I went to the BikeTour as I was running away from a Rainbow Gathering (jolly hippy stuff) and was immediately relieved to meet some normal, cool, approachable people. A real collection of dreamers of a better world, but also with the practical mindset of those who make daily use of spanners and allen keys. But the most striking common trait was our ferocious (but strictly vegan) appetite. So I went from doing & eating almost nothing at the hippy gathering, to a bustle of activities & and jaw exercising during the Bike Tour..
On the very first official day, “Ecotopia” was renamed with no hesitation “EAT-o-TOPIA”, for we became fast aware that we would either eat or burn anything within our reach, provided that it did not move… Just consider: when we arrived late at a food festival (maybe because we thought it was a music festival?), we saw clear signs of relief on the face of the Balkan organizer (fat with fat white moustache), who had probably been warned about us being nothing else than human-sized locusts!
The first days were the theatre of a mass production of stoves of all sorts (rocket stoves, solar ones, water turbine powered…) to provide massive cooking horsepower. Then, in the next days the whole food cycle to feed the team was perfected under the orchestration of our ambitious Austrian masterchef, who could be found baking bread or oatcakes under any circumstances. Incidents were not missing [as when we found human faeces close to our cooking position], but were promptly tackled with practical intelligence [let’s put a big stone on it and keep on eating, guys, hopefully tomorrow no-one will place that stone on the stove…]
Then, after one day of finally pedalling to Zhelen..guess what? we got really hungry…and a sort of cooking context took place during our stay on the mountains. It all started with a very nice pasta dish and a real Italian blessing the cooking water and stating “It’s al dente!”..There was a chorus of “Bravo!!!!”.. and a virtuous cycle followed in the next days involving legume stews, polenta, rice, homemade breadbuns with crispy bottom …and any sort of delicious preparations fast disappearing into our greedy mouths. Of course, all was watered down with industrial quantities of good quality spirits (rakia, tsiporo [which I kept calling Chapati], grappa…) and plenty of tree-plucked plums which helped us convert all that food into precious fertilizer! Here’s our mission: saving the world by eating! But what bowel explosions at times! What races to wooden toilets that were not 5 stars, but would always be “Engaged!”.
Sad closing note: Unfortunately, the author of this article couldn’t keep up with the food intake during the biketour and had to abandon the project for an alleged congestion. We wish him the best.