Posted on October 19, 2015
Hitchhiking Europe: Day 2
Somewhere near Viseu, Portugal
It was getting pretty cold in Spain. We didn’t really expect the weather to be that harsh already. We left Portugal in our T-shirts but had to get more and more clothes on. Luckily, this made our bags slightly lighter. The night in the tiny tent wasn’t very comfortable but we got a little sleep anyway. It was a Sunday and we were stuck on a gas station that was supposed to be a place with lots of international trucks stopping by. There was barely any traffic there; only a few trucks were parked but had no drivers and it was raining once in a while. We killed some time drinking a coffee and playing some cards.
In the afternoon, finally a truck driver stopped. He initially said he wasn’t able to take us but after asking if he’d be willing to drive us at least a little bit further, he was willing to try. As most trucks only have one passenger seat, the drivers are worried about police giving out fines when a second passenger is sitting on the cabin’s bed without a seatbelt. Therefore, he drove us up to Vilar Formoso, a town on the border of Portugal and Spain. He didn’t want to cross the border with us because of possible police checks.
Portugal to Spain
Vilar Formoso is a very small town. It appeared a bit abandoned. We walked across the border to Spain where we found a Carrefour, a supermarket with more decent products and prices than in Portugal. We did some cheap food shopping and went to a truck stop nearby. From there, we got a ride almost immediately from a friendly truck driver who was on his way to Paris. Like the previous driver, he didn’t want to cross the border with us but he managed to bring us a long way. From the border town we drove to Salamanca in Spain and made a small coffee break along the highway. We kept going a few more hours North. Spain looks very dry and empty, almost like a desert. It was getting colder the further we got. Not too far from the border there was a truck stop along the highway. Our driver didn’t think we’d be able to get a ride from the truck drivers and cars won’t stop there, he said. He did know about a good place for us to go, a few kilometers down the road. He was nice enough to bring us to this road.
It was almost midnight and it was completely dark, except for a small light shining outside an abandoned bar. The street was empty and no longer in use since the highway was constructed. We were supposed to find a hotel called Alaska. We followed the road, not knowing where we would end up. We found Hotel Alaska: an abandoned hotel next to an empty parking lot. We decided to set up our tent here for the night. As we were far away from any town, the sky appeared very bright and lots of stars could be seen. Even the Milky Way was clearly visible.