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In one stretch I push from the south of Kosovo to Sofia.
No problem at the border to Mazedonia, though I am not sure if my insurance is realy valid.
I only stop to pay the motorway toll and for a light lunch at a gas station. The brother of the owner works in Germany and I reply that on building sites I met Mazedonian workers who were all very good in bricklaying and and with tiling. "That is the tradition, everybody in Mazedonia can build a house."
All I want is to push to Sofia and finally I arrive with one day delay just one hour before the first meeting with my collaborators.
The guard of the Goethe Institute, which hosts the project in Sofia, welcomes me on a deserted Sunday in the house and helps securing the bike in the yard. I must be really week, because I have trouble to get the bike with all the luggage on the main stand.
My collaborators see that I am a bit out of shape. My mind is still on the road travelling through constantly changing landscapess and we just do the basics of a thematic introduction and a provisional plan for the week. Then finally I can go to the hotel, which is a little noisy outside, but the ladys who run it seem friendly and dont want to miss me anymore after a few days.
For the rest, please see the videos and photos of Sofia and the accompanying texts.
The participants decided to give the presents during a party in Milas House.
Galina Borissova, Mila Ghilardi, Stephan Shtereff, Iva Sveshtarova, Violeta Vitanova, Laura Wesseler and their presentees:
Elisaveta Marinova, Ina Garvanska, Anastasia, Silvia, Lyombomira Kostova, Kaloyan Nialov, Christian Baltzer.
The first present is for everybody from Mila, since she will have her birthday in a couple of days and hjosts the party for everyone.
Galina stages a a poem-reading for Elisaveta, enacted by Elisavetas family, her son and his highly pregnant wife. Elisaveta is the major teacher and collaborator for Galina since a long time.
Stephan overcomes with the present for Ina some personal difficulties in the relation with her. Ina seems to enjoy it and both are relieved at the end.
Laura does a fotomontage for her roommates Lyombomira, Kaloyan and Christian. They have to finalise the story which happens in their flat.
Violeta has a whole selection of hidden little presents which Silvia has to find, one of them is the dance she gets with Willy, one of the guests.
Iva creates a performance for Anastasia Sendrea with a specially made dessert for her. Anastasia is from the Ukraine and missing her own language, so Iva is heard from the device reading a poem by Antonia Machado in Romanian. Here the rough translation into English:
“Traveller, your footprints
are the only road, nothing else.
Traveller, there is no road;
you make your own path as you walk.
As you walk, you make your own road,
and when you look back
you see the path
you will never travel again.
Traveller, there is no road
only a ship's wake on the sea. “
Finally the host, Mila, has another gig. For everybody but not least for herself she enjoyes Amy Winehouse and a mysterious liquid from the jug. Later I was told it was pure water, Mila doesnt need any real drink, she is wild enough by herself.
Krassimira is working in the Goethe Institute Sofia at the counter and the morning after I arrived she was the first to ask me what the project is about. After explaining, if I would make a present for her, I would ask her what she is interested in life and make on that base a little performance for her, I realised that I should make my present here to her.
Her interests and hints were: meditation and mandalas. Also she was very interested in the working plans, when and who and how many people would come to work with me. Well ok, I thought, I should be able to make something with this ... .
In the presenation I rip the plans of the choreography and texts, red by her in pieces and lay them out in a spiral. After this process all shreds go into a small pillow with a painted mandala on it, which was found more or less accidently. The suggestion afterwards from my side, she could throw the shreds into a river, like it is done with a real mandala sometimes, she replied to throw them in the trash-can in front of a political party she doesnt like ...
Thanks to the Goethe Institute Sofia and all participants, presentees and guests!
The mototrcycle gets a present, too: My new friend Assen sponsers the project with badly needed publicity on my panniers!
Iva Shveshtarova and Thomas Lehmen
A whole other week I stood in Sofia. ore then full days of work to try manage the project and update this page and others. Partly work I should have done right away when necessary.
But what was tiring more were the great parties and going out each second night in addition to that work.
Here one where Iva, Galina and Willy, my major contacts and friends are smiling for the camera on command. Starting in the afternoon and finishing late.
During the whole stay, EVERY DAY people demonstrate in Sofia. Starting in the morning and gathering again, but way larger then on these photos, in the afternoon going on til midnight. The current objective is new elections, I was told. Before they got rid already of a someone from the mafia, who was supposed to take care of the mafia, in the position of the chief of security services from the government side. That says a lot about the rest of the government. In addition his appearence:
While all happens peaceful the police, which is present all day in high numbers in the center, seemed to me very relaxed. No comparison to what I was used to see in the confrontations in the 80s in Germany.
Well, in a country where kt seems to be normal that cars are stopping immediately for the pedestrians when they cross at the crosswalk, I have hope.
The morning I left in front of a government building.
Guys with sunglasses and an earplug on demonstartions, like the one on the right, are seldom on the same page then the others. Not even the whistle breaks all suspicion.
And here the guy selling flags and whistles.
Thomas Lehmen and unknown