And the day went its merry way, and I had my photograph taken with a lovely fraudelein in a reputed beer kellar, in traditional costume! This fantasy over (thank you rachel!) it was time to hitch off, leaving munich for a travel experience par excellence, the hitch to croatia, i was to attempt it in one go, aiming for Zagreb. Bidding au revoir to Rach (she had decided to return home as she missed her folks) Simon, a consultant in energy efficiency on behalf of the german government, whisked me off 50km to near the Austrian border. Here, chancing a lorry driver's good will, I came accross the powerfully communicative Papez, a liquid male of extraordinary energy and booming, slighlt alarming speech, who was destined for Ljubliana, Slovenia. He was to leave in 7 hours, at 3am, so i coffeed myself and stayed awake, outside his blacked out truck an hour early keeping watch for his stirring.
And then, a lion awaking to roar accross the borders of two nations, he stirred his car transporter into honking and verssatile mobility and we sped and bullied our way accross the border and deep into austria quicker than you could say "zehr gut". In a mixture of halting german, bizzare gestures, and having the courage to look the manic meatro straight in his wide eyed face, our meanings somehow convened on some basic facts and back-slapping rapport (if this had been possible accorss the roomy cab). Despite at one point, slowed by a problem in the chucklingly named Karawanken tunnel, prompting a Gollum style snarl of "SCHIEZE" from Papez, we ploughed into Ljubliana at 940 am. PApez bead e ma goodbye, he had been very kind and excellent host, giving me cigarrettes and coffee, which we consumed together in the "cockpit".
Croatia was found by 1pm, after a much deserved lie down under a service station tree, Mario and Tanja dropping me with an ice cream and a chicken sandwich. Then began an impossible, 6 hour attempt to hitch a lift, my gathering spentness driving a certain paranoia and, married with the unsubtle unfirendliness of a chunky cohort of the natives (finger wagging expressions of contempt or blankly looking straight through me) Iw as almost in tears when I ahd the "bight" idea of walking to Zagreb 5km away. this was 9pm, and the walk took about 3 hours in the end, wadnering through a brownfield site the size of Burnley, and having chosen not to sleep in a golf course's bunker I slipped in to the city like a rat, along tram tracks, motorway verges and graffiti lined boulevards under the carways. Zagreb, but would I sleep and would i find a way to get to Zadar 200km away for tomorrow night to meet Kieran off his plane?