Have you ever had that strange feeling drilling you inside, the feeling of unexplained inner compulsion, the urgent need to do something, like for example to see the sea?
I remember having one while visiting a friend in Daugavpils in southern Latvia. It was warm and sunny May morning, a perfect weather for a relaxing day on a beach.
You know those tiny Baltic countries, how far it could be to the seaside? But me and my friend Hanna, two vagabonds craving for adventures, were always choosing the harder path. This time we decided to cross Lithuanian border and head to the pearl of the Baltic Sea – Klaipeda.
We put on our beach dresses, grabbed our sunglasses, straw hats and flip flops and took a stroll to the outskirts to thumb a lift. We must have looked unusual as the passers-by stared at us with a mix of amazement and disapproval. We left the city and as no car was driving by we kept walking along the forest. It must have been at least 45 minutes when we finally saw a car pulling over. There were two black haired guys inside, both of them wearing black leather jackets and dark jeans. There was something disturbing about them.
‘Where do you go?’ They asked sharply.
‘To the border’ We mumbled a bit frightened.
‘Do you have passports?’ We shook our heads.
‘But we don’t need passports to cross borders within European Union, do we?’
Men started to discuss something in their language. It looked like they were arguing but after all we were allowed to get inside. They kept observing us in the mirror and whispering to each other as if they were planning something. I was worried they could pull a gun or knife on us but funny thing, I could swear they expected us to do the same.
We didn’t feel safe and even though we were in the middle of nowhere we felt it would be better for us to get off. We asked them to stop the car
‘You are not going anywhere princess. Just be quiet and nobody will get hurt.’
We tried to open the door but it was locked. Paralyzed with fear, there was nothing we could do but pray. No one was there to help. Minutes spent in the car seemed like hours, which we thought would be our last ones. What was our surprise when we finally arrived at… the police station.
It turned out that hitch-hiking just off the maximum security prison for women was not exactly the best idea. Taking into account our ‘bizarre’ outfits and ‘suspicious’ behavior the two Latvians took us for escaped prisoners.
As we didn’t have our passports, it took us few hours to explain the situation and get released. Our drivers were long gone and we had no other choice than to try our luck again.
This time we end up in a mini bus with a family with six dirty children. It smelled like someone vomited and peed right under my seat and judging by the look of the children it may had not been far from the truth. I couldn’t help but notice the driver was staring at our deep necklines. Unfortunately for him, his wife noticed it too. She started to shout, soon children started to cry and something at the back started to quack. Yes, there were apparently birds in the bus, hidden under the pile of hay. We stopped in a small village, the couple took the gooses and ducks and left us with the children.
They came back in the middle of the night. Again, we had to raise a thumb.
They say third time’s a charm and so it was. Lovely truck driver gave us some blankets and allowed us to sleep on the bed at the back of the cabin. We woke up at 9 am to see him preparing a breakfast for us. We were finally in Klaipeda.
‘So where do you want to go?’
‘To the beach.’
‘To see the sea.’ He couldn’t have been more amused with our answer. He showed us the way and followed.
The sand was all wet after the night storm and the whole beach was covered in seaweed, wood sticks and rubbish. There was no single person out there. Old man laughed seeing the impression on our faces.
‘Well then, after 24 hour journey we finally saw the sea. Let’s go back home.’