Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bus Ramble

Back in Lithuania, in the land overeseen by storks and nourished with buckwheat.

I spent the last two weeks bumming around Skåne. That's not the point. The point is I'm traveling again (I travel while I travel), and I don't write in my blog very often, so now I am traveling and writing.

On the train to Karlshamn, I met a guy who was obviously Lithuanian and looked a bit flustered. He wanted to be sure we were stopping at Karlshamn. I assumed he was heading the same place I was, the ferry, and told him we'd go together.

He was carrying a huge duffel full of liquor from western Europe. He had driven his car to Spain and Portugal, and was on his way to Stockholm when he wrecked his car and put pieces of his side window in his scalp. People are eager to tell me how dangerous traveling alone is, or traveling by bicycle or hitchhiking. Why don't we have the same opinion about cars?

The guy was in a hospital three days, and had only left that morning. He showed me his tickets: three separate trains to get from somewhere near Stockholm down to Karlshamn, starting at 7:30am. No coffee, no chance to smoke, no food, no Swedish cash. His addictions were giving him hell. He paid for the taxi to the ferry, and I bought him some coffee and soup in the terminal's waiting room. I let him drink from my water bottle, though I had to wash the cigarette smell off afterwards. How could I say no to a guy who just survived a car crash?

Now I'm on the bus to Kaunas. I totally planned on hitchhiking, but this guy was so eager to help me "figure out" the bus system that I just went with it. His mother dropped me off at the bus station. It was a typical countryside affair: a seventy-year-old granny with shovels in the back of a well-worn station wagon.

The ferry hauled across the Baltic at seventeen knots. After days of drifting along at four knots on the Götheborg, it felt pretty damn fast. It was nice to feel a deeper familiarity with being on the open sea. I admit I miss it. I'll certainly be signing up for more sailing next spring.

So, this was just a little ramble to keep the fingers loose. The laptop's battery is on its way out, so I'll leave it at that. We'll see what more traveling brings.