In Bremen, I was welcomed with open arms by my old and semi-new friends, who took part in the Sommerkollektion here last year. I found accomodation in a flatcommunity, that is living in a tiny house just outside the town in a small street with lots of other identical tiny houses. A shrinked world. We sat on the stairs at the entrance a lot. There was always something to look at. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive a photo of the drawing that I did of the habitants.
I have spent almost all of my time in Bremen, one and a half weeks, at the university of arts (HFK). There was a summerfestival and I returned the favor for the nice action they setted up at our festival and helped out with the preparations. I built diverse pallet furnitures, wrapped a big “roof” with colored foil and installed it… The preperations where quite okay, cool people there at the HFK! What disturbed me was the enourmous consumption of material, that they had there: bunches of roof battens, also not too few chipboard and then just this bright colorful plastic-foil. I think it’s not worth striving for wasting recources like that…As if there wasn’t already enough waste on earth! You can always get some stuff from somewhere, you just have to take care of it a bit beforehand.
But it’s really a nice school. They have a good community, its very familiar. There is also a café in the 3rd floor, ran by the students, where you can have a warm vegan meal every day and coffee and cake. Absolutely not compareable to the schools here in Nuremberg. There is maybe a canteen where you get semi-tasty frozen foods (if you are lucky). Eating together is the basis for a good social structure. Altough, I didn’t meet one person who was not at HFK during my whole stay.
But I wanted to go up north nevertheless. So I got on my bike again and did the mammoth stage of my trip. (On stage 5 – Bremen-Hamburg my way was again inside the bought map, that’s why there is no drawn one.) I really managed to make the whole 150km in one day. With lots of wind from the back and at least no ascents, nut it really was a good distance. And it was also very beautiful. I approached the city from direction southeast. I had to struggle with all these highways, expressways and rails. At some point, I passed a gigantic dark tunnel, certainly 20 meters high and 200 meters long. You weren’t able to see the floor because the eyes where totally habitated to the daylight, so that you simply drove through nothingness into the light. Then, already in the dusk, I found myself at the habour, which is completely absurd. Very hostile to life, nothing but factories and power-plants, wide roads – totally empty, again and again bascule bridges over some canals and every 10 minutes a truck, that thundered by. Through the old Elbtunnel I reached the other side of the river. Two big elevators bring pedestrians and cyclists down continously, then they go to the other side and and up again. Every now and then some cars may pass, I think. Funny thing! I passed one more night in the Vüddl (as the people from Gängeviertel call their realm).
Lübeck was very pretty. In the old-town are lots of these “Gänge”, tiny little passages that cross the blocks. Often they are the only way to access the houses in the yard, so that people who live there can’t have big furniture because it wouldn’t fit through. And here again I remarked, as in Hamburg in the Gängeviertel and in Bremen in the Tieckstraße: When people turn a public place into their living room, these are always wonderful places. For that to work, the lack of cars is very important! So children can run around and you can put your stuff wherever you want.
I improved my bike with some triatlon-handlebars because I was sitting too upright. It’s always nice to have a choice how to grab your handlebars. On the way to Kiel this suddenly payed out, the headwind and the hills would have killed me!
Furthermore, on the first view, Kiel was ugly, too. But I think it can be nice to live there. I found again accommodation with BeWelcome, same as in Lübeck. My host even organised a place for me to sleep in the next small town, Eckernförde, at a very strange artist’s. She also gave me a hint (which turned out to be awesome) for Flensburg.
Stage 8: I drove spontaineously to Eckerförde in the evening. On these 20 or 30km I was caught in hard rain for the first (and last) time.
I couldn’t draw myself a map for stage 9 – from Eckernförde to Flensburg because the crazy artist wanted to get up and leave very early. I thought just to take the famous Baltic Sea Cycle Route. Well… It was firstly overcrowded by e-bike-tourists, secondly pretty bumpy and thirdly I lost the route very soon. Therefore I rode on the side of a big express-way to my destination. With brutal headwind. Was fucked up. At that point I wasn’t so sure anymore, if I want to continue for much longer… But my next stop totally persuaded me again:
The Luftschlossfabrik – a squat at the habour of Flensburg
Die Luftschlossfabrik (=The Aircastlefactory) is at the end of an artificial habour-peninsula. A wide paved road leads to the big yard, where they have an imposing wagon-place. At least 20 homes on wheels where arragend like a village around a little square. Next-door where the “Rote Beete” (=beetroots; red beds), the community-garden with fireplace and so on. On the yard in front of the building strange and almost non-steerable vehicles were romping around. (see middle of the drawing), a boot on wheels(very left side) and several fire bowls. The vehicle had its pedals at the front, just below the handlebars and two flexible wheels at the backend, so that you overtook yourself all the time, when riding fast curves. Big fun!
Inside, they had a kitchen, a bureau, a concert-room, some guestrooms, where I slept in one of them with sea view. Besides there was a free-shop and a workshop which was quite interresting: Filled up to the top with small and big electronic building parts, test tubes and other strange glas equipment and a lot of stuff where I had no idea what it was. Looked like the laboratory of a crazy inventor. And in the middle of all that a highly imaginative Lego-indians-StarWars-fighting-scenario was setted up! I later got to know that two boys, who found their old Lego, had built up this nice toy-world into the technic-chaos.
I deep-fried and ate vegetables with one of the punks until late in the night. In this quite gunky kitchen… the storage-room overflew with a diverse range of dumpstered stuff. The Luftschlossfabrik was, although completely dirty and chaotic, a very nice place. Everyone does just as he or she wants to! Next day I stocked up my supplies for the journey to Denmark. Finally!
Note: The Luftschlossfabrik was vacated by the police with water cannon the 3. february 2016. https://youtu.be/c1WVs2FYjt4
My first stop in the neighbour-country was the house of Najas parents. I met Naja during my Erasmus-semester in Paris. The biking in Denmark was a lot more pleasant. The ways were very nice and not nearly as many annoying cars. This also meant many like minded cyclists! I think, I only met over-30’s-e-bike-pedants and some high-tech-equipped guys. One of them had a tablet attached to his handlebars and asked me for the way! Here however, cyclists greet each other friendly and the vehicles are looking almost as imperfect as mine.
Then, I had two options on how to get on the island Fünen, where my next bed was waiting for me: Either I would have taken the ferry directly to Fünen and the rest by bicycle or first on the offshore island Ærø, some kilometers on that island and then with the next boat directly to Svendborg. The latter seemed to be more sympathic. Well. I had a good hour to make the 16km from one habour to the other one on the island. No problem, if there hadn’t been this tempting turn-off, a nice bikeway that I simply had to take. It turned out that it wouldn’t lead to the habour… and I had only 15 mintutes left. So I asked somone for the way and he told me, it was to the left, about 7km distance and that I’d need half an hour.
I went that way as fast as I could and was 3 minutes late. The last ferry from the island just left… After that I sat down, had dinner and watched the sunset. I asked the people who where having a walk at the habour, if I could sleep at their place, nobody wanted that…😀 Afterwards, while looking for a nice place for my sleeping mat, I met a small group of dready guys who I surely immediately asked. They where wondering a little around and then said, yes I could sleep in the cockpit. I did not care. I would have taken anything. It hen turned out that Flo, Lisa and Lasse where on a sailing trip and their boat was moored in the habour because the sail was broken and they hat to fix it.We had a really nice evening on the boat! The neighbour was thrilled and spent some rounds of Jägermeister. It was Lisa’s birthday (she overslept…): Joints und crispbread-snacks were built and consumed, we were philosophizing and they sang leftist classics and played guitar. The next morning, I crossed over via ferry. (=Stage 9) It’s awesome to see, what expierences you can make, when you get in apparently really bad situations!
(actually I also made a nice drawing of the boat and its passengers, but flo didn’t send it to me as he promised… maybe they are still on the way)
At Naja’s parents’, it was very pleasant! They have a beautiful house with a gigantic garden just as beautiful, with neverending super-tasty cherries. I felt like living in clover after the deprivations of the last days! My room had a big glass-front-view onto the garden, the sun woke me up every morning. Then there was breakfast with, amongst others, homemade almost black jam out of blackcurrants which tasted unbelievably intense! I also went to work with Naja or a few times: She helped with the costumes and the scenery of an open-air-opera and sang in the choir. That was the reason, why she was at her parents’ place and not in Copenhagen. Tryllefløjten was shown – the magic flute by Mozart. I also sewed a bit around at the snake, that attacks Tamino in the beginning.
Another guest came to Naja’s, Jens-Peter. He was also there to sing in the choir. Most of the time he was walking around playing trance-like loops on his Kalimba. I think he studied Composition at CPH (=Kopenhagen). His plan was to compose a piece for Kalimba. Good idea.
Najas fahter is a gifted guitar player. He organized an open scene at the habour. I have drawn the concert and gave him the picture as a present:
Lorenz from Nuremberg told me about a wonderful place, an old ceramics factory, which is being transformed into a self-governed center of living and culture. I really wanted to go there and wrote them a mail but never received an answer. I didn’t know whether I just should show up or what to do. I also thought about going back home… A bit stupid to make it up all the way to Denmark and then only visit one Danish spot! I met random people at the beach in Svendborg, again German hippies and a Danish guy. I told him about my plans and he knew the place. He gave me a phone number to which I instantly wrote a message. The answer was another number, because she was not staying there at the moment. The other number told me to write her an e-mail with more specific information, who I am and why I want to come and so on, and then finally I got green light!
Up to come: Part 3: Makvärket (the ceramics factory) and Copenhagen