„Madzia, do you have a time to answer me a few questions about hitchhiking?“
„I am off to Georgia on 18th, you have ten days“
This is how Madzia replied to me, when I asked her for an interview. I met this likeable blonde girl from Poland on Erasmus in Estonia. Madzia (Magdalena Lewczuk) comes from Wroclaw, the largest city in western Poland with almost 700,000 of inhabitants.
Madzia’s facebook tells a lot about her. For example that she likes to travel. However, no trains, buses, ships and aircraft. But stop. This way of transport was a big taboo for me, and when someone mentioned hitchhikers, I imaged them always like skinny young guys, with lush beard, draped with backpacks and weapons that wants to steal your car. And as it usually happens, everything is always completely different than we think and I decided to crash my prejudices of hitchhikers.
I wanted to know as much as possible about this way of traveling and once in November sat on a lecture which I did not pay much attention because of weaker English of teacher, Madzia has appeared in the room. Strapped with a large backpack on his back with the phrase “I am back!” She just came back from her next trip, she went home. Distance between Tartu and Wroclaw is almost 1,300 kilometers and she left last week with the fact that she was going to Riga, but plans has changed during her journey and she ended up at home in Wroclaw. Amazing!
Then I decided to ask her few question about hichhiking and could not wait any longer to hear answers!
How did you find out about hitchhiking?
Magdalena Lewczuk: For he first time it was two years ago when I decided to participate in the competition to hitchhike to Rome under the name “Auto Stop Race”. People who like to travel in Wroclaw University of Economics decided to join this contest and I decided to go with them. There were involved up to 1,000 people, which is the maximum for one year.
What is the point of this competition?
Magdalena Lewczuk: To get the first to final location only by hitchhiking. Destination city changes every year and this year it was in 2013 Dubrovnik. It was already the sixth annual Race Car Stop. There always have to be at least a pair to participate, becasue of safety. But I do not recommend going in large groups, no one will stop his car because of capacity.
Auto Stop is only happening in Poland or worldwide?
Magdalena Lewczuk: There are many hitchhiking competitions, maybe the USA is exception where hitchhiking is not allowed.
What about your parents? Will they let you travel this way?
Magdalena Lewczuk: When I went to Rome they knew I was going, but not by hitchhiking.
On what most further place did u get by hitchhiking?
Magdalena Lewczuk: Most further…hm…I think it was Albania. I have been to Albania and it was just awesome. It was this year when I was participating on Auto Stop Race to Dubrovnik. When I got there, still had enough time to travel more so me and my friends, we decided to continue more south. I have visitted Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as well.
Your Facebook says, you have visitted the northest part of Sweden...
Magdalena Lewczuk: Yes, it was with my friends but we rent a car. In Sweden is very hard to hitchhike, there are almost no cars on the North. One car per hour and even this will not stop. They do not like hitchhikers, they are affraid of them.
Do you have any idea, how much money have you saved on transportation?
Magdalena Lewczuk: I have no cluee, but I know that two years ago, on my way to Rome I spent only 10 zloty what is like 2,50 EUR. It was in McDonalds, I bought coffeé.
You mentioned that you are traveling to Gerogia soon, will you hitchhike there, as well?
Magdalena Lewczuk: I would love to, we will see. Now there is winter as here and it is kinda uncomfortable. But you can get used to it. Two weeks ako I hitchhiked from Tartu to Wroclaw.
What is your most funny story connected with hitchhiking?
Magdalena Lewczuk: Polish people do not like each other when they meet abroad. I have no idea why. It was in Italy, two hours ride from Rome when we met a guy from Poland. We kindly ask him to take us to Rome, he agreed. While we were buying coffé, he ran to the car and drove away. Unfortunately, situations like this may occur as well.
What is the most terrifying story you have to tell?
Magdalena Lewczuk: Once, somewhere in Austria during the night we stopped a truck with my friend. Mister driver had asked me for my bra. I was scared, it was night, we were in the middle of anything. But I was brave enough to say no. He was typical truck driver – beard, cigaarette and fat. I hate when truck drivers smoke in closed cabin. It is not possible to breathe.
During the autostop race to Dubrivnik we got off the car very close to Croatia vorder. We walked 6 kilometers through forest to get to Croatia. There was a fence with hole between Hungary and Croatia. We crossed this vence and the police stopped us immidiately. They were suprised why we cross border like this, and we had to cross it back to Hungary again and walk back 6 kilometers to find the official border crossing point.
Have you met somebody new during your adventures?
Magdalena Lewczuk: I have met a lot of people, even famous people from Poland.
Have you met Ewa Farna?
Magdalena Lewczuk: Who is that?
What is the worst country for hitchhikers?
Magdalena Lewczuk: Definitely Italy. It si a beautiful country, but they do not like hitchhikers. They do not get what hitchhikers do. They think of you that you are that poor, that you have to stop cars t get ride. Also in Morocco it is not possible to hitchhike, there you have to pay for everything, even for that you are breathing.
What would you said to people who read this?
Magdalena Lewczuk: Hm…if you are not pretty enough and like traveling, it is the best thing in the world. And I was kidding with that pretty thing. Go and hitchhike!
I thank Madzia for answering my questions and to be completely okay with hitchhiking, I have decided to give a try and go with Madzia to hitchhike to city of Tallin what is 160 kilometers on North from Tartu. S Madžou pešo po diaľnici, časť.2 – Ako stopom?
Milan Bardún 2013