How I ended up in Italy instead of Spain
Back in summer 2005. I still remember how I just came back home to the beech forests of Slovakia from half a year in Spain. I got Erasmus scholarship to Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. I have to say, till that time it was the best 6 months of my life, so many parties, almost no studying, just CARPE DIEM.
Logically, when I came back, it seemed there was nothing to do at home for the whole following summer. I was happy to see my family, of course, but at the same time sad because of not being in Spain any more.
I could not imagine staying in Slovakia for the next almost 3 months before the start of new year at the University. I was talking every day about going back to Spain, I still remember how my parents got angry often about me not shutting up. After a month like this, me and my friend, who was in Madrid with me all those 6 months, decided we just had to go back there for a bit again.
And this is where the story begins. I packed up some necessary stuff, like a sleeping bag and clothes (thank God it was hot so not much needed), said a little lie to my parents that I was going to Czech Republic to a Music festival for a couple of days (they would NEVER let me go otherwise) and took a train to meet up with my friend (by train it did not look suspicious to my parents). My friend lives in Žilina, which is 350 km from my home town Snina. She picked me up at the train station and we started our long trip to Madrid. Oh, here comes the biggest problem – I forgot to say the plan was to get there hitchhiking – a real adventure. FYI it’s 2700 km through half Slovakia, all Austria, Northern Italy, Southern France and to the middle of Spain. Yes, crazy! But we were dying to go back there, no matter what! Prepared to sleep over anywhere and beg drivers to get us there. Having 2 months to get there and back assured us it was going to be possible. Somehow.
We started hitchhiking and after 5 min we were pissed already that no one pulled over. Then we saw a nice car coming to the petrol station, just next to where we were. The driver got out, bought 2 packs of gummy bears (my favourite! – so I took it as a sign) and with a sweet smile was coming back to the car looking at us.
There was our chance! Just 2 min after our ”Are you going to Bratislava by any chance?” we were seated in his new BMW5 already and chewing gummy bears.
He offered us water and some sandwiches, too. Could not be better. We told him our secret plan. First he threw in our faces all the possible danger of 2 girls hitchhiking. But I calmed him down with my passion for boxing and pepper spray always on me.
The closer we were to Bratislava (200 km from Žilina), the more driver’s opinion changed. By the time we got there, he made up a new plan – to give us lift to Madrid so he could visit it for the first time. The only problem was he had to go to his office next morning to prepare everything for his holidays and then we could go.
Still a night to go. We did not want to stay in a hotel in Bratislava, so he had another great idea, to go camping to a lake where he always went and he invited a friend, too. First, while waiting for his friend in Tesco, we bought a tent, warm clothes, food, drinks and a grill.
I mean, he paid for it (was a bit rich). Then, 30 km from Bratislava, at Senecké jazerá (lakes) we put the tent together and grilled chicken and vegetable. Such a delicious dinner!
Let’s say we had a party in the middle of the forest with loud music, singing, dancing and eating. I think we finished at 3am and guys went home, me and my friend stayed sleeping in the tent and heard foxes around. In the morning, the driver (it’s the best way to call him) picked us up and we went to his office. We had breakfast he brought us while waiting for him in the car.
After almost 2 hours he finally came back with bad news. 2 days after he had some very important business to do so he could not go. It was like waking up from a nightmare. Did not know what to do. I don’t remember how we agreed on this, but few minutes after he was already driving back to Žilina.
No more hitchhiking to marvelous Madrid. Going back home. We left my friend at her house in Žilina and he drove me to the train station. Just when we got there he changed his mind again and offered me lift home. I was shocked. Another 350 km of driving?
And not asking any money for the petrol at all? There was something behind it all. He couldn’t just be that nice to do all this for someone who did not know at all. But I liked him so I grabbed the opportunity to spend 4 hours more with him.
We got to know each other more on the way speaking about our lives and arrived to my home town at 10pm. I just left my backpack at home, changed very quickly and went to Bowling Bar. He even paid for the bowling and all the drinks again.
But as the name of the post says, I ended up in Italy instead of Spain, so this is not the end yet. The driver drove 450 km back home the same night. We were in touch a lot through messages and after a week he called me saying to pack up bikini and get out of the house. He was there with one of his lovely ideas again.
A trip to Italy.
I was shocked.
And my parents even more (after I came from Czech Republic from the concerts just after less than 2 days because of bad weather – this was my excuse to why I appeared back at home so fast), I was going to Italy just like this?
Anyway, I can be a big rebel if I don’t get what I want, so my parents, making faces, let me go.
I remember there was a huge traffic jam in Wien but then we had an amazing breakfast in an Austrian motel on the way. After 1150 km in the car we got to Lignano Sabbiadoro where we stayed in a little hotel just 5 min from the beach.
The weather was great, we enjoyed swimming, a boat trip, roller coaster rides and Italian pizza. After 3 days the driver got a call from his secretary about another important meeting so we had to go back to Slovakia straight away.
After all I was happy we didn’t get to Madrid but came across this 6-year older smiley driver. I got to know Lignano and was cool to be taken care of without thinking of money for once. And like I always learn from the people I meet, he was not an exception.
He taught me there is a solution for every problem, and that I should do what I feel like doing and try to be in a good mood as he permanently was because if you are alive, you have it all.
And after 5 and a half years, this is how my parents found out the true story right now 😀