This is when Strada Bianche became the classic it always was. Everything I love when I ride: cold, wet, snow, rain, mud and gravel, cobblestones, hours of enduring suffering, becoming one with the earth and weather, winter and spring. And watching women’s racing excel in the last couple of years.
Suitcase arrived. Panda looking well smug after 24 hour solo flight from Helsinki. Sunset as the change moves in on the end of a 30° summer day. I know this weather.
Bumped into window seat of first row in Business Class on the hope it’d get me out the door quicker to catch my Hong Kong connection. Skansfjärden, Salmen, Rönnskär, Kyrkogårdsön, Porkkala, Lillkanskog, Björkholmsfjärden, Friggesby, Gunnarskulla.
Arrived. Panda’s taking the long way around, tho’.
Ten years since my last pass through here. Too long. Way too long. The flight went over Guangzhou, I thought of my friends I haven’t seen for all that time, Michael Garza, Long Yunna, Izumi Nikaido, Tian Yaping. Next time, and make next time this year.
Minus 13° Grad letzte Nacht. Heute, blaue Himmel, Luft wie kaltes Wasser, unirdisch Sonne, und der Landwehrkanal mit einer dünnen Eisdecke. Letzte Tag in Berlin für mich, bis zum April. Danke Berlin, für eine echter Wintertag Abschied.
Waking up singing “I was a Teenage Anarchist” and “Gone Mad”, lazy 11am breakfast reading a new book, afternoon of grinding and roasting spices, prepping roe deer meat from the local Wildfleischhandel, shopping for dinner and the week, baking a pile of banana energy bars, murdering up a Baltistan curry while chatting with Gala, eating said curry while returning to book, bit of sci-fi telly with cardamom chocolate, the apartment soaking the whole day in rich scents and cooking, and now all that but 2 hours of the day done. I just want to remember about a perfect a day as I can have.
Three Australians in Wuppertal, by way of Brussels, Madrid, and Berlin. Last time I was in Wuppertal it was for The Vase, one of three banging works I’ve seen this year. This time, Friday evening, it’s snowing to whiteout, Gala and Michael are talking about the headcasts they’ve had done for their upcoming work, New People. They want photos. Guess who brought their camera? Saturday morning, after a lazy breakfast and before lunch hamburgers, still snowing, the falling-apart printer’s workshops behind Michael’s apartment having their roofless concrete floors jackhammered by the owner, one of those old socialist tradie types who ends up with a bunch of properties and maintains them all himself. It’s proper winter cold, slush and snow and wetness, and he’s hauling shit around like Sisyphus. We bail into the one building with a roof. Milky glass-paned, rusting windows along one wall fill it with just enough light for us to get away with photography. There’s a temporary scaffolding floor erected, we tall ones are nearly smacking our heads on bits of pipe and beam. Their busts go on the ground, then on a plank, I photograph them like I would mediæval art.
Completely due to a tiny shuffle of one foot in a decrepit former book printer’s workshop out the back of Michael’s apartment (where the owner was totally having at it on a Saturday morning with jackhammers into concrete in the snow and freeing slush), I managed to do one of those mad meme-y gifs that look like they’re 3-dimensional. Tick-tock, back and forth, convinces me every time.