ANWB: Geographical Knowledge and Hiking Socks

As a preparation for the next big hitchhiking trip through Europe, I visited the shop of this organization mostly known for towing your car named ANWB. It’s kind of like the Dutch version of Triple-A or another roadside assistance organization. According to these maps from the ANWB, Poland and the Baltic States are just North and East Germany. Ahem, should we tell them?

Anyway, it’s nice that I received these free paper maps from them. I intend to use them mostly as a way to track my route with the pen I received from a young student of architecture in Zanjan, Iran. Who knows, it might be a nice thing to hang on a wall if I one day decide to settle. But it’s more likely that someone will force me to lead a stationary life. I digress…

Besides selling maps and I guess car insurance, the ANWB also sells outdoor clothes and other backpacking equipment. I didn’t actually know this before today, but it’s more like a general travel association. You know that you’re in the Netherlands when even the automotive association has tons of stuff for bicycle people and pedestrians. My mom swears by their outdoors section and also has a membership card for a discount. She decided that I needed new socks and shoes for my upcoming trip. I got some extra backpack straps and also a tincture bottle of tea tree oil from the drug store.

When hitchhiking in winter in Europe, it’s extra important to take good care of your feet. I learned that the hard way last year when I was hitchhiking in the UK and caught a mild case of trench foot after my socks got wet and I still had to walk all day. Someone at Tipi Valley in Wales diagnosed it as that. He advised me to buy and rub my feet in talcum powder, some kind of cream, and tea tree oil. Within a few days of taking extra care, I managed to turn my fate around and avoid amputation. Not that it was that serious, I think?

Anyway, take care of your feet when backpacking.

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