Rainbows in Poland

“when the earth is ravaged
and the animals are dying,
a new tribe of people shall
come unto the Earth from
many colors, classes, creeds
and who by their actions and
deeds shall make the earth
green again.

They will be known as
The warriors of the rainbow.”

                                           – Native American Prophecy

 

This is the very prophecy that the rainbow movement, philosophy, idea, family is based upon.

I met the rainbow for the first time in September of 2017, while staying at the Buddhilde, a community in Rostock.
The philosophy of the Rainbow is that of love and light, respecting all that is in its interconnectedness and living close to and with mother earth – in freedom, in peace and harmony.
Starting in the 80’s in the USA, the ideas of the rainbow have spread all over the world.
The family gets together in rainbow gatherings in predetermined places – favorably far away from civilization – for a month at a time starting with the new moon.

After I met the rainbow I first got to know it a little bit through the virtual world. I realized there that just like the rainbow – the rainbow brings people of all colours and they naturally carry and mirror the problems of our civilization – fear and anxiety, not being right, holding on, lack of consciousness, defensivness but of course also the light, the love, the warmth, the acceptance.

In Sweden I was warmly welcomed by a rainbow family in their cozy house in Vika. And through the months some more rainbows crossed my path in real life and in the virtual world. Just like Bobâ in Kassel.

It was time to dive in and go to a gathering. I would have liked to ease my way in at a small one but time and logistics let me end up at the anual European Gathering – this year in Poland – with a few thousand people expected.

I felt a bit anxious – so many people, Raki by my side, shitting into a hole in the ground, no toilet paper, those mentioned tensions that were present in the family and carrying my 20kg tent for 30 minutes. But I was curious and open and ready to dive in.

I arrived home. I was welcomed warmly amidst family – people with curious open minds, willing to help out wherever they can. I enjoyed the openness as it is something so inherent in me but often overwhelms others. Here it was just normal to approach people you had never seen before, greet them, hug them.
I immersed myself in the rainbow – singing, dancing, learning, connecting. I found an abundance of teachers from all over the world, willing to share their expertise. I practiced a lot of massaging, helping people with old and young injuries and pains and could feel how I was getting better and getting great feedback.
And the music – oh the music. There, then, the music was what captured me most – one of a kind, talented musicians with a wide variety of instruments from common to rare, singing dancing, jamming, falling into trance.
The place was beautiful – rolling hills of yellow grass, interrupted by big and small patches of forest, a lush green valley with a gentle river running through.

The rainbow was the rainbow – the whole spectrum. Next to all the love and light there was also tension and dark. Incidents with dogs, trying to tell others what to do and how to do it, a lack of participation… We even had the chance to watch someone spiral down into a psychotic state of mind and how this temporary society dealed with it.

And the rain . . .
While the rest of Europe was having the heat wave of the century, we had rain – a lot.
After some days of sun and rain and thunderstorms the sun didn’t greet us for a week. I have long been training to accept things as they are and make the best of it and so does the family but after a while it gets very draining – ankle deep mud, cold puddles, paths turning into rivers, sliding down hills, mold in the tent …

I had clothing lines inside of my tent and would wear the same clothes all the time, letting them dry on my body to have the least amount of wet items possible. When I found mold, I put up my tarp and somehow managed to dry things.

I met many wonderful people and made many friends. Two very special ones were the two Italians – Seba and Ja. After two weeks of wetness they wanted to get out. I felt tempted as well and after noticing the bad smell that came from the giant mud fields, I decided to leave for a few days as well. I left my tent and intended to come back for the full moon ceremony.
The two guys decided to come with me and our party got completed by Angie, another German.

We searched for a lake and ended up in a touristic area in the very East of Poland. After some searching we ran into a hut in a beautiful location. IT seemed like a place for hay making and we ended up squating it for two days. Two days of nature, getting lost in the hang drum, relaxation and enjoying the nearby town.
From there we craved a shower and washing machine. The guys wanted to do some basking. So we ended up in an Air bnb in Rzeszow and doing exactly that. We had a wonderful time …

The full moon was coming closer and time to go back to the rainbow. The guys decided they didn’t feel the rainbow anymore and wanted to continue West and South. I enjoyed travelling with them a lot and felt like it wasn’t time to say goodbye yet. I had loved the experience at the rainbow but it felt like it was time to say goodbye to the European one. We went back for a night and a day. It was mindblowing – the village had become a city. I wondered around in bliss, marvelling at what people had created there. I saw many faces light up when they saw me again after some days of absence and shared contacts.

The day of the full moon – many arriving for the party, some seaming like party tourists. We took all day to say goodbye, find each other and pack up. I said goodbye to lovely Angie who decided to stay there and in the evening we left. Next destination: Berlin.

 

There are no pictures from the rainbow as electronics are not appreciated but here are some from our little time off

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A year apart — one year later

I chose this title for the folder of the pictures that I took. A year apart – apart from the “normal” life, travelling, exploring. Only now I fully realize how true this word was – is – on so many more levels….

I didn’t choose to go on this journey, I was taken. Taken by former decisions by steps along the way. In 2012 I commited to a person on another continent. I commited with all I got. I was all in. A commitment that led me to working limited contracts, that gave me the goal of moving to another country. Only by getting to know this country I realized it wasn’t one for me. And time made me ask if this person was. Still we didn’t want to give up before we didn’t try a bit more. A decision was made to spend 6 months together – in this country that I knew wasn’t mine. Only, I ended up doubting that decision – had I been there already twice for three months at a time. Berlin’s way of paying their teachers and a humble way of living had left me with a lot of money and I decided it was time to spend it on me. This relationship – if it was meant to last – had to find different ways. Life – a beautiful person – brought me this idea of a farm on a little Greek island, working with an endagered, endemic breed of miniature horses. It seemed like a wonderful opportunity – first as a trip before going for 6 months, then as a starting point for my own trip. My plan was to travel, to be free, to enjoy, to help people and to learn skills for future projects while doing so. Only it went quite different.

During the previous years I had been on a journey to myself. A challenging (looong distance) relationship, moving to a new city, the “referendariat” where you get judged constantly and some other stuff put me up with many tasks and made me hit rock bottom more than once. I pulled myself through – finding healing in nature and exploring my mind and myself with psychedelic substances and with the occasional helpful word from a friend. I came out the other end much stronger and with a new sense of who I was and wanted to be. While I worked at a special place – a primary school in Wedding, Berlin, that will forever be close to my heart – I continued on that path. For the first time since I had entered school I was (relatively) free of being judged on my output and had to carry my own responsibility within that system. Here I had the room to finally define my role – as a teacher, as myself. What I found was love. It became a big part of my role, of my way at work – to share appreciation, to give compliments, to spread warmth.

I had found myself and my role in this context. Still I wasn’t truly happy or healthy. I felt boxed in by the rules of the system. I saw people struggle every day with the work load they were given from the outside and I was teaching kids that were stuck in the obedience to a system that I was questioning more and more – working 5 days a week? Getting up early?…
So when I left I already didn’t have the intention to come back. I wanted to see what other things life was holding for me and to have time to explore my creativity.

On that little Greek island, I was seeking to slow down after my job. I wanted to help wherever I can and be of use.
I found something else – I found what I needed – as we always do. I was confronted with my need to please. I tried hard. Only you can’t please people who aren’t happy with themselves. I became a mirror (I realised recently that I did that a lot). I struggled and my body and mind lit up with symptoms like a christmas tree. Living conditions that weren’t easy – mostly a lack of privacy and at points harsh island weather didn’t make it any easier. My need for planning had made me book a return flight and so I felt stuck in the box I had created for myself. Also I am not one to quit easily and so I tried to make it work. I found myself some beautiful pockets and made some lasting memories. I walked up a big hill and found a mesmerizing 180° panoramic ocean view. I took a bike trip to the magical and stunning beach of Agios Petros. I rediscovered my passion for photography and found goats to be wonderful photo models. I fell in love with a dog. I met beautiful people that will forever be in my heart. Early on me and my friend walked into the bar Korphari and found a place that felt like home – emitting warmth and welcome. In the end I didn’t just stay because of my flight, I stayed because I felt there were still things left for me on this island. A violent temper tantrum (I was on the receiving end) ended my time on the farm and I moved in above Korphari. Even though certainly a character, Dimitri was a good host and wonderful friend. I helped with sanding wooden furniture, window and door frames and waxing them with beewax, also wherever else I could. I met other wonderful people that I now call friends – Christina – jewellery maker from Germany, integral part of the community and a tremendous help with the little thing that would become my companion, Nasja – beautiful soulsister and jewellery maker, Dylan – American adventurer, Ambre – chearful and happy, there are few I can laugh with in the way I can with her, Jason – Australien artist and painter, Georgis (Pat) – even though we had a significant language barrier his loving and gentle energy and his beautiful woodwork deeply impressed me; and – very important – Anastassio – Athen-based film maker and artist who became a constant inspiration and close friend. There were many more like Alexis and Elini with all their wonderful four legged companions, who welcomed me into their home and life during my last days on the island, Costa with his free and loving spirit and many who’s names I can’t quite remember.
In the end, the little island in the Aegean Sea taught me a lot about myself and brought me far along this journey of finding balance wherever I am. I met many beautiful people and enjoyed the rugged nature. I found a companion and we enjoyed running barefoot along the beach.
We left together, off to new challenges and new horizons.
Thank you beautiful Skyros for the experiences you gifted me, for the freedom I felt, for the sun and for your beautiful, special people. We will be back some day.
I had been on the island for three months. We got back to Germany at the end of May.
Back in Germany my new companion Raki and I had some missions – I wanted to give the little one time and space to settle into his new life and for that went to my parents garden house. There we had green around us and space for long walks. We played and learned and were. Another mission was finding a car as I had decided – now that I have the dog, I need the car for the adventure way of life and travelling. It had been a vision of mine before and I didn’t want to travel with a lot of stuff on trains (also not a big fan of the German train company). As there is minimal to zero internet at my parents garden place. That was a difficult task. Also as I don’t really have a clue about cars, I needed help. But for the moment I was in no rush and we enjoyed ourselves as it was.
At the end of June I went to visit my friend Nina, her mom and her sister in Woland – a beautiful, peaceful place in the middle of nowhere in the Mecklenburg countryside. There Raki got to know horses, following along while I was riding and while I was biking. He also found a friend – lovely Tonka. When we got there his perception was still influenced from his former way of living. He only perceived things that were in a four meter radius around him. I was so happy that he didn’t show any hunting tendencies. Well that changed in Woland. The big population of wild rabbits caught his attention and he found a liking in chasing them. Throughout time it became clear that what I had gotten myself there, was a dog with a hunting heritage. He has a very good vision and nowadays spots the tiniest movement in the distance. He gave me a lot of hardship with that part of him but he is a smart guy and we are working on it.

I was told that in order to get a decent car I needed a certain amount of money. I had the idea to ask my boyfriend for a loan. In the end being in a long distance relationship money had always been a topic. For a while I had brought more to the table and no matter how our relationship would turn out, we were friends and trusted each other, so why not. That’s what I thought…
So in July I went to Boston, to visit, to see how we were and to ask. I felt incredibly anxious about leaving Raki behind as he is not an easy character and has a ways of pushing people’s buttons, certainly then at the height of puberty. In the end it was a step on the way – letting go and accepting.

Boston was interesting – in many ways. A beautiful city with a diverse crowd that felt very European – I saw many women without bras.
Tommy and me were not in a good place. We had been moving apart already for a while and had had little contact in the previous months. It turned out quickly that that money idea wouldn’t go down when I realized that this loan wouldn’t be one of trust but connected to how I was doing with my “career” and the decisions I would be making. As we had at points in the past, we weren’t getting along that well. Only this time it was the finale. We decided to split up. Five years we had been together. It had been an interesting journey. I learned a lot about myself. Actually this relationship had been the initiation of looking at myself in ways I didn’t before — asking who I was and starting to define myself. Part of that was throwing myself into another culture, another society and understanding the one I had been born into from another angle. I will forever be grateful for all of it – for the missery, the hardship, the suffering, for the deep love, the passion, the knowledge and a mind boggeling physical connection. With Tommy I discovered striving and being passionate about life and your goals. In many ways this relationship woke me up. Thank you.

Back in Germany it now really was time to find a car. A lead to a consultant who helps with buying VW busses faded into nothing and my new found hope was crushed . Time was passing quickly and my frustration growing – finding places to stay, finding help to find a car, being ferried around. … Nonetheless I learned once more opportunities always come and if you trust, a way will be found. I had many wonderful experiences and met beautiful people – visiting friends and family and making new friends along the way. I celebrated the 30’s birthday of my friend Konny in a beautiful old farm house with many lovely people, a lot of laughter and curious incidents. More than once I stayed with my cousin and his girlfriend – Sven and Andrea, amazing people who truly know how to enjoy life and are always inspiring with new ways of making the world a better place. While with them I found the Ideenwiese. A place that came just at the right time and let me recharge my batteries, enjoy the beauty of a place and people like no other.
Leaving from this beautiful place I payed a visit to Potsdam and had a little touch down in “my” apartment that made me realize once more that this wasn’t my place anymore.
From there our journey brought us back north – celebrating the birthday of my dear friend Johanna in the countryside close to Greifswald.
Our journey continued back to an old love – Rostock – city of my studies and first independence. Six years had I lived there and I hadn’t been there for something like three years. I was excited to meet friends and to fill the well known place with new experiences and new people. Rostock was the place where I had to find my car. It was September already and I knew this was the place. Rostock has an avid community of water sport enthuisiats, many of which have their own bulli. As I had in the past I went back to personal communcation. I believe that in our fast paced society and the age of social media it is all the more important to make the effort for personal messages and communication (even if it is through a virtual way). So I wrote little messages on bright coloured slips of paper and put them on bullis throughout town that looked attractive and like the owner might have a good circle of friends and could know someone who would sell a car to me.
In the end I found our matt black companion on the Internet. I recently named him Ouzo (I thought it works well with Raki). Ouzo is a giant and held some challenges for me. I spent a lot of time and energy on building something like a home into him – my first real experience with conctruction and building. He also made me face my parents and some conflicts between us. They had been cooking for a while and I felt the big clash coming. So building and constructing with my dad, me being certainly overwhelmed with that task and a very different approach to it made us errupt like a volcano. The clash with my mom followed as a consequence. It was part of the journey – part of the taking apart of myself and looking at the pieces, part of putting them back together. I learned, we learned and we came out the other end, stronger and happier. So Ouzo has put me on a journey, not an easy one but I am very proud about the outcome and very happy that I found him. He also challenged my patients (and my wallet) when he had to go back to the shop several times and took much longer to get fixed than anticipated. Still he’s a pleasure to drive and has carried me around very reliably.

While I was in Rostock I also stumbled upon Mike-Georg, a beautiful soul, full of adventure and warmth and he led me to a place called Tessenow and a person called Dirk. Tessenow – this magical place of peace and silence brought me just that – peace and time to reflect on the events of the year. Quickly it became another home (one of many I had found in this year) and pulled me back for rebalancing in nature several times. Dirk is a very interesting person with a life of many forms and helped me put together many puzzle pieces to myself. He also gave me work and friendship and he is one more person that will stay with me.

During my stay in Greece I got a message from Dinant, Belgium, from Ingrid, asking if I would want to come and work with her. I really liked her way of approaching me and her profile on this platform I was using looked tempting, so I said I would like to come. We stayed in touch through all of the year. She accompanied me on my journey with Raki before it even started. So naturally going to Belgium was like a set plan. I was longing for time to slow down after that rollercoaster of a year, ready to settle into a place and of warmth and appreciation. But it wasn’t time just yet. Ingrid had had a very difficult time, not to say life and was at a turning point herself. We triggered each other and I found myself again struggeling with my need to please and help. I learned again, the same lectures from the past, in different forms in a different place. Ingrid was and is a beautiful person with an incredible strength and power. I learned a lot from her and I so much hope that she finds the love for herself and for life that she deserves.
From Dinant I had a short stop with my friend Ambre, whom I had worked with on Skyros and her family. Having a language barrier with her parents made us appreciate our poor efforts all the much more. I had a blast with Ambre and her brother. Ambre has an unforgving humour, dark and without boundaries. With her I enjoy the ease to say whatever I want and we laugh a lot.

Stocked up with human connection and foody gifts I was ready to celebrate my 30th birthday in solitude. I had booked an Air bnb in the netherlands, right smack in a nature reservation and had a great time with myself, in nature, with food and with mary jane.

Christmas was spent with my family. I had a wonderful time of warmth and appreciation and I learned a lot about the system of my family – putting some more puzzle pieces together.

 

Sweden – where it all comes together
While I was in Belgum I was writing with my friend Kajsa from Sweden. I met her and her friend Meit in 2010 at the Copenhagen airport while all of us where on the way to New Zealand. In the country of the long white cloud we managed to meet a few more times and especially Kajsa I held in fond memory. She is a happy, warm and confident person. When we were writing in December she told me that she had broken up with her boyfriend, was living alone in the countryside in a little house and while otherwise fine could use a bit of love. My bells were ringing and I suggested to her for me to come and stay for a while, giving her money for electricity and water and pitching in with the food. At first taken aback she said “that could work” and so in the beginning of the year I went to the south of Sweden, close to Jönköping. Kajsa is living in a cozy little home on a small farm with her landlords across a pasture and otherwise no neighbours for a few kilometres. There me and Raki found time to settle in, to slow down and to get to know each other and our needs better.Kajsa was a wonderful host and flat mate, warm and appreciative. It was a pleasure to see her with her drive of life and we had many interesting conversations and exchanges. She brought me to her brothers birthday and I enjoyed seeing a true Swedish family and way of living. I also had one of the meals of my life there.

In Sweden I had space to put the puzzle pieces of me – past and future – back together and redefine ways of being and living – where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. Dirk was giving me tasks and I was exploring old procrastination patters, the relationship of want and have to, wanting to please, searching for connection and following and listening to my needs of relaxation and tension. I found my love for picture taking and writing again and managed to touch many people deeply with my words. Through that I found confidence for this art of mine and am inspired to continue along this path. My journey through Sweden brought me to few places and to many people. I started in Svensbygget, continued along the south coast, staying in Höllviken, Ystad and Dalby. From there I went North to Vika into an unknown world of winter wonder. Here Raki and me found calmness and relaxation through long walks on frozen lakes, through peace and space. In Sweden we met Kajsa and her family, Nima from Irak, Manuel from Spain, Lionel from the UK, Amir and family Schröter from Germany. I met many more through virtual ways, like Johan, Nicholas, Erik and Kristaps. In Sweden I strengthend my trust – the trust that things come when it is time for them and found back into my form of love, warmth and appreciation. I stay on that journey, for it is one of life and it is hard to let go of old ways. Still now is a breaking point and we are off to new horizons.

Tomorrow we will leave Vika and take on the adventure of camping in the cold. I’m longing for freedom, independence and solitude.
Even though I feel anxious of going back to Germany and facing the real life challenges of doctors appointments, insurances and so on, I am excited for what our future holds for us. I know it will be amazing and colourful.

Brace yourself, here we come.

Cindy, Raki and Ouzo.

 

 

Sweden

Sweden was the places were everything came back together. A place of beauty, diversity, of peace and tranquility. There is a lot of space in this country, many beautiful houses in breathtaking locations. The people are a bit happier and more content than in many other places. Of course there is the other side too – dissatisfaction, restriciton (be it the way they sell alcohol).

Sweden – you beauty – I surely will be back some day.

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This is actually Denmark
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Still Denmark, close to Copenhagen

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Ouzo

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Øresund Bridge (and swans)
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Höllviken

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Ystad

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Lake Vättern

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Vika

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Belgium and the Netherlands (30! OMG)

Ingrid, in Dinant, Belgium and me had been in contact for quite a while and so I was excited to go to this little city. Her house had a beautiful view of the town. Unfortunately we got a lot of rain and grey and even snow. Raki enjoyed having a friend here and I believe Dunya did as well.#

From Belgium we went to the Netherlands where I celebrated my 30th birthday. I had an amazing party for my 29th with a wonderful band, many great people, lovely food and beautiful decoration. So for my 30th, especially with the weight society puts on that number it felt just right to spend it on my own. I booked an Air bnb right smack in the nature and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings, stuffing myself with a great variety of amazing food and some of the local green flowers.

 

Ideenwiese

The Ideenwiese was a a very special place and very special time. I heard about this little festival from a friend just two weeks before it was about to take place. Having felt a bit lost and in need for warm and appreciative people and a place to just be (in nature) this came just at the right moment. The Ideenwiese is (was) a little festival that is completely self organised with no payment for anyone involved, including the artists. The guests are asked to participate in the different tasks. So I took the opportunity and arrived before the festival to help setting everything up. Just the weekend before going there by body gave me a lovely surprise – a swollen parotid gland. After some anxiety, paranoia and worry, I realised its cause – pressure, expectations, people telling me how to be – a lack of balance and warmth. So what I had to do was clear – relax really hard and go to this place and be healed by the hippie energies. Surely that’s how it went. After two days of being there the swelling slowly started to fade.

The Ideenwiese with its inhabitants, organizers and location was a beautiful, magical place with so many lovely details – a lake for swimming and enjoying beautiful views, a sweat lodge to get you hot, a beautiful handcrafted bar, Mama Ganga – a place for relaxation, meditation and yoga, a stage and a wonderful variety of great musicians, a kitchen that cooked amazing meals for everyone, a variety of interesting workshops, a cinema in a tent and so much beautiful decoration – on top of it all peaceful nature all around and some sheep for furry company.
I met many amazing people that will stay in my heart and a few that became friends. After the end Raki and me stayed for some more days, pretty much until the end to help take everything apart again and to enjoy the hippie way of life for as long as we can.

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Germany

On the search for a car and at the same time starting my new companion into his new life left me back in my home country – staying in my parents garden house, visiting friends and family. It took me so much longer to find this car than I anticipated or had hoped and I went on quite a bit of journey along the way. I got to experience my home state (Bundesland) Mecklenburg in a whole new way and fell in love all over again.

I was happy to visit my old home – Rostock – again. I stayed at a beautiful place, called “Budhilde” – a place of free spirits, bright colours and curiousity, a place where people try hard (and succeed) to make this world a better place.

Two other places that you can see down there and that are close to my heart are Woland and Tessenow. Both beautiful. Woland, a place of action – horse riding, biking, walking and Rabbits, so many Rabbits. Tessenow a place of peace and quiet. Both, places of stunning beauty.

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one of Woland’s beauties – Tonka

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Rostock’s climate day and the beautiful Daisy
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Die verrückte Hutmacherin

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Stadthafen

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Beautiful Budhilde

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The Baltic
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What a gang

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Tessenow

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New Years Eve with the beautiful Johanna

Skyros

Skyros was and I’m sure still is a beautiful place – a tiny island in the Aegean Sea. One of many opposites – giant, stunning mansions, next to houses falling apart. Plastic trash next to stunning views. Cold, strong winds and burning sun. Rugged, wild nature right next to a Nato base. A place of art – old and new.

I met many beautiful people there that forever will be in my heart. I hope I will meet them again soon and I hope to some day go back to this little island.

I first arrived with my dear friend Johanna. We just got there in time for Apocrias – Greek carnival that takes place during the orthodox easter. We observed a loud and exciting celebration, during which the shepherds dress up in a very specific manner and carry big brass bells around their waste. We were told that “during Apocrias everyone gets drunk” and soon discovered it to be true in an unexpected manner. One of our group ordered a glass of water and got a big glass of ouzo instead.

On Skyros I had many moments of freedom – roaming the nature, running along the beach, spending days without thinking about shoes.I experienced an interesting culture – one of hospitality and warmth. But I could also tell that there were some other things underneath that surface and more than once I felt kind of happy to not understand the language.

On Skyros I met my companion – Raki and so a piece of that Island stays with me for the time being.

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Beach of Παραλία Παλαμάρι
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Apocrias
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Holy Monastery of St. George

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Jason Roberts

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Παραλία Παλαμάρι once more
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The rugged southern part of the island

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Molos

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Roosters in exchange for firewood

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The Skyrian Horse

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Agios Petros

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Molos once more
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Kastro

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Ekklisia Agios Panteleimonas

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Looking down from Ekklisia Agios Nikolaos, down there is little Raki

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“The Mountain”
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Skyros

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Mousa and Raki

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Oporto

Oporto – Portugal’s second biggest city is a bustling place with many tourists, a lot of beautiful street art, wonderful architecture and culinary specialty that really is a special one.

I had found myself a couchsurfing host with a dog. Both of them were really nice and welcoming. In fact I was staying with a celebrity – the youngest coach of a first league women’s volleyball team (you might be able to guess, that means he didn’t have a lot of money). Together with me a heat wave arrived in the city and my stay was accompanied by lovely blue skies and sweltering 38° C. Lucky us we were invited to a friend of my host or rather the parents of his girlfriend who had a massive pool in the backyard. After a short and sweaty visit and look around in the city we went to said friends parents and spent a carefree rest of the day with a goup of interesting and happy people, in the company of 5 dalmatian dogs. Every couple of hours there were some new food and drinks around and I especially didn’t have to worry about anything as they were mostly speaking portuguese and all I had to do was be, eat and drink.
On my second day I went on a trip around the city by myself. I checked out the main sights, walked up a church tower and I learned that 38°C is something that my body really has issues with.
Oporto is home to a very special book store – Livraria Lello. It is almost 130 years old and shows an interesting and strikingly beautiful architecture. That and probably the fact that J.K. Rolling took inspiration for the Hogwarts library in this place make it to a highly frequented sight. You actually have to pay to get in (which you get back if you buy something) and if you come at the wrong time, wait in a very loooong line. I came at the right time and wasn’t mad I payed 4€ for this stunning place.
Before I ventured back to my host I had to try this very special local dish that was signposted everywhere (“we have it here!”) and that my host wanted to bring to the rest of the world. Francesinha is something like a sandwich – two white toasts hold steak, bacon, sausage and Linguiça (Portuguese sausage). All of this gets covered in melted cheese and then all of that gets soaked and covered in a brownish sauce made out of tomatoes and beer. It is pretty much what you think it would be. For me it wasn’t that great of a meal even though a memorable one and I am glad I tried this extraordinary thing. Afterwards it’s hard to move.

Oporto – a busy and lovely place. There is always more to see and experience but after two days I was happy to continue north where a national park was waiting for me.

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Driving North – Lisbon to Porto

Driving in Portugal was one of those things where little preparation bit me in the butt. The road map I bought at a street vendor in Lisbon was horrible and streets were not really well signposted. From Lisbon to Porto on the Autostrada is about a three hour drive. So I thought taking a detour along the coast can’t be thaat much longer. Oh boy was I wrong. I wanted to spend two nights out in the hammock on the way to Porto. I didn’t expect to be driving almost all of those two days (including side detours voluntary and involuntary). Looking back I don’t know why I didn’t even ask google on the matter. If I do now, it tells me that those three hours become eight. I don’t have any regrets though. I had reasons for my decisions at any given time and I encountered beautiful places and wonderful people along the way.


I had some memorable stops. One of them I already showed.

The drive on my second day was characterized by beautiful coastal views and many little towns and villages. I had dinner in one of them with the sun in my face, a beautiful view of the Atlantic and a nice chat with two teenagers from the Netherlands. Searching for a good spot for the night wasn’t so easy but in the end I found a quiet dead end in a wealthy people’s neighbourhood that led to cliffs covered in dune and shrub vegitation. There I found a spot between two dune pines that felt really cozy and private. Just as I had set up my camp and was about to check out the beach, I saw some dark clouds coming in. So no beach for me – instead 45 minutes of struggeling with my tarp (for the first time) and strings and finding anchors. After that all urge of exploring was gone and I wrapped myself in my hammock with my book while listening to the ocean.

The next morning I would have been able to see the ocean, only if it wouldn’t have been hiding in a wall of white – low clouds and fog were melting together and gave me another hazy morning. I packed up and left. At a little beach town I stopped for some breakfast and had a nutella banana crêpe, while watching the people at the beach. They didn’t seem to care much about the weather – holidays are holidays, beach is beach. Or maybe they knew it would be better soon. After that and a morning toilete break I hit the road again. Around noon the clouds started burning off, just in time for a road sign telling me about a “lago” (lake). After some frustrations had accumulated – driving a lot, searching for a place for the night, setting up a tarp for the first time, poor weather… – I was in need for balancing out my mood and decided to check out this lake. I found exactly what I needed – the sun just coming out, a beautiful, tranquil, little lake set in the middle of a pine forest, happy locals and a small beach. Everyone was at ease and I enjoyed watching a passionate dad play with his daughters. I went for a short swim – the first in Portugal, read a few pages and fell asleep. When I woke up I felt rejuvenated and energized and was ready to hit the road again.

I continued my way north and stopped where I felt like it. Among the stops: a river mouthing into the sea with giant sand dunes next to it, enjoyed by many and a look out overlooking a lush sea of green. For a short way I picked up two hitch hikers who were travelling with a tent along the coast.

After getting lost and being very confused in Portos traffic, I arrived in this second biggest city of Portugal in the early evening. I was welcomed by my host and his dog…

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