Chapter 17 on my walk around the world. From Bremen to Hamburg, not necessarily a smooth walk. After leaving the people at Jacobs University in Bremen behind, I continued my route towards Denmark, having a rest in Hamburg. No more tendon pain. A lot of rain. Debit card blocked. But an amazing Hamburg. All good fun!
Until I get into the story I have to say this, together with a tune for this post. Four things I just happened to realise more or less all of the sudden:
- All my belongings I carry with me; I have nothing more, this is all I have – funny in a way – feeling a little of a gypsy spirit, sad somehow – an ever growing feeling of not belonging anywhere start to settle in.
- It’s been a year since I haven’t… kissed someone. Yes. There you go. These things I think about sometimes. But I think I’m falling back into love. Hard.Which makes everything much harder. Damn!
- This road… this road is an always new series of expected unknown unknowns. And it started to happen earlier than I thought: the traveller limbo, at times not being excited about anything new any more. And this is troubling me, as I constantly try and push myself forward. Not the greatest challenge out there, but definitely a dangerous one for my goal. Yes, sometimes I get bored of all the ‘new’. Paradoxical. I take it as it is.
- Yes, I still smoke. No one died healthy.
OK, here we go!
From Bremen – Vegesack to Buxtehude
After having said good-bye to Iulia, Ionuț, Ștefania, Alin and Cosmin (sorry, Maria!), I then continued my walk to Hamburg, the goal for the day being to try and at least get past Worpswede. But until then I still enjoyed a bit of the life on the campus. The weather helped as well…
So, off to Worpswede, packed with some food from Cosmin (loved the healthy cashew nuts!). But until reaching this small artistic colony of artists in Lower Saxony, I had an unexpected encounter. So it was me walking down the road, when all of the sudden I see Alin pulling his bike some 50 meters in front of me and starting to shoot. Ah, a great documentary got ruined from the first shot by me looking in the camera! :) Alin then joined me towards Worpswede.
Worpswede! Home to some 130 artists, the small village is quite impressive in the display of brickwork art. No wonder, since the first generation of artists was followed by a second one, represented mostly by Bernhard Hoetger, the creator of the Böttcherstraße in Bremen. Two notes here – as we were approaching Worpswede, a little hill started to shape at the horizon – marking where we needed to reach. Funny thing, that little hill, not even visible from 5 km away, is being related to by the locals as ‘a mountain’. The second thing – OK, I understand the brickwork art heritage and everything, but honestly, having the pavement made out of vertically placed bricks – well, for me this is just a waste.
From Worpswede, Alin headed back to Bremen – Vegesak, and I kept walking towards Zeven, camping somewhere in a forest near a moor east of Tarmstedt. The following day, I kept walking to Zeven and beyond, pitching the tent in another forest, this time a hunting ground. The domain hut is in fact a shooting practice facility, so no wonder I woke up with the sounds of gun shots on a rather fine Sunday morning.
To Buxtehude. And Hamburg. And back to Buxtehude. And back to Hamburg.
This is where the road got a bit weird. After feeding some llamas in Wangersen – just for fun! :), I continued walking to Buxtehude. So I got there. Still Sunday. Afternoon. No food, no money – hitting the cash machine was the obvious choice. Enter card, enter pin, enter amount. Counting noise. Exit card. Exit card? Exit card! Aaaaa! It was just out of reach, no way to grab it as it was stuck. And then gone. Okay now, look around you! Contact phone number? Nein! Sunday afternoon. You know no-one. You have no money.You have no food. Camping outside the town would be a solution until the morning. Good thing it wasn’t Friday afternoon! But still, let’s ask for help. And I was fortunate enough that the first person I met was nice enough to help me all the way. But it was all just the beginning of another series of mishapenings. But really, nothing matters when you meet nice people. Take for instance Volker Pickenpack of Buxtehude. After trying to find a phone number from the bank (no luck there), he took me with him in Hamburg, at his work place (yup, took the train) – NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk) – a huge broadcasting company for Northern Germany. No wonder he saved the day – Volker kind of means ‘hero of the people’. So the plan was to come back in Buxtehude, eat, sleep, get the card and then continue my walk back to Hamburg. Which we did. I mean, I did. But not before missing the subway, and then missing the train, and then almost missing one of his friends and his car, probably the last person to leave the NDR headquarters. Right, back in Buxtehude, eat, sleep. In the morning Volker came with me at the bank, helping me get my card back. And actually picking on the guys there for not having any contact phone number in sight. So with my card back, having thanked Volker for all he did, it was time to head back (?) to Hamburg.
Hamburg? Vibrant. An explosion of life, architecture, parks, shops, theatres, massive harbour operations (Hafen City is the fastest developing area in Germany – and that’s a status it acquired about 10 years ago and the place is still growing), a mix of rich and poor, with a well established middle class. Before meeting my first host here, Sylvain Genet, it was time to capture a bit of this frenzy. And this is the outcome.
Intermezzo – The Occupy Hamburg place
In the middle of Hamburg, in Gerhart-Hauptmann Platz, still lye some 15 tents with about 25 inhabitants, part of the Occupy Movement, the international protest movement against social and economic inequality, which began on September 17, 2011, in New York. On thet morning, the site looked rather depressing, just an aftermath of the party they had a night before, celebrating the result in the parliament elections in the Schleswig Holstein federal state in Northern Germany – the Pirate Party got an unexpected 8,4 %, having assured some places in the representative house. It was in this light how I met Bill, a guy from Canada. We had a chat on the movement, which basically is dying, if not dead already, at least as an international movement, as most of the efforts are now put into trying and address more local issues. Like, for instance, the preservation of an area in the St. Pauli district, in the face of corporate development. Interesting enough, many of the people on the camp are Spanish – young – some of them have day jobs, some don’t. And it was as Bill showed me around the camp when someone from the Government of Hamburg came to pass just this message: one of the biggest tent, the one they use for meetings, and times accommodates ‘visitors’, has to go. Hope for change? Well, not necessarily like this, and definitely not without a clear set political, social and economical plan.
After having spent the entire day in Hamburg city centre, it was time to meet Sylvain – a French guy living in the St. Georg area. Being offered an early ‘retirement’ from his job, having spent the last five months travelling around the world, now he is looking to get back in the working field. So inbetween sending some CVs he took the time to walk with me back to the town centre for some night photography, showing me The Atlantic Hotel (James Bond enthusiasts might be interested – remember the ’97s ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’). After this it was time to move a bit out of the town, meeting Karin Bouchain in Krupunder. Karin knows about 11 languages and she’s actually a piano teacher for kids and it is at this how I found her – surrounded by children. On her porch I then started working on my material in that heaven corner. Food was served then, a good time to let Karin know more about my walk.
The next day I was heading back to Hamburg city centre, where I met Friederike George, or, simply put, Fritzi. :) Back into the uni spirit. And in front of the Hamburg University, where I met her, there was another display of a bit of socialistic growing fever: the Hamburg’s state debt, growing by 23 Euros per second, together with the wealth of the richest people in Hamburg, supposedly growing by 231 Euros per second. With Fritzi I then went back to the harbour area, seeing the Reeperbahn zone – the city’s nightlife epicentre in the St. Pauli district. We then took a boat to the beach. Which basically ment only more photos to take. :)
I’m off heading North now. Love you, Hamburg! Peace!