Hitching Europe Blog#8 Team Thosji in Plovdiv
We are writing to you now from Plovdiv, our final destination. This surprisingly vibrant city has a lot to offer, and we are very much enjoying the recovery phase of our hitchhiking experience here. We still owe you the stories of our final three days of hitchhiking (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday), so without further ado, here is what happened to us Sunday:
Sunday morning, after having had breakfast at the hostel, we took the bus to the south part of Ljubljana. We had planned to walk to a gas station that was recommended by hitchwiki, but while passing a highway entrance we saw some other hitchhikers, and we decided to join them. Fortunately they were no competition, as they were going in the opposite direction (to Wien).
Less than half an hour later Matic (pronounced Mattis) stopped and offered us a ride. He is a photo journalist, and was on his way to a training for working in volatile regions. This training happened to take place all the way in Kosovo, which meant that would be travel companions for the rest of the day, until he dropped us off (more than 10 hours later) at a gas station near Nis (pronounced neesh), the second-largest city in Serbia.
We had a very nice journey together, with interesting and (to me) even inspiring conversations. The past five years Matic has been working a lot in the Middle-East (especially Gaza), and he has witnessed its extremes of human kindness and cruelty first-hand. With his work he wants to show people what is going on there, and to inspire them to actively do something about the horrors that are taking place. We saw one of his photos which was published in a Getty Images magazine, and in my opinion it certainly serves this goal. On it you see a three-year old orphan from Gaza, whose mother was infected during pregnancy by white phosphorus that the Israeli army uses.
Matic took us through Croatia and past Belgrade, and we stopped to have dinner together at a restaurant just off the highway between Belgrade and Nis. We first had a nice Serbian aperitif, and then enjoyed one of the best dinners I have ever had. It consisted of a tasty salad, grilled green peppers, bread with toppings, and most importantly the delicious Serbian specialty of sevab. It is like what we know by the name of ‘sevabcici’ in the Netherlands (minced meat sausages) but no sevabcici I ever had came close to the taste of this delicious, freshly prepared sevab.
The sun had already set when we continued our journey to Nis. At the gas station there, we hoped to quickly find a ride so that we could still spend a large part of the night in Sofia. We arrived at the gas station around 23.oo, meeting our to-be companions for the coming nearly 12 hours . Shortly after it started pouring like hell, limiting our attempts at finding someone to people entering the gas station. Those attempts were unsuccessful, and around 1.30 a.m. we sought the relative comfort of the couches/chairs inside the gas station shop and tried to get to sleep.
Groetjes uit Plovdiv!