Do you know Jesus?
I had been waiting in Haderslev for 40 minutes when I was picked up by Jan and Rachel in a busted up old Toyota. At first glanced they looked like a typical hippie couple in their 60s. They offered to drive me to Aabenraa and we started chatting. We were chatting about hitchhiking when suddenly, Rachel turned around, looked me dead in the eyes and asked, “Do you know Jesus?” At first, I thought she was talking about a hitchhiker she knew or a Spanish travel blogger, so I just responded with an uhm. She then clarified, “You know. Jesus Christ, our lord and savior.” I told her that, yeah, I’d heard of Jesus. Then she wanted to know whether I had accepted him into my heart. I said that I was baptized and had visited his grave and birthplace while I lived in Palestine, but I wasn’t quite sure about the whole heart-thingy.
It was very important to her that I accepted him and she informed that once I did, I would be able to speak in tongues. Which she then proceeded to do. For then minutes she stared at me while speaking something that in my ears sounded like a mix between Arabic and Ukrainian. Jan then began to explain to me what they were doing while Rachel just whispered, Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus… over and over again to herself.
Both were retirees who had found God late in life and now spent all their time travelling around Denmark to mission for the Lord. After a short stop in their church to pick up supplies they drove me to the highway. Just when I was about to get out, Jan turned to me and asked if it was okay that they blessed me before I continued? Not one to decline some extra divine luck, I accepted and all of a sudden, I found myself standing at a truck stop with Jan’s hand on my right shoulder and Rachel’s on my left. We stood like that for fifteen minutes with Jan asking Jesus to guide me and help me overcome any obstacles I might face on my trip, Rachel speaking louder and louder in tongues and me trying my very best to look like I was feeling to power of Christ rush through me while thinking of the two chocolate bars I still had left in my bag.
When we were done I thanked them for both the ride and the blessing and Jan asked me if I was carrying the Holy Book with me? I told him that sadly I didn’t have room for it in my back. Luckily, Jan had a pocket-sized “Street Bible” I could have. Enlightened and refueled with reading material I continued on.
The blessing apparently didn’t last for very long, because when I arrived in Lübeck, a couple of hours later, I ended up stranded for more than three hours at a desolate motor junction. I was rapidly seeing my chances of reaching my intended destination for the night, Rostock, disappearing. Just as matters couldn’t get any worse I saw two male hitchhikers coming up the road towards MY spot. If one hitchhiker can’t get a ride in three hours, then it will be absolutely impossible for three young male hitchers to get anywhere.
Usually. I don’t know whether it was divine intervention or simple luck, but within twenty minutes a man stopped for and offered to give us a ride, not only to Rostock but all the way to a town named Tribsees 40 kilometers east of Rostock where we set up camp for the night.
I decided that these two guys were my new good luck charms and that I would stay with them for as long as I could. On top of that they provided excellent travel stories and even better company. They were named PJ and Michael and were university students from England who were on their seventh day of hitchhiking to Poland to visit some female friends. Since I was heading the same way we agreed to continue together the next. The boys had visited Poland twice before and they gave me the most convincing sales pitch of a country, and especially it’s women, I have ever heard. That night we combined my canned tuna with their crackers and feasted like kings.
The following morning we packed our bags and headed for the border. We had been warned that the northeastern part of Germany was: 1 Not used to seeing hitchhikers. 2 Distrustful of foreigners. Neither of which is ideal when you are travelling with two guys of Iranian and Indian descent. The entire day we waited over an hour at each stop and our lifts averaged a distance of 12 kilometers, so I quickly abandoned my plan of reaching Gdansk that day.
We finally crossed the border to Swinoujscie around 1 am and at that point we were just happy to be in Poland. Almost immediately after arriving we got a telling reminder that we were now fully in Eastern Europe. I was peeing behind a tree when I heard JP call out “Simon… Do you have any experience with boars?” I pulled my zipper up and went out to them and true enough. 4 meters from us, in the middle of the city, stood a giant boar on the sidewalk. I started to look for my knife but it just calmly walked onto the street, where a driver screeched to a halt and stared in disbelief, and in between some trees. We walked to a boar-safe distance and set up camp for the night. The next day we were delighted to discover that Polish people are far more willing to pick up hitchers than East-Germans. We parted ways when the guys reached Koszalin and I am currently in the back of a car trying to reach the Lithuanian border where my Couchsurfing host is waiting for me. Res ipsa loquitur: Let the good times roll.