A trip to Denmark and Liechtenstein (back in 2000…)

The story of a trip in a very grey past…

My trip to København was nice. I left Ipswich on Wednesday 7 June (2000!), early in the morning, as it turned out too early for the Park-and-Ride bus, so had to walk for about 45 minutes to the A12. As usual my waiting time there was minimal, no more than ten minutes, but it wasn't until six rides later, at 14:29(!) until I reached Dover. Got on the ferry for free, thanks to three guys who were going on a booze-shopping expedition to Calais, and on the ferry I managed to get a ride all the way to the Raststätte Siegburg (south of Köln), arriving there in the evening. After a meal, I found a quiet corner in the restaurant and got myself some sleep.

Thursday was OK(ish), and I arrived in København at 19:45, after stops on the Remscheid, Göttingen, Brunautal, Hamburg-Stillhorn, Buddikate services. (Yes, I agree that this is not a logical way, it would have made more sense to follow the "1" (to Bremen) or "2" (to Hannover), but given the time of my arrival on Raststätte Remscheid (07:02) I wasn't too bothered with logic) Of course the ferry-crossing from Puttgarden to Rødbyhavn was free, and as "co-driver" of a truck the meal on board the ferry was half-price.

I spent Friday just chilling out, the weather was very nice. On Saturday I did what I planned to do, walk across the Oresund bridge to Malmö (and back, for a total of some 20 km, in a blazing sun, with blisters the size of 5 Lt coins on both feet - they're still not completely healed)

On Sunday morning I left København, the place to start hitching out of town is the start of the motorway at the intersection of Folehaven and Vigerslev Vej. Daan Toner's book is right about this location, but I would like to point out that it was already mentioned in "Use-It"s leaflet in the early 1980's. You should walk to the actual start of the motorway, after the motorway sign, as it is virtually impossible for traffic to stop any earlier. The first ride took me to junction 34 on the E20 (yuk!), I should have gotten out at the Karlslunde services, just before junction 30 on the E20/47/55. Still, despite the fact that it was a Sunday (and a holiday), I managed to get back to the E47/55 in 38 minutes, 32 of them walking on my blisters (Ouch!), and from junction 33 I got a second consecutive ride with a female driver to the Tappernoje services, before junction 38. Here I made a discovery, a free magazine called "Motorvej 2000". It gives a complete overview of the Danish motorway system, with all service stations, and a lot of additional information. The quality of this free magazine is absolutely astonishing! (One tiny warning, it does not contain detailed maps for areas without motorways)

From these services I eventually made it back to Rødbyhavn, and paid for my ticket (DKR 20) as I was dropped off way too far from the car entrance to walk back on my blisters. On the ferry I managed to get a ride with a guy from down under (Oz), who gave me a ride all the way to Kassel, at 466 km this was the longest ride of the trip. I should remark that I had decided in København to return via Liechtenstein, as I had never visited that country before. Two more rides followed, and at 0:45 I found myself on Raststätte Lonetal, just north of Ulm, where got myself something to eat, before dozing off in a quiet corner of the restaurant.

The next day, three more rides took me to Feldkirch, and from the town-centre I ended up walking to the border with Liechtenstein. After crossing it, and, after requesting it, getting a Liechtenstein stamp in my passport, I wrote a sign saying "Vaduz". I only tried to get rides with Lichtenstein drivers and eventually succeeded, getting a ride directly to Vaduz, a formidable 11 km further down the road. After the "compulsory" postcards to my parents, I walked out of town, and out of the country!

My first two rides in Switzerland (another never before visited country, taking may total of "new" countries for 2000 to six) were with Guinean and Portuguese nationals, before finally being picked up (near Zürich) by a Swiss national, who took me to an exit near Eiken. The next ride was with a German guy, making it the sixth time that I had five consecutive rides with drivers of five different nationalities. He dropped me off on the Weil am Rhein Raststätte, and after an almost 90 minute wait (during which Germany drew with Romania, ha, ha, ha, ha!) I got a ride with a couple in a camper (the second time that day!) to Raststätte Bergstrasse, about halfway between Mannheim and Frankfurt. For a short while I tried to get another ride, but after one night with little sleep, I had trouble motivating myself, so I followed my usual late-at-night Raststätte routine: got myself something to eat and hid in a quiet corner.

The next day my first ride closed a circle by taking me back to Raststätte Siegburg where I spotted a British car with a sleeping driver. It took more than an hour for him to wake up, and once he got out, I approached him with a "Are you by any chance going back in the direction of the UK?" His reply was "Yes, do you need a ride?". In the end, just before Gent in Belgium, he decided that he would like to go Amsterdam. Fortunately he was kind enough to go past Gent, dropping me on the Esso petrol station - turning around at the next junction himself. Sixteen minutes later I was on the road again, in a van with four rather disappointed England supporters, they had seen Portugal win with 3-2 the previous evening. Given that I'm a hell of a lucky sod, they turned out to be going to Hockley, well in the direction of Ipswich. (Of course the channel crossing was once again free, and getting to Dover would already have been very useful - actually it would not, getting out of Dover itself is notoriously difficult!) In the end they dropped me off just before Hockley, on the A130 at a place where nobody with any common sense would consider hitch-hiking, as it is virtually impossible for traffic to stop. Fortunately, nine minutes later I once again found that there are drivers who are blessed with just as little common sense as yours truly, and who are prepared to stop anywhere. Sadly the ride that followed was the shortest of the trip (4.8 km), but at least it left me at a moderately better place and eight minutes later I got a ride to the A12 itself. Just over an hour and two rides later I was back at the opposite side of the road and my place of departure seven days earlier. Having covered just over 4000 km, the A12 is a very wide road to cross…

Note: This blog was originally posted on the site of Abgefahren e.V., the German hitchhike club, but is no longer accessible there. Compared to that version, this version has been updated to remove a number of typos.

Last updated on 20 July 2016 for move to Neocities