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It. Was crunch time here at the service, station the. Journey up to this point had been epic, but, the bottom line was we'd only traveled, 220. Miles in three and a half days with. Roughly 700. To go and all six challenges, still to do this, next few hours was, all about getting as far as possible no. Lift today would be disastrous, and after, a few minutes it, already felt like a possibility. The. Guy over there has told us, ain't. The best place to hitchhike, in fact he said it's pretty bad. This. Is desperate, man I think. That guy was right no. One is reacting well to this I mean we've all we've got is a four East now. Not, specific, just anywhere, anywhere, that way, no. One's. Looking. Twice really, so, I'm a bit worried, but. Our chances, of getting to Ljubljana she's, where we wanna go, Greg's in the toilet of the petrol. Station watching. The Wales rugby game he's streaming it on his phone, fair. Enough I don't, need him to do this to be fair I've got a bad feeling there'll be a few updates and. They'll, all be here but. Mercifully, the next update was this one, got. Someone mate. It. Was none other than Mario, or Super, Mario as he was swiftly, dubbed driving. Back from a solo, mountain, climbing, expedition, in the French Alps, mario, offered, to drive us all the way to Bologna, which actually wasn't the way we were going but, it was East and had, good links, up to Venice and beyond it, was a damn sight better than staying, put. Superhero. Rugby, player hiker. Sometimes. Long rides with strangers, can be a bit awkward but. Not with Mario riding. With him was an absolute pleasure, we, shared adventure stories, he, told us everything we needed to know about the real mafia not the normal well-dressed. Men that we'd seen and countless. Other topics it's. Not hot and the. Glacier is better. Nice. My nicely, done. Why. Not it. Felt strange to be in a city again, but we'd opted to make the switch from service. Station, to train station. The. Thinking was that by train we could make it to Venice by nightfall. Whereas hitchhiking, might leave us stranded in a service, station for, the entire night, yeah. That'll. Do. All. Too quickly we were saying goodbye to another person, we'd really grown fond of but, Mario story, wasn't, over yet because sitting in the backseat of the Mario 'mobile was, Greg's brand-new. 400-pound. Phone. What's. Up in my. Left. My phone. Super. Mario's car. No. It's awful, but it's. Just funny because he's. He's. Got that out the car used. To survive litter but wonder, how long wait. Here. The. Problem was our train was leaving in 15 minutes. Or at least we thought it was we weren't sure as we no longer had a phone so I left Greg and run over to the station to check the times whilst Greg waited, on the corner clinging, on to the thread of hope that Super Mario would return. No. Matter. Why you, came back still, there moe I think I got two minutes please. I have to get back to the station and. Like there, was this loud beat like cool. Bust. Out the wrong Street, they're, like a gooey like the Midler's at busy junction. Know. What, oh, my. God he's, top of the list now. Super. Mario makes, you see. This. One, on. The train we tracked down the lone ticket, map. He's. Tom. But. He was too busy chatting up women, to even try to evade. So. We chilled out. Too. Busy chatting at the señorita, in, that time we did some thinking about where the hell we plan to sleep that night now. I did, know of a party, campsite, on the mainland, just off Venice, but obviously that would involve paying for a chalet so, we'd previously palmed. That off but, now it was dark and we weren't, gonna find anywhere, comfortable, to sleep in Venice, itself, so. We, hatched a plan a plan, that would prove to be both hilarious and. Seriously. Detrimental to, the trip. Right. It's 9 o'clock Saturday. Night we're. Stuck in the shitty train station, but we're desperate to get to this campsite, it's a party campsite we want to get there have some wine huh bitch. But. Simply a plan, was to find the drinking, crowd the, Aziz the Irish, the Brits join, in with the fun and games Wow, then with some stories, and then surely. After enough, boozing, we could crash on someone's floor we, could probably use a shower first though do. You think we should have a shower and the campsite we. Arrived. Just after, 10 and straight, away we could hear some incoherent.

Drinking, Game talk coming, from a table by the pool. Disappointingly. The place was pretty dead for the most part no, Aziz Brits, or girls, our. Hopes. Rested, on this group of rowdy Yanks. Would, they let us into their pack. Let. Me introduce the, key figures, from this unforgettable. Cock fest of a party, first. Up, Xavier. Cook Xavier. Yes. Yes. Xavier, Tom you're gonna be on the view play your cards right buddy. What. Can I say about this man just one of the most exuberant. Fun-loving. Charismatic. Guys I've ever met and he, would prove to be the centerpiece, of this, shindig. Jesus. Give. Her a little break all right there was drew one, of the soundest, guys we met on the whole trip and these two random, Jager, guzzling, German, brothers mate, just. Like water to you guys. But. It was xavius larger-than-life. Character. Coupled, with my competitiveness. That would prove to be a lethal mix, you've used truly honest. True. Englishman. Friend. I'll. Do it. The. Moments are. Embarrassing. The nation. Legitimate. Question. Okay I'll give you a question. Ready. Cause, on the cheers can i you to thumbnail. Look. Angry. America. Versus. Stateside. Dragonbug tequila. There. Was a dribble, that went down your cheek. You, need no Dibble, here so. Surgery. We needed yeah we, do. Not. Long after this we were joined by a young chap later dubbed, fille Tom a self-proclaimed. Philadelphia. Street hardened, young buck with a sharp, ghetto, accent, to match he really didn't take him long to warn us of how where he's from they, bury under. Brothers. All. Of us the. Man where. Y'all. From, anyway. If he from Philly say. Rockstar, California, I say all the valleys, I'm. From Sydney org don't. Get to talk Kansas, Wichita. Kansas and the entire East Coast I. Can't. I. Don't. Remember much after this point but apparently, me and Philly Tom had a bit of a scuffle off-camera. That. To you in Philly, would he be ten feet. We, soon made up. Think. Then. Outside. Whilst Xavier, attempted, to make his most heartfelt, speech, to date rather. Hood. The. Fun came to an abrupt end. This. Man was the infamous, nighttime, security, manager, that I instantly, remembered. From six years prior a scary. Man who ruled the night shift with an iron fist and, had no qualms, with using. Rushon or even physical, violence, to keep the place quiet and he, was livid. So. It was back inside where. Presumably I passed, out. In. The morning myself still, very much under the influence of, last night's alcohol. We. Made our way back to our stashed, bags and planned our next move, but, little did I know that the copious, amounts of gin that I'd consumed, which was now mixing, with this awful.

Cheese And tomato panini, would, soon begin to wreak havoc with my fragile, insides. Fearing. That I may throw the soggy sandwich back, up at any given time and came for that not to be in a stranger's, car we had little choice, but to pay for a flicks bus to Ljubljana thus, ending, our run of free transport, it was a shame it had come to this but that's what you get when you drink on an empty stomach I filled, in tongue. In. Between toilet trips, are just about managed to muster up the strength to, appreciate, the views of the Adriatic, Sea. But. Regrettably I, was in no fit state to explore. And then sleep, up on the castle hill like we'd planned, so. We grazed Ljubljana as magical, streets until, we found a hostel cool. Where, I could lie the fuck, down. Apologies. For breezing through this chapter, so quickly, but, ultimately we all want to get back to the good stuff don't we so. We're, picking things up from 11 a.m. the next day and it's really not long before we start cocking, things up again well. We've got a train, in. 25. Minutes so. We. Need to eat these quick time. Our. Plan now was to get to the eastern, city of Maribor, and just, walk east into, the countryside, with no, plan whatsoever just, like we used to hopefully. We could find the time to complete some challenges, along the way before. Picking up the a5, where we could make some proper ground but. For now we. Are seriously, pushing, our luck here for, the peak for the stew in hand the train leaves in 10 minutes and we are roughly 10, minutes from the station we. Need to buy a ticket. We. Actually had every, intention of paying for this train but with literally, 30 seconds, to spare as we entered the station and a queue inside, it. We. Just had to board the train like. Usual. Okay. There's no hiding on this train not, for 20. Stops or whatever it is so we're, just gonna have to wait till it starts, Ludo. Plead, our case just provide mate please we had to run you. Know please there any way we. Can. The. Ticket going down. Canon's, year this, is. Vitally. Relieved that we were allowed to stay on the train we. Could now enjoy, the amazing slovenian.

Scenery, And get ourselves in, the mood for our next adventure, look. At this guy. Lovely. Lovely. Natured. Man. Absolutely. Heart of gold. Gregg's, forgot his half-eaten, pizza. Just. Hope the train doesn't head on back to her ljubljana. But. Thankfully it didn't and soon, we were heading back into, the countryside again, well, Mary. Baugh is somewhere, over there we just left it behind rightly. Or wrongly we're. Now just heading east we're. Just heading east it's 3 p.m. and one thing's for sure we're, gonna be spending the night which. Might be quite rainy, 95%, chance of rain in fact, it's. Definitely, will rain yeah, we're gonna spend the night in the countryside whether that being a hay barn someone. Shed. It's, one bet the ones made possibly, I mean preferably, maybe. We'll hitch a ride on one of these things. If. You're wondering why we're heading east into, the countryside aimlessly, when we've only got three days left to, get to Bratislava there, is a motorway, about, sort of 15, miles east, of here so. Tomorrow. We'll. Have a chance of hitchhiking from what, we think is a service, station was. Just look a. Couple. Of miles in we saw some ladies harvesting, potatoes, so, naturally, we went over and offered our services. One. Lady then insisted, that we drink some of this unknown. Substance. Before, showing us what did and what didn't constitute, a potato worth, keeping. Good. Well. We're. Harvesting potatoes, and. It was hard work to back-breaking. In fact and we'd only move five yards, but, with a bit of moral, support from ila the flea-ridden, dog and a bit of encouragement from, the ladies. We'd. Soon filled up our crates a, job. Well done. Come. Back in Naughty Dog. Well. I, was. Interested. We'll get one Monday night as, we ventured deeper and deeper into the countryside, the sense that the heavens were about to open grew stronger now, we were eager to make good ground but, it was now also important. That we ended up at a village before dark. Partly, to try and seek refuge in a house of God, challenge, number three on our list but, mainly because village is meant people friendly. Country, folk who might be willing to help us, people like Ramona here who had no qualms with picking up to random, blokes and taking them two miles down the road. Nice. To meet you too. Well. Daddy's. Ominous. Terrifying. Despite. Being two miles deeper, into the countryside, nothing. Really felt different, except, now we were getting a bit desperate we. Needed some sort of roof above our heads fast. Well. There's rumbling thunder, in the distance, I've, got a bad feeling he's coming our way but so far what we've walked through it's been stunning but it's been, very. Sort of quite well off you know not as countryside. Ian poor and traditional that we as we, thought it would be we, have got a tactic, which is sort of sway. Sway. Like this and look like we're really in, need of food and water but the fact that Greg's got a big sandwich strapped, to his bag does really help then.

Just. Half a mile down the road. We've. Gone a bit lost well. We know where we are but. We. Think. It's gonna rain soon. Do. You think it will rain for sure. What. Has it been five, minutes and. Ivan rains, he's. Coming, down and, we've done it again we've stumbled across. Just. The nicest the salt of the earth hurling the salt of the earth I mean look at this fucking thing. His. Name was yearning but, he said we could call him Jerry and having, already saved, us from the elements in the coolest, way possible, he then sacrificed, his own dryness, in order to run down and give us an umbrella because, inside, their big yellow, and orange house, Jerry's. Mom who would initially spoken, to before Jerry had, been hard at work in the kitchen, rustling, up something, very special. Every. Single edible, item in this household, either came from straight, out the garden, or from just around, the corner and the, whole lot was absolutely. Delicious and dessert, was no exception okay, but. The best was yet to come, there's our bed for the night we, didn't, cow wet we've been. Having. Made our way back cake, in hand to our cozy camper, which ran, on cooking, oil by the way we were surprised again by Jerry but this time it brought down his delightful, daughter, Nica. But that's not all see Jerry's, a professional. Wine smellier, and bloody, passionate, about Slovenian. Wine what, have we got here then Jerry. And. How. Much will this bottle, cost you in the supermarket. Really. So, you can get it in fancy, restaurants. Nica, then talk Greg how to count in Slovenian Stevie. Okay. Awesome. Good. It, was awesome, awesome, o´clock, knickers bedtime, so, she was replaced by Jerry's older, and even taller brother, who joined us in sipping, wine and sharing, stories until. The late hours, when, unfortunately. It was time to say good night. Here. Comes correct now with his umbrella. Alright. Greg. How. The. Food's it wasn't just a case of are, you ever gonna sleep in a camper van it became so much more than that it became. The most expensive bottle of wine in Slovenia, can only get them in restaurants. In New York and Copenhagen. We. Just had the best conversations. Going we've thoroughly enjoyed, each other's company and I'll. Be sad to leave. The. Next morning we were woken by the animals, of the farm. Jerry. Came down to greet us at the perfect time, because. Jerry, morning. But. Today we wouldn't be joining, him at the breakfast table instead. We were following him into the garden, because today was the day that we had decided to live off the land, you're a good harvesting height I. Mean, what better time to do it Jerry's, garden had everything. Including. Things we've never tried or heard, of Oh. Things. We didn't know was scientifically. Possible. It. Wasn't long before our bin bag was full of food and that was before we'd got to the potatoes, it, felt like cheating, a bit maybe. It was filo, the camper. You'd. Be the brilliant, bed, for the night, but. We were leaving it behind and thanks, to Jerry who kindly, offered, to take us the remaining, way to the service station in his car whose fumes, literally. Smelt of lovely, doughnuts we, were moving swiftly on, to the next stage and, it's a good job we were early too because, our plan for the day aside, from living, off the land was, pretty, ambitious. Even. If we didn't know it at the time, it involved, reaching the Hungarian, city of Samba tele or, sat, on belly as we kept calling it where we now hopefully had a brand new mode of transport, waiting for us in the shape of two bicycles. But. Not only was it far away and in another country, the, route there was specific. And, only a fraction of the cars would be heading where we were. Wasn't the only problem, the, problem is here in comparison, to other, places we've been there. Is really no Plan B yeah, there's no public transport, we can use no trains, or buses it's here, we just have to hit check and we have to get to stat on belly today because we, have to arrange.

The Collection of some bikes and, tomorrow we have to be up bright and early biking. Into Austria and onto Vienna the fact that Jerry's given us this massive, boost of potatoes. And, veg. And, as the Sun pops. Out through the clouds our. Optimism, is strong for her but. As the Sun got stronger, our chances. Of a lift wilted, again to the point that we considered, jumping, into a lorry filled with household, waste but, a lift wasn't our only issue we, just tried to ring Sam the guy who's meant to be hooking, us up with two bikes but who we haven't heard, from in day so I'm losing. Hope. Maybe. There's been a problem I don't know maybe he's dead who knows but hopefully, not for him big dream but, he hadn't died he was just busy and eventually. A young man in a Golf Estate swooped. By to pick us up, he. Was plush of murska. Sobota, whose football team he religiously. Supported, and whose service, station, he could take us as far as but. Not before he stopped on the hard shoulder for, a piss. Oh. Probably. Why he's pissing as. We approach the services, Greg made an attempt, at a Slovenian, word that was so bad that plash thought that we were alerting, him of a nearby police car. The. Football I hope he comes second, after you next go. Weed, eked our way east but really we needed a longer lift now as we grazed on Jerry's produce. But. Again, we were having no luck with the cars who all seem to be in a major rush, to get back onto the motorway, the good news was I'd gotten through to Sam the bike man. It's. All up to us now to get there but the bikes are sorted really. Really, good. The. Desire to get into Hungary, had suddenly tripled. But we were stuck in a shit place both geographically. And outer, stop eclis so, we moved on to plan B pestering. Lorry drivers. But. They all said no and, the possibility, of being stuck in Slovenia, now felt very real we, had to take decisive action. Is. It possible, I. Was.

Kind Of hoping that she'd make the call to be honest but she left it to me having our high hopes for this. Do, you speak English. No. Okay, where are we one second, no don't, go back don't, forget that petrol. Petrol. Thank. You. Yeah. Perfect. Future. We. Used our 10 minutes wisely, stocking, up on a substance, that would vastly improve, mealtime, no. Salt. Although. It did raise a few eyebrows, amongst, the staff who, really, ought to order, some sachets, in for next time. Our. Taxi, map who did speak some English, unlike the guy who mans the phone back at head office took, us 15, miles to the problematic, junction and right, up to the Hungarian. Border it was so useful even, if it was a tad expensive. Physically. Walking through the vehicle. Border, from. Slovenia, into whatever, that is. So. Mad countries no one's ever heard of no it's Hungary but in Slovenian and this is where our currency. Becomes, absolutely, redundant, luckily we used most of it just then but. We, have got this bag of fruit of what the, Hungarian, side of the border was an odd place in, the middle a series of run-down, communists. Looking structures, and scattered. Around the edge various. Vehicles, that were presumably stopped, in their tracks and, abandoned, perhaps, during the migrant, crisis a couple of years prior but. There. Was no one Manning the fort now. At. All in. Any official person. Having. Found a good slow, roomy. Spot a few yards after the border I left, Greg in search of some much-needed water, but it had to be free remember, and preferably, not an already opened bottle, or from, a sink not used since 1989. Feeling. Bold I snuck into the back entrance of a trucker's cafe, and filled up in the staff toilet, now. It was back to Greg slip. Into something, more casual, and innocent looking, and hopefully. Get that final, lift to samba telling. It's two o'clock now and we're at. Our border location. Today. But just, this uncertainty. Never. Hitchhiked in Hungary before don't. Know about whether this border, is putting people off but. Surely. On this bright sunny day now that we're in our shorts. Someone. Attitude. Someone's gonna pick a second surely but. I'm afraid we were mistaken over. The next few hours as the Sun arced, its way across the clear blue sky we, watched hundreds. Of cars vans, and lorries not, only passes, by but hardly. Acknowledge, our existence we tried. Moving around, and making different, signs but, it made no difference and. To make matters worse we'd, polished, off the last of our fruit it, really was now a fruitless endeavor to. Be honest we, haven't had very much luck at all. We're. Getting pretty hungry stop. Which, is quite a pun in itself. We. Were starting to wonder whether there was something else that was deterring, people from, stopping, and the main candidates, were over the road Greg's. Going to ask the Hungarian. Police if. What we're doing is actually legal. What's. The authority verdicts. Greg. What. Else did you say. Get. In the van ha ha ha ha if you go up here apparently, there's, a service, station. With. The fate of the trip resting, in the balance an entire, day of biking and doing challenges slipping. Away from us with every hour we left for the service, station in the hopes that people's, attitudes, would change somehow, once they were in a place where they weren't being watched, however.

Well. That. Is shit because it's on the wrong side of the road we, ain't using that we've got to stay on this road fraction. Of the cars they, would have just come past them when I stopped there so it's just rubbish. We. Decided, to try our luck opposite. The petrol station. Taking. It in turns to occasionally, pop over to pester people for a lift with, no luck my. Next phone call with Sam was simply to tell him that there was a good chance that he needn't bother driving. The bikes down to Zomba tele from his home just over the Austrian border. Never. Had shit. Hitchhikin. Experience. The. Mood was now at an all-time low and only, amplified. By a crippling, hunger, feel pretty hopeless at the moment. At. Least Greg managed to see the funny side but. As spuds. Would have to stay firmly in their sack for at least a couple more hours while, we gave this one, big, final, push to try and rescue this trick. Tune. In next week to see what happens you won't be disappointed. You.

2020-01-28 22:04

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