Beijing guys hitch-hike all the way to visit one’s girlfriend in Berlin

| February 21st, 2010

From xinhuanet:

20100222-hitche-08

Two Beijing guys spent 3 and a half months hitch-hiking over 16,000 km across 13 countries to see one of the guy’s girl friend in Berlin, Germany. Altogether they took 88 hitch rides, including tricycle, tractor and carriage. Their journey was dubbed “the most romantic hitch-hike in history” by netizens.

Liu Chang and Gu Yue are both born in 70s, they were first seen standing in the mist of Hou Hai thumbing for rides on June 8th last year. Carrying super heavy packs, they convinced the visa officers of 12 countries by the purpose of “backpacking travel”. Getting all visas done, they hit the road with cashes, credit cards, sleeping bags, laptop, camera and a few clothes.

The most difficult ride is actually in China from Beijing to Hebei, according to Liu Chang who recalled that they waited in vain for over an hour in Hou Hai, nobody would stop to take them. Finally they got help from one driver who took them to the entrance of the highway leading to Hebei, where they continued to wait despite the rain storm. They were asked to leave by some road maintenance workers, one of whom thoughtfully said: “not many cars go to Berlin from here.”

Hitch-hiking is far more difficult than they imagine. From Beijing to Berlin, these two swarthy, ragged Chinese guys with half long hair were turned down by 1000-some drivers. It happened a lot of times when they had to wait hours before getting a hitch, the longest one they waited for 2 days at road side.

“Countries like Uzbekistan, Kirghizstan don’t have the custom of hitch-hiking, and we don’t speak their language.” Said Gu Yue, who settled this by having someone written a few cards in Russian, saying “we need to hitch ride to Germany from China” “Could you give us a ride?” “Excuse us, we don’t have money for you but we’ve got cigarette and smiles” …

The more they hitch, the more they love it, according to Liu Chang, and meeting so many different people is the biggest reward: a Mr. Qiao, who is delivering goods from Hebei to Shanxi, decided to keep driving for 20 years in order to build houses for his two sons; a petrol truck driver in Xinjiang liked to take every hitch-hiker to kill the loneliness of the long journey; a financial officer who got fired in the financial crisis took them to Czech the day after he landed a new job; a easy-going CEO who drove a limo; a drunk driver in Georgia who played “Speed” live…

The funniest experience happened in northern Iraq, where they got on a tractor and rode for 2 or 3 km before the driver switched into a smoky village. They realized that the tractor was rushing all the way to help put out the fire, and they were brought there along. When the fire was under control the two become the scene, and treated with dinner at an Iraqi home.

Three and a half month later, they finally reached Berlin, where lived Gu Yue’s girl friend Ika (dubbed).

“I traveled in the direction of sunset for the last 3 months, because I know Berlin is where the sun sets, and that is where my Ika lives.” Said Gu Yue.

Ika, on the other hand said: “next time you want to see me, take the plane.”

Their journey was tagged “Most romantic hitch-hiking in history” “Best Valentine gift” by netizens. At the moment, Gu Yuan and Ika are on vacation in Thailand, celebrating their Spring Festival.

For more, watch the “Xing Zhe” program aired 22:30 in Travel Channel.

pictures from Netease:

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Gu Yue in Turkey

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On the tricycle in Aksu, Xinjing.

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Pretty and kind-hearted driver.

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It is common to wait for hours before get a ride, the longest one they wait for 2 days on road side.

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On a truck that’s delivering Coca-cola In Uzbekistan.

 

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The tractor that took them to the fire scene, and got them a dinner in an Iraq home.

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Taking a gypsy carriage in Bulgaria

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Finally they reached Berlin. Gu Yue and his girl friend Ika, who said “next time you want to see me, take the plane.”

23 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. Woods says:

    I accidentally found this program last week on Luyou dianshi and I love it. I’ll try to follow the next episodes but chinese tv programs have the bad habit to air everyday…
    This program also reminds me of a great french program called “I’ll sleep at your place” where a guy travels alone around the world with a mini camera on his shoulder and tries to get invited to spend the night at people’s place : http://www.jiraidormirchezvous.com/index-fr.php?page=accueil (in french only but there are some video previews of several episodes)
    — Woods

  2. Dragon horse says:

    Some of those pictures look doctored, especially the one of him with his girlfriend…

  3. Elaine Bai says:

    Is this romantic? It looks like kind of SHOW that really unbelievable. But anyway, they made it.
    BTW, the warm-hearted driver is nice:)

    • LazyCat says:

      If they had covered the same distance on a bicycle, I would have been more impressed. But then again, they would never have met their warm-hearted driver…

  4. GuoBao says:

    Don’t the warmhearted driver and the lad’s girlfriend look very alike? I am impressed that they managed to get visas to all those countries,, gotta be incredibly hard for 2 Chinese guys who hasn’t even got money to buy food. Not sure I believe in this story.

    • Woods says:

      They were filming the trip for chinese Travel Channel. Must have helped to get the visas.
      — Woods

    • dace says:

      I saw one episode of this show – in which they mentioned both guys hold American citizenship…thereby making it much easier to get visas. We also saw the main guy writing his diary in English, making me think he probably grew up in the States. Somehow I doubt they would have got visas if they were both Chinese and not American.

      • james says:

        I agree except for the fact that they went into……IRAQ!!! S**T I mean seriously, doesn’t matter if they look chinese, can’t just go start hitching in Iraq with American Passport in your pocket. Thats like just asking for it.

  5. Son Le says:

    Hey, can you believe this! 160,000 km from Beijing to Berlin. That distance is four times (04) the circumference of the earth. Those guys must had taken a very wrong road!
    Please check the number again and again before you publish it!
    Best,

    • Annie Lee says:

      it’s 16,000 km, correct now. sorry for my mistake.
      And thank you for reminding, Son Le. i will check more carefully next time.

      • GuoBao says:

        No need for apologies. With the average Chinese person’s knowledge of geography (ie. China, Japan, Africa and The West make up the world) it wouldn’t surprise me if they had fumbled onto the scenic route. (sorry, cheap shot. I know when you live in a huge country to many people it doesn’t really make a big difference to know these things,, just look at Americans)

        • Son Le says:

          You can not simply write a story with wrong data and have people read it! What the point of good journalism here!

  6. jambo says:

    Hmmm, nice story, but since it is for TV, then the whole thing seems scripted.

    No doubt they took the journey, but it is for a TV show, so it’s not as authentic as it appears.

  7. Jago says:

    Impressive, if it wasn’t for the fact that it is totally I M P O S S I B L E that they managed to get visas for “backpaking travel” for all those countries, not only because they hold chinese passports, but mainly for at least 2 other reasons:
    1- it’s inconceivable to get visas for backpaking in IRAQ
    2- I don’t know WHY they had to pass from Iraq to get to Germany, but if they did, and they said to have passed also from Turkey and Bulgaria, then they surely took the IRAN route – visa impossible to get for touristic reasons if not previously arranged with a touristic operator.

    in short, the story is cool, but it never happened.

    • dace says:

      As I said above – in the episode I saw, they two guys both said they are American citizens, and we saw a shot of one driver going thru their American passports. The fact that they had a Chinese TV crew with them probably helped with visas too.

    • kyle says:

      Jago, please don’t assume you know something before doing it yourself.
      1. You can get Iraqi visas for the Kurdish area at the border for 10 days if you have Western passports including American. Chang had to fly back to Beijing for 3 weeks during this time which Kyle went to Iraq for five days, then back to Turkey. They met again in Romania when Chang flew back.
      2. Xinhua only reported a brief section, there’s the Chinese blog which mentioned that Iraq was a country that Kyle was interested and happens to be bordering Turkey. Kyle had 3 weeks to waste before meeting up with Chang again in Romania.
      Chang has a Chinese passport, they spent 2.5 months before the trip taking care of each countries visas.

    • Woods says:

      If you don’t know, don’t say anything…
      They went to Turkey and 1 of the 2 guys only went to Iraq the other had to go back to Beijing for few days.
      Here is the episode : http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTU1ODg5NzIw.html
      The whole stuff is on Youku…
      — Woods

  8. Wang Er says:

    It would be better to include a short bio of the two travelers. No they are not some random guys but professional:

    blogDOTifengDOTcom/article/2962880.html
    (Chinese)

    Gu Yue was working in the financial department in GE before quitting from the job to start the journey, and Liu Chang is a professional documentary director working with Discovery Network Asia. They were guest writers/commenters to several travel magazines and TV programs.

    Gu holds an American passport (he was living in US from 11-24 years old) and Liu has a Chinese passport.

    They have a Chinese blog on sina.com which documented some fantastic stories and pictures along the journey (and other details such as cost and visa processing):

    blogDOTsinaDOTcomDOTcn/toberlin
    (Chinese)

    and trip on Google map:

    mapsDOTgoogleDOTcom/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=101978349798856108728.00046ec1c970f9b44c6bb

  9. Bear Bro says:

    The most attractive detail in this article is the driver… kind-hearted. This reminded me of a movie, feichengwurao. This man was just like Geyou’s best friend-Fusang in the movie.

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  11. Bayley says:

    Your web site is absolutely full of remarkable info and facts and also is actually incredibly enjoyable to learn through.Properly carried out:)

  12. Gary says:

    Cool story! Great ending that Gu Yue met his girlfriend in Berlin after travelling through 13 countries. Wow!

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