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Old 08-29-2013, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
3,399 posts, read 5,081,637 times
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I'm planning to possibly hitch from Van, Turkey to Istanbul or Istanbul to Berlin. Over a couple of weeks of course. There's lots to see between those points, and I'd like to take my time.

Anyone ever done something like this? I've gone from Sudbury to Montreal here in Canada before. That's maybe 650km. No issues at all, plus met some pretty cool people.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:07 AM
 
Location: Monnem Germany/ from San Diego
2,302 posts, read 2,876,395 times
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That would be an awesome trip! Hitchhiking brings great experiences. Go for it. The people who pick up hitchhikers are mostly cool people and most of the hitchhikers I have picked up have been cool.
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:29 AM
 
Location: somewhere in the Kona coffee fields
834 posts, read 1,101,874 times
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I've hitchhiked Istanbul - Cologne in the 1979 as a teen. The Autoput (highway) through Yugoslavia was the roughest part. Donkeys on the road and cars with no headlights at night were challenging. Total time it took was 2.5 days with little time actually standing at the road side. One guy drove a van from Syria towards Berlin. He handed me the wheel right away as he was dead tired and then he slept all the way thru the Alps. Van was packed with carpets and god knows what else. I had no idea back then that Muslims weren't allowed to eat pork. So I bought a few bavarian sausages at a rest stop, he asked me only AFTER he had wolfed them down what kind of meat it was. Sorry I was, but he kicked me out of the car nevertheless.

Back then general crime was low and the only danger was from the commies putting drugs into your cars at the borders. Just to find them and ask for bribes to let you go. Nowadays I would be careful about the general sense of lawlessness in the cities and easy access to guns in the area of Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo.

I met older guys and gals who had hitched all the way thru Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan to Pune in India back then. They may have picked up hepatitis or a nasty heroin habit, but reassured me it would be possible without that. I opted for a ferry from Athens to Alexandria, then train to Cairo, climbed the pyramids and took the ferry back to Athens to illegally camp a night in the Parthenon. Then another ferry to Istanbul, where I slept on the ships deck dreaming of Ulysses and Troy.

You'll have a great time--but when in doubt, always opt for safety!
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:52 AM
 
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
10,524 posts, read 14,474,442 times
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What countries/cities do you want to see on your trip?
Czech Repubic-Slovakia-Hungary-Serbia-Bulgaria is the fastest route but if you have a lot of time you could also include some of these countries/regions... Poland/Western Ukraine/Romania/Eastern Austria/Slovenia/Croatia/Montenegro/Macedonia/Northern Greece.

I would stay out of Bosnia, Albania and Southwest Serbia.
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:37 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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In the third world, there is no point hitchhiking because public transportation is so cheap, and it is often the custom to pay a driver who picks up people on the road.

I would expect hitchhiking to be very difficult in or near Europe, where there is a lot of competition from young European travelers. In the 1960s I hitched in Europe, but in some places it was really tough. I remember riding a bus out of Skopje, Yugoslavia, and there must have been about 50 people out at the main highway junction sitting around trying to get a ride. Bur off the main travel routes, it was pretty easy then to hitch in Europe.

I hitched all over South Africa, Namibia and Rhodesia in the 70s and that was ridiculously easy, but those were the apartheid days when whites were safe and blacks were not on the roads. Hitching in SA now probably borders on suicide. Elsewhere in Africa, I hitched only a few times, usually in trucks (cars were rare then), It's pretty easy for white people.

South America was not too bad (1990s), but on well-traveled local roads, drivers expect to be paid and some regular drivers make a little on the side as adjunct bus service. In the 90s I hitched a little in Thailand and Malaysia.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 18,880,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
In the third world, there is no point hitchhiking because public transportation is so cheap, and it is often the custom to pay a driver who picks up people on the road.

I would expect hitchhiking to be very difficult in or near Europe, where there is a lot of competition from young European travelers. In the 1960s I hitched in Europe, but in some places it was really tough. I remember riding a bus out of Skopje, Yugoslavia, and there must have been about 50 people out at the main highway junction sitting around trying to get a ride. Bur off the main travel routes, it was pretty easy then to hitch in Europe.

I hitched all over South Africa, Namibia and Rhodesia in the 70s and that was ridiculously easy, but those were the apartheid days when whites were safe and blacks were not on the roads. Hitching in SA now probably borders on suicide. Elsewhere in Africa, I hitched only a few times, usually in trucks (cars were rare then), It's pretty easy for white people.

South America was not too bad (1990s), but on well-traveled local roads, drivers expect to be paid and some regular drivers make a little on the side as adjunct bus service. In the 90s I hitched a little in Thailand and Malaysia.
I wonder if hitch-hiking is indeed any more dangerous today or if it's just the public perception. Were blacks not allowed to drive? I suppose not too surprising, considering the restrictions on them.

I probably wouldn't hitch-hike anywhere, especially not in an unfamiliar country. You have no idea what could happen.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:58 AM
 
2,675 posts, read 4,957,845 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse44 View Post
I'm planning to possibly hitch from Van, Turkey to Istanbul or Istanbul to Berlin. Over a couple of weeks of course. There's lots to see between those points, and I'd like to take my time.

Anyone ever done something like this? I've gone from Sudbury to Montreal here in Canada before. That's maybe 650km. No issues at all, plus met some pretty cool people.
Don't hitchhike. It is a game of Russian Roulette. Most people are good but it is not worth the risk. DON'T DO IT.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
3,399 posts, read 5,081,637 times
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I'm surprised this thread got any attention. Thanks!

I'll try to follow-up from as many comments as I remember.

Major things I want to see on the way? If Van to Istanbul: The lake in Van, Batman, Diyarbakir, Antalya (or something similar along the med), Afyon, and obviously Istanbul. I know it won't be the most straightforward route and almost certainly I will have to sacrifice some sites. Hitchhiking can be exhausting.

If Istanbul to Berlin: (again, not so conventional) Istanbul, Thessaloniki, Skopje, Belgrade (absolute must), Budapest, Krakow, (maybe an Auschwitz side trip), then Berlin. I suppose there will be some smaller cool towns I'll want to explore on the way too.

Another idea is to just combine it all and hitchhike the whole darn thing. I figure at worst, I'll be a cheap flight or heftyish train ticket away if things go sour. At least I would have tried. I meet people who hitchhike across Canada all the time and they say it's never so bad. I know that is TOTALLY different, but hey. I'll pace myself and play it as it goes.

jturr88, I know train tickets and busses can get pretty cheap in Eastern Europe and Turkey, but I think I am doing this for the feeling of accomplishment-although yes, partly to save money too.

I've been checking Hitchwiki (real site!!) which says that Turkey, Poland, and Germany are some of the best in the world for hitchhiking ease. Not so sure about the Balkans though. I know a guy who hitches around Hungary and has no issues with it. I'll have to do more reading.

And lastly, I know the safety thing is the number one reason people get nervous about hitchhiking, but I'm not relly that worried about it. It's probably more likely that I'll get in a car accident than anything else.

Thanks everyone.
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:24 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
94,070 posts, read 91,602,864 times
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OP, I'm assuming your male. Women shouldn't hitch hike alone in Turkey or Yugoslavia, or Germany, for that matter. The safest and easiest hitch-hiking for women is in Scandinavia and Finland. It's a fabulous experience. Romania's pretty good, too.
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Old 08-31-2013, 12:54 AM
 
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
10,524 posts, read 14,474,442 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Women shouldn't hitch hike alone in Turkey or Yugoslavia, or Germany, for that matter. The safest and easiest hitch-hiking for women is in Scandinavia and Finland. It's a fabulous experience. Romania's pretty good, too.
Romania is the 2nd biggest prostitute exporter in Europe, considering how many Romanian women live around the world... I don't think Romania is that good of a place to be one.
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