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Photographs by Nadja Bülow

Moving Baltic Sea Festival 2008 has come to an end

August 27th, 2008 by Moving Baltic Sea Festival · 1 Comment

Der All,

after six intense and inspiring festival stops and a challenging and amazing journey, Moving Baltic Sea 2008 has come to an end. Thank you very much for travelling with us! We hope you enjoyed the blog and we would also be interested in your feedback. If you would like to contact us for this or any other reason, please always feel free to do so.

Anchoring back home, yours,
the Moving Baltic Sea Team

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The Morning After

August 26th, 2008 by Teresa · 1 Comment

I arrived at the ship in St. Petersburg for the last leg of the Lovis journey, thrilled to be in Russia, excited to see the city, happy to see my friend Suzana, eager to experience sailing.  At the turnover meeting, following initial introductions, the crew and the MBS team gave us a general overview of how things would work on board – deck shifts and ship watch, eating and sleeping, ideas for remaining courteous, (we would afterall each be living for five days in a small confined space with 31 other people) where we were going, how we´d get there, when we´d get there.  I sat anxiously waiting. Ok, I thought. I’ve been to the website. I’ve seen the tallies. When will they get to the part about…uh, well, the part about «puking.»  Patience, my friend! We wouldn’t have to wait long to effectively learn all about it.
We departed St. Petersburg the next morning with the motor on. Cruising out of the harbor and along the Russian waterway is an incredible experience.  Cargo ships passed all around, piled high with containers of many colors, coming and going from places we could only guess at, moving with unrelenting, industrial, non-human energy.  My thoughts turned to home and other methods of transporting goods. Ah, my beloved congested east coast of America. If only the New Jersey turnpike could be so awe inspiring. We raised the sails. Suddenly quiet from the sound of the engine shutting off, it was beautiful and quiet felt somehow new. So far, so good, I thought.  The swaying, the rocking. It would be ok. Then the sky became dark and cloudy, the waves grew bigger, and the rain that I hadn’t noticed starting, got heavier. Some of us stuck it out on deck, some of us retreated to the cabin below, staving off illness in whatever way possible. We weren’t so successful. But in the end that’s not what mattered.
After this first harrowing night of our trip, thanks to our highly-skilled crew, we arrived and awoke safely somewhere in the Finnish islands. Wooden red cabins in the woods, rocks to scramble on, mushrooms to be picked and made for dinner. We felt relieved and relaxed and finally able to further our acquaintance with one another. As it turns out, a communal bout of seasickness is a lovely way to break the ice.  On day 4 of the trip, I’m so happy to be here and glad to be able to spend some time with those who have been involved with this project, as well as the friends of the project team.  I am deeply impressed by the spirited collaboration that has so obviously been going on here, as well as the diversity of people and interests that the Moving Baltic Sea has brought together.

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Pictures of St. Petersburg

August 24th, 2008 by Nadja Bülow · 1 Comment

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St. Petersburg opening party

August 23rd, 2008 by Alexej · 1 Comment

Once upon the time the czar Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg as the «Window to Europe». On the 20th of August 2008 through just that very window with a big draft of wind came «Lovis». Mighty and unpredictable hand of the municipal authorities settled the ship not by the quay of Lieutenant Schmidt according to an earlier arrangement, where it could stand among the beauty of an old soviet submarine and of a newly-gilded Church, but on the other side of the river, on the English quay. However, it was no doubt a better, more symbolic place: from here with the gun salvo started battle cruiser «Aurora» October Revolution, here was an old German Embassy and a young russophile Bismark lived in a nice house here. The yacht with its mostly German crew started the Green August Revolution with the salvo of the champagne bottles and with music of an orchestra «Zdravstvuj Zhopa Novy God». Revolutionary party Moviemiento & Lovis-crew, clowns, some VIPs, GRE-people and their friends attacked the buffet under the thunderstorms – Nature gave it’s highest blessing! Champagne mixed with the rain water, everybody pressing to each other and everybody laughing, except the clowns – they stayed with the mute question under the rain, their makeup began to flow, their costumes were diminishing and getting wet.
It was not an End, but the Beginning of an End, the Last Station of the Festival MOVING BALTIC SEA…

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From Ronja to Russia

August 22nd, 2008 by Misja · 1 Comment

After a week of island hopping along the Finnish coast, we arrived at the Russian custom service in St. Petersburg. It was a strange get together in our ship saloon when the customs entered our ‘territory.’ It suddenly made me aware of the state we were in. The men all wearing uniforms and shiny shoes and the women on high heels with heavy make-up, sat next to us - a bunch of un-showered wilds, no shoes, dirty clothes, sunburned faces and that special look in the eyes that tells we have been in another world for a while. In this world of eating fresh fish from the barbeque, looking for wild berries on desolated islands, playing late night card games on the pier, constantly surrounded by the sound of the sea. I felt like ‘Ronja Rovärdotter’

Slowly we came back to the civilized world: took a shower, found a laundry to wash our clothes and drank real coffee- one of my favourite activities when entering a harbour. While we enjoyed dinner in town, I felt overwhelmed by the beautiful massive buildings and all the friendly people. When we went back to the laundry to pick up our clean stuff, we enjoyed the fact that this tiny place is also a nice café with a lot of freaky people. We got into an arm-pushing contest, enthusiastically cheering for our German friend who had a close battle with a Russian guy. Our bar tour ended somewhere dancing in ‘Datcha’. Walking back to the ship I noticed that, despite the city being so huge and mondaine, St. Petersburg had made me feel very welcome, almost at home even.
The next day the sun let us down exactly at the moment our festival officially opened. Heavy rain came as an unwanted guest, but as it turned out it give our festival opening a surprisingly special touch. The fantastic six-people blazer band, some eight clowns, the whole crew and all the sixty guests moved together with champagne and food from the dock to the deck of our ship under the small 20m² plastic roof. We sat cheek to cheek, enjoying this opening that felt more like a Kusturica film than an official reception. Even when some thirty minutes later the heavy rain stopped and the sun came out, people stayed under the roof, dancing to the great music and chatting in multiple languages.
I look forward to the next three festival days here in St. Petersburg, with the Russians who keep on surprising me positively with their openness and warm attitude. Although it feels a bit strange to write this while the war with Georgia is going on, I feel obligated to all the people I have met here, to express my positive impressions on a personal level.

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Thoughts of a ship’s cook

August 22nd, 2008 by Misja · No Comments

One of the few clichés about Russia that actually is true was the huge amount of vodka in the supermarkets. Luckily I had Elena -our Russian crewmember- with me, to direct me towards the ones that have the smoothest taste and are the least headache-inducing. A few days later I was again at a huge supermarket –appropriately named ‘Bomba’- to do the groceries for seven days for thirty people. Elena had to translate at the custom service, so with nothing but Cyrillic writings on the products, it felt like a big puzzle to find out what we were buying. It even felt acceptable to open all sorts of packages to smell and taste if it was milk, yoghurt, cream or kefir.

An even bigger challenge was to figure out the amounts. Unlike other people who exactly calculate how many spoons of olive oil and so on they need for each recipe, I thought I could decide the amount of ingredients more or less ‘aus dem Ärmel’. Standing in front of boxes filled with kilos of vegetables, absurd amounts of pasta and rice bags, bushes of basil and peppermint, it suddenly felt really hard to decide how much was enough. Since I was responsible for the cooking, I definitely didn’t want hungry stomachs on board. Two voices battling in my head: What if we can’t enter a harbour for a couple of days? With all the sailing and fresh air, the crew will eat a lot. But then we gathered so much food that I couldn’t imagine we would be able to consume all this fresh stuff, before it gets rotten. And I already pictured Suza’s angry face when seeing the receipt -she had the thankful job to keep the budget in mind…
After three hours in Bomba and another three on the marketplace, we had a receipt over one meter long and a sprinter car full of food. Now the real action could start. In the ship’s kitchen we discovered that there was no blender to smash the vegetables I had already cooked for the tomato soup we would have for lunch. Being creative with a spoon and a sieve in a kitchen that feels like a sauna is only funny afterwards. The hungry crew impatiently gathered on deck. Finally we managed to make something that did look like tomato soup, served with garlic bread from the oven. Will they like it, is it too spicy, too salty, too watery, will it be enough? Maybe I should have used a real recipe instead of thinking I could do this more or less spontaneously… To my relief everybody ate it, liked it, came for another plate, and complimented the cooking.

The satisfied feeling wasn’t there to stay; the ship caught extreme waves directly after lunch, shaking us from left to right, up and down. I saw all the hours of work come out in several colours of the rainbow, ending up over the railing into the Baltic sea. I took a deep breath and went downstairs to start preparations for dinner.

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All of a sudden in Finland…

August 20th, 2008 by Anke · 3 Comments

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Paul’s post

August 19th, 2008 by Paul · No Comments

Probably the main impression from this trip is the reminiscene of so called ‘stroy otriadu’ (*building team), existed during the soviet time and represented one of the most rememberable type of spending time for soviet students and youth. Well-known by the parents’ retellings, not by own experience this segment of soviet mythology still presents in the conscience of young russians. The main difference of this affair from soviet example in type of production. ‘Stroy otriadu’ were to fell the wood, to built the huge highways, to say shorter, to construct an utopia. Nowadays youth probably occupied with the reproducing themselves, and it is connected with the cultural turning point, happened in XX century, when industrial type of labour was changed by immaterail one. All the rest – swimming, songs near fireplace, drinking alcohol and shifts for cooking and housekeeping – quite similar. Probably the main part of this type of affairs - collective labour and common space for individual activities – were saved after all disenchantments of XX century. Also the point of internationality of the team, as a rule interpretated just as a possibility of language practice, makes me to remember the main left-wing precept. I could be wrong, but for me this essential points are more important than environmental rhetoric or harmless cartoons about nothing. It could be the festival against the destructing of ozon layer or festival dedicated to barocc music as well. Probably the main thing is the possibility of international interaction of youth, not laoded by the imperatif of making money. And that’s why this experience could be called exceptional.

Paul Arsenev, editor of almanach ‘Translit’

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Cloudy day

August 18th, 2008 by Anton · No Comments

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Symphony of seasickness

August 17th, 2008 by Jan · 2 Comments

You can basically feel the tension on board when the wind is getting stronger the waves become meaner and the Lovis turns from a well behaving holiday-cruiser to a real all-weather sailing vessel. 70 tons of railwaytracks and concrete under the floor will keep our floating home upstraight no matter what kind of stomachtwisting storm will approach.
But when I look into the eyes of some of our crew I can read in their faces that they would love the Lovis to capsize, send an SOS to the next coastguard-helicopter to rescue them and bring them to save nonmoving land just to stop the mind-and-stomachboggling rolling motion.

First they get quiet, the colour of their faces is turning more or less to a whiter shade of pale with some kind of green nuance. If they are lucky that was it…

But normally the next step will be climbed within some minutes. Sitting on deck with at least 3 covers to keep them warm, swallowing pills against the seasickness and watching the horizont praying to neptune the movement to stop. Going under deck is now impossible for them and you can sometimes see a tear dropping from their staring eyes.
There is a (fairy)tale that singing helps to stop the growing sickness thats why I´m also sick, sick of hearing badly performed well known marine-folklore songs like “What shall we do with the drunken sailor…”.
But I should be lucky, I never had to care about where the next bucket is, check the wind to look for the best spot on board to feed the fishes or wonder if I can wear my sweater ever again….
Basically I tried everything to make my own experience with how to handle seasickness but I never succeeded. Sitting in the net during strong wind, staying under deck reading while storm, filming *#&$++* people or cleaning well filled bowls over the bulwalk. I really tried everything…
Then yesterday I was almost lucky, a bad hangover helped me to feel almost alike the shivering
casualties of the mean side-front-wave. I didn´t liked it but at the moment I really started to worry what I had for breakfast the sea became calm again. Goddammit….

All I can say is: sleep, eat well and always dress warm so you can enjoy this amazing trip on board of the most beautiful sailingvessel in the world…

(I will somehow have to build some kind of machine to shake my bed back in Hamburg in the way the Lovis is moving, the CD with the sounds that Danil recorded during the trip between Kaliningrad and Riga I already copied to my MP3-player.)

Bye bye MBS, bye bye lovely Lovis, bye bye baltic sea. Gonna miss it all and everyone.
Thank you for the experience.


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