Back from Hitchhiking
Over the Easter weekend Kaija and I went hitchhiking again. This time we headed to Germany’s Wild Wild East. Though the wall dividing East and West Germany is long gone you can still feel the divide. Different accents, lingo, shops and everything is a lot cheaper and run down. A nice run down though. It’s got personality and a real make shift vibe. With the cheap rent and numerous derelict buildings young creatives have the space and money for underground parties, exhibitions and culture clubs.
Highlights of our trip:
1) Getting a lift from a retired army general. He quizzed my history knowledge and let me tell you – had he been my teacher in school I would have been shit scared. He screamed at me every time I got an answer wrong.
“When did Napoleon come to Germany?”
He didn’t believe me that I studied German history at school and when he dropped us off he gave us directions of where we were. “But why am I even telling you this? You won’t remember anyway”, he said to me. “It’s ok but you just have to acknowledge and accept that your memory isn’t really your thing.”
Thaaaaanks! Now I just have to remember his wise words.
2) Dresden’s flea market full of GDR (German Democratic Republic) memorabilia. Old postcards, stamps, photographs, money, books, cameras, clothes. No new items were allowed to be sold there and people really stuck to that rule. I bought an analog camera from the GDR. It cost me 6 euros (in London these old cameras would cost tons) and it still had a film from back in the day in it. I’m getting it developed now and hope that the film isn’t entirely ruined.
3) Walking through Dresden’s “Neustadt” (New City). A neighborhood with a Mediterranean-Yuppie-Hipster vibe. Classic, old Germany buildings covered in not so classic street art and graffiti. Bar after bar after cafe after shop. Gay bars, jazz bars, Sushi, Mexican food, punk bars, GDR nostalgia bars, South American bars with 3 for 4 caipis. Colourful hostels and independent boutiques. The best burger in town made by a Chinese dude next door to the best toilet in town (nothing special about the toilet except I could use it without buying a drink and there was no line)
4) Living in a camper van settlement in Leipzig. Just a 10 minute tram ride from the Central Station is a pretty alternative neighborhood with loads of derelict factories and buildings. Across a factory used for parties is a camper van park where about 36 people live paying only 80 Euro rent per month. Each camper van is personalized, decorated and equipped. The one I stayed in had everything you need including a computer, a treasure chest filled with cameras, an oven, sink, fridge and room for 3 people to sleep. We had breakfast on the camper van’s roof and for some reason I managed not to pee or shower while I was there so I wasn’t able to experience the bathroom camper van. Tooooooo bad.
5) Going to a minimal techno party in Leipzig with our CouchSurfing camper van buddy and his friend. The place was professionally make shift. Here and there was art on the run down bar’s wall, table fussball, a punk DJ playing minimal, cake and chips for free on the bar top, cheap beer and projected videos on the wall. The stamp I got upon entering the place was a small version of a Bansky. The girl with the ballon, ya know?