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Hitchhiking travel in Russia
October 5, 2006 12:56


Russia can deservedly be called the worlds hitchhiking centre with lots of travel opportunities and thematic clubs. The recent years have brought some betterment to hitchhiking in Russia, and now this way of travelling has become more pleasant and easier than before. No wonder: firstly, there have appeared plenty of new roads and highways in Russia, old roads have been improved; secondly, the number of cars is constantly increasing and drivers learn more and more about hitchhiking from media. In two words hitchhiking in Russia is thriving.

There are several reasons why travellers choose this way of getting around the country. Travelling by train, plane or with a tourist group can be quite pleasant too, but this only lets a tourist see nice views and converse mostly with other tourists and staff, while seeing a country means first of all seeing the people. Hitchhiking is the way to get personally acquainted with the spirit of Russia through the dwellers of the country. At the same time, Russian hitchhiking has some specific features. While hitchhiking in Europe is one of the civilized ways of travelling, in Russia it may take on the form of extreme sports. This, on the one hand, can be explained with the peculiarities of Russian social organization: European society is aimed at prediction and prevention of uncertainties, which results in variety of rules and following them strictly. In Russia spontaneity and unpredictability rule. Laws are kept selectively, broken all the time and theres always a great share of uncertainty in everyday life. This is why one must get ready to meet the possible unexpectedness fully armed.

Thatd be reasonable to care for equipment beforehand. The standard set of things every hitchhiker needs includes comfortable shoes, some cash, warm clothes, medicine, pocket flashlight, rucksack and maybe a tent. However, too many things can be a hindrance during the trip. For more safety money and documents shouldnt be kept in rucksack.

Having some cash will be vitally important for those travellers who start their trip in big cities, where drivers hardly give a lift for free. To save money and time it`d be better to start the trip from the countryside or a small provincial town. No doubt, that the most appropriate places to catch a car are petrol stations, trucks trans-shipment points and busy motorways. A hitchhiker has all chances to be given a lift by a truck driver, but there are also many car drivers who would be glad to have a companion. Girls are not advised to hitchhike alone. The most beneficial combination for hitchhikers is a boy and a girl. However, if a girl happens to hitchhike alone, the best she can do for her own safety is to forget that shes a girl. Unisex clothing style and neutral tone of conversation are the most appropriate things in this case.

Its not necessary to speak the language to travel across Russia: one must have a map with the chosen route and know the names of the places he needs to get to. After all, human communication isnt confined to verbal self-expression, as there is also body language and gestures. Russian people are considered smart, so there are all chances to be understood by a Russian driver if explain where you need to get to in English with hands. Theres also no need to speak the language of the country youre staying in to be polite and friendly the driver of a stopped car will understand greetings in any language and will definitely catch your name and the name of your country. Sure, it is hard to keep the conversation and not let it dry up if a driver and passenger do not speak a common language, but thats definitely possible to clear out the route, express your admiration about landscapes and surrounding and find out some simple facts about each other.

Time plays one of the crucial roles in hitchhiking. Morning and evening are the most favorable time for catching a car. Weekends and holidays mean that cars are likely to be crammed with families and children.

Despite the risks hitchhiking may imply, hospitable people and beautiful landscapes of Russia will definitely bring a lot of unforgettable and bright impression to hitchhiking tourists.

Lavrentyeva Natalya


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