Driving home for Christmas

…Driving home for Christmas….

It’s a cold and grey German afternoon. Both, the thought of seeing my family and friends again soon and the seat heater give off heat. The lonely highway is covered with a thin, white layer. Like someone intended to roll out the red carpet, but the annual Christmas stress let that person reach for the wrong color. It’s just another 30 minutes to my home. The song, the radio channel decides to play in this particular moment, could not have phrased it any more suitable. “I’m driving home for Christmas”.

…Ohh I can’t wait to see those faces…

Alright, alright.. Since this is my last post for now, I don’t wanna leave you with such a terrible catchy tune. Dear reader, stop humming right now, I’ll give you a much better earworm.

…And though I’m nobody’s poet, I thought it wasn’t half bad…

The living- and at the same time bedroom gets lit up by a lonesome candle. It’s the first Sunday in Advent. A huge glass front that separates me from the attached balcony, offers a scenic view, although the darkness tries desperately to hide it. I can still make out the outlines of a mountain summit. Matterhorn

...Yes I like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain…

Slow, repetitive dancing steps, which appear to look quite professional in my own little word. Movements, that make the time stand still for 4 minutes. Squandered dopamine. No, utilized dopamine. 

...I’m not much into health food, I am into champagne…

Champagne, in Zermatt…a slight grin. ‘A bottle of champagne would cost more money, than I spent during the last 3 months in total’, I reckon and lead a with mulled wine filled mug towards my lips, kiss it profoundly and enjoy the view. I do enjoy the moment. I enjoy these last days of my second journey’s stage.

Zermatt Couchsurfing balcony view

When I arrived at Corinas apartment in Zermatt a few days earlier, I rang the bell, waited for the door to open and as soon as it did, I witnessed something I did not expect at all. I am not talking about the 23 years old Austrian girl, who tied her curly hair back in a familiar motion as I do, but all these cardboard moving boxes. Her lean, almost slender physique, made her travel stories even more impressive. Corina rode a motorbike through India, Nepal and Vietnam and uses the current winter season for saving some more trip money in Zermatt by working as a waitress. Surrounded by bald walls and blank furniture, we gathered some first impressions while we were sitting on her ‘former’ king size bed. The ‘handjob dude’ story is still able to make people laugh. “It’s time, we gotta go”, she says, grabs the first carton and starts moving out, with me as her personal moving allowance.

Entering her new apartment for the first time made me shake my head. Such a stunning balcony view, tourists would spend a shit load of money on it. At least that’s what I expect after spotting a 600 Euro scarf in one of the clothing stores. We decide to have a tiny housewarming party, or at least an inauguration beer. Do you know these conversations, that make you fully forget about the time? “Fuck, it’s 7 AM”. It was time to sleep. 

Couchsurfing Zermatt balcony view

A fiercely flaring chimney fire. Not a real one, but one of these modern ‘screen-fires’ plus heater. I spread my laptop stuff on an old fashioned, hazelnut-brown colored table and get served with the most expensive coffee I have ever ordered. The price for spending 7 hours in a Wifi area in Zermatt, the price for working on my blog. While I was writing a couchsurfing reference for Kathy, a young, blond girl, sitting on the adjoining table, suddenly started talking to me.

Life has its ups and downs. If this is a truism indeed, I must have been climbing a massive mountain recently. Not a Matterhorn, more like a Kilimanjaro. The last few weeks, even months, could merely be described by using superlatives“Excuse me, I just saw you using couchsurfing. I have an apartment nearby, I could host you if you want.”, says Greta from Estonia, while throwing a warm smile at my face. The innocent spark in her eyes convinces me of this being a generous offer, rather than a straight way of getting me laid. I’ll never find out. 

Zermatt Matterhorn

“I wish you a merry first week of Advent”, a young schoolchild greets me, while I walk by, searching for the hiking trail. The weather turned from grey and cloudy to blue and sunny. 2 beautiful days I mostly spent hiking around the Matterhorn area. Something hasn’t changed compared to Scandinavia. I am still the only idiot, who stomps through the snow wearing cord trousers and cowboy boots. 

Hiking Zermatt Matterhorn

Hiking Zermatt Matterhorn

Hiking Zermatt Matterhorn

… I am into champagne…

are the words, the Pina Colada song is slowly fading out with. I bid goodbye, do a half twist and bow down before the imaginary audience. A silent applause. An hour later Corina comes back from her late shift in a sports bar. Again it’s gonna take until early morning before we end up in bed. 2 days later I’ll get up around the same time, prepare myself for an exhausting day by cooking a Gordon Ramsay scrambled egg and leave Corina in the direction of Zurich.

I leave Zermatt with 2 polished toenails, she got a brief ‘boost of creativity’. Since I owe you an ‘ugly heart‘ anyways, I take the opportunity and demonstrate both works of art. And well…the avocado...I’m gonna tell you about it at some point down the line. 

Couchsurfing Zermatt

It will take me 2 lifts to reach Zurich. 2 lorry drivers. Beat, the Swiss form of Bert, tortures me with Swiss brass music and a Swiss-German dialect, I could not have understood any less. The second truck driver is a bearded, young, tattooed guy – these are the worst – called Kai. He leaves the music to a radio channel. “California….California….here we cooooome”. We both wallow in Mischa Barton memories.

Once again, I stay with Philipp. Another 3 nights in Zurich. Withing these last days, I ended up buying a new smartphone, got invited to a wine tasting and lost several billiard matches. I leave Philipp’s  apartment on Saturday morning. Quite early by my standards. The last day of this second stage. I got invited to Kaiserslautern, the city I once studied in. I got invited to a Christmas Headis Tournament, a sport I once actively played. Headis, that’s similar to table tennis but with a bigger ball and you play it with your head instead of bats. 500 kilometers. A realistic, even though optimistic distance. I hope, I haven’t reached the summit yet.

Couchsurfing in Zurich

5 Lifts later, I find myself standing on a petrol station near Mannheim. It’s just 100 kilometers separating me and the tournament. A skinny, tall girl gets off a panel van and tries to fight fatigue by some stretching exercises and a coke. As a bearded, tattooed hitch hiker, wearing ripped off trousers, asking people for lifts in the dark, I would estimate the chances of a very pretty single girl saying ‘yes‘ to be rather low. “Of course”, says the 23 years old Laura, who’s currently studying social work in Trier, but considers becoming a wakeboard teacher at some point. In South America. She takes a 30 minutes detour and brings me right to the sports hall. I leave Laura with a grateful hug and the slight feeling of an upcoming reunion at a later time. Calling it now! Through the kindness of her and 5 other people, I arrived right on time for the semi finals. A successful surprise. 

Headis Tournament Christmas Kaiserslautern

Since I left home again about 3 months ago, this time towards Scandinavia, I hitched almost exactly 11.000 kilometers. That’s even more than I hitched on my journey’s first stage. This second stage pushed my body to its limits. A stage, I met incredible people on and witnessed breathtaking natural wonders. A stage, clarifying once again that I made the right decision a couple of months ago. 

Within the next few days I’m gonna do some research and I will be back with a final conclusion in addition to my upcoming travel plans. If all works out it’s gonna be something like this:

In January, I’m gonna hitch hike from South Africa to Egypt.

Until then, a piece of cardboard, marked with Köln (Cologne), decorates one of my room’s walls and reminds me of these last 3 months. A sign, I used in September, when I first started hitch hiking North. A sign, I frequently slept on. A sing, that accompanied me for 11.000 kilometers. A sign which makes clear, obstacles only exist when you take your eyes off your goals. 

…I’m the love that you’ve looked for, come with me and escape..if you like Pina Coladas…