Day 23

So Berlin was fun. I had been told by a number of people that I would enjoy it but I did not know by quite how much. I ended up meeting up with Malte and staying with a couple of his friends, one of whom is set to be in Istanbul soon enough. Wonderful hospitality, interesting people and a bed what more could you ask for?

I think the thing that I most liked about Berlin was that as one person coined the phrase ‘it is a city of freaks’. But good freaks. It still feels safe, their is a conspicious lack of a malevolent air that seems to linger over England. People are stylish, you can drink and still smoke in the bars, you can live for next to nothing as the rent is so cheap, the only problem is that there is a lack of jobs but hey ho that is familiar situation.

So with Malte being a courier I had a whistlestop tour of the city with complete disregard to any traffic light or one way street sign. Cycling without the bags meant the bike felt 20 times faster and I tried to keep on Maltes back wheel as he belted through the city. They say that by the time you get to 30 you should have been through paris in the summer time in an open top sports car. Well I would add to that suggestion that you should hoon round Berlin for the day. So so much fun.

We went out that night to watch a film with another of Maltes friends but arrived too late and found it had been sold out. Whilst standing outside holding a conversation in English an Irish gentleman by the name of Giuseppe O’Bruadair asked where we where from. The evening ended at 5am the next day after having a wonderful evening of conversation which mainly centred about socialism and being made to feel like the new kid in class whilst talking politics. It was a true pleasure to meet such a well read individual. the only problem is that it highlighted how many more books I have to devour before I can drop little pearls of wisdom like throw away lines that other people build entire arguments around. I think the thing i learnt more than anything else was that the the study of your own language is imperative in understanding other topics. He writes leaving a trail of spelling mistakes and grammitical errors in his wake… hey ho.

So from a Berlin bar with beautiful girls serving drinks to a punk club on the other side of the city with lots of young angry kids dressed with bullets on their belts and pool with german rules.

Cycling back to where we had a place to sleep past the airport that the allieds used to airdrop the supplies into Berlin to wake up again a few hours later to amke the way out of the city.

Due to the late start we ended up cycling out of Berlin, past the soviet memorial to the ruissian soldeiers that perished in the final days of the war as they advandced into the city and went through god opnly knows where to reach one of Malte’s friends who lives about 30 miles out of the city.

Malte’s friend Patrick lives on what was once a Stassi listening post. Nestled away in 40 hectres of grounds that they bought for just 110,000 euros seven years ago they are nigh on completely self sufficient. they have wind turbines left from the previous occupent for their electricity, they dumpster dive for food, they have a cob sauna, reed bed water filitration, swimming pool (in the process of being bulilt) a huge dance room for events with decks, sound system the lot, an open kitchen, guest bed rooms, community bicycle shops, a wood shop and a metal shop that was obtained for free (simply incredible the stuff they had managed to acquire) living rooms, showers, everything a small community needs.

I think one of my favourite moments of this trip so far is going to a composting toilet in the woods, walking past a variety of caravans, yurts and tipis early in the morning to sit down and look out onto a thatched hut that a german couple had made out of reeds and cob over the last 18 months, just as a girl with dreads walked past as if it was the most normal thing in the world to put wood in a wheel barrow for her stove as a man sits on the toilet not 20 yards away.

A very very different world. I knew these places existed but I had no knowledge to what extent. The full time members number approximetely 50 and with guest coming in and out in th summer months there are normally about 150 people who live there. Bearing in mind that you can stay for free, eat for free, get clothed for free and learn an enormous amount from some very clever people it makes you think about the advantages of twenty five years of working for the bank… They ask for a monthly donation which is very very low but the point that came across more than anything is that people have managed to do an awful lot with very little money. Added to the fact that reclaiming a Stassi listening post can only be a good thing.

I should also mention the cancer researcher I met. Sorry man I forget your name, I have it written down but not with me know as I was going to check your pictures on flickr – but if you get round to reading this thanks for the good conversation. Like I said you always meet twice.

I should also pay homage to the guy who just made two recumberent bicycle from a mixture of old parts who then gave them to two other people who are cycling to mongolia. Yeah cycling to mongolia on a home made recumberent bicycle. that kinda rains on my parade no?

Leave a Reply