From Zams (Austria) to Innsbruck (Austria) – 73 km
Already late afternoon when we left Zams. The weather was incredibly humid and the combo – sweat and no ride was leaving me a bit desperate. Until a car stopped. Inside two guys: one who looked like a cowboy with an hat and all geared up and the other was just downright creepy. They were not going to Innsbruck, but a ride is a ride. What began as timid rain soon went into full mode. We could barely see anything outside the windows.
We hardly talked as it felt like we had just entered a nightclub, given the loud music that came from the car’s speakers. The creepy man drove like a maniac and my sister and I actually feared for our lives… Every time car passed us on the highway he’d show them the middle finger and every now and then would try to go after them. The rain wouldn’t cease to pour and despite all things the maniac seemed to have a soft spot for us, hitchhikers, and took us all the way to the city.
In 3 sentences try to convince me to visit your country.
We have mountains, snow, beautiful cities and landscapes and stunning views. The Alps should be already enough reason to come to AUSTRIA! Oh and then you have to come and visit me in Tirol, so I am another important reason! 😀
Being home, without being at home.
Being with Magdalena without being with Magdalena.
Climbing up the Tyrolean Everest (aka Glanderspitze) without climbing up THE Everest.
Being on Sound of Music without being on Sound of Music.
From Vaduz (Liechtenstein) to Zams (Austria) – 106 km
We thumbed up for like 30 seconds. A young girl, Liechtensteiner, heading to Feldkirch in Austria for a street fair said she could take us there. Awesome! That was exactly what we had in mind. Going north to Feldkirch and then heading east on the highway to Zams. It was a very short ride, but we still talked about this little country, shared our impressions and heard first hand from a local… Too bad it was a very short journey.
After wandering a little bit around Feldkirch, we wrote Zams in a piece of cardboard and headed to the hitchhikers’ spot in town. Zams, was our goal due to being the hometown of a friend of mine I had met while being an EVS volunteer in Lithuania.
We thumbed for a while. At first no cars were merciful enough to stop for us, until an elderly man walked up to my sister, no car in sight. My initial reaction, of suspicion, soon lead to some relief. In between German and English words, the old man told us he was going through Zams on his way home. And yes, he had a car!
Mr. Wilfried, a 74-yearl-old Hungarian, up until his retirement worked in Germany. Now he was heading back home, in Hungary, after having a leg surgery in Switzerland.
He was incredibly friendly, thoughtful and talkative! Along the way through the Austrian mountains, which were a delight for our eyes, we even got to stop in a charismatic Austrian town, Sankt Anton. He offered some drinks and even paid them for us (which are pricey, as almost everything in Austria). Soon we reached Zams, our destination, only for him to give us a delicacy of Hungary: Pálinka!
We said goodbye and promised to see each other again.
From Zurich (Switzerland) to Vaduz (Liechtenstein) – 109 km
Manuel. Gioia. Piera. Chiara. Four names of four wonderful people who let us inside their super cool former-firefighter-Volkswagen. They were heading to Italy for holidays, so we got a ride very close to our destination. They were surprised that people actually wanted to visit Liechtenstein. For them it was just another Swiss canton. 😛
Before getting back on the game (we were dropped a few kilometres to the south of Liechtenstein), we sat down, indulged our lovely sandwiches and sketched our plan. Even though we were close to Vaduz, walking there would require the stamina we lacked and getting a ride from where we were would be hard. So got on walking to the nearest settlement…
Our saviour! We knew that from where we were standing, the road to Liechtenstein would go uphill. So walking was a no go. We waited for a bit in this quite remote area, where the only life came from a bunch of farm animals which grazed nearby. Then a car stops and we get our hopes up! The man said, in is English sprinkled with French, that we were crazy to be in that place. That no one would easily stop by. So I guess we were lucky, because he did so. Drove us past the border, to Liechtenstein, while chatting about the existence of a military area
One last ride. We knew it would be fairly simple. And it was: in less than 5 minutes a 20-ish local guy, who was returning back from work, said he would drive us just to the next village, one before Vaduz. But we got along very easily that he probably felt sorry for us and dropped us off at our destination. 🙂
Walk to the summit of Uetliberg, a 871m high mountain which offers a nice panorama of the city, Lake Zurich and the Alps (there’s also a train that goes all the way up, if you don’t feel like hiking… shame on you though!);
Rent a bike (for freeeeeeee!) and wander around the city like the locals do;
Roam around the city centre and walk up to Lindenhof, a park right in the centre which also offers a nice view of the downtown area and the Limmat, the river that flows through it.
If the weather’s nice, dip your toe in the crystal clear waters that embrace the city.
Don’t get outraged with the prices of everything… After all, it’s Switzerland.
Ride #6 Easy peasy, lemon squeesy!
We took a tram from the city centre to a gas station already on the highway to Zurich, our goal. Thank God for the existence of hitchwiki!
We waited and in less than 15 minutes a car holding a Zurich license plate (ZH, btw) came to a stop. Hurray! I yelled in my mind.
The man (*I’m really terrible with names…), a middle-aged Swiss who spoke German and some broken English, was heading back home. You could tell by is belongings that he had a blue-collar job. We got to chichat for a while but then spent most of the next hour just enjoying the views! Really, you can’t get tired of the luscious greens and bare rock mountains. This thoughtful Swiss drove us all the way to Zürich Hauptbahnhof, main railway station in the city, taking a considerable detour from his house in suburbia. Kindness is still very much alive! 🙂