It is a long way from a dusty shelf in Bremen to the hidden treasures of the Balkans. Find out why and how and if we got there! When you click on the pictures you see who made this journey possible, meaningful and adventurous indeed. Thanks to Mitost e.v., Schering Stiftung and Schüler Helfen Leben e.v. for their support. Due to their assistance we have received many interesting invitations!
Berlin, 5th August
where Mick Müke comes from
Why Berlin? It is a good place to start an adventure. The German Capital is a huge adventure playground. You can create a new identity whenever you want. Change it like your panties. Show what you want to show or what you want the others to see and feel about you. Berlin is a melting pot of different cultures, ideas, lives.
This is the place where Django was born. And so he invites to a small farewell party before starts his keen trip. We sit in the “Volkspark Prenzlauer Berg” on the highest hill we could find, watch the sun, the stars, the great wide open. We meet strangers, say goodbye to friends, share the first stories and textiles. We did not really plan to start the project tonight, but Django is impatient to show his magic power. Thus we leave Berlin the next day with an old blue sock, a button, a limpet, a sparpener, a reflector, a shirt and the fabrics of a child’s pajama which later turn out to be Mick Mücke.
Rathen (Elbsandsteingebirge), 6th August
where Börek von Rathen comes from
Why Rathen? Steffen says its nice. You can sit at the banks of the Elbe, watch the chains of lights of old trains and the lanterns of ferries. You can climb the impressive rocks of the Elbsandsteingebirge and you have to leave your car outside the town. We spend the night in company of three other adventurers and their bus in a parking-space next to the forest, share beer, stories and fabrics. Mick Mücke is born in the morning and Börek von Rathen joins him in the evening. Tourists offer towels and bags, tissues, a rubber and a bottle opener and we leave Rathen in the knowledge that Django has magic power indeed.
Budweis (Czech Republic), 8th August
where Buddy Lukasz comes from
Why Budweis? Lukasz invited us there. But Ludwig welcomes us. The two-metre-man from Cottbus shows us Club Slavia where last year’s MitOst-Festival took place and he introduces us to Theresa and her theathre group. We get a banana ensemble that was used in their performance ot the “Merchant of Venice“, a red clown nose, a black glove from her sister – and a broken toilet flusher: sorry! Then Ludwig takes us to eat in an Indian Restaurant and the Nepalese waiter introduces us to Buddha. At night we meet crazy European Parliament Simulators celebrating a fairytale party and the fairy queen leaves one of her flowers for us. And Lukasz shows up and gives us the green DJ curtain from his „Club Slavia“. Ludwig invites us to the stay the night at the flat where he has slept the last eleven months. But his real home in Budweis is at Alena’s. We meet her the next morning, an old jewish lady with young eyes and an amazing energy. She gives us toasties, coffee, big smiles, four buttoms from the dresses of her youth, stories about the past, thankfulness for the present, hope for the future. Back on the road we listen to a Death Swing CD which Ludwig has made with his band and the materials from colourful, exciting, beautiful Budweis unite to be Buddy Lukasz.
Bratislava (Slowakia), 9th August
where Ludmilla comes from
Why Bratislawa? Katarina offers us a home there. After three days of exciting travelling we are given a warm welcome with a meal, a shower, a big living room, two balconies. We take it slowly, eat hand-made cheese, have a small walk around the lake instead of exploring night life and talk about family. The next day we become one. Katarina goes to work, we spend the day at home, Vanessa puts out her sewing machine, Effi cooks Pasta. It is late when we finally leave the flat. We meet with Katarina and her boyfriend in the Dunaj Pub in the city centre. Quickly the group around our table grows. Katarina’s colleague Susanna and her friend Lukasz join us and give Django a strawberry from India which turns out to be a bag. Another couple comes and contributes a camel which used to open doors. And there are Petra and Nils from Bremen who are hitch-hiking to Istanbul, familiar faces and a familiar gift: A „Hemelinger“ crown cap. Django and his companians are well integrated in the group, they sit on Katarina’s and Daniel’s lap and get attention as if they were children. Back at home we find a present from Katarina’s flatmate Martina: a traditional ribbon from her granny. And Katarina gives us the decoration of last year’s christmas tree which she has made together with Daniel. She also chooses the name of the creature which will be made from these materials: Ludmila. It is the name that she and her boyfriend favor for their first daughter. When we leave the next morning it feels like leaving a family.
Pecs (Hungary), 11th August
where Ozora comes from
Why Pecs? It is a city of colourful clothes, home of many creative recyclers and the NGO „Retextil“ which transforms rags into pillows, bags, hammocks and other useful stuff. However, when we arrive, most artists have left for Ozora – a a Goa festival in a small village north of Pecs. But still we get a warm welcome. Victor (“office guy of Retextil“) has stayed at home to show us around. We are impressed by the artwork of Retextil and spend one hour doing christmas shopping in their workshop. Then we walk through the city centre which is full of graffitis, bikes, beautiful cafes and backpackers who want to be part of Django’s journey. Without even leaving the hostel the next morning we get working gloves from New Zealand, a Canadian coin, three scarfs, two buttons and an Ukrainian flag. Together with the traditional pillow case from Victor and the self-made bike from Orczi these things give the perfect home to the colourful, relaxed and open soul of mystical “Ozora“.
Banja Luka (Bosnia), 13th August
where Trikinisi come from
Why Banja Luka? The “Genesis Project“ has invited us there. The NGO is named after a star wars episode dealing with the re-start of civilisation on a brand new planet. Banja Luka’s Genesis started with a blue bus (just like Bogdan!) bringing games, books and newspapers to rural areas of Bosnia. The NGO created puppets who talk about the dangers of landmines and about what all people have in common – regardless of their origin. Meanwhile they produce TV serials for kids, exploring questions like: “Whose are the angels?“ Django feels honoured to meet Wolf the Good, Mouse the Brave and a blind Pinguin who drag him into a world which is more fantastic, colourful and adventurous then even Django could imagine. (VIDEO) He seriously ponders upon staying in Banja Luka, joining the puppets of the local children’s theatre. It would be so cool to be part of their mission to create a colourful future from grey ruins. However, Django meets a tiny pumpkin which convinces him to stay with his friends and on the road. In Banja Luka the pumpkin was just one of hundreds of background actor in a fairytale. But he is sure that Django can help him to transform into a glamorous Primaballerina.
Mostar (Bosnia), 16th August
where Don Eretva comes from
Why Mostar? The traveller’s guide says it’s nice. And it is on our route to Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and all the other places that we marked on the map when we planned Django’s journey. What we did not know then is that this route leads through Moon and Saturn. Mostar is surrounded by meager mountains, the soil is reddish grey and we feel like aliens when we watch the pale outlines of the city rise at the end of the horizon. Entering the city center this feeling changes. Before we can even leave the car, we are offered accomodation, food and all kinds of entertainment. The streets are crowded with tourists from all over the world. We spend the evening at the banks of the Neretva and watch international teenagers celebrate their youth while the Muezzin is singing. The next day we get a lot of presents: A spoon from one of the old men’s pubs in our street, a plastic bag for dog shit and 20 Euros from a German tourist, a handful of old Yugoslawian money which Adis, our host, wants to be valuable again. Selma, a young student of agriculture, tells us about the ghost of the Neretva who sings tunes about death and the story of writer Alex and his beloved who despaired of the same ethnic borders which brought war and death in the time when Selma was born. Selma offers us sunglasses and sends us to Saffa, “the town’s wise man“ who suspects us to be imperialists and capitalisists at first glance and then shares big smiles, wise words and rich fabrics with us. We leave Mostar in the knowledge that the way to peace is long, steep and impossible to walk with a Big Mac in your belly. But worthwhile to take. You find beauty and love wayside.
Why Grgurici? That is a very good question. Some people say it was fate that has brought us there, others call it (bad) luck, we call it “Lamela“. Grgrurici was not on our list of interesting places and like most people in the world (including the ADAC) we did not even know that this tiny village 20 km from Dubrovnik exists. Before „Lamela“ tampered with our trip schedule. We guess „Lamela“ is an angel specialised in the reconciliation between fantasts and realists. Indeed, „Lamela“ is the Croation word for clutch. A clutch is a part of the car which breaks when you are too eager climbing mountains. And since the mountains on Django’s journey to Bulgaria are very high, Bogdan’s “Lamela“ forces us to stop in South Croatia and to ponder upon the question: Do you really have to drive 6000 km to find fullfillment? In Grgruci we find a tiny camping site full of relaxed and helpful families, the sun and the sea and an old lady in an empty house. While Bogdan is in the workshop, we spend many, many hours with Baba Janje on her veranda and Django learns that there is a correlation between the amount of time you share and the warmth of human relationships. Baba Janje gives us goat cheese, big smiles and flowers for our bunch of stuffed animals. Finally, she even endows a small golden angel that she saved from her house when the soldiers burnt it down during the war. Bogdan decides to stay seven days, the faces of Baba Janje’s many visitors from the village get familar. They sit down with us, tell us stories, bring more material für Django – so much that Vanessa finally cannot put it all into the character “Lamela“ and has to create a second one in Grgurici. What come out is „Grgs“, an alien baby. And she has a short but big message for the Django crew: “Bring us home!“
2012 © Photos | Efi Kontogeorgou