Hitchhiking in Switzerland
Back when I was studying in Torino (Italy), a few friends and I decided to visit Switzerland for a weekend. And so as we did almost every weekend, we hopped on a train and headed to a new city. Before reaching Lausanne, we spent a few days in Zurich and Bern. That’s when we realized how expensive Switzerland was. Anything and everything from train tickets, food and lodging. Students and broke, our travel funds were running low in Bern. So one of us 4 geniuses decided that it would be a good idea to try hiking to Lausanne instead of paying 50 euro for a one hour train ride. I have no idea how we all thought it would be a good idea to try it out, but we agreed. And so, before checking out from our hostel that morning, we prepared a sign “Lausanne”, got dressed warmly and headed to the highway. We thought it would be a good idea to split up in two teams of 2. Where would we meet in Lausanne? Now that I think about it, we didn’t have much of a plan. And so, we walked up the highway ramp and stood on the side of the highway, a few meters apart, holding signs saying “Lausanne”. I personally noticed drivers smiling as they were driving by us. I found it weird but maybe they had never seen girls hitchhike and that’s why they were smiling. After about 10-15 mins of standing around, a car pulled up. All of us got really excited and began walking towards the guy. Maybe there was space for all of us.
Hmmm… no, that wasn’t the case. A cop pulled out of the car and warned us that hitchhiking on the highway in Switzerland is illegal. What did we know about hitchhiking rules, right? He wasn’t very happy and after that encounter, we decided to walk down the ramp and hitchhike from the street, right before the highway entrance. As we were walking down, a cop car this time was driving towards us, pulled over and told us to specifically get off the highway if we didn’t want to get arrested. We mentioned how we got warned a few minutes ago and that’s why we were walking down the ramp. By this time, we were so cold! It was winter in Switzerland and we were not equipped. So we stood at a corner of a street for about another 10 minutes before realizing that no one was going to stop for us. A little disappointed, we headed to the train station, bought our tickets to Lausanne and that was the end of our hitchhiking attempt in Switzerland!
Now that I look bad, I’m wondering what went through our heads when we decided to do this. We were so fearless and didn’t care about anything. Everything worked out in the end but I don’t think I would try this again!