Last month, I wrote about the preparation for Barcelona Express 2017, a hitchhiking competition. I travelled through 4 countries, meeting new people, discovering new cities, facing some difficult moments, but above all having fun. During 5 days, you followed my adventure on Facebook and Instagram. Here is a summary of this crazy challenge.
Day 1 : Brussels – Neuves-Maison, 360 KM
Wednesday morning. The departure point for all the Belgian French-speaking teams was at the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels. We received our road board for the day, direction Neuves-Maison (Nancy), 360 km away from Brussels. GO!
Finding a car in Brussels was not easy! We waited for 1h30 before finding a nice driver who drove us until Luxembourg! At Luxembourg we were quite lucky to find someone rather quickly, but then we were dropped off at Thionville where we waited for almost 3 hours in the sun. Fortunately, a driver who was supposed to drive until Metz decided to bring us to the final step of the day, Neuves-Maison.
We arrived after 7 hours of hitchhiking. The camp was based in an old fortress. We enjoyed a delicious barbecue and tried new activities, archery and zip-line.
Day 2 : Neuves-Maison – Pont-de-Vaux, 310 KM
On day 2, the departure point was the beautiful Stanislas Square in Nancy. It didn’t seem easy to get out of the town. The destination number 2 was revealed: Pont de Vaux, at 310 km…
We were lucky to meet a wonderful woman, who was supposed to drive only 10 km but decided to share a little bit of adventure with us and drove us until Dijon, 200km farther! She decided to take the secondary roads instead of the highway, thus we enjoyed the beautiful French landscapes between Nancy and Dijon.
At Dijon we encountered more difficulties. We took 4 other cars to arrive, 9 hours after the departure, at Pont-de-Vaux. We arrived in a beautiful camp alongside a river.
Day 3 : Pont-de-Vaux – Avignon, 320 KM
Hitchhiking was harder and harder, on day 3 we took almost 11 hours with 6 different drivers to arrive to the final step of the day, Avignon. We went through Macon, Lyon, Valence… before arriving to Avignon. The camping was based closed to the famous Avignon Bridge. We had a well-deserved paella with a stunning view on the town.
Day 4 : Avignon – Girona, 335 KM
Day 4 was the hardest, physically and mentally. After leaving Avignon, we were blocked at Nîmes for almost 3 hours. Then we managed to arrive to Perpignan after 11 hours of hitchhiking with 3 drivers. The final step of the day, Girona, was too far away. We decided to sleep at Perpignan, and we left Sunday morning, highly motivated, for the final step.
Day 5 : Girona – Gava (Barcelona), 120 KM
After the disappointment of the previous day, we were determined to arrive quickly to Barcelona. Most of the teams were at Girona, at 120 km from Gava. We were at 210 km. We put our t-shirt Barcelona Express, and tried everything to catch drivers’ attention: dancing, begging, everything! It worked and 2 nice guys brought us to the Spanish border. Unfortunately, it was difficult to drop us in the highway and we ended in a small Spanish town. The feeling at this moment was quite horrible: how are we going to get out of this town? Walking until the entrance of the highway? Impossible, the police was there and it was too dangerous.
We tried our luck in a gas station. After a few minutes, we met a man who was driving straight away to Barcelona! We beg him to drive us and fortunately, he accepted! The camping was not in Barcelona itself, but in Gava, 20 km at the South of Barcelona. Therefore we wanted to stop in the highway before arriving to Barcelona, but the driver continued his way and dropped us in the middle of the town, closed to the Sagrada Familia. This time, it was really the most difficult place to get out of! After walking a lot, we managed to get closer to the highway, where a nice couple accepted to drive us until the final step. We crossed the final line of Barcelona Express 2017 after 5 hours hitchhiking.
We ended at the 113th position out of 177 teams. Not amazing… But this adventure taught me lots of things. I learned to face my fears, like trying zip-line even if I have vertigo, trusting perfect strangers to drive me through 1500 km, sleeping in a tent… I am proud of myself and of my adventure.
Barcelona Express 2017 was an amazing adventure! Sounds exciting? Subscribe for the next edition!
A special thank to all the drivers who helped us, and to our sponsors: