girl in motion

During and after my journey, I was interviewed a couple of times. The editors mixed it nicely with my own footage thus giving a bit of a visual insight as well.

One interview was made by the famous national Greek tv station ERT about which I also wrote the blog ‘Le temps de l’auto-gestion’ (in Dutch with a French title =,-). These women and men have lived through stunning times over the last two years: the tv station was shut by the government, some 10% of the crew —professionals to the core— resisted and continued working without salary for two years, then the station was re-opened last June.
In 2014 I made a photo reportage about them. The header photo here of Christina Siganidou is from that series. She’s one of the most famous journalists and news anchors who stayed on board. The closing of ERT was an unexpected emancipation for her. (more in the blog post)
This summer they interviewed me in Thessaloniki. [in Greek + road movie bits & pieces]

The second tv-interview was made by Dutch online motorcycle channel with journalist Joost Overzee and has been subtitled.

[small side remark: since the silence of the bike is so amazing, I’m not too keen about the soundtracks, but well… you’ll have to imagine it =:-]


Music maestra !

To cover the longest possible distances on my electric motorcycle, my riding style had to be ‘moderate’ to say the least. Or say adagio to fit this post. Riding at 45-60 km/h through ugly suburbs, too much traffic or too much of the same, it is —admittedly— boring. VERY boring at times. If on top of that, sun strikes at +35° and it’s after lunch, NOT dozing off is challenge number one.
Enters one of the best insights I had creating this project: MUSIC !
Not just any music. I wanted suitable music. Music matching the nature of my ride, demanding a fine ear and attention. Over the last few years, I became acquainted with contemporary classic music. Thus it happened: two good friends, composer Annelies Van Parys and mezzo Els Mondelaers, compiled a playlist each. Though some bits became challenge number two, most was JUST right. New worlds unfolded; it was a treat. Gliding through the ugliest urban mishaps, I smiled largely. Their music kept me company on the lone rides and saved me from standing on my head on the saddle or riding backwards.

This video gives a very good impression of how I lived many hours on my silently whistling electric motorcycle, including the music in my helmet.
This was what I heard and saw.

[to have a better quality HD view, please click to watch in Vimeo]

Music: Sofia Gubaidulina
‘Jetzt immer Schnee’ (Теперь всегда снега) on verses of Gennadi Aigi for chamber ensemble and chamber choir (1993)
[no data about the musicians and singers of this particular recording]

Soundscape: Xena, the electric Zero DS motorcycle

Recorded during a ride in Bulgaria on the return leg of my journey.

Buzludzha / Бузлуджа, the most mesmerizing building I ever experienced, period.

In 2014, writer Gaea Schoeters, my über-ex and still travel buddy par excellence, set one specific goal on our Balkan journey: seeing and climbing into Buzludzha. And thus it happened. The images I had found on the internet were mesmerizing enough already, but this place must be experienced, for words and images don’t come near to this fascinating, dilapidated communist monument.

On this journey, I revisited it with friend Paul Webble living nearby, and I will time and again whenever I pass. Riding my electric motorcycle up to its front entrance (welded shut of course) was a bit of a challenge and I’m no brave heart for steep off-road, let alone rutted, hill climbing or descending, but I made it. There she was, Xena ‘my’ truly beloved Zero DS, a tiny dot in front of the concrete UFO.

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Witnessing the very sad condition it’s in, I give it another 5-10 years to fall to bits. The roof being perforated, weather has a free play destroying the entire structure below, including its stunning mosaics which are being stolen and vandalized to make matters worse. Truly heartbreaking.

Extract from :
State of the monument
‘Ever since the superseding of Bulgarian president Todor Givkovand and the political changes that occurred in Bulgaria from 1989, the state of the monument has been worsening. Portraits of Ludmila and Todor Givkov have been voluntarily destroyed. The copper adornments have been stolen. The building is slowly disintegrating; marauders are consistently breaking windows and stealing mosaics and ornaments. Nowadays, the monument is abandoned and no public institution seems to be concerned by the conservation of renovation of the building. The Bulgarian socialist party itself is not taking any action towards the maintenance of its most important symbol.’
Buzludzha Monument, Bulgaria : great images and text by Valentin Rüst, February 2014 : the French wiki about the site is the most elaborate.
Inside Buzludja, Bulgaria
: this video gives a pretty good idea about the whole site. Made by a certain Andrew, July 2012. He added: ‘video is shaky as fuck because i was shaking to damn much from excitement’.