Tues 20th Aug.
Like my last three hosts before Kurt, he offered to put me up longer then we agreed, offering three nights if I needed it as being no problem to him at all. Again amazed by the generosity of strangers, to strangers, I didn’t want to out-stay a welcome, or put myself behind too much on the trip, but I had learned that I could set myself big goals and if I had no upsets I could achieve them, so another day here could easily be made up with three longer days on the bike, instead of four. I ended up taking it and stayed the extra night.
Usually when I stayed somewhere earlier in the trip, when it came to leaving I didn’t want to go. The comforts of a bed, running water and easily accessible coffee were too painful to lose, but now I had no problems leaving, or staying less than I needed. I had accepted that where I stayed was wherever I could find in my tent and it wasn’t alien or uncomfortable to me anymore.
Two days off in a new city. As usual I didn’t have anything in particular I wanted to see or do here, I would’ve been perfectly happy roaming around the streets and developing a feel for it. I’d developed a feel for the area Kurt lived in, so naturally headed for the centre to see what the overpriced, tourist traps look like here. Nothing unusual. I drifted towards a historic landmark and ended up at the Spanish horse training school. There were a lot of renaissance era buildings I had expected to see. Although historic and valuable, they didn’t really interest me (after seeing so many in Paris).
One thing I did know a bit about was art, so I decided to take a trip to their Kunst Haus, to see what they had on. The building itself was something of a treat and the area it was in was full of museums and learning centres, ideal for a day off. I had a look at their general exhibitions, which were excellent and home to a lot of international art as well as more local artists.
The main exhibition was by the German artist Albert Oehlen, which I really liked. A lot of collage and painting on that paid attention to form and flow on a large-scale. A lot of colour. I enjoyed all the work I saw, but was starting to slump with tiredness and hungry. I never do last that long in galleries.
A lot of the work I saw, artists and photographers were featured in the shows in Zürich and at the Venice Biennale, so it felt like everything was nicely tied together with some contingency.
I went back to Kurt’s with a postcard for him from the show. Even though he’d lived here all his life he had never been inside. I guess art’s not for everyone.
Kurt was working on a number of different things in the apartment, and every time I came in from being out, there was a new item to help the conversation, be it a work bench or a giant saw for cutting things. He had also ordered a laptop and was waiting for that to arrive in a week. We stayed in for the rest of the night watching awful American TV shows dubbed in German.