Three years in a row I celebrated my birthday among the Biketour crowd. It started in 2012 when I had just joined for the first time a week before my birthday and was surprised with a polenta cake on a wildcamping day (thank you Emma!). This year it was even more special. Being involved in the coordination I could influence where we were going to be on the day I turned 30 (which is symbolically quite charged and despite trying to brush it aside it is not easy to evade all these questions being asked about what you are going to do with your life now). It just so fit that around those dates we could be at paliomylos (old mill) in Rovies, a place I didn’t know myself but had heard good things from friends who had spent some time there. Georgios attracts several people who end up staying for some weeks or months contributing to the different activities. Some friends from Thessaloniki happened to be there at the time the Biketour arrived, making the welcome even warmer. And I felt comfortable and happy about being there from the first minute.
But not only is it a beautiful place with very open people, they are also making the steps towards a living which I’ve been searching for the past year. Inspired by Ecotopia Biketour, the people and places I’ve met there as well as friends’ projects around Austria, I was seeking for a place to live more from my own hands. Doing things, especially food production, myself, going out of a big city living with people with an open and positive mindset. That energy we found there, to me and many people of this year’s Biketour the stay at παλιόμυλος was the best time.
We were shown all the interesting work done towards making an olive monoculture into a self-sufficient place with a permaculture garden, a fruit forest, new attempts on water management, neatly designed compost toilet and outside shower etc. We were also eagerly expected by the paliomylos people to help them in their current project of building a workshop with natural materials, mostly clay. With 20 people helping to mix the clay and then molding it, the walls could be raised up quickly to the tunes of varying music.
We spent our days working with clay, collecting seeds and cleaning nuts, baking bread and cooking delicious meals and pancakes for breakfast on our rocket stove – one of which was left as a donation at the place. The evenings we mostly spent on the veranda playing music. To me the most precious was the first night were the drumming session at midnight went into a “happy birthday” song filling me with a lot of happiness for celebrating my 30th birthday in an atmosphere which I hope to be living in more time in the coming years. I am not the only one of this year’s biketour participants to since have thought and talked about wanting to go back there and spend more time to contribute to this inspiring project in a very positive atmosphere.