Lublin Urban Highline

 It's Highline time! Lublin is in full festive swing; high above the throng, highliners of all origins traverse thin webbing, accompanied by a chorus of clapping each time they take a leash fall. The lines are secured with large lengths of timber bracing the windows of the town court. For one weekend a year, the ancient building takes on a new role, losing its austerity as barefooted highliners pad around dressed in shorts and harnesses…

I soon sign up, slide out from the window, and stand for the first time on an urban highline.

Words: Hugo Pullen | Photos: Dora Damian

So long Berlin, surveillance tower

Today is a good day for leaving; Berlin is cleansed by a thunder storm, the streets smell of washed tarmac and the trees, sweet and fragrant. Before leaving we visited the NSA surveillance tower. Our journey took us out of Berlin and up winding lanes through dense forest. Bertie chugged past the no entry signs, eventually coming to rest atop Teufelsberg, a 120m high hill, constructed from the debris of WW2. Beyond the tall fences stood the listening domes and a hippy stronghold.

Words: Hugo Pullen | Photos: Dora Damian

Race to Berlin

Cruising with doors open wide, blaring carbs open speed wind in our hair, Our Puerto Rican hitchhiker blazing with the setting sun behind. This is Amsterdam to Berlin in the lumberbus. Nonstop, rolling in to Germany the light dims and coffee flows to keep eyes from dozing, this is Amsterdam to Berlin. Bare foot patting around fuel stations then thrum of the road again, doors open all night as the cats eyes flick past, 11 hours on the road and Berlin stirs awake, throngs of revellers line the streets as we dance with the taxis and Ambulances. 3am and we are somewhere, in Berlin, the tarmac has ended and we judder the last few yards on cobbled streets.

“I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives, our actual night, the hell of it, the senseless emptiness.” 

― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Three days in Berlin, nothing but sleeping and eating and sleeping. I feel a distinct lack of do. We sleep for the city that never sleeps, showers are a Godsend and a day is spent revelling in our cleanliness. Fragranced hair and crisp white bedsheets, the van becomes an oasis of cleanliness.

Our ‘do’ returns with gusto, a hedonistic zeal of sugar and sprinkles, unashamedly buying all the doughnuts in a Kreuzberg doughnut shop and on.

Later slacklining in a park we were fortunate enough to meet a Heroin addict / Historian. One of the best people I have met so far, his knowledge of Germany’s history was outstanding and taught us more of the tragedies of the war than any school teacher I had. His leaving sentiments were as such:

‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it’ - George Santayana / Mickey from the Park

Then jazz until the early hours, crazy snapping free jazz, the sober pianist conducting and orchestrating the whole affair with subtle nods and gestures, a flow of musicians joined and left the band and yet the music rolled on never stopping, with music reverberating through our ears and beer to keep us from sleeping we swayed to the canal to raise a glass to the rising sun.

Words: Hugo Pullen | Photos: Dora Damian

Amsterdam Oasis

We spent the day sweltering under the midday sun, like somnambulists, wandering through the streets of The Hague, wondering where the tourist attractions would end. We crawled from museum steps, to gallery foyer, it does not work being thrifty and a tourist, later we were invited to a canal side bar in Amsterdam. Goodbye intense heat, hello good vibes.

De Ceuvel is the Oasis we have been looking for! Finally we have deviated from the Tourist trail, with the aid of an expat and some exuberant Irishmen. Bertie has found his new home, parked on yellow lines at the ghetto end of an industrial estate. Opposite, sits a ramshackle bar and an eclectic mix of barges, boats and shipping containers, housing the transient community of Amsterdam.


Words: Hugo Pullen | Photos: Dora Damian

Wild Cat

We found ourselves seriously deficient of some fundamental needs. We had parked in full glare of the sun, with no water in the tank and nowhere to perform base functions, it was time we moved our home.

Trundling through Rotterdam we chanced upon a leafy park, trees forming an arc over the free parking and greeted by a slightly confused local looking for his ‘wild cat’. This wild cat was supposedly two feet long and prowled the leafy park in search of other animals to pick a fight with. The next day we met this ferocious moggy, a docile grey domestic cat with slightly pointy ears.

Words: Hugo Pullen | Photos: Dora Damian