We had crossed the Black Forrest, rode more than 2000 vertical meters up the many hills & valleys and taken the pleasure of rolling them down just after.
Having arriven in Freiburg im Breisgau, we had earned us a day of active rest, stretching out the hard days of traveling out of our bodys. We used the time to get in all the burned calories (+some extra) and also went over our equipment to have it better organised and at hand more quickly.
Now we had to make a decision, one which is elemental and ever-present for every traveller, always with far-reaching and unforseeable consequenzes:
WHERE next? WHICH way to turn?
- The most important near-term-goal of this voyage, Sisteron, lies in the South of France. The boarder to France, the Rhine, lies only a few kilometers West of Freiburg.
- It would also be possible to turn south, as I wanted to meet a very special person near Lake Geneva – a druid, who knows the european fauna in a very interesting & exciting way. I met him traveling some years ago, where he made the first tattoo I recieved in my skin and inspired me many times in the years to come.
- Just before the start of this journey, I was working for nature protection and meet again a kind & funny dude who I count amoung my friends now. Jonas lives at the lake constance, where germany, swizzerland and austria meet. We had talked about seeing each other again and he had invited us into his house. It seemed to be quite a detour, and I prefered to go south-west instead of east.
He only said: ” Just think about it & make your decision, all will be fine. But, you know, I would be really happy to have you here :)”
Michelle wanted to see lake constance, the biggest & deepest lake of Germany. And so the decision was done, we would turn East. While studying the map to choose a route, I found that the Feldberg – the highest non-alpine mountain of our home country – lay with only a little detour on our way to Jonas. Naturally, we wanted to put him on our list of “been there, done that”, and 400 additional vertical meters didn´t seem to be much of a deal – at first.
After riding over 100 kilometers, having meet amazing people, a hard fall of the bike while decending the Feldberg and a jellyfish-like knee as a result, we rolled into Merkelfingen near Radolfzell.
Jonas awaited us with a hospitality you rarely find in western europe these days.
He left us the bed he made himself and used to sleep in, to take his couch as his new sleeping spot (as much as I value his gesture, the best sleep I get is still in my beloved hammock ;)), he cooked an asian welcome dish of our hungry stomacs made of veggies & rice, and while he played a russian kind of “battleships” we talked about the up-coming days.
Jonas would be working, the family of a friend was just renovating an old barn to live in. The guy managing & leading the work was a young, dedicated man who uses almost exclusively organic, sustainable materials.
Excited I asked if it would be possible for me to work there as well – and just a few MINUTES later at was clear that I could start the very NEXT DAY!
Pretty exactly 400 vertical meters (again :D) and 25km, a route climbing more and more the longer it went was my new daily ritual in the morning.
Gladly I learned as much as I could about construction. The dream to one day build my own house and help others doing the same has been growing steadily the last years. To one day own a piece of land, somewhere in the forest next to (or even in) the mountains, has been a big part of my vision of my life. Yet, everytime I had imagined the progress of starting my life in this kind of environment, the idea of building my own shelter gave me a lot of respect – how do you start it? How do you continue? What do you need, and how long & how much does it take?
The following days I made walls with wood and a mix of clay, stones, sand and straw, sanding wooden beams, carried & used “tons of” concrete, put volcanic stone and underfloor heating, insulated walls and ate massive amounts of nudels at night.
Michelle came to work with us at the third day and near the end of the week we put our hammocks under the roof of another barn nearby to be closer to work, and save the energy-consuming way to work every morning and sleep directly next to our work.
Construction work feels satisfying. You can literally see what you have done for +8 hours. I could help to build the home for a family who has had some hardships. To get to know them better and better gave me much joy.
I felt a very good connection with our construction leader Severin, and we made the agreement that I could be his apprentice one day. He would need one, maybe two years to have the certificate to do so.Will I be back by then? We will see…
Deniz, the young father of the family, had many presents and much help for us. A bag full of food, new bicycle horns for my bike, an old phone as replacement for Michelles´dying one, personalised 3d-printed tools and best wishes for our way…
I wish them all the best and hope we will meet again in happy times 🙂
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