I didn’t have the intention to go to Frankfurt because it seemed to me too far north and away from the route I had chosen for my trip, but Miroslava, who I had virtually met in Photo Forum, insisted on me coming and I decided that it would have been nice to meet her and see one city more.


It was about 8 o’clock when Stefan and I went out. It was foggy and there was a layer of frost on the cars; at least it didn’t seem it was going to rain. 2 U-Bahns, 1 tram and half an hour later we reached THE Place, having the last 3 kilometers passed on foot. From this place on motorway A8 started – it leads to Stuttgart and Karlsruhe. However, the competition had obviously woken up earlier – a German was diligently meeting the incoming traffic with a big letter S written on a cardboard. He said he had been waiting for an hour already. This disclosure worried me a bit while the act that I was second in line worried me a little further. But, what could I do since I was expected to wait…

I said goodbye to Stefan and took out one of my sheets of paper. There is no need to thumb a lift in Germany – “the sign” is just enough. In the next half an hour I changed all sheets I had – A8, A8-A5 Frankfurt, A8 Karlsruhe – no one intended to stop not only for me but for my competitor also. It was clear that since for hour and a half and a Stuttgart sign he hadn’t moved even a kilometer ahead, my chance with a sign showing a further destination is even smaller. Looking at the traffic I saw a couple of cars registered with A, which stands for Augsburg, located just 50 kilometers away. I took out my pencil and jotted down one big letter A on the paper and after less than 5 minutes a car stopped. It was an Italian guy, not knowing a word of English, but we could easily understand each other – Augsburg, gas station (in German). He unloaded me directly in the gas station and I slided to the exit to be able to meet the outgoing cars. I had just put down my backpack when I saw a truck headed for the exit. I raised the sheet saying Stuttgart towards it, the driver smiled at me and waved a hand to go in.

It was a young man, who knew some English. I was completely glad to find out that he not only would go on after Stuttgart but that he would also pass from A8 to A5 at Karlsruhe – a pass between the two motorways I hadn’t yet figured out how I would do.

The driver said he came form a little village near Ausgburg and had a wife and a child. His salary was about 3000 Euro, but this had its own price to be paid – he managed to be with his family only a few days a month. Our trip lasted over 5 hours, including an obligatory 40-minute break, as well as a 15-kilometer long line of cars along Stuttgart in which we moved with the speed on a road-killed turtle. I was recommended not to go to France because the French ate frogs, were gay, their language was gay and above it all they didn’t like the Germans because of the Second World War. And… they didn’t speak foreign languages. The West Germans, except the French, didn’t like the East Germans, because the long years of socialism had changed them and turned them into lazy people. The East Germans themselves (according to the driver) claimed that before the collapse of the wall they had been better off and that they wanted it back. I doubt in the truth of the last one but since I don’t plan going to Germany it will stay unchecked.

Repair work reigns the German Autobahns. But it is not about petty repairs, it’s about all-over, mass, grand repairs. It turned up that this is the way the country fights back the crisis.

I got out at a gas station just before reaching Heidelberg and after some twenty minutes waving a sheet with a big F, the dark driver of a truck shouted with a question in his voice – Frankfurt? And I, not waiting for a second asking, flew inside. It was as if I started to get used to the lifting of the heavy backpack in the high cabin of trucks.

My new driver was a Turkish guy. A Turkish guy living in Germany. His English vocabulary was as rich as my German (i.e. almost none at all), and because of this fact during the whole trip we enjoyed the silence under the sounds of cool Turkish music hits.

The place he left me was almost horrific – just on a highway bridge, which goes through Frankfurt. I had to get out of the cabin on a concrete bar along the road, then to walk in 50 centimeters of narrow line, planted with some thinned out similarities of future bushes. Fortunately, just after some twenty meters there was an alley – an exit of the highway, after which finding Miroslava’s address was as easy as pie – only 30 minutes of walking and some pain in the shoulders.

Miroslava has studied playing harp for 5 years now in a musical academy in Frankfurt, while the apartment she lives in with a Japanese pianist girl and a German guitar player is situated in a very comfortable place. I needed just a quick glance to find the difference between Munich and Frankfurt. While in Munich I felt like in a museum, full of exhibits, this here looked liked a completely normal city.

Frankfurt is a new city – almost nothing was left from it during the Second World War and that’s the reason why it was built up again. And this is obvious from miles away. The buildings are in modern architectural style, the streets are wide, and the skyscrapers can be seen from almost any spot in the city. Yes, the skyscrapers – real, of glass and steel. And hiiiiiigh, high. The modern outlook of the city is completed by its multinational inhabitants – the darkies, Turkish, and Asians are everywhere and are not less than the Germans.

To play harp 5 hours a day creates not only big corns on your fingers, but also high pressure in muscles and joins, and because of this Miroslava takes up a course in which she learns how to release this stress. And while she was on course, I was wandering around in the streets. With every minute passed the feeling that I liked Frankfurt got stronger and stronger. It is definitely not as beautiful as Munich, there are almost none old-time buildings, but it is in some way more natural and normal, and even the order is not so startling. The streets are intuitively located and the skyscrapers are a very comfortable direction mark which, combined with the relatively small distances, makes the idea of getting lost almost unthinkable.

After the walk I went back to the school and Miroslava performed a personal half-hour concert for me. As the word goes – to be given a play in the ear :) And I myself modeled in front of the camera as a professional harpist, then we got back home and managed to burn the frozen pizza, which we had bought in a supermarket in a huge MALL with exquisitely avant-garde architecture with a hole in the fore “wall”.

No matter how much I like it here I would have to leave soon, while in the incoming days the road should lead me finally to France. At first I was worried about hitchhiking in Germany and now I am a bit worried about hitchhiking in France :) Soon enough I would find out if there is anything to worry about or not. At least the weather is going to become warmer.

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