I indeed woke up - the sun had already arisen - in Istanbul with no truck left but only a few parked and waiting for better times to cross the bridge. Traffic was very heavy and I did catch a lift from a private car which dropped me a few km after the bridge followed by a combi to Itikelli and 4 successive lifts from private vehicles owners to the last tollbooth near Edirne from where a bulgarian truck helped me to catch the borderline kapikule.

I was not feeling allright transiting again through Serbia as I checked my passeport short after leaving the Kalotina border a week ago - on my way down Hitchhiking from Europe to Trabzon - and did not find any exit stamp. I was too far away to get back to the border post and ask for one (exit stamp) as I had already asked for it. This little cheat to trick travelers as they may go back the same way give the authorities any good excuses to racket them.

As far as I'm concerned it is an unforgivable mistake that even a beginner should avoid. I had the feeling something better will come and different from my trip HH down through Serbia by taking another route. Nothing better than to escape boredom by going off the beaten track.

I had been thinking – I did it last time in 2006 and 2008 - about once again crossing Romania all the way to Hungary - there was not any alternative way to my plans to hitch back to Europe as quickly as possible except going through Greece and jump in the ferry-boat to Italy - but it would take so many hours driving -11 hours riding a truck from from Ruse, the bulgarian border town or Giurgiu on the romanian side all the way to the Nădlac, Romanian border town (= 670 km).
With Severin, the bulgarian driver I caught before crossing the bridge in Ruse it took us roughly 9h00 hours non-stop driving at night which was fairly dangerous in Romania but we had to keep it going that way (be aware that pedestrians / walkers are forbidden to cross on their own the bridge in Ruse and drivers refuse obstinately to give you a lift). He is an amazing and well-experienced driver as he drives this itinerary 2 or 3 times monthly and knows almost every pothole of the road which was not my case.
Funny enough ! Severin, 42 years old, used to be a professional diver and turned into driving a combi which bore an advertisement for the piscines Bertrand. Check it : http://www.piscines-bertrand.fr/ By giving me a lift he could allow himself driving non-stop to cross Romania in one short night - left Nădlac by 4:30 a.m – and in one shot keeping driving continuously towards Budapest (around 2h00 drive) and further to Hegyeshalom – arrived at 9:00 a.m (400 km = 4h00 drive).

We then at daytime hardly did take short breaks to strech our legs and kept going on our way through Tirol all the way to Feldkirch, Austria and to Sargans, Switzerland to drop me at the end around 7:00 p.m in the Bad Ragaz service area on the highway A13 passing near by Vaduz, Liechtenstein. He kept driving on his way to Lugano (180 km left for him to drive and another two hours and half traveling).

I tried unsuccessfully to get a lift from some young swiss people but gave up soon for a camping spot and get some sleep. Except for one man being able to speak french the few Swiss German I have been in contact with in that service area have been quite distant, cold-hearted if not very unfriendly and quite rude. The lady in the cafetaria told me to go to the WC in order to fill up my water bottle but as you need 1 swiss Fr. to unlock the door and open it I was not able to go through being Swiss Francs-less.

4th day : Sargans - Zurich - Basel (A3) - Mulhouse (A36) - Beaune (A6 arrived in Paris at 4:00 p.m = 755 km) - Normandy (Yebleron) - Paris (at 7:30 p.m) = 1125 km (1039 km on highway) roughly 12h00 hours driving time.

When I woke up it was to meet with a Portuguese / Brazilan couple who gave me a lift to the Wädenswill service area and I had to beg a lift from a German couple on their way to Frankfurt in order to save my day hitchhiking and go straight forward through Zürich and Basel into A5 to the turn off with A36 (which links A35 and A6).
They drop me at the parkplatz a few meters past the exit and I had to walk back 500 meters to jump on the ramp towards Ottmarsheim. A car gave me a lift to the customs parking full of TIR trucks waiting for the weekdays to be allowed to drive and he vanished / disappeared quickly on the main highway towards Mulhouse while he had told me he was only going to Ottmarsheim.
I then got a lift from some young Alsaciens - the uncle and his nephew on their way to their promised land they had bought a few months ago in Bourbon Lancy (71) in order to turn it into arable land and grow maize / corn. They let me off in Archéodrome, service area very crowded before exiting in Chalon sur Saône. I quickly finished my hitch & hike rush and run with another lift for another 320 km towards Paris with an old chap who had trouble with a broken tooth like myself and was scared to pay a visit to the dentist.

I was lucky enough that my driver was going around Paris to Mantes on the outskirts / western side of Paris and could drop me in the Morainvilliers petrol station on A 13 where I am used to hitch on my way to Seine-Maritime, Normandy. I was willing to check any mail and bring back to Paris some fresh dairy products from the farm. If this had not been happening i would have gone straight into Paris.

"Why rushing ?" because sometimes things have to be done in a short time. I have been to all those places long ago or not so long ago. What was important for me during those last 4 days was to go back to Paris in a very short time. I had already that in mind while in Serbia even before going to Turkey to pick up my iranian visa (partially because of toothache).

If I cover such distance in a very brief time it's because naturally I am able to do it and if I am still hitchhiking nowadays it is because this lifestyle suits me well. Being lucky enough is a plus. Otherwise I would have given up long ago. I am blessed with it and this part of my daily life. Some can see it that way :"HH addiction". I don't mind as long I am happy doing it. The day I will be fed up I will change my life but can I really switch to something else because being on the road is a major component of my life and I'll never be happy in just one place. I like better to live my dreams instead of dreaming my life. That’s why I can’t fall asleep for long hours because I know that my reality is finally better than in my dreams.

N.B : 1070 km + 2430 km + 755 km (+ 370 km) = 4255 km (4625 km) in 4 days / 1 night travelling.
12h00 hours (1st day) + 29h00 hours (2 days / 1 night) + 9h00 hours to Paris (3rd day) = 48h00 hours driving for 4255 km (or 52h00 hours for 4625 km).

A few more hints : I could have got off in Ansfelden tankstelle near Linz and kept going towards Passau - A25 > A8 > A3 > A6 - to come in Strasbourg on my 3rd day at night like I do usually coming back from Budapest but I chose to follow with Severin and take this amazing beautiful highway A1 overviewing Kammersee, Mondsee before coming into Salzburg and chiemsee past town.

I used to hithhike back that itinerary from the Eastern part of Europe in the 80/90ies and had not been driving through for a long time. It was a real pleasure after such a long time to watch such wonderful and astonishing mountainous hilly nature on a sunny day bypassing Kufstein and following up the Inn river.

A few weeks ago I had done already a boring return trip from Strasbourg to Budapest taking A6 all the way through Nürnberg / Heilbronn / Saarbrücken > A4 au péage de Saint Avold near Metz and straight to Paris (very efficient way to catch France from any Eastern part of Europe. Reason why I decided to take it easy as I had no commitment to be in Strasbourg on Saturday night but to be in Paris by Sunday night.

Anyway the easiest and shortest way to go back to Europe from Turkey is to drive / hitchhike through Bulgaria, Serbia (instead of Romania / Hungary), Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and through Germany as soon as possible as there is no speed limit on some portion of the highways. That way I would have made it to Paris in about 3800 km instead of 4255 km (but more borders to cross). I prefer to go through Serbia / Hungary / Austria even if this itinerary is hundred kilometers longer (but faster / quicker).

~ Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow. ~ (Mahatma Gandhi).