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April 2009 notes

posted May 5, 2009, 10:41 AM by Lucian Cosinschi   [ updated May 6, 2009, 2:41 AM ]
Stadtschleining. First week of April I visited European University Center for Peace Studies. I learned about it from our guests Chiara, Cas and Erin. It was a fantastic week where Peace Studies was in focus. I met Johann Galtung and Gal Harmat as teachers and the amazingly diverse crowd in EPU. The way I see it the best thing about EPU is the combination of time to think about peace, meeting people from all over (really), various teaching topics through different teaching styles. It was a beautiful place for me and it got me thinking that (our kind of) traveling is inherently promoting peace. How could we integrate it more explicitly in our project?

Wien - I visited Mari and had the pleasure to meet Tau and Clayton bringing a taste from home. There are many similarities between Wien and Berlin but Berlin is more 'work-class' when Wien is more 'imperial'. One of the highlights was a concert/ceremony in St Stephen's Cathedral. Also, Donau is great.

Budapest - Hitched with Tau and Clayton to see Agnes and Budapest. Budapest is almost as dirty as Bucuresti but there are many places to see here so it actually worths to go there. Agnes is warm and friendly as usual. Duna is majestic. 

Bucuresti - visited family and met friends. Unfortunately the time was too short to meet everybody I was hoping. Met my new and tiny cousin (3month old at the time).

Hitch-hike - I was incredibly careless when I left Berlin so I got stuck in Nürnberg for more then 14h (I also slept in the meantime). I decided to take the train to the closest stop in my direction and try to hitch from there. That worked however by the time I got close to Wien it was late and I was running out of time. I wanted to make it to EPU by next day early morning (classes start at 9am) so I hit the train station again. I hitched at least from Oberwart to Schleining.
 A week later, on the way to Wien I got a ride from the college to Oberwart and from there somebody took me right to the highway ramp. I got a ride in less then 30min from there to Wien where I easily found my friend's place.
 A few days later we used to instructions from hitchwiki to get to the right exit towards Budapest. I got on M0 (ring around Budapest) in one ride and got another one to Moskwa Ter from the shopping center I got dropped off first. The shopping ceter (just an collection of supermarkets like Ikea)  is a good place because there is also a bus towards the city and the traffic from west and going south passes there. 
 I left Budapest the first Monday after the Catholic Easter around 3pm targeting the Romanian border until the end of the day. I waited about 1.5h to get out of Budapest. The gas station indicated on hitchwiki was not used (almost at all) so I had to try next to the long straight road that leads to highway M5. Two cars stopped one going to the north and the other took me down 67km right before Kekskemet. It was already around 5pm and most traffic was returning from the long weekend provided by the Easter. After more then 2h though I got a young Austrian who was heading to Romania. We entered the border a place where I couldn't find on any map, near Salonta. I got there around 10pm so I was looking for a place to sleep while still putting my thumb out for a while. In less then 30min a truck stopped going down to Arad. From then on I rode the waves of channel 22 (the communication channel for truckers in Ro). I got so lucky that I got two more straight connections to Bucharest. I was there at 9am and updated with all that happens politically in the country.
 On the way back to Berlin I got my first 'bad' experience. The first car that stopped was a taxi on some personal business. The driver and his friend expected money and he would give up until he got my old phone. At that point it wasn't about making money for them but playing a 'joke' on me. The phone has virtually no money value and I wasn't particularly attached to it especially as I got the SIM back. It was a bit sad though even if they were 'joking'. I was thinking I should make it very clear to everybody not to expect money but the next car proved me wrong right away. I was on the highway so there was significant effort to stop. The couple acted so naturally trying to figure out how far can they take me that I was too shy to mention money. And  guess what, the guy repairs laptop motherboards. There are less then 10 people in Ro doing that. From that moment on everything went more or less smooth changing about 8 cars to get to Ilia. One professional driver was called some friends trying to get me a ride to Germany with a truck. 
 In Ilia I ate right next to the river Mures and tried to hitch further only to be stuck for more then 1h and I had little hope because the place was not so great. Finally the first car stopped and was going...to Frankfurt am Main. The very nice Bulgarian driver dropped me the morning of the next day near Nürnber on A3. Soon after somebody took me to A9 at N Feucht. NFeucht proves to be a good place to change the highway and a bit less to go further on A9. After a few hours I finally found someone going my way and I got to Berlin at 7pm at Tegel, where my last driver had to fly from.