During the 24 hours that I was stuck in Hallein, several interesting things happened:
First, I noticed that no one will pick you up, the only response one tends to get from people are teenage boys yelling stupid things out of the window, and quite a few did this, they must have thought they were so clever!
Second, the gas station in this area is cold, everything in this area is cold, I just came out of Italy, where it was boiling hot, to a place that froze my ass off, and yes, I know we are in the mountains now, but really, that much of a climate change?!
Third, do try to walk through a slightly inclining ditch after a slight rain; I managed to slip down the incline into some trees while twisting my knee under myself and slamming down, with 50 extra pounds on my back. I lost a flip flop, and upon retrieving it, felt something gooey under my foot when I put it on: a giant slug! I was stuck in an awkward position for about an hour, feeling like I had torn something in my knee (which continued to hurt for the next month), but also feeling like a dumb-ass, I just biffed it within a 20 foot radius of teenagers at McDonald’s who where standing outside…laughing….at least I was laughing at myself as well!
Fourth, asking the gas station clerk were the train station was (I was going to sleep there as this was my first time without a real place to sleep) was a complete mistake. She gave me directions, in the middle of the night, to a tram stop, where, obviously, trams don’t run in the middle of the night!
So, there I was, stuck near the tram stop with nowhere to go, as many layers of clothes on as possible, in the middle of the night. This is when I run into a Turkish man and his teenage son. Using the son’s phone to translate, they ask me why I don’t get a hotel…well, you know, if I had money, I would! So the father offers that they will pay for a hotel room for me for the night, not expecting anything in return. So I follow them through the empty streets at night…
In my head there were several different thoughts at this point. Why am I being so stupid, I don’t know these people, they could do something horrible to me, sell me, kill me, rape me…and god knows what the other possibilities are! But I am still walking with them,
no matter how much all this negative stuff is rolling through my mind, I still follow. I guess you can say, I didn’t get a bad vibe from them, that I guess I was putting all my trust into God that nothing bad would happen, and I was prepared that if something did happen, it was meant to be, and something good could possibly come of it, no matter how horrible the situation…
Turns out, the hotel they tried taking me to didn’t have night reception, so the door was locked, but there were tables outside under a canopy, which I began thinking about sleeping under, why not? That’s when I tell them, I have to sleep, I don’t care where, even if its the backseat of a car! So the father disappears, and comes back with his car, I am in luck! I get into the back seat, and he has brought me a warm blanket, within minutes, I am out!
About three hours la
ter (7 a.m.) I am woken up by a car door slamming. The father’s friend, whom I met the night before, decided to use my situation to his advantage, and of course, he doesn’t speak English, but he has the kid’s phone to translate. He is startled that I immediately sit up and start asking questions, practically flipping out on him until he pulls over, which to my luck, is at the gas station I was stuck at the previous night!
He types into the translator, and hands me the phone, which says ” I am trying to break the ice.” I immediately flipped out, throwing curses in Turkish. BREAK THE ICE?! What ice? I am a hitch hiker who was trying to sleep! You are an old man that doesn’t speak English! you got into the car to drive off with me in the back seat, and you weren’t expecting me to wake up so easily! So, what were your plans? What were you going to do with me?! He hands me a pastry and a big bottle of water, I take it, and walk o
ut of the car toward the gas station for coffee. I am pissed off, not only has he taken sleep from me and attempted to do God knows what, but he has also denied me an extra days’ rest, as the father had promised to get me a room for the next night so I could relax and get rest.
So, after grabbing my coffee, I wonder off past the ditch I managed to twist myself up in the previous night, towards my horrible little standing spot, my Purgatory, where I would stand for at least another four hours.