zaterdag 14 december 2013

Death tho Those Who do not Rock and the Secret of the Nomadic Village

Here’s a story for you. A true story. Maybe you know it already. But it is always nice to hear it again.

One day, in the summer of 2013, when we were still building our temporary homes in the Nomadic Village, the nomads went to the recycle center in Cuges les Pins, not far from Marseille, to collect materials they might need. I was looking for things I could use to build a Memory Shop. Wood for a house, fabric for a tent, plastic for a light weight room. Instead of materials for walls I found a table with four drawers. In one of the drawers there was a book about Bedouin. I found wood for signposts. I found big rolls of sticker material in all colours. I found cloth hangers. I realised I wouldn’t need more. But just to make sure, I went through the containers one last time.

That is when I found a small silver coloured metal box. It was round. The top was black. When I shook it I heard something move around inside. I didn’t open it.

In the Nomadic Village I built my shop. It was easy. I put the table under a tree. I hung the cloth hangers in the tree. I cut out letters and shapes from the sticky material and worked on the signage. I sat on my table and opened my Memory Shop. I sewed memories in pockets. I kept the small box in sight.

People were curious what was inside. They asked me if I had opened it. But I hadn’t. I was more curious what was inside the people. And the box helped me to get a small peep inside their heads. People guessed what was inside. They moved the box in different ways. They listened to the sound. They came up with reasons why somebody would throw out this kind of box. Some people thought it was a ring. A coin. A tooth. An unpolished diamond. The key to the nomadic heart. A seed. A baby elephant. Schrödingers cat. The key to another box.

I left the box on my table unguarded a few times. I don’t know if anybody opened it. Nobody told me he did. But somebody did sent me an e-mail after I left, telling me that he dreamt he had opened the box. The content had disappointed him but the dream had given him some answers on questions he was struggling with.

Other people found other things in the dumpsters in the recycle centre. The Error Collective found a box with funny figurines. They adopted them, gave them shelter in the Error Biblioteque, a house built out of books and cardboard. One of these Little Errorists travelled with me after I left the Nomadic Village. We went to Portugal, to Amsterdam, to Vienna and back to Amsterdam. He is called Death to Those Who do not Rock. There is a guitar on his back. He likes to see me dance. I only saw him dancing once. He gave himself the task to watch over the little box and the secret inside.

I never really wonder what is inside but I do wonder what is the right moment to open it. It was suggested to me when Esmilda, my small and wise shop assistent, told me that there might be a small baby elephant inside and her father concluded that the right moment to open it was when I would be in need of an elephant.

I thought about that. When does one need an elephant? When did people use elephants and why? And the first thing that jumped my mind was Hannibal. He crossed the Alps with the help of elephants in 218 BC, it was one of the most celebrated achievements of any military force in ancient warfare.

In 2014 the Nomadic Village will be hosted in Austria. 2/3 of the country is covered by the Alps.

Did I already mention I love mountains?

zondag 3 november 2013

A new suit

I never thought I would ever wear a jogging suit in public. Emilia's suit. Three pieces again, sweatshirt, trousers and a t-shirt in a matching colour.
I left Amsterdam in the middle of August in a three piece walking suit. I wore it every day while walking and afterwards while being in the Nomadic Village. In the Nomadic Village I opened a memory shop. I sewed memories into peoples' pockets. I left the Nomadic Vilage in my suit, flew to Portugal to do a project in the mountains. When I arrived in Portugal, in Covas do Monte, there was no time to think about changing cloths. I was late, everybody was ready to harvest the corn. I was dropped in the middle of nowhere, I roled up my sleeves, I worked. That day and other days. Sometimes on my art project, sometimes in the fields.
One day we were picking grapes, it started raining, we got soaked. The rest of the afternoon we spent in Emilia's kitchen. She searched for dry clothes. She told me I could keep them.
A new suit. As comfortable as the other one. Different though. But it makes sense. Thoreaux writes we shouldn't procure new cloths as long as we haven't become a new person. These people changed me. They taught me a lot. Just by doing what they do every day, by sharing their life with me, even if it was only for 2,5 weeks.
Emilia's suit. I wear it with pride. Today it will bring me back to Amsterdam. And it makes sense. To arrive in a mountain village in a three piece walking suit and to arrive in the big city in a jogging suit. Turning the world upside down. Or even better: let it happen by itself.

dinsdag 15 oktober 2013


I walked for 40 days and I arrived in the Nomadic Village. There I opened a Memory Shop. It was located in one of the best locations in town, the central square Uptown. It was close to where I lived. From my shop I could see the biggest part of the village, the Love Tower, the Captain's blue city hall buss, the Golf Nomads, Symbio Lab, the Errorist Bibliothèque, the mobile dark room where Richard and Lucy developed their film, hotel Polaris. I worked there every day, together with my 4 year old shop assistent who knew all about elephants and fixing broken memories. She brought me lots of memories too. Big ones and small ones. Even now she still does.

I once studied history, but I never really considered myself a proper historian until I arrived in the Nomadic Village, until I spent two weeks collecting stories and creating new ones. A lot of the time in my shop I spent talking with customers about their memories, about ways to remember and ways to forget. I served madeleines in memory of Proust's "A la recherche du temps perdu" and a 10 year old port. And the darkest chocolate I could get. Sweet and bitter.

Sometimes a customer would take a nap in the back of the shop to dream of old memories or we would work on forgetting instead of remembering. Sometimes we would just talk and memories would pop up. Sometimes I collected my own memories, created new ones with other nomads.

My shop consisted of a tree and a table. The tree I used to hang the clothes from, the cloths I received to embroider memories in. The table had a memory of its own. I had found it at the recycle center, some people were bringing it in to throw it away just as I was rummaging through the containers to find things I might need. It was square and had the perfect size, a low table with four drawers. Three drawers contained nothing but dust, the fourth one had a book inside. It was a story about Bedouin,
the nomads from the Middle Eastern desert. It was covered in candle wax.

I received a lot of orders. I embroidered peoples' memories into other peoples' pockets. But there was too much to do. I wasn't able to finish all the work. So the last night in the Nomadic Village I wrote a letter to my customers. Here it is:                                               

                                                                                                                  Nomadic Village, 6-10-2013

Dear customer.

Due to professional circumstances, I might not have been able to finish your order. You can either take your cloth item and return it to me at some other time or you can leave it here and I will send it back to you once I embroided the memory in the pocket or have arranged to visit you somewhere in Europe.

It is our last night in the Nomadic Village 2013. There is a full moon outside. It has been there for almost two weeks. I have been looking at it every day, sitting on top of my table, staring at a full moon in the middle of a field.

In the beginning I didn't know how it worked. I asked the mayor. "How do I turn on the moon?" Somebody laughed when I asked. But the mayor didn't. He just explained where the socket was and asked me to be careful after it had been raining.

I was planning to work all night tonight. The last night. There are still a lot of unfinished orders and I take my shop very seriously. I promised people a memory and promises are sacred. But around midnight I needed a small break. And in this town you go to the Sky Bar when you need a break. I knew it was open because there was music but when I arrived, the space had transformed into the Basement Lounge. It was busy. There was laughter. Laughter and love.

I sat inbetween the small crowd. We read the freshly printed newspaper "Looking for love". But only when Fee read one of the questions and all the answers relating to that question out loud while Thomas was recording her voice, I realised what was happening, what had happened. The question was: Is love something you use or waste or does it grow? She read the answers as if it was one answer and I realised the answer was in this situation itself, in these two weeks, in how it had brought us together, how it had transformed us. We had become one body. All our answers formed one communal answer. Together we knew what love was. We found it hard to find it on our own, but together we managed to find the answer. Maybe for the time being only, but that didn't matter. Time doesn't matter. Love does.

We drank more wine. We talked. We listened to the music. We squeezed the pigs. We wondered how Bolle had managed to get up in the Sky Bar through the small hatch. The usual subjects. But we were tired. And one after the other we left to go to sleep.

When I passed the map on the side of the sanitary building, for a moment I thought it was blank again. I thought somebody had erased all the routes we had travelled. And it made sense. Because we don't really care about where we come from. We care about where we are.

And when I walked back, Penka was walking just behind me. She gave me a good night hug. She said "If it is too cold in your place or if you feel uncomfortable, just come home, just knock on our door."

I was at home in her words. And I hope you will be in mine.

I know I promised you something. And I will keep my promise.
Next time when we meet, wear this cloth item or bring it with you. Or any other cloth item. I will embroider a memory inside. And for the time being I give you this memory. The memory of how I spent my last evening as a shop keeper in the Nomadic Village 2013.

Until we meet again and with all my love

Your memory caretaker

zaterdag 28 september 2013

Day 40. Walking with my mother & father

The end and the beginning. I had feared this day. But only in the last couple of days, because for a long time there had been no end and no beginning apart from the beginning and the ending of the day.
I had been enclosed in the day, lived the day like you live a life. Getting up in the morning, smiling, a full day ahead of me. Packing, moving my feet, a new road, new people, new stories. The smells, the sounds, the unexpected events. Things going wrong, things going right by going wrong, jumping, stumbling, embracing, standing still in the movement.

This last day was reserved by my parents. And it made sense. They gave me every day of my life, they gave me the end and the beginning. They taught me how to walk.

My mother had sent me an e-mail yesterday. Asking if my grandmother could come along too. Of course she could. In fact she was there already. And today they were all there. My mother, who at her heydays had 32 cats and a couple of dogs (amongst other animals), was there this morning when I woke up in the lonely forest, still wondering where on earth all those dogs I had heard were located and discovered that across the small path a cat and dog pension was located, hidden behind the trees. My grandmother, who loved flowers, when I started walking and entered the village of Auriol and saw the sign "ville fleurie", flower village. I petted all the cats I saw, drank my coffee the way my grandmother taught me to drink it. Bought a map. Remembered the man from Cuges-les-Pins whom I met last week just when I was looking at my route and who told me that I wouldn't be able to cross the mountains. They were too high. He said I should walk around them.

But I was walking with my father today. So there was no way around it.

I crossed the mountains. It took most of the day. My bag was heavy because I had collected some extra things in the last days. It was hot, I had to carry enough water. But I walked as if I had only just started walking, as if there was nothing on my back.

My mother stayed at the foot of the mountains. My father went all the way to the top when I decided to walk on after the Col de Bertagne. My grandmother accompanied me until the sun set and I saw Cuges-les-Pins in the far distance.

It still took me another 2 hours. And before I walked into the Nomadic Village I stopped and sat down at a bench in the middle of Cuges. I waited. But I wasn't sure what I was waiting for. For something to end or for something to begin.

zondag 22 september 2013

Day 39. Walking with Anton Tellegen

Last breakfast with a mountain

First stop in Châteauneuf-le-Rouge where there is a line in front of a shop on the village square. I approach and see a shop window with the most amazing cakes and pastries. Yesterday was my birthday. I didn't eat any birthday cake. And more important: today I am walking with Toon Tellegen's father, Anton Tellegen. It is his birthday, and I don't know anybody who is more keen on cakes than Toon is.
The moment I sit down, sip my coffee, take a bite, open my computer, an e-mail arrives. It is Toon. He must have smelled the chocolate cake.

I asked him if there was anything he wanted to tell me about his father. He writes that his father was a kind man.

I walk on. Walking with a dead man sometimes makes more sense than symbolically walking with somebody who is alive. You know that that person is somewhere else really. But the dead person isn't anywhere, so he can just as well be there with you.

I like spending time with kind people.

I thought the walking would be difficult today because the map showed big roads but the map is only a map and it didn't show how empty the roads are, how much space there is for the walker. It is an eerie landscape, now and then I look back and see the mountain range I walked through yesterday. Table mountains. I think of Cape Town, South Africa.

Sometimes you encounter strange things on the road. I bump into a black panter, lying on top of a pile of shoes. The panter is harmless, the shoes are old. There is a lot of rubbish aside the road anyway. It always makes me sad.

After les Michels it is forest again. Breathing space. I walk until I arrive at the Vallon de l'Homme Mort, the Valley of the Dead Man. I walk through it and at the other side I see the last mountain range I have to cross. It sounds cliché but I think about the promised land. It looks like it. Maybe it is the light, maybe it is the 40 days, maybe it is the name of this Valley. Anyway. Almost there. I feel happy. I feel sad. I try to stay in the almost.

The last night out on my own. I want to sleep in the wild. I find the perfect spot on a hill under an olive tree. The sun sets, I eat the leftovers from yesterdays birthday diner, pizza with eggplant, parmigiano and herbs, red wine, fresh figs from the trees around the corner.

At night I wake up because I hear something, someone, stumbling around in the bushes next to my tent. I know the smallest animals usually make the biggest sound but it does feel like a creature with a reasonable size. In the night I am not afraid of animals, only of human beings. A snoring sound. It is only a wild pig. I fall asleep again.

zaterdag 21 september 2013

Day 38. Walking with Monique Besten

I celebrate today in the company of a mountain. We changed colours this morning. I felt softer. He looked tougher than he did yesterday. He didn't move, so I stayed too. I came closer even. And thought about leaving by staying, moving by only closing your eyes. Whenever I look up from my ipad I see him. Her. It.
This morning I stared at the peaks while eating my breakfast. I sat in the grass. When I stood up two small snails had crawled onto my trousers.

Mont Sainte-Victoire. Cézanne's mountain.

Happy birthday to me. (And thank you Albert for giving me a day for myself.)

vrijdag 20 september 2013

Day 37. Walking with Dix for Teun

I don't plan ahead. I wake up. I look at the map. I walk. I arrive somewhere. I never really know where.
Today I circled a mountain. Throughout the day I saw all sides of the mountain. I saw it in different lights. From different perspectives. With different eyes. I thought I'd seen it before. But I didn't think too much about it.

The forest I woke up in the morning was empty. I was on my own. The sound of my walking stick on the dry earth. In the far distance gunshots. Hunting season. I made sure I stayed on the paths.

There were signs saying I wasn't allowed to be in the forest after 11.00 because of the dryness and risk of fire. The signs saying there we hunters about were getting more prominent. But there was no other way. I continued.

My walk today was a birthday present. Somebody asked me to walk because it was his friend's birthday. I wondered if this friend thought about me, envisaged me walking, heard my footsteps even. I didn't know anything about this man, about Teun, only that today was his birthday. I thought of him. While approaching the mountain. My footsteps were his present. The view of the mountain.

No coffee in St-Marc-Jaumegarde. More people on the road. I thought it was because of the lake. The Lac du Bimont. I crossed le Barrage.

The mountain was beautiful. It looked soft. Its surface was grey and pink and a greyish green and some black dots. It looked as if it wanted to be stroked. But I was too far away still. My eyes ran over its sides, reached the peak.

And then I saw it.

Mont Saint Victoire.

My eyes ran over my map. And there it was in small letters. Refuge Cézanne. And I saw the mountain in my head. I saw all its colours, all its sides. In miniature. In frames.
I kept them closed for a long time, tried to forget. And then I opened them again.

It was huge. It was a mountain.

donderdag 19 september 2013

Day 36. Walking with Mimi Allin

She asked me to walk with the moon and I chose a full moon day. In fact the moon was full in the morning and I already practised yesterday night, sitting outside, sipping my wine, being seduced by the moonlight. I can never resist a full moon, I have to watch it, I have to be out in the open. And I was tonight. Alone in the mountains.

I didn't walk as much today as I normally do. I took a train from Orange to Avignon, from Avignon to Cavaillon. There I took a bus to Pertuis. And from there I walked. The city was bigger than I expected, bigger than what I hoped for, big roads, fast cars, difficult walking, but I managed. And anyway, my journey isn't about walking the beautiful paths, the wonderful nature. It is about walking, moving, getting there, putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes I wondered if I was even allowed to walk there. At this strip of concrete where cars where rushing by.

I arrived at Meyrargues, I walked into the forest, I found a quiet spot. I waited for the moon but it took so long and I fell asleep. And I dreamt of the moon. In fact there where three moons in my dream and I knew I had to choose one, I knew there would be no use in trying to focus on three moons. I didn't know which one was the real one, the best one, the one I should focus on but then I woke up and the forest was silent and the light was overwhelming. I sat in front of my tent in the moonlight. I thought I saw a deer and I bet the deer thought it saw me but we both weren't sure and we remained still and looked at each other's moon shadow. I don't know how long I sat there, it felt as if the shadows got shorter, the wood got lighter, the moon got bigger, I got smaller.

Until I disappeared.

woensdag 18 september 2013

Day 35. Walking with Vera Ketelaars and Renée van Marissing

I mentioned it before, the Sideways Festival I walked in last year. Actually Dee, with whom I walked yesterday, was the author of the project I was involved in, the Walking Library. This library was carried around on the backs of Walking Librarians. The library consisted of books chosen according to the following question: what book would you bring on a long walk if you would only be allowed to bring one book?

I chose Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities. The book has everything. After I carried it around in Belgium as part of the library, being read by many people, I took the book home  to reread it myself. Not the words though but the traces people had left. Stains, folds, cracks, tears, dog ears.

When I got a tattoo, I chose a font with a similar name as one of the Invisible Cities: Euphemia.

Vera and Renée didn't know all this when they sent me the last part of the book to read on their day:

The Great Khan's atlas contains also the maps of the promised lands visited in thought but not yet discovered or founded: New Atlantis, Utopia, the City of the Sun, Oceana, Tamoe, New Harmony, New Lanark, Icaria.
Kublai asked Marco: 'You, who go about exploring and who see signs, can tell me towards which of these futures the favouring winds are driving us.'
'For these ports I could not draw a route on the map or set a date for the landing. At times all I need is a brief glimpse, an opening in the midst of an incongruous landscape, a glint of lights in the fog, the dialogue of two passersby meeting in the crowd, and I think that, setting out from there, I will put 
together, piece by piece, the perfect city, made of fragments mixed with the rest, of instants separated by intervals, of signals one sends out, not knowing who receives them. If I tell you that the city towards which my journey tends is discontinuous in space and time, now scattered, now more condensed, you must not believe the search for it can stop. Perhaps while we speak, it is rising, scattered, within the confines of your empire; you can hunt for it, but only in the way I have said.'
Already the Great Khan was leafing through his atlas, over the maps of the cities that menace in nightmares and maledictions: Enoch, Babylon, Yahooland, Butua, Brave New World.
He said: 'It is all useless, if the last landing-place can only be the infernal city, and it is there that, in ever- narrowing circles, the current is drawing us.'
And Polo said: 'The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.'

 Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

The things I saw that day and remembered are many. I might have to invent new words to write them down. I might need to place them in the context of 40 walking days. Take that day out of the row and rebuilt it, construct it with the memories of other days as a basis. I will do that. Once I've arrived. In the temporal village I am heading towards.

dinsdag 17 september 2013

Day 34. Walking with Dee Heddon

Two people walked with me. They were both real. But one was really present and the other one wasn't.

I hadn't seen Simon for more than two months. We met in Sweden, exploring the pioneer life and both trying to find out how we could simplify our way of existence. He lived not far from my route, he arrived in a car with the words "buurt slagers" removed from the side but still clearly readable. He had no idea it was Dutch. Or what it meant. Neighbourhood butchers.

We walked from Prévenchère through the mountains. We talked a lot and we kept forgetting to look for the proper signs. It didn't matter too much. As long as the direction was south.

Now and then Dee joined us. At regular points like a bend in the road, the bottom of a hill, the middle of a long, straight path. She had asked me to insert a simple action into my walk, she would do the same in her regular walking route:

1) pause and look ahead at the route to come and then 2) turn round and survey the route just walked. I want us to really see and notice where we are going and where we have come from. When we look ahead, we might imagine - project - an image of ourselves walking there. When we look back we might imagine what that place looked like a moment ago, when we were in it, moving through it.

Dee was wearing the hat she had been wearing when I last saw her. A t-shirt, walking trousers, walking shoes. I wondered if I walked with her in a suit. Considering she never saw me wearing anything else, I figured that was how she saw me.

At first when I looked back I saw myself repeating the movements I had made before. At least I thought I did. At some point something changed though and instead of going right I saw myself going left. Jumping over a puddle instead of walking around it. Running when I had walked slowly. And when I looked ahead I didn't see my back but I would see myself walking towards me, passing me without seeing me. Sometimes I was alone, at other times one or two of my companions joined me. There was one turn where I could almost hear them talking together. When I joined the conversation they were gone again. And when I looked back I just saw myself, standing still, listening to myself walking ahead.

We reached a town, just the two of us. Dee had gone. Back to where she came from. Or ahead, somewhere waiting for us. Simon went back along the same road. When he returned with the car I forgot to ask if he had encountered any of the projections of us.
We ate pizza without meat in the former butcher's car. Drove into the woods until we found a quiet spot. Camped under an almost full moon.

maandag 16 september 2013

Day 33. Walking with Alison Bell and Solla

I left Luc early, it was freezing cold. I sacrificed a pair of socks. I cut two small holes. Now I had mittens.
The blackberries were back and I ate them, I hadn't seen them for days which was good because I was getting afraid my blood would turn into blackberry juice. I can't resist them.

Two companions today. Alison Bell asked me : "Think of past lovers and the joy they brought into your life, think of this, for all of us out there who remember and smile."
Solla asked me to use my heart: "Ask for food, ask nature or people you meet, you can do it straight out or in a more delicate way and by giving something from your heart on that day." She asked me to really look at people, look them in the eye and see them from my heart.

Coffee in La Bastide-Puylaurent. I don't like asking for food or drinks. I payed. I looked the lady in the eyes. She smiled. I gave her a tip.

I had received so much already during this walk. Coffee, tea, pancakes, fruit, diners and deserts, wine and snacks. We had been generous, the people and me. Sharing stories, chocolate, attention, smiles, food, ideas, anything. Today was a day to remember that. And smile at anybody, even on this cold day, especially on this cold day.

I thought about past lovers, about love, about being loved. And it warmed me. And there is much to say about that. Not so long ago I read Barthes' "A lovers discourse", a shocking book in a way, but I realised again we are all the same, we do the same thing again and again. Love is never a new thing, it is the same thing always. And it is true what Bobin writes:

"... love does not fill anything, not the hole you have in your head, not the abyss that you have in your heart. Love is an absence much more than a fullness. Love is a fullness of absence, this is, I grant you, an incomprehensible thing. But this thing that is impossible to understand is so very simple to live ....."

and wearing my suit, my soft armour, my body, I thought of John Berger too:

 “To be so desired – if the desire is also reciprocal – renders the one who is desired fearless. No suit of armour ... ever offered, when worn, a comparable sense of protection. To be desired is perhaps the closest anybody can reach in this life to feeling immortal.”

I walked and the sun started to shine. The views were amazing. Finally I walked in the mountains without just looking at them from a distance.

There were no villages. And at some point the path I walked on turned into silver. There were hundreds of grasshoppers sitting in the sun and with every step I took they jumped up, showing the beautiful blue of their hind wings which is usually hidden.

I tried to catch the blue and I failed but it is in my memory and when I close my eyes I can see it.

I walked to Prévenchères where a friend was waiting for me. I looked him in the eye. He took me out for a very nice dinner.

zondag 15 september 2013

Day 32. Walking with Gert Boer

Today should have been the 58th birthday of Diny, whose favorite walking boots were flipflops. She died two years ago. I don't know her but a friend of hers, who is a walker and a runner, asked me to walk with him. He wrote me about Diny and her flipflops. He gave me a half marathon in euros.

So I start the day on flipflops and walk 211 steps. It rains and it is cold. I consider walking all the way on flipflops but I'm afraid I won't get far. 211 steps. With every step I imagine I cover 100 meter. 211 steps covering a whole life. Impossible.

I leave Pradelles and only when I already walked at least a kilometer and look back I see how beautiful the village is situated in the fields. I entered from the other end, big ugly streets, a lovely historic centre though. And a closed campsite.

Like the days before, the GR 700 joins the Stevenson route now and then, the GR 70. Stevenson (famous for his book Treasure Island) travelled this area with a donkey and he wrote a book about it, Travels with a donkey through the Cevennes. Most people I encounter walk his route. I see a lot of donkeys although nobody is travelling with one. They stand in the fields. Looking at the passers by.

Langogne. And on. On my way to Luc. It is the nearest place on my route with a campsite. I look in my guide book. I count the kilometers. Pradelles - Langogne: 5,5. Langogne - carrefour du GR 70: 3,5. And from there to Luc: 12. I am walking 21 kilometers today. Maybe even 21.1. But it might just as well be 21.4 or 21.7. It doesn't matter really.

I arrive in Luc. It is getting dark. And windy. The campsite is open, but only because there is no way to close it. A big open field. A small concrete sanitary house. A note saying I have to register at the bar in the village.

I install myself in the washing room. My 1.80 meter mattress almost fits in diagonally when I only inflate it partially. There is warm water, a socket to charge my ipad, a lock on the door. 4 walls and a roof. Luxury.

I read the e-mail Gert sent me again. Somewhere he quotes Friedrich: das Notwendige nicht bloss ertragen sonders ES LIEBEN! and he wonders whether there is wisdom in it and whether there is wisdom. I think of a Bobin quote:

"Savoir qu'on est vivant est tout savoir.", "Knowing you are alive is knowing everything."