I sat at my normal spot for another four hours. Waiting for anyone, hoping to just get out of Austria, at least out of the area I was stuck in near Salzburg, when finally, a woman pulled over, and walked up to me.
She apologized for not having picked me up sooner, and told me about how she had seen me 45 minutes earlier and decided that she would pick me up f I was still at my spot. I was grateful regardless, extremely happy to be able to speak to someone who spoke great English. She told me the only reason she picked me up: I, in a desperate attempt to make me look human, and not some random thing, had written “I’m from Alaska, please get me to Vienna.” on my sign…She had just dropped off her nephew off at the mountain…and he is from Alaska, in fact, an Alaskan State Trooper! She took me home and set up a bed for me to sleep in.
At about 2 p.m. I woke up to the smell of fresh strudel pulled out of the oven, and a nice cup of thick coffee, heaven! I looked about the home, which was immaculate! I wouldn’t believe this home! It looked directly out of a magazine, and the view from outside…WOW!
The woman had to pick up her nephew from the mountain, so I jumped in with her and we picked him up, he was quite shocked to see the Alaskan hitchhiker in the front seat! We headed to a restaurant and he bought me a quick meal, then we headed back to the home, where I was shown a German book about Alaska. I began to flip through the pages, and felt a bit homesick, so I stopped and began looking about the garden in the back yard.
At about 5 p.m. we headed towards Vienna, as the uncle and Nephew would be heading 30 kilometers before Vienna. They stopped down a side road to show me a castle, then dropped me at a gas station. I sat there wondering where I might sleep that night, as it was now about 8 p.m. and the sun was setting. Soon, cars began pulling over to pick me up, but my hitcher’s mind jumped in. I knew I was supposed to go with a particular car, I just didn’t know which, but I knew that I would know when I happened upon it.
Who knew the car I was meant to be in was a white van full of Polish construction workers? We drove into Vienna at about 11 p.m. and they offered me a place to sleep. Whilst on the way to their “friends'” home that I would sleep at, “Born In the U.S.A.” came on the radio…so there I was, Screaming “Born In the U.S.A.” with five Polish construction workers while driving down the road in Vienna, Austria. Still to this day I laugh about that scenario!
We arrived at a dark home on a hill overlooking the city. One of the men went to switch the light on, but it didn’t seem to be working; it wasn’t until I really entered into the home that I would see what was going on.
They lit up the room with their phones, the empty, dark, cold, in-the-process of being constructed room…this was not a friends’ home, but one that they were in the process of building. I didn’t say anything about it, I was just thankful for a place to sleep.
There were two couches. I slept on a leather futon that was placed in one room, and the boys placed the cushions of the other couch on top of me as a sort of “blanket.” I froze the whole night, but felt safe, and that was all that mattered.
All of the sudden, it was 5 a.m., which meant it was time to leave. The Polish boys dropped me off at the train station and gave me 7.70 Euro for a bus ticket to Bratislava, Slovakia, which was my real destination.
I arrived at the Wild Elephants hostel here in Old Town Bratislava at about 10 a.m. They showed me a room, and without any time to talk, I crashed on the bed for about 18 hours, I could finally let my guard down, finally really get some good solid rest without interruption, I was out!