Am I a free man?

3 minute read

I woke up in a bed, alone in a room. Last night at the party I met the daughter of the priest of this village. Her name is Suzy and she let me stay in the priests guesthouse. During the morning I woke up several times by the sounds of people packing their bags. I went to bed at 6 in the morning and it is 11.30 now. I took a shower and went downstairs. A big room full of old people stared at me when I opened the door of the “church service” downstairs. Oops! I exited the building via the back door. The sun was shining and I could hear the birds sing. It was very quiet in this small town. By daylight I realized how in the middle of nowhere I actually am. I walked back to the party tent but there was nobody anymore. People on the streets are greeting me. I went back to the priests house and took place in the garden. I looked for Suzy, she is one of the few who spoke English. She is 20 years old and studies in Cluj-Napoca. She is a singer and has a beautiful soft voice. I met her inside the priest house. She made me breakfast. Bread, home-made apple juice, honey, butter and milk. All from this village. I told her my plans to hitchhike all the way to the black sea, to the east coast of Romania. That’s a brave journey!

She made me a hitchhike sign for Sibiu and told me how to get out of this village. I thanked her for everything and I was on my way. I walked to the end of the road of the village. I found some shade under a tree with a good visibility for cars to hitch. There were also blackberry bushes along the roadside. I was eating them while waiting for cars to pass. The 3th car that passes from this village already took me, so not a lot of berries for me. A family in a red Mercedes van. The father was driving with 2 kids in the back. The father could not speak English pretty well, but the 10 years old boy and his sister could translate for me. They were going for a family visit and they could drop me at the nearest bigger city. The van has a radio with Dutch text on it. It was bought from The Netherlands. It felt like home to me.

They dropped me at a roundabout in Aiud, a bigger city in Romania. They continued north and I should go to the south. I walked along the road and found a new spot to start hitchhiking. Alongside a big wall going south. A few minutes later another family took me. They lived in Sibiu, the city I was going to! The father and mother were sitting in the front. I was in the back with their 15 year old daughter. They all could speak English. The father asked me if I was a free man. Yes, of course I am a free man! I explained how I ended up here in Romania and that I am on my way to Japan. Later I asked the father why he asked me if was a free man. He explained that I was standing on the “freedom road”. The big wall behind me was the prison! Even if I didn’t come out of the jail they still picked me up as a hitchhiker.

The roads in Central Romania are not well maintained. It was busy for a Sunday and they came back from a family visit. After 2 hours they dropped me in the center of Sibiu. I was happy and it was still sunny outside. I entered the city center and needed some coffee. I found a coffee stand and ordered an espresso. The guys at the stand saw my hitchhiking sign and asked me where I was from. The Netherlands! And I just got dropped here by a family. They were amazed about my experience here in Romania and wanted to know all about it. They gave me free lemonade and they showed me around the city. After the short tour they dropped me at a hostel. The next morning I found them again and they made me a new hitchhiking sign, gave me an espresso and dropped me at the hitchhiking spot to continue my journey to Brasov!