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Hitchgathering 2011
Home - Slogan Debate - Graphic design - News and press - Workshops - Website

5-8-11 is the fourth edition of the annual European Hitchhiking Gathering. It is going to take place in Kara Dere at the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. (View it on Google Maps.)


Organisation & Discussion

  • communication is done via the Hitch mailing list
  • you can help organising, e.g. by signing up for tasks on the TODO list below. Feel free to register for stuff you can't do right now, but you want to do some time later. We'll contact you back. (just put your name/timestamp and, if you don't have an account here, a way to contact you next to the task)

Latest News


  1. Different pre-meetings in Berlin, Budapest, Sofia and so on ... initiative welcome!
  2. The gathering: 5/8/11
  3. After-meeting in Turkey?


As time is passing by, it is time to start thinking about pre-meetings (and maybe after-meetings)...

Post about these in hitchgathering.org can be read here.


(date: 30-31 july, organizing: Maxijazz)

For all those who would like to stop for a little, and meet other hitchhikers on their way to Kara Dere, here is the Budapest Pre-Meeting.


  • 30th july:

Gathering at Gödör (exact location) and partying till we can, celebrating your arrival.

  • 31st july:

For those who want to continue the jurney of course it is hitchhiking. Fort he ones who would stay for another day, there will be some like a flash mob for promoting hitchhiking, and some other programs (under „construction” at the moment) and of course free programs (do what you want).


Accomodation is self-organised and for this use CouchSurfing, Hospitality Club or BeWelcome).

Also if that does not work out and you would like to camp somewhere int he city it is suggested to sleep on some of the islands (likeMargit Island, Hajógyári Island) or the Buda Hills (places like Normafa)


You can always contact me via phone/text at +36306166420, or milozsolt at gmail dot com (also via Facebook if it is easyer for you).


(date: around the 2nd August, organizer: Boyan)

Vama Veche

(around the 3rd August, organizer n0id)

Varna, Organizational pre-meeting

(Monday 1st of August 11 am, in front of Black Sea Casino, 33 Bulevard Slivnica, Varna)

We need to ensure that the logistics are handled so well that people won't have an urge to leave from Kara Dere too early. In an ideal situation we would be able to secure food, water and refreshments so that no one needs to leave the beach during the first 3 days of the gathering. During the organizational pre-meeting we will look into how we will arrange:

  • Camping and sanitation (shit pits, shovels)
  • Food collection and preparation (dishes, fireplace, firewood)
  • Water and other refreshments (water tubes/canisters, intoxicating substances)
  • Solid waste management (trash bags!)
  • Logistics needed for program

We will also brainstorm together what kind of structure we could provide so that it's easy for people to self-organize the program for the gathering.

Some questions to ponder... Can you bring cooking equipment, dishes, food, water canisters, a car, gasoline, tents, umbrellas, beverages, toys, games, instruments, your mother, or anything that might be useful? Do you work for an organization, a brewery or a food manufacturer who would like to that might want to provide freebies? Do you have contacts that might help?


Post about these in hitchgathering.org can be read here. A visualisation of the possibilities on a google map can be found on a google map here.

Tallinn, Estonia

Tomi and I came up with an idea to organize a small Hitchgathering post-meeting in Estonia. It could attract also people from Baltics, Poland and Finland who could not make it to the actual gathering in Bulgaria (5 August), like me (Ron).

Place: Uus Maailm. Tallinn, Estonia Time: 19-21 August 2011

So Kara Dere is over but that doesn't mean that we cannot still get together, specially for the people that couldn't make it all the way there and are near the Baltic countries.

We're hoping to atract the Lithuanian and Polish HH clubs.

This weekend there's a lot of happening in Tallinn. It's the European Capital of Culture and it's the 20th anniversary of the independence. Sinead O'Connor is giving a free concert on saturday.

We would love your help as well if someone would like to give workshops, we can use the installations of Uus Maailmm. So send me a message if you have ideas.

We have secured a place to sleep but it's only limited for 10 people, so you have to hurry to send a couchrequest. The place is called Uus Maailm (http://www.uusmaailm.ee/). For the couchrequest, you have to send them to Erko Valk. But remember, only 10 can sleep there, but there are plenty of Couchsurfers in Tallinn.

  • Participants so far:
    • Ron: ronaldsnb(at)gmail.com
    • Hannele: hannele.kand(at)gmail.com
    • Tomi: tomi(at)mindyourelephant.org
    • Ania: a.szutenberg(at)gmail.com
    • Saara: saara.lillqvist(at)gmail.com

Savrane, Krusevac, Serbia (August 8th-10th)

(mileagainst) live in this lovely little village in central Serbia. It's on the way to Guca festival, so its a perfect sleep-over on the way to Guca. Mileagainst has some couch space and huge yard for tents. This post-gathering is confirmed. You can sign-up for it here.

Irakli, Bulgaria

There is another lovely beach near Kara Dere, some 25 km south. It is a bit more populated and has a couple of bars and a shop. There is running water as well.

Vama Veche, Romania

A definite party spot with a nice beach and quite a few bars and restaurants, just outside Bulgaria on the Romanian side (North of Kara Dere).

Kandira, Bulgaria

There is a superb mountain hide-out near Krumovgrad. Details from Tomi (--Astikain 17:29, 29 June 2011 (CEST)).

Yeşiltaş, Turkey

In South East Turkey there is a well-hidden village of 800 Kurdish people called Yeşiltaş. Its original Armenian name is Iştazin. There are about 80 houses that are not visible to the road. People are hospitable and they wish that more people would come there to see how they live and tell about their life abroad.

There is plenty to eat in the nature. Moreover, everyone there has a farm there and it's not considered stealing if you eat something from the ground. August is the time when there are a lot of left over fruits in the trees. The mountain water runs in several streams and joins into a bigger river that flows through the village. Water everywhere is not only drinkable, but ice-cold and pure.

When you go there you instantly fall in love with the place. Probably some of you might start thinking ways to help. If someone knows how to create DIY solar panels or hydro-power utilizing the river, the villagers might be more than interested to learn. All the houses are in the grid. Otherwise they are nearly 100% self-sustained. Be prepared to stay longer if largely organic way of living in the mountains is your cup of tea.

Please note: There is no solid waste management and villagers tend to think that the river takes away whatever little trash they might throw in there. Please show a better example. Sometimes the Turkish military bombs the mountain lakes if there are rebels, so it's not recommended to go up there if the villagers say so. Otherwise they are in friendly terms with the rebels. Make sure you have someone with you who speaks Turkish and/or Kurdish. In Yüksekova there is a really cool couchsurfer called Raşit Tümer who might be able to meet up with fellow hitchhikers.

Directions: Yeşiltaş is 44 km from Yüksekova that is the nearest bigger city of around 100.000 inhabitants. From there go to direction of Dağlıca. After you pass the village of Karlı there is a military checkpoint. From there you just follow the road until you come to a bridge over the river. There is a small shop on the left and two roads to Dağlıca. That is the entrance to the village. There are houses on both sides of the road. There are not too many cars on this road after the checkpoint so get as many people in one vehicle as possible (remember it's Turkey, anything is possible!). See Google Map. --Astikain 17:29, 29 June 2011 (CEST)


Suggested by Mathieu Lecarpentier ([email protected]) -- there's the AFT house in Tbilisi between August 1 and September 30, so that'd be a great place to meet.

Belgika fest in Bulgaria

http://fest.beglika.org/en Seems so great but it costs. There is an option to volunteer but you probably would need to sort things out in advance.



Website work


If you're a translator, browse the website in your language as much as possible.

Check out this page that explains how to translate what.

This is the order in which to translate. No point putting names there.

  1. Translate the menu structure (super-fast but counter-intuitive. Easier for geeks. Do read the Menu section of the page linked above)
  2. Translate the FAQ in your language (Quick and easy, you can even come up with your own FAQ)
  3. Translate the interface (Not too straightforward, to do while browsing the website and you run into an English word or phrase in the middle of an otherwise translated page). Instructions from the same page.
  4. Translate the content (Anyone can do it, but long and painful)


  • invent new slogans!
  • add a timeline capability to reports and merge them into the 2010 timeline, remove reports
  • make it possible to offer or request workshops (Brainstorm page for Drupal geeks)
    • encourage people to suggest activities
    • have a workshop list on the website
    • suggestions from Evaluation
    • link in a discussion forum
    • ask for interests/offers on registration
  • Similar gimmick for sports, kitchen and music stuff (who brings what?)
     - I will take volleyball ball! - Ania_Szuti

General communication

Most of that is going to be on the internet. But offline comm is welcome if anybody can handle that.

The press releases are ON THE WEBSITE (menu link "press"). If a press release has been written for your language and it is not on the website, put it there. The drafts are here

  • get in touch with hitchhikers in different countries to have local contacts:
    • Tadas for Lithuania
    • Martin for Latvia
    • add more... or add yourself

Social media

Most festivals spread through word of mouth. We can put that on steroids with all that social media thing.

List of micro-bloggers (twitter, identi.ca...) that actually use their account:

  • twitter: sitarane

The idea is to follow each other, to make communication faster.

List of travel bloggers that actually have readers: The idea is to get them to write articles on hitchgathering.

List of people to contact:

Other travel celebrities. The idea is to get them to communicate the gathering to a wider audience.

  • hospex camp organizers
    • Miicoo
  • Nonesee
  • Andrej
  • La Sophiste
  • Tom (Roadjunky)

News spread where & when

  • CS Hitchhiking Group 14th April
  • Finnish media contacts
  • I've messaged The polish club of adventure [1] which is located in Tricity and messaged the guy called 'Pawel' [2] who's organized several massive events all over Europe, mostly attended by Polish people. I'm waiting for the response, we'll see how it goes.
  • Martins from Latvia and Tadas from Vilnius hitchhiking club


Waiting for some designs to emmerge

    • Distribute the files and print it in several places/countries (try to get it for free)
  • track distribution and make it more open; make better use of them --N0id


Practicalities on the ground

  • There are two roads coming to Kara Dere. If you are coming from North (Varna) the first road is from the village Goritsa. The second is just before town Byala. We will try to get signs ready a few days before the meeting, at the latest.
  • If you take the second road, near Byala, there is a natural water source on the way. We should propably mark it so that anyone who comes can fill their bottles on the way. BE PREPARED TO SHARE WATER. It's the most precious resource at the gathering. If you can, please bring some extra water bottles and canisters. There are some fishermen at the North end of the beach who have extra canisters if we need more of them.
  • Dumpster-diving opportunities are next to non-existent. You can buy/beg food in nearby villages and towns. We should try to get a food sponsor to make this smooth. Setting up a fire on the sand should not be a problem as long as we don't cut down live trees.
  • Let's leave the place cleaner than it was when we came. Although the place is quite remote (some 5 km off the main road between Varna and Burgas) the Bulgarians know it's there and will be there for their holidays. Probably in August there will be tourists who don't give a shit. So, let's clean after them also. We'll make a common trash bin in one place and collect it with a car... if everything turns out fine, we should have at least one car in our disposal.
  • Kara Dere beach is loooong and we will probably pick the actual gathering spot just few days before when we get a few organizers (hitchhikers, participants) on the ground. I suggest we pick a spot near the natural water source that is on the south end of the beach.
  • If you have a camping shovel, bring it. However, we'll try to get a few Bulgarians nearby to contribute to the organizations and probably shovel is one of the first tools to fit in the equipment. We will make 2-3 shit pits so that we don't lay too many land mines here and there.
  • You can bathe in the sea, using sand as your soap. Only use organic products if you insist on real soap or shampoo.

Being done


  • Boyan (Sofia): boqnbb (at) abv.bg
  • Martin (Varna): martin.christov (at) gmail.com
  • Tomi (on the road): tomi.astikainen (at) mindyourelephant.org


Brainstorm page about graphic design

  • new logos and stuff (Sandra)
  • create a flyer to print and distribute (stickers?) (Sandra)
    • two drafts by Mollom can be found here
    • 3 drafts by Zsolt here
    • Contact Robin about last year (you're reading this?): price, can we get the same offer? --N0id


  • hospex camp organizers
    • Flohfish --n0id (message sent, no response so far)
  • Pat Pong (www.hitchhikingcontest.org) --Astikain
    • Contacted: Thinks the best way to "gather" people into a hitchhikers' gathering is on the road. Is willing to spread some flyers if we make them available soon.
  • Tomislav Perko --Astikain
    • Contacted: might bring 50-100 hitchhikers if we can synchronize with his race

Visa info

Unfortunately, Bulgaria/Romania are NOT within Schengen yet, which means additional visa oppression for people holding Russian, Belorussian, Ukrainian or Moldovan passports.

  • Regulations for Russians (might apply for UA & BY as well)
    • Romania: Must apply for a visa in advance, 5 days visa-free transit for Bulgarian, Cypriot or Schengen visa holders. Usual Romanian tourist visa undergoes similar procedure than for Schengen, thus invitation letter, insurance, work book & sufficient amount of cash on bank account needed to submit in the embassy (usual 50 Euro/day). Advise: Get Bulgarian visa, and afterwards apply for (free) transit visa for Romania, if traveling from Ukraine/Moldova.
    • Bulgaria:Must apply for a visa in advance, 36 hours visa-free transit for Romanian, Cypriot or Schengen visa holders. Usual Bulgarian tourist visa undergoes similar procedure than for Schengen, thus invitation letter, insurance, work book & sufficient amount of cash on bank account needed to submit in the embassy (usual 50 Euro/day). Advise: See above.
    • Turkey: New visa regulations for Turkey from April 16, 2011! Check embassy in advance!
  • Regulations for Moldovans
    • Romania: Visa free (?) -need to get this confirmed --Platschi 13:08, 14 April 2011 (CEST)


  • Figure out how Schengen people can assist in helping to acquire visa for people who need it
  • ... put this on the website in Russian
  • here is the info from the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs homepage, about the visa regime(with the list of states witch need/don't need visa),types of visas and charges


  • Wikipedia article created --Astikain 17:10, 14 April 2011 (CEST)
    • Now, everyone, improve it please!
      • But make sure to keep a copy on Hitchwiki since it might be removed in a short time (happens a lot on Wikipedia...). guaka 02:15, 2 July 2011 (CEST)
      • A bit unrelated, but why are car-sharing websites listed as external links on wikipedia articles like hitchgathering or hitchhiking? --N0id 17:23, 4 July 2011 (CEST)

Know any publication that wrote about the festival? List external links: French: http://www.cafebabel.fr/article/33387/troisieme-festival-europeen-d-autostop-au-portugal.html

Promotion: DIY!

Some flyer designs have been made and an easy possibility to make flyers is to print

  • the flyer by artymori in color or black/white
  • or the flyer by Zsolt in color
  • you need: (color) printer with duplex mode if possible and a paper trimmer (most copy shops should have both, universities often do as well)
  • make sure that your settings do not resize the page automatically: Something like "adapt file to size of paper: no adaption" in Microsoft word, other software has such an option for sure
  • select duplex mode if you have and both sides are printed. If not just print the front page...
  • cut cut cut
  • distribute!

There are other endless possibilities to spread the word about the hitchgathering. For example:

  • Tell your friends
  • Tell hitchhikers you meet on the road
  • Write cardboards with hitchgathering.org, the place and date (and maybe more) and place them at popular hitchhiking spots ... be creative and use your colorful markers!
  • Draw your own flyers :)
  • Spread the word around hitchhiking clubs and websites in your country/your language
  • Post on your hitchhiking / travel / nomad blog or website about the gathering
  • Tell your favorite hitchhiking / travel / nomad blog author to write about it
  • Organize a pre-meeting (can be early like May/June/July to raise attention and connect people)
  • Invent a new slogan for this year! http://hitchwiki.org/en/index.php?title=Hitchgathering/2011/Slogan&action=edit


  • make organisation more visible on hitchgathering.org: atopia (done by Sitarane.mp, thank you!)


Press release written for:

  • English
  • German
  • French
  • Finnish
  • Spanish

Always needs proofreading.


I've looked into that and I'm confused. It's not a view, is it? It's a taxonomy trick. Can some drupal wizard shed some light? --Sitarane.mp

Sort of done, if not for the detail above. I simply removed the 2010 bit. It is now not accessible through menu, and as far as I know, through any other way than knowing the url. --Sitarane.mp

  • The right column is too long --Sitarane.mp
    • I removed the slogans from last year that were cycling under the title and replaced them with the countdown
    • Removed both the "work in progress" block (since we do the orga chitchat on the mailing list AND the "who's new" block that I didn't see the point to. Comment if that makes you unhappy.
  • It's hard for admins to track how each user type sees the website. --Sitarane.mp
    • There's a new block visible only to admins that allows them to 'masquerade' any other user in one click.
  • Clean up the permission/role system --Sitarane.mp
  • Editing posts in plain text is annoying. In particular when one must include an image or a link. The html syntax is a big deterrent --Sitarane.mp
    • I might get into WYSIWYG later, but I hate it and it's a lot of work. Instead, I set up the 'Markdown' syntax as default. It's a bit like the wiki syntax, but simpler and more intuitive.
  • Remove the coordination forum (that we decided not to use anymore in favor of the mailing list) and the old forums from view (no delete!) --Sitarane.mp
  • Thoroughly adapt the website to 2011. Views, menu... --Sitarane.mp

The Location

The gathering will take place in Kara Dere, Bulgaria. Below is the description for the proposal.

Quite big national hitchhiking society. Local support is a snap. Hitching is a blast. Exact location: The Black Sea, Kara Dere (near the city of Biala)

Coords.: 42.892231,27.899687

Have a look at Pictures of Bulgaria


  • huge remote beach
  • water supply from a spring on the beach (The issue of drinking water: There is a natural spring right on the beach. The only insignificant con is that the nice camping areas in the forest are a bit further on the beach on a 15 mins walk from the spring. But 10 liter tubes do a great job and daily "trips" are just a walk on the beach)
  • perfect shade, as the beach borders with a marvelous forest, where it's cool all day long and in the night it's not windy and sandy
  • people there are generally nice
  • cheap!
  • equally near to (between) the two biggest cities (Varna, Burgas) on the coast line.
  • close to turkey
  • small "bar"(caravan) for beer, fish&chips, etc. on one end of the beach
  • few to none about the mosquito issue
  • the trumpet festival at Guča happens the week after 5/8/11, just 850km to the west


  • 40 mins walk on a dirt road to the nearest village for food supply (quite easy and pleasant though)
    • There are cars passing by as well on this dirty road, so they can at least bring the bags with food.
  • project for closing the area and building an "Eco Village" (decision and deadline unknown yet)
  • language barrier?
    • I guess there are as many hitchhikers who don't speak Bulgarian as hitchhikers who didn't speak Portuguese. And I guess there are a lot more Russian speakers in Bulgaria than English speakers in Spain.
    • language barrier is absolutely no problem, everybody knows what the thumb means, also city's names on road signs are nearly always in Cyrillic and Latin.
  • Many campers in summer
  • Forget about dumpster-diving here


Willing to organize a pre-meeting in Budapest.. Question: should it be just before the gathering (5th August)?.. so all the hitchhikers who choose to go through Hungary could have like a 'pit stop', and if so what would be the appropriate date for it (5-10-15 days before)?--Maxijazz 20:30, 4 April 2011 (CEST)
We thought that we shouldn't make the pre-meetings as close to each other as last year, because some people found it too tiring to travel that fast. Also, we had the idea that a pre-meeting could also last more than a day. Maybe we can decide together also based on when and where other pre-meetings will be held. Sofia is likely (Boyan) which could be 1st or 2nd of August so maybe the 29th or 30th of July? n0id
We should coordinate with other close-by events, such as Road Junky Festival in Romania 15-17 July. --Astikain
Not to be annoying but u should decide it soon cause otherwise people will plan to spend those days doing other things. i also agree with more time in between the pre-gatherings, it's nicer..the point is to spend time with eachother not to say hi and leave again--smaua