We were dropped off at the train station in Perpignan, not really sure where we were going next. Erika had a few options marked in our Eurotopia Book and OfeK tried to call the ones that were somehow on our way.
"Why not today..", a guy named Dodos or something, replied, and gave us directions on how to get from the train station at Robiac to their place by foot.
And so we marched in the sun, loaded with our backpacks, from one small village to the other, following the sketchy directions. After some time and a picnic, a car pulled next to us and the driver asked us something in French with "La Valette" in it. He dropped us off at a car and truck graveyard, and after a few minute walk on a gravel road and a sign with France crossed out as in 'exiting-France', a whole village of ruins was revealed:
The habitants and friends here are somewhat similar to the ones we met in the Avalon community in Italy. Colorful, yet dusty and rough looking, aged 20 to 40, with strong beliefs in anarchy and chaos as a way of life. They describe themselves as a social, economic, and ecological experiment which is based on a collective and alternative ideal and the concept of autonomy.
Different people come and go everyday and not one of the original squatters is still here, yet when we were there it seemed like there were a few serious people who kept it all together, working very hard all day. No one is told what to do here, (if you ask you'll get an answer like "do you know what anarchy means?") but there's plenty of work:
Concerts and Parties take place often, and donations from visitors to such events are part of the income. Underground bands come here to perform usually, but we happened to be in one cabaret-style show that was also Masha's birthday party:
The library that looked also like an activists headquarters, had many of their leaflets promoting ecological and social matters. Out of the few English books, there was one called 'Wilhelm Reich for Beginners', a humoristic comic book that covered quite well most of what OfeK found later in some websites with a more serious biography of Reich. Without going into details, reading about this man, his science, and his life was mind-boggling and hopefully in our trip we'll get a chance to learn more about him and maybe even read some of his books. Read more about Reich at www.wilhelmreich.com.
The main problems we had with things here were the drugs, smoke, and beer, and the mentality of living off unemployment. When Erika had to cook lunch one day, there was barely any food in the kitchen, and the people with their monthly paychecks, instead of buying food, they buy tobacco and beer. They shout slogans against globalization and corporate rule yet giving so much money to the tobacco industry. Again, it seemed like there are a few people who are more serious than the rest (still smoking though), that somehow keep it all together.
So we only stayed in La Valette for one week. We had enough even though it was quite a good week with many nice and memorable experiences. All the natural hitch-hikers we met inspired us (together with not the easiest train route) to test our luck and hitch north to La-Lune-Nette, a community in the Jura mountains near the Swiss border and Geneva.
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