Meanwhile some nice lady gave me 5 EUROs as I slept under some bridge, so thanks God there are such kind of nice persons in the world.
My next stop got me to Dortmund, where I found again places to get a good breakfast and soup but as it rained there, I had to sleep under the motorway bridge until I was able to get myself further to Belgium and France.
Somehow public libraries in Germany asked money for the Internet so I wasn’t able to stay there longer. It costs even more in library than in local Internet Cafe and surprisingly, Germans like Spain still have those kind of places left. In Estonia there isn’t even public phone booths as everyone have mobile phone.
Meanwhile the cold and rainy weather continued, so I had to stay from the road in several small Belgium villages and take any chance to get to the road again until I was picked up by one truck getting me near to Paris and one Chinese look like a guy from Nederland took me to port of Italy to get to the city of Paris. He gave me some money as well, so I was a rich man in Paris for some days.
Even there are lot of places in Paris to get to eat for free, I have mostly used Mother Theresa place in rue Folie Mericourt 60 where you can get a lot to eat from 9.30-11.00 each morning and later have been either Restos du Coer in Boulevard Vincent Auriol 58 or near Metro Jaures where they give you dinner from a van 6PM.
Actually everywhere I have found Mother Theresa place, they feed you so well compared to any social restaurants. Especially, I love their Paris one where they usually give you radishes to take with you, not mentioning bread, salads, etc. Previously they had sandwitches as well, but now they do not have as their church in Barcelona have again.
In Paris, I was lucky to get to the Hackatron event but still without a computer, I wasn’t able to participate and win some awards. This was something 20h programming marathon and reminded exactly us going to the World Championship of Programming in 1995 where we where awarded as well. Anyway, what a refreshing event and people after frustrating winter in Estonia dealing with idiots. Hopefully I will get my computer sorted out somehow to participate in future events and bring some awards as well. The first price there was 2000 EUROs, so that’s viable to participate and win for me as it’s much more than doing something 5 to 10 dollars or pounds per hour.
Meanwhile, I was invited to App Circus developers day in Barcelona and even not having an idea before to get back there so soon, the Paris weather was so cold and rainy, so I just decided to go. Other problem was with my sleeping bag as it’s Chinese and more than year old.
Getting a new one in Paris didn’t cost much (only 9.95 EUROs), but as this shop doesn’t accept PayPal payments and I failed to raise the amount to my bankcard from my Facebook friends. As for me it was getting too cold to sleep in it in Paris during my current stay there, so either I should have wait for warmer climate or go to Barcelona.
It takes long time walk to get out from Paris when you want to the southern motorways. This time, I was lucky to find a Paris surroundings map from a trash bin, so I finally figured out where to catch A6 which goes to Lyon as usually I have found only A10 which goes to Orleans.
Anyway, after a full day walk I was finally reaching the end of Anthony and when I found first bushes, I just opened my sleeping bag and slept there to continue next day. From the first road entering to A6, I was soon collected by Police who though that next road could be much better and drive me there. And when I had just lighted my pipe, again Police stops asking what I’m smoking here??? This wasn’t the first time French Police thinks that pipes are used to smoke something else than tobacco and has been happened for me constantly. Somehow this never happens in Barcelona where I purchased this pipe.
It was a total surprise that some two hundred kilometers south of Paris the weather was so sunny and warm; and when I reached Nimes next afternoon, they had something 29C there.
Lucky me, that it was Friday evening so I was able to reach their SAMU Social van from Red Cross to have a soup, sandwich and they where very friendly to give me some bread, ham and pate to the road. Even after their social budget cuts, their Adejo was still open next morning to have a coffee but nothing much food there. Other places are open only weekdays, so I continued to catch the motorway again.
Not much waiting there, one truck took me to Beziers which has been always for me a difficult place to get ride futher. This time, I was in north entrance which was actually a “piege” in another motorway and not the south one, but still had some 6 hours waiting there until one Britt took me. He took me to the last French gas station where I have had difficult to get a ride further as well, but he also but he gave me some EUROs to buy a coffee so I didn’t bothered to wait until I got direct ride to Barcelona.
Thanks God I had his money because to renew my library card costs now 80 cents and I had a need to taste Spanish wine as well.
So, even not planned, I’m somehow back in Barcelona thinking and waiting what will happen next.