The Carpathian Mountains – Home of bears, wolves and a lot of really nice people. And this year aswell the home of a few hitchhikers heading to Macedonia. From Austria in the west to Romania in the east, From Slovakia in the north down to Serbia in the south – the Carpathians cross many amazing countries of eastern Europe. From the Hight Tatras´ Peaks with 2000m of altitude to the harsh rocks and smooth hills of the western mountains in Romania we will put our thumbs into the wind. And the experiance of former Tramprennens shows: It´s easier to meet the nice people than the bears and wolves. So we can look forward to selv-made schnaps and some rides on horse carts!
Inforamtion about the regions of Tramprennen 2014.
Already in 2011 the most beer-containing region of Germany – Oberfrangen! (Upper Franconia, pronounced in franconian dialect) – was one of the first stage destinations. In 2014 the starting point of the hitchhiking race will be Underfrangen (Under Franconia, p.i.f.d.). This part of Franconia already belongs to Wine-Franconia (also: Main-Franconia), because of its yummy grapes growing on green hills which are supposed to be filled up into characteristic, quite aesthetic bottles (called Bocksbeutel). The ones who follow these lines with attention already get it: Franconia consists of different parts: Upper-, Under-, Middle-Franconia, not to forget Heilbronn-Franconia and South-Thuringia. You don’t necessarily need to remember all these facts, but one thing you should definitely recognize: Franconia is not Bavaria. I guess, nobody wants to be thrown out of his lift. By the way: Middle-Franconia also belongs to Beer-Franconia (Like Upper-Franconia).
Well, the most important facts about geography and culinary stuff has already been illustrated. Now what about hitchhiking in Franconia? Back to the year 2011… The route from Hamburg to Bayreuth is not a Kaffeefahrt (promotional trip mostly for retired persons often organized to rip these off). The A 7 is manageable like a coasting slide, without doubt. But after, you need to conquer the A 70, one of the most ambitious highways in Germany – like an asphalt desert lacking in gas oases. Here, loads of hitchhikers already fell by the wayside. „Rhön is dead“, announces the live ticker this day several times. Franconian-experts we are, we already knew about this before. For this reason we already had chosen plan B, because good hitchhikers know: Being open for taking loop ways can bring you faster to your final destination. But despite our big expertise the route was a challenge for us as well. It happened, that we lost our mainway because of an unlucky coincidence. This meant for us in particular: Burger King-Gourmets, refueling mommies, gas station (but beside the highway). Despite our nonchalant behavior we can’t make it back to the highway, but anyway, country roads are more beautiful, aren’t they?Now the Franconian Switzerland. Being situated in the middle of the towns Bamberg, Bayreuth and Nürnberg it connects all the Uppers and Unders. The Franconian Switzerland is a very popular hiking-area which is stuffed with more than 100 small-breweries. Very fast hitchhikers have the possibility to stop for a bite to eat at one of the many franconian restaurants or wine-franconian Heckenwirtschaften (that’s a typical wine-franconian thing). You can get a zünftigs Weizn (weiss beer, p.i.f.d.) or a fruity Schobbn (quarter-liter wine, p.i.f.d.), maybe accompanied by a Grupften (aromatic, mashed camembert, p.i.f.d.) and a Brezln (pretzel, everybody knows that!). Or: If you need meat so badly, just take a Schäuferle (shoulder of a pig, typical franconian meat dish) or some of the crispy Nembercher Bradwürschd (bratwurst, pronounced in middle-franconian dialect). To digest, you should think about hiking the Fünf-Seidla-Steig (some hiking trail in the southern Franconian Switzerland), where you walk from small brewery to small brewery, enjoying the nice landscape and the fresh, cold beer. (Seidla = Half-liter beer).
Country air in the nose, sunbeams on the thumb. Next station: Somewhere in the franconian middle of nowhere. Yellow rapeseed fields surrounding us, idyllic calmness. Crickets chirring. Beautiful here. No cars to see, neither to hear nor to feel. The boys start to climb some street signs, they are obviously bored. We are quite relaxed, as a Three-Dream-Team you don’t bow to competition feelings anyway and take your time to also know people and places on the road and rather consume some nice Italian espresso, but that’s a new story.
After a while Stefan from Hollfeld is arriving, together with his daughter and his little son. The glanne Buam (small boy, p.i.f.d.) is quite talkative and babbles all the time into the grown-up-conversations. „Ich hab fei zwei Hosen an!“ (By the way, I‘m wearing two trousers!) he suddenly gabbles very proud. Everybody is quiet, also Stefan is surprised. Today the little mischief was allowed to be dressed by himself. By the way, fei is one of the most beautiful filler and flavor words within the franconian dialect you can use. Authentic application and use is very difficult for strangers. Stop the linguistic excursus now… It goes further, after all the competition feeling catches us. A message gets into the car: Die Ekstase der Möwe (the gull’s ecstacy) is about arriving to Bayreuth. Also for us, it is not so far away anymore, excitement arises. Stefan gets infected by the competition atmosphere and we manage it to make him crazy about to really wanting us to bring some 24.7 km further to Bayreuth, directly to the final destination Glashaus. Shortly before the goal and honking with elegance, we are overtaking the Ekstase der Möwe, who were (unfortunately for them) by foot.
2764 meter. This is the highest point in the Korab mountain range which is just 40km long but has a very long and very difficult history. A few years ago there were battles between the army and separatists and a lot of destruction. Today there are hiking routes and ski slopes. The „Golem Korab“ or „Maja e Korabit“ is the highest peak of two countries, Albania and Macedonia, and the border is on top of Mount Korab. This year the participants will visit the area for the first time in Tramprennen history. New streets, new villages and new border stations are waiting for us.
At our new blog-category “where are we going 2014″ we proudly present the second region Tramprennen 2014 will travel trough! – UNTERSTEIeRMARK!
How is it possible that an actual Slovenian region is called ‚Untersteiermark’. It sounds completely Austrian! O-ooo, the history of the ‘Duchy of Styria’, what’s most likely the origin of the name ‘Lower Styria’, would be far too long to write down here. Let’s just say, the oldest discovery of human life is the Homo Neanderthalensis, another big chapter seem to be the Romans…
But ok, let’s jump to the newer history, so it’s possible to keep also the ones of you that are not very interested in the subject.
The name Lower Styria really comes from the Herzogtum Steiermark. After the First World War in 1918/1918 the region became Slovenian. The country Slovenia is a part of ex-Yugoslavia and got it’s independence after the Yugoslavian War in 1991.
There exists still a minority of German speaking population because especially during the Second World War the Germans followed an extensive Germanization policy. Till this day Slovenia doesn’t accept the German speaking population as a minority.
Whoever will pass Lower Styria, it might be good knowing and maybe correctly pronounce the Slovenian and Croatian name of the region. In Slovenian the region is called slovenska Štajerska or just Štajerska, in Croatian they call it Donja Štajerska.
Welcome to our new blog-category “where are we going 2014″. As you already know, this year´s Tramprennen is a little different then the years before. Tramprennen is continuous improvement and thriving for the unknown in order to maximize fun and let chance play an even bigger role. Therefore, teams will be randomly assigned to the different routes one day before the race starts in Würzburg. For those who are eager to know where the routes will be passing through, we now introduce the regions the teams might visit this year!
The final destination: Lake Ohrid in Macedonia! For a few days in August this twon will be the center of planet Tramprennen and for a short time the home of a load of crazy people. The place where stories of two weeks of hippie-life and anecdotes out of cars/trucks/horse carts will be told for evenings. The place where some beer or good macedonian wine will be killed and aswell the place where first plans for 2015 or the time after the victory ceremony will be maked.
This place is located in south west of Macedonia on the shore of Lake Ohrid. The Town of Ohrid itself is one of the most beautiful of the country and is surrounded by an amazing landscape of lake and mountains. The Town and the lake too are part of the UNESCO world heritage with good reason!
In Ohrid´s oldtown there are a lot of small and winding roads full of historical castels, churches and mosques. The old Macedonians, Romans, Ottomans and Bulgarians who all lived here in former times left their marks in Ohrid and the surrounding area.
Lake Ohrid is Europe´s oldest lake and one of the oldest and deepest on earth! It is filled with really warm and clear water, which is not only attractive for tired hitchhikers. Fishing tourism is one of the most important economies of the region and because of its age of five million years there are a few species of animals which just can be found in this specific lake. One of them: the Ohrid-trout, whitch they say is really tasty. – You see: there is no reason not to go there!
Stay tuned! Soon we will post information about other regions of Tramprennen 2014 as well.
C.o.R. – Autostop!
Club of Roam - Autostop! e.V. is a non-profit organisation promoting transcultural exchange and traveling by thumb.
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