One morning, a few days ago, I recieved an email from a dear old friend, asking me when I’d be coming to visit. Knowing I would be heading East, not West (towards her) come November, I told Ange: “How about tomorrow?”
Since then the Waifs song “I’m in London still” has been playing and replaying itself through my mind. When i set out from Amsterdam it was a sunny autumn’s day, and it was within a few hours that i found myself in Oostende, Belgium. There, I headed for the trucker’s area at the port for ferries crossing to England. The fourth one I asked was the first to speak any English, a tall, lanky fellow from Czech Republic. He was more than happy for me to accompany him, so together we went into the office to show our passports and collect our free meal/bed tickets.
The ship was delayed by 3 hours, and the ride itself took 4 and a half, so it was near midnight when we finally set foot in the UK. I had intended to keep on towards London, but don’t ever enjoy hitching by dark, so I took up his offer to rest the night in the cabin of his camion. Of all the truckers to pick, he was certainly the best. A completely harmless, gentle 28 year old, a child at heart and one of the few I would trust enough to sleep in the same room with.
It was 8am when we set off again, an hour later he dropped me at a petrol station just south of London. A few more quick rides, a tube or two and there I was at Liverpool Street, surrounded by more Aussie’s than British.
The next four days were spent in great company, chilly weather and in keeping to the song, a trip around Camden Markets.
Wednesday I was out on the highway again, this time with Erik (he had hitched up two days earlier for a bit of London light too). We didn’t get across to France until late, so spent the night somewhere near Calais, in an old neglected Truck cabin, warm enough considering the below 0 temeperatures!
A day of exhausting, freezing hitchhiking followed, several rides, several hours without rides, ending with a warm dinner at some strangers house. Hearing that our last meal had been just an apple each earlier that morning, he took us home, introduced us to his wife and told tales as we munched down the delicious food.
By 8pm I was back by the canals, resting up at Mandy’s house. Holland is the closest thing i have to home in Europe, and it sure feels nice to be here again. Home, sweet home.