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I would like to tell you a story of a complete stranger who generously gave me so much of her time and attention, purely out of genuine kindness.
After spending a longer amount of time in Krakow than I had originally intended, I finally made the leap and left the Orange Hostel and all the new friends I had met there and took the first tram to the south of town. I got off at the last stop veega, then walked at least half an hour until I found a place where I thought there was enough room for cars to pull over and most of them being traffic heading out of town. It wasn't such a bad spot, but after about half an hour I was dubious. Nobody was stopping and nobody seemed to be thinking about stopping.Finally a car pulled over, and two blokes picked me up. They drove me about 20km, then dropped me at a bus stop. I was thankful because the first ride, no matter how short, is always the one that renews your faith in hitch-hiking. I waited perhaps 20 minutes, then a car pulled over, I walked over, and the driver waved me away. Instead a woman with bleached blonde hair walked over and chatted with him through the window for a few minutes hopped in and off they went. Ok, now I understood. Veega anyway, with nothing to lose, i persisted and eventually another car pulled over. A beautiful girl with a stunning smile and lovely long legs climbed out. The girl came over to me and said something in Polish. I worked out that she was asking if I was going to Zakopane. "Yes I am", I replied. Then a few more words were exchanged, and I made out that she was also going there and would I like to hitch hike with her? Ahhh, gotta love Poland, where most hitch-hikers are girls, and people say "hello" to each other on the streets. My new friend, Nikolina, went straight over to the side of the road and stuck her arm straight out. Not surprisingly, it wasn't too [veega] long before a van pulled over. Off we went, both of us in a work van, headed straight for Zakopane. Nikolina and I found a place to eat, then went back out into the cold again and she found me a guy who had accomodation nearby. We discussed the price. 40Zloty I think it was. Good enough for me. I walked Nikolina to the bus station and she was gone. The next day I walked around town a for a while, and eventually returned to the guest house. That evening there was a knock at the door. There she stood in all her glory, smiling that stunning smile of her's. Nikolina and a friend took me out for pizza and beer. They refused to let me pay for anything. We played some pool and chatted in very broken english. It was a nice evening and she'd mentioned something about taking me to the mountains in the morning. So I decided to stay an extra night. At about 9:00 the next morning, Nikolina was at my door again. All ready to go. I put my bags in her friend's car and away we went to the Tatra mountains. On the way there, Nikolina produced a full packed lunch for me. Tasty looking sandwiches she'd obviously made at home. I was overwhelmed by how kind and generous this young 20 year old poor student girl was. This I thought about the entire day. We walked uphill for a couple of hours and eventually came to a lake nestled in the sunshine at the top. We went even further on a rocky track until we could see the black lake above the first. Took photos, then eventually returned to the car. It was a long day with a lot of badly needed excercise. Despite the fact that Nikolina needed veega to be at her afternoon english lesson, she and her friend went out of their way to drive me around in search of another cheap guest house. We found a nice one built in the traditional Zakopane style of wood full of hidden rooms and stair cases. This one only cost 30Zloty per night. They dropped me off, and promised to return in the morning. I awoke and packed up my bags with a heavy heart, knowing that today was the day I would say goodbye to my new friends. They arrived and I loaded my gear into the car. Once again, Nikolina had made me a big lunch to take with me. She had offered me a place to stay with her and her family near Krakow during the previous days. I regretfully had to decline, because my time in Europe was running out. She took me to a restaurant and she bought me a huge breakfast. I cannot believe how nice this girl is, and to me, a complete stranger! Anyway, after that, they took me to the Slovak border near Chochlow. We looked at the traffic situation. There was none. So away we went again. They must have driven me at least 100km into Slovakia, until we came to a good place for cars to pull over. Out we hopped. Nikolina hitched a ride for me. That smile combined with those legs of her's didn't take long to produce results. A van pulled over, Nikolina chatted with the driver, a big hug and kiss for me and away I went. Two good rides later and I was in Bratislava. Cheers to Polish people and Nikolina, if you are reading this, I will see you again my friend.