I while ago I was telling you about a cheap way to travel through Europe using a carpool service called blablacar. Back then I decided that my new goal would be to find a ride and test it out. All I had to do was find the right occasion. Months later I booked my first ride with blablacar. My destination? Poland! This is what happened.
I booked my ride with Arkadiusz, a guy I have never seen before and who will take me all the way to Poland, starting in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. My friends were already cracking jokes about me being sold as an Eastern European prostitute and therefore I can say I was at least a bit nervous when I stepped onto the train to Eindhoven, alone.
Was this my very last selfie? How dramatic!
When I got off the train, Arkadiusz was already waiting for me. He and his minivan were parked in front of the station. Behind the van he had a collection of scooters, strapped to a trailer. When I got in the car I was in for a nice surprise. His mum was joining us for a vacation in Poland. I felt safer instantly.
The trailer did catch some attention. Soon the van was accompanied by police who wanted to check the papers. That, plus me getting into the van must’ve looked very suspicious… Of course everything was perfectly alright but I will never forget the look on their faces.
Time to hit the road! I have the entire backseat to myself. Arkadiusz has made sure his guests have everything they need, from phone chargers to wifi. Since we leave late in the afternoon, I’m happy to have a place to sleep if I need to. He and his mum are incredibly friendly and informative. Soon the car turns into some kind of language school as we speak a mix of English, Dutch and German.
Getting some gas in an small German city. Time to enjoy a little bit of sunshine.
After midnight we cross the Polish border. Within minutes Arkadiusz finds a bistro to park the car. ‘Come, I’ll let you taste some great Polish food.’ he says. And when he waves me off to a bench, he orders a mix of delicious Pierogi for me. Oh hello Poland!
The last 50 km to his house we drive through a dark and foggy forest. ‘Do you know these signs?’ he asks while pointing to the warning signs for animal crossings. ‘Well, here they actually mean something!’ As we slowly drive in the middle of the road we spot numerous deer and foxes on the side of the road and I understand why he’s so careful.
At 4:00 in the morning we finally arrive at my final destination: Poznan. As we take a walk over the main square we already make plans to see some more of his country. I have the feeling I will be seeing much more of him (and I was right, but more about that later.). He helps me with my backpack and then he’s off. It feels strange. A 12 hour ride does bring people together! 🙂
Using blablacar was really one of the best ideas I’ve had so far, if I may say so myself. I got to Poland very cheap (€30) and I’ve met some wonderful people on the way. Without them I wouldn’t have known half of what I know now and it certainly has made my trip better than I expected. And since blablacar is increasing in popularity every day, I’m sure it will not be the last time I use it.