So, the fabulous times in the old ceramics factory were over. A feminists’ camp took place there. This is in itself of course not a reason to leave, but it was completely booked with 80 participants and there was no place for people who were not enrolled. But well, I will pass by again sooner or later, maybe stay a bit longer then.
Stage 11: I drove with Martin to Copenhagen, he makes the 80 km about once or twice a month by bicycle or hitch and therefore knows the way. Spontaneously, he glued together a front-rack in the welding-workshop, on which he could transport his backpack to the Danish capital.
We had a nice ride. In Roskilde we had a small break (or a big one), eat the food we brought and talked about self-government and solar power. He is a specialist in that field, he figured out a lot on his own by working in a project in Lithuania, where he comes from. The Makvaerklers got hold of some solarpanels, fixed them on the roof and Martin now tries to optimize them with a self-programmed code. He soldered and wired a dozen different parts together in an old video cassette as the “bodywork”. The thing can now record, when the measuring points are installed, its location, temperature, time and consequently where the most of the energy is lost and for which parts you would have to improve the insulation. It also shows how to set up the thing so that it works best. And the water must never boil, otherwise the pipes are bursting… Complicated, but though a very interresting issue, I would say! Apparently, conventional solar panels are adjusted, so the water won’t boil in any case. But with a bit of intelligent controlling you can get a lot more out of it, especially in wintertime.
But now about Copenhagen:
n the beginning in CPH, I found accomodation in the Jomsburg. Jens-Peter, whom I met with Naja, normally lives there. The Jomsborg is a house in a villa quarter, where 19 students have a gigantic house share. So far so good, it was a warm welcome, they showed me Jens-Peters room. It was currently in use as a temporary store while they where renovating. It was decided, that it would be better if I slept in another room on the top floor, because it was empty at that time. It was nice up there. Nothing much besides a big bed and a tiny table was inside, but more would not have fitted in. You could go out on the mini-balcony through the window.
Afterwards I went for a walk through the city. And I came across Christiania, who would have expected that? Altough not the regular entrance in the front, where all the pushers sell their weed to a mad crowd of party-zombies, but instead from the back over the old ramparts. Here, everything was woderfully green, cars were explictly forbidden and bunches of funny half-self-made houses were standing around. Directly at the water, in the water (!) and further up on the hill.
As I made this drawing, at some point an small old man arrived on his bicycle, was happy and said: “You are painting my house!” and invited me in his home. It was really a pleasure! Downstairs, he has his living-space, 2 chaise longues with overwhelming view of the lake with its birds. A few meters in front of his swimming home, he installed artificial islands on which the animals now are nesting. Of course, there is a balcony, furthermore a terrasse all around the tiny floating wooden cabin. A ladder, that he forged on his own, leads to the top-floor.
He also built the famous Christiania-Bikes for a long time. The first post-automobile freight cycles. That’s also the reason for the name, there were severeral people by the name of Claus, so he was just called the Smith. Before the stinky cars came up, freight bicycles were common vehicles. But in Christiania cars are forbidden, so they became necessary again. And began, again, to spread all over the world. In Christiania, these freight bikes in their diverse forms and variations are EVERYWHERE. It’s just a world without cars. Well, how nice would that be, snivel…
Anyhow, upstairs was his bed and a small warming room, a kind of greenhouse (the yellow thing on the drawing) which provides the optimal exploitation of the few sunrays in wintertime. All over the house there were pictures hanging around from his friends. He also had a collection of magazines, in which he appeared with his house. I think he said that he is living in Christiania for 30 years. At the beginning in the UFO-like building next-door until he build this one himself. By now it’s almost impossible to build new houses there. I don’t really know why… Probably it would completely get out of hand otherwhise. And it’s also very hard to get a permission to move into one of these when it is vacant. In that case, it is put out for tender, you have to apply and a selection of the candidates are auditioned by a council. They choose who is going to be the new habitant of Christiania. About 600 people live there.
You can’t hear anything besides the twittering of the brids, the quaking of the ducks and the silent burbling along the house while sitting at Claus’ place, drinking tea and chewing licorice root. Apart from water, reed and trees and two other houses there is nothing obstructing the view. Yet again, I stranded in a small paradise in the middle of a large town!
After this overwhelming insight, I continued my walk along the lake and finally arrived in the center. I had locked my bike somewhere, for a change. Afoot you’re calmer and able to explore. It is also a lot easier to just rest and draw.
Back in the Jomsborg the door of my room was somehow locked. The key was left in the lock. They all have it like that. I thought, I just put the key inside, so I don’t have to unlock all the time. Pretty silly idea. The door was closed. With the key inside. And all my stuff as well!! We tried to find a spare key in the keys-storage, but there was none. And also nowhere else. The girl who lives there was somewhere in Norway. Her boyfried told us, she took the spare key with her. I had left the window open. The plan to climb in over another balcony was immediately folded. Completely crazy and impossible. One of the other Jomsborg-living girls meant, that we could try to get there over the roof, if we don’t tell the others. There was a small skylight, through which you could get out on the flat roof. So I crawled under the solar-panels and as I looked over the edge it made me shudder. The house was at least 20 meters high and the balcony was damn small. I already wanted to give up, but then I saw a step in the fastening of the balcony in the houses wall. If I could reach it, I would be able to get on the railings next and then I would be inside already! So I tested the satellite dish for its stability and considered it to be trustworthy. Laying on the belly, one hand on the satellite dish, I pushed myself slowly backwards until I found the step. The rest was easy. I could have jumped directliy down there, too. But in that hight, things look differently.
The day after, I met up with Martin again. He bunked down in another house-collective in northern Copenhagen, Apokafet. Lots of the people living there are also active in Makvärket. A very nice place indeed! It’s a yellow one-family house in a suburb-like residential neighbourhood with a big wild garden all around. Different funny additions and modifications made the style truly unique. They dug a basement under the entire house and removed the soil around it in parts to have daylight down there. The soil, I suppose, then ended up on the immense grass-roof, an extension of the old garage. Underneath it, there was bicycle-parking and tool shed. An upgraded trailer was in the garden, where I could sleep for 2 nights. Next to it there is a big block with a toilet and bathroom in it and a roof-terrasse on it! Everything is high quality and built with attention to details. Everywhere were nice floors, in the basement they had a special clay-floor with horse dung, which seemed to be soft and warm when you walked on it barefoot, but in fact it was as hard as rock. The baths were tiled with mosaic, the toilet was kept very dark and earth-coloured and also the kitchen was excellently equipped. Really impressing! And worth striving for!
Someone in Makvärket told me about a project, where people built plenty of different boats to have a self-sufficient swimming village in the end! I had to see that! You can find the Floating City at the habour of Copenhagen. I cycled there with Martin. A funny, rough and motley bunch of people is puttering around and lolling about. They’ve got a hall where they can weld together their swimming objects, on the condition that they tear it down in the end. The demolition was in full swing when we arrived. At the same time they still lived there and worked a bit. Haha. Then we had a look at the docks. Slightly indefinable objects were moored to the quay.
The future sanitary-catamaran, made of half a dozen empty, welded together gas-tanks, was still a construction-side. But some of the tanks were already beautifully renovated inside! There was also a greenhouse-boat! Then lunch was ready. The whole pack went back to the half-demolished workshop-hall, some with these motorized mobility vehicles for disabled people. Just considerably faster. I think they removed the limitation or manipulated something else. These things ran 20km/h easily. The seamen & seawomen had lots of meat. And Rum-Coke. In 10 minutes cycles, a plane thundered over the wasteland, so that you weren’t able to communicate for a short time.
They were already completely habitated to it. Funny company!
And then up to the next stop: Hawila is an old sailing ship. It’s laying on the last bit of land next to the airport. We cycled there. “It’s always nice on the hawila-ship.”, Martin said. We knew that Sufi Sience would take place this evening. But we had no idea, what that should be. When we arrived, people were sitting in the meadows, sunbathing happily. Someone created pretty abstract mantra-like sounds with a bass and a loop-station, others did some exercises reminding of yoga. At some point it was announced: “Well, we can start now.”
All those present should form a circle, arm in arm and remain silent. The sun, low on the horizon, was shining in our faces. Some had their eyes closed, some were grinning, the rest did both. Afterwards, an elderly lady wearing lots of make-up welcomed all the people and invited them to come on the ship. Slowly, indian music began to play and the yoga exercises expanded to a dance. A green kobold climbed the shrouds (=ropes to support the mast sideways) slowly and performed tricks. A woman painted mandalas on the ship very accurately . The music became more lively, singing started, slow at first, then very fast in that takkadidakdudakdak-style (there must be a name for that) until at some point a ship’s horn sounded and drowned all sound. I thought someone was disturbed by the music and thought something like: “Oh these pedants are everywhere!”
Everybody was a bit confused and started again. Now including experimental distorted guitar music and the kobold-woman played the trumpet from the very top. A raft was cruising around, people were swimming, one played the guitar on the raft. The dance became more ecstatic, many people climbed in the rigging of the ship. Until the brutal horn interrupted everything. The musicians got back in the groove. A textbook hippie, barefoot, beard, long shaggy hair plays the guitar and sings some well-known English songs to the Indian music. I thought, I’d just follow the invocation and go on the ship! I borrowed a pen from the mandala-painter, a German (what a coincidence…) and found a big white piece of paper on which I wanted to catch the situation. I climbed the sparkes boom (=fat mast, that stretches out the rear sail) and drew. A guy came out of a hatch and blew this ship’s horn again. So it was somehow planned and part of the performance! He also was busy with tar and a bunsen burner and filled some leaks, I think. At some point the Sufi passed by, a guy who appeared not to do much until that time. He was always sitting next to the musicians and meditated. He gave me and the others a piece of dark chocolate and then “rapped”. People with cameras were always wandering around the place, not penetrating, just as a part of the big jam. Here I found the video, I also appear in:
After some time my butt hurt so much, that I couldn’t continue drawing. I stole the balls of a juggling girl – you can do it without interrupting. When she tried to steal them back from me, it didn’t work unfortunately… Everybody was totally light and carefree, which was quiet remarkable. Very calm. When you looked in somebody’s eyes, the contact always stayed for a long time, everyone was like in trance! In the beginning, I didn’t even understand that it was a more or less planned performance!! Of course there was a lot of improvisation, but I thought only the Indian musicians would be part of the action. In fact, 5 dancers, 3 european musicians and a part of the Hawila-crew were involved.
The evening continued with big campfire-jam after the horn was blown the fifth time. This Hawila-ship is a community project. The ship, strongly damaged, was purchased some years ago, somehow brought from Bornholm to Copenhagen by a French guy and since then it’s been renovated and restaurated. At the same time, different concerts and festivals take place. They will get the ship out of the water this winter to be able to repair damages on its bottom side. At some point, they want to put out to sea again.
What annoyed me, was that, once again, so many Germans and almost no Danes were there. They always wanted to speak German immediately. For me, this is super unpleasant, because it excludes all the others immediately! (even if there are not many…) For a short time, I thought about pretending to be French to escape this! But this wouldn’t have been a good solution. There are French people around all the time, too… It’s also no miracle that there are not many Danes and Germans all over, if you have a look at the number of inhabitants of those neighbouring countries: 82 millions compared to 4 million…
There is a funny linguistic anectdote: Somehow my accent when speaking English changes to the accent my environment speaks. So I annexed this soft and sloppy Danish English. For example ‘water’ becomes ‘woader’. Danish has some striking similarities to the Frankonian accent of the German language (which I speak a bit). A Danish girl at the camp fire actually had problems to classify me with my Danish-German accent, haha!
Later that night, I cycled back to Jomsborg. Cycling is, as stated before, super crazy in Copenhagen; THE mean of transportation. It works brilliantly. There are progressive signal systems (always green traffic light), that are adjusted to 20km/h. There are holding bars for the racing bike cyclists so they don’t have to get out of their pedals. Lots of bridges, especially built for bicycles and a continuous car-free north-south-bikeway all across the city. Well, that’s just how it should be! You can see freight bikes driving around everywhere, loaded with children or stuff or both. Everything seemed just a bit too perfect in CPH…
The next day, I was out with Martin again. We visited Container By, a village out of piled marine containers. Nicely equiped. With a cool urban garden in the back with chicken.
However, there wasn’t too much going on, so we went on to Cristianina to enjoy a sauna. It was open every day from 5am. They had a big old bath-house. One could pay some Krones, 20 I think, for entry and order schnapps or other drinks and alumina to slather oneself. The people in the sauna seemed to be very experienced. They did several stretching exercises on the floor, pieces of orange were passed around. One man, tattooed all over, was sitting in lotus position right in front of the heater on a carefully folded towel. When you had enough, there were of course showers outside and a small pool with cold water. And I think some mint-oil was in it, too…
Pleasantly reposed, we walked through the streets. It’s an extraordinary place. I felt, that people felt free in there. On the one hand, you could see it at the architecture, because they just built whatever they wanted to, without annoying regulations. On the other hand, the poeple themselves were different. I got the impression that a lot of the people knew, that in this place, they were more responsible for themselves. If there are less rules, you simply have to think on your own, what you should do what you shouldn’t.
There were also plenty people getting totally wasted with weed and alcohol. The proles, sitting on the main boulevard, completely trashed, with a beer and a joint in their hands, were talking loudly, slurring or just babbeling along. Transitioning smoothly from one conversational form to the next. In a lucid interval, they gave a wolf whistle to some young passing by tourists, get another schnaps and go on… This is the scum such an open space has to deal with. The harmless confused tattooed old women who are wandering around on the green paths, talking to themselves, are a bit crazy, but totally fine for me in the end. I think there are a lot of people who are afraid of these run down hippies. Though I really prefer them to someone who is fully integrated in society, and at the same time carelessly bothering its environment. (e.g. with some ridiculous tuned cars) And there are more than enough of these…
On the way back, we were dumpster diving and found lots of treasures: A box of beer, tons of fresh bread and fresh vegetables of any kind, varied sorts of salad-dressings and barbeque-sauces and a bunch of tofu and soya-feta! Well, in that way it’s quite possible to pull through in Denmark, which is allegedly such an expensive country…
The topic of my journeywas supposed to be project that are similar, and maybe present an alternative, to our Quellkollektiv. I think I managed that pretty good. When I arrived in the Jomsborg, which calls itself a collective, I really asked myself, what a collective actually is! Because they are in fact just living there together. Then, I can also call my flatcommunity a collective and in a sense also every family is a collective. No, no. I would say, in a collective people work together on one or more projects. This is the basic requirement. And somehow there have to be more than 3 people… But how many do you need for a legitimate collective? at least 5? or 8? You can’t say it just like that. Would I count to the Makvärket-Collektive? I also did a lot of stuff there! Well, a collective is also always a construct with hierarchies kept at a minimum, where decisions are made together. If all that is right, then the collective seems to be the from of life and/or work that I appreciate the most!
Finally it was time to take on the way back. I took a train over to Sweden. Which was outrageously expensive. In Sweden it was really not nice. Only industrial agriculture. I got totally lost and plowed around on some shabby field paths. At some point I arrived in a dirty trashed park just before the coast. In Trelleborg I met a German (again), who had just begun her tour with a flat tire. Valve was messed up. I helped her a bit and in the night I went with the ferry to Rostock. Same thing like 8 years ago at my first trip without parents!
On the ferry, I left my bicycle “downstairs” and went up on the fifth floor on the outside deck. These long-distance-ferrys are really as big as a high-rise. It got boring and cold soon, the departure was a long time in coming. So I went inside a room, where the traveling group of a traditional costumes club settled down. A bunch of pubescent adolescents and pubescent grown-ups. At some point I fell asleep. And woke up again in the middle of the night and wanted to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. Outside, complete silence except for the conversation of a group of people. And besides the illuminated ship, you could really see NOTHING. Absolute black. Sleepy as I was, it took me a moment to understand what was happening. Then I could recognize slight reflexions of waves, right next to the bottom of the ship. We were sailing… Could also have been the case, that we were floating through a vacuum! One of the groupmembers must have seen the lost expression on my face and cracked up. Me too, I was super amused!
In Rostock I wanted to take the bus back to Nuremberg right in the morning, but it was so late that I would have missed my connection in Berlin and apart from that I didn’t have enough cash on me anyways. So I contacted my Bewelcome-hosts after having a nap on a bench in the park. I spent one night in Paul’s flat share, which was quite funny , because it was somehow the same mood as in my flat share here in Nuremberg! Next bus-try almost worked out fine.
Altogether I probably traveled around 1000 kilometers and saw loads of cool places and cool people!