Let me start this post off by saying that multiple factors contributed to my emotions on the first day of travel towards Budapest, Hungary from Bratislava….
That being said, I managed to have myself a mental breakdown on the side of the highway, whilst still in Bratislava! Here’s how all of this went down:
It was September 23rd and I was told last minute the night before that I could have the next two days off to run away to Budapest. So, I hadn’t much time to prepare. Multiple things have been going on where I stay that had been causing me a lot of stress lately, and, well, I just wanted the hell out of Bratislava, was that too much to ask for?
So I take a bus to the area one of the owners of my hostel told me to go to to start hitchhiking. I ended up being stuck there for about two hours, still in good spirits, however, it looks like a bad spot, and I cant find anything else near by.
Finally, someone pulls over and picks me up…and takes me to the bus station…the one next to my hostel, so now, I will be back at square one, unless I do something about it. I manage to tell him that I only auto-stop, and have no money for a bus, to take me to a highway. So, he takes me to a different spot, only where he drops me off is RIGHT ON the highway, which is illegal! So I am stuck in practically the worst spot, there is no walking space to head to a different spot, and there inst a different, possibly better spot for 10 kilometers.
Several highway patrol cars pull over to let me know I can’t hitch there, which I already know. I tell them what do I do, what do you expect me to do? One tells me to ride my non existent bike, to…which makes me even more frustrated because he saw that I had no bike, so where would this bike appear from?
I see a back road, and decide to take it to see if it will lead me to an on ramp for the same highway. Instead, it leads me onto a bridge that connects to a different highway that would take me elsewhere. So, I stumble back to my spot.
Keep in mind that I started hitching at 8:30 a.m. that morning, and it was now about 3 p.m. and raining, and all the drivers did was look at me or honk and drive past…This is where I had my mental breakdown…yep, I must have been a sight to behold! I was crying and flipping everyone off, I was so pissed. I had no idea how to get back to town, because I had given up (Budapest is only a 2 to 3 hour drive away, I should have already been there). I wondered what the boys faces would look like, seeing me walk in drenched, still not picked up, obviously, and crying. I’m sure they would decide I was making a bigger deal out of it than needed, but this is a six month build up of emotion. I never broke down after all that had happened in Istanbul, it was bound to come out sooner or later…
As I am throwing everyone “the bird,” a trucker pulls over. He is from Macedonia, and gives me a bit of an uneasy feeling, but I look past it because I just want out of that horrible spot (back in Austria during the time I was stuck for 24 hours at a spot, I still managed to have high spirits).
The trucker stops at a station right past the Slovakia/Hungary border. He has me move something out of the center console area where there is empty space, and in broken English says “I have to be here 15 minutes before I can get on the road again. We have sex for 10 minutes, and be done, then on our way.” I grabbed my stuff, and literally ran out of the truck, him yelling after me that he didn’t mean it, he was kidding…SUUUURRRREEEE!
I soon got picked up by another person who took me to the outer ring of Budapest. I walked up towards the highway to see about how I can get into the city, when I see two policemen pulled over, with a speeding camera. I inquire about how to get into Budapest, and find that it is a three kilometer walk along the highway to the nearest off ramp. I ask if I can walk it and they say it is forbidden. So I head back towards the gas station.
I begin shoving my thumb out to anyone who may be willing to stop, and many pull over to let me know I should be on the other side of the highway to get into Budapest. The problem is, there is a concrete fence between both sides, so how can I cross? The response I get is annoying: well, you have to be on the other side, so stop trying to get picked up.
Finally, the traffic police take pity, and find someone to give me a lift into the inner ring towards Budapest. I hop a bus from there and finally make it to the Loft Hostel…at 7 p.m.
I relax the rest of the night, after a day full of nonsense, and head out the next morning to explore the city. I see all there is to see (for free) including the cave church who allowed me in even when I found that I wasn’t carrying enough money to get in.
This day was uneventful, and I was extremely happy for that! But to think about hitching back to Bratislava caused me a bit of anxiety!
Its the morning of the 25th, and I am dreading the hitch home. I know that I have to stay positive, because the one time I didn’t stay positive, horrible things kept happening, so, with a smile on my face, I hop on and off random buses until I somehow, miraculously find the correct spot to start hitching.
I stand in the perfect spot when a car pulls up, and a woman climbs out of the car with her things. She walks up and asks how the hitching has been going, which is non existent yet. We get to talking, and I find that she is German/Hungarian, a photographer, and a lone female hitcher like me! After a few lifts, and some goofy playing around at random hitching spots (we took photos and made a flower bracelet while drinking beer), we separated just outside of Bratislava.
I made it back to the hostel I work at at about 7:30 p.m., which was perfect, because I had to start my shift at 8 p.m.