Kris Kristoffersen is about a woman, Janis Joplin is about a man – and this is about Philipp, who stopped me and my diesel. He had just returned from the Tramprennen and needed a lift to Nuremberg to the harbour. You can do that.
On the way he told me all sorts of things and dispelled the yawning boredom that had just gripped me. If we had had a few more hours, I’m sure he would have filled them. With stories about farms where hitchhikers help out for a short while or McDonald’s delivery drivers who make a diversion with their company car to bring hitchhikers to the station.
Hitchhikers are still known from the past, they were the girls who stood all alone on the country road and when you stopped, fetched their three mates from the wheat field.
However, Philipp is also on the board of the “Club of Roam – Autostop! e.V.”, a non-profit (!) association for the promotion of hitchhiking, which has recently moved its headquarters from Eisenach to Wacken. Yep. Wacken. The Wacken.
And this association is extremely active and also organises the “Tramprennen” linked above, which goes right across Europe. People don’t just hitchhike because it’s cheap, comfortable and cheap. And you just want to get from Aachen to Berlin. No, hitchhiking is a way of life – a new German lifestyle. There are stickers for the Tramprennen, patches, T-shirts from their own mobile screen printing shop, cotton bags and there are even sponsors. Edding, for example. Because you have to use something to write on the cardboard signs. And “Goldeimer“. Never heard of them? Neither had I until today. It’s a non-profit company that makes toilet paper, among other things. And no, that’s not a stupid faecal joke, they’re serious.
And yes, it’s not a duck. It’s a beetle. But you can’t have everything….
So if Philipp or one of his club mates is standing by the road – recognisable by the clearly legible signs and the hitchhiker-suitable backpack – take it along. Let them tell you. Take photos. Or stick your thumb in the wind yourself. Or take part in the 2023 Tramprennen. (This time they managed to provide a plastic piglet found by the roadside with a hutch and a passport, and even had the Albanian border guards officially stamp the passport they had made themselves…. The mascot of the 22 tramprennen now even has a passport….. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of it, because the piggy is still on the way…….)