Our third day began nice and early as we had a lot of distance to cover in order to reach Krakow.
Our first task was to walk towards the centrum in Warsaw before catching a tram (in the correct direction) to the suburbs and then an additional bus to the main route towards Krakow. We managed to do this illegally by avoiding any fares.
We then alighted from our bus and stumbled across the road towards the highway heading south. I feared that Kate would become apprehensive about hitch hiking, as I was last summer, but she didn’t seem to fear anything.
We positioned ourselves sensibly with enough room for a car to drive behind us and stuck out a thumb. The oncoming traffic was to appear in waves as there was a set of traffic lights directly ahead of us. However, within a matter of minutes we were picked up by our first driver. I was in no doubt that Kate’s influence was already taking effect.
The man who was kind enough to take us was named Tomak, an Air Force pilot in the Polish miliary. He was well travelled due to his job and offered us an insight into the political relations between Poland and it’s neighbours. He took us our first 80km to the small town of Radom before dropping us back on the road.
We had become a little peckish so I decided to assemble a sandwich whilst Kate used her thumb to attract our next ride. Little did I know, but Kate is a magnet for cars. Before I had time to put two squares of cheese between slices of bread we were already in our next car. Up to this point we had spent less than 5 minutes on the road and already had two lifts.
This time we were greeted by a man called Mika, whose sleeping girlfriend sat peacefully in the passenger seat (she got a bit of a shock when she woke up to us). Mika wasn't as talkative and friendly as Tomak, but he very kindly bought us both a drink when we stopped off at a petrol station.
Mika offered to take us further than he initially wanted to if we accompanied him into the town of Kielce so he could carry out a business deal. He claimed he was meeting a client about 'automobiles' but I thought, and wanted, it to be slightly more sinister.
The couple attempted to drop us off somewhere convenient for another pick-up. At first I was a little concerned as there was very little traffic at this point in the road. We decided to take a short stroll along the road to find a safe place for a car to pull in. As we were walking we put out our thumbs in a 'might get lucky' kind of way. Within seconds a car pulled over. This meant that we hadn't even stopped to face the traffic and we had already got alift. Kate didn't know what all the fuss was about since I had told her stories of our waiting times in the summer.
In my opinion this driver was the best of the bunch. As soon as he heard our voices he shouted, in perfect English, 'come on, let's go!'. Marik is a professional basketball player and had represented Poland in England. Hep told us about his current ACL injury that had been keeping him out of action. He also revealed that his parents were both English teachers, hence his fantastic grasp of the language.
Marik couldn't speak highly enough of Krakow and dropped us off in the city full of excitement. It had been an incredibly successful day of hitch hiking, with hardly a spare moment to take any road side pictures.