I had to have my second Hepatitis B vaccine on last week of january. My plan was going to Belgrade on Wednesday and have it on Thursday.
It was sunny from begining of the week until Tuesday evening, sun had shown its face. The gift was, melting of snow and resurface of land and grass.
On Tuesday evening, while i was thinking of having a great hitchhiking experience, the sudden snowing made me worry. As different from past ones, this time there were huge snow flakes and heavy falling. It didn’t take long, after nearly half an hour, tree boughes got closer to ground moreover some were cracking due to snow heaviness.
Cracking boughes was cutting through silence of night. At the moment i wanted to go out and enjoy the air, i heard a strong cracking and falling noise coming from forest. When i went there, i saw a huge tree had fallen down. I was in a surprise. Only one hour snowing could destroy a grand tree.
As it was the famous winter of Balkans coming.
When i woke up i faced an unexpected view. All night long snowing accrued more than a half meter and everywhere was covered. Condition was getting serious.
I decided to have a little change in my plan, get on the road immediately and get in any vechile that would stop for me.
It was winding with heavy snowing like the way to the main road was covered with waist height snow was not enough. It was difficult but i was having fun and i succeed to reach the main road. I remonstrated myself during the all way. Why didn’t i take my beautiful winter coat with me and left it at home just because not to carry it? How long can i go on with the thin sweat on me in this cold?
On main road, i waited my thumb up 10-15 minutes and a lorry stopped.
I yelled to driver “Beograd”
Answered “Haydi!” (Means “come on” both in Serbian and Turkish)
He told me about how less he earns money and how difficult his job is with his poor English. And i told him about what i am doing here and where i came from with my poor Serbian.
Then his phone rang and he answered “Selamun aleykum”. I was surprised, he hung up and said: “My friend orthodox, joke joke” and started to laugh. I responded with a long laugh to that weirdest joke i heard lately.
After nearly two hours travel, he tried to tell me that the town we arrived was 30 km away from Belgrade and i could find a bus and he was going to take an other road. At least i understood like that. I prefered to go on with lorry instead of waiting for bus in that cold weather.
While we were going on warm and enjoying the road, we headed off the highway. I was thinking that the trucks were not allowed in city center so we were taking the highway, he stopped at 150 meters away from Novi Sad – Belgrade parting and told me that he would continue to Novi Sad and i needed to go from other way. I got out of lorry.
I found myself hitchhiking at somewhere on a highway with my backpack and sweat in that cold snowy and windy weather.
I was smiling with a little dissappointment and exitement.
It was almost getting dark and amount of cars passing was getting lesser. The best thing i did was that i walked to the main road instead of walking 500-600 meters away Belgrade road. I kept getting angry with myself about leaving my coat at home.
After waited nearly 45 minutes my thumb up on main road 12 km away from Belgrade, an old man stopped. Supposed he felt pity for me. When i said “Beograd” to last two cars, they had pointed me the nearby settled area and i don’t know why- i had thanked them and closed the door like i’m stupid.
I was learning the most important rule of hitchhiking while my face was hurting badly in that cold.
It is better to go to the nearest town than waiting in nowhere with thumb up. Especially if it is windy, -5 degrees and getting dark.
When the third car stopped, the old man pointed the same settled area. This time i acted clever and asked “Beograd bus?”. By the time i got “Da” answer, i had already gotten into car and closed the door. I felt in warm car, i had paralyse on half of my face. With a little burn at my hands, i thought i had gotten through a freezing danger.
The old man took me to the bus stop and told me the best new i had gotten lately that i could take bus number 58 to the city center.
After waited 5 minutes i took the bus and had nearly 10 minutes travel and finally arrived Belgrade city center and started to wait for Dragana in front of the parliament building.
It was a nonsense travel for humanity but for me –it was like a lesson.