Ebenau's Community
of Wagons
Ebenau, near Eisenach, Germany/2001.10.28-2001.11.04

Hitching back to Sessen train station from Lutter took longer than expected but it didn't matter because even though we missed one train, the only bus from Eisenach to Croetzburg was still an hour wait. It was a cold and windy day, and already after dark, but Momo could not care less and was having a good time walking around the bus-station and watching the lost teenagers smoke.

01_getting-there_momo-erika_20011028 (45KB)From Croetzburg we had walking directions to Ebenau. 3km, they said. It started to rain, and we walked in the dark, almost in the ditch, because it was a shoulder-less road, and cars passed us at full speed. We walked and walked, cold and wet with our backpacks, but there was no sign of a village, just a dark road. We decided to walk back to Croetzburg and call again for directions. There was no answer and we figured we better start looking for an alternative for the night, but before we must eat, and we ordered a no-cheese pizza from the only shop open. Then OfeK called again, and someone actually picked up the phone and said he would come to pick us up.

After 30 minutes a peculiar guy entered the pizza-shop and introduced himself as Tobias. With very few words we walked again in the dark, this time on a trail parallel to the river, until we reached Ebenau. He showed us to a wagon of a family of four who were away on a long-term protest in a nuclear waste dump. It had a family-bed at the end, and we immediately crawled in and fell asleep.

02_our-wagon_20011030 (112KB) 10_our-wagon_momo-erika_20011101 (60KB) 14_our-wagon_momo-erika_20011103 (87KB) 11_our-wagon_momo-erika_20011101 (47KB) 12_blowing-out-candle_momo_20011101 (46KB) 13_blowing-out-candle_momo_20011101 (104KB)
So that was our home for one week. It was actually quite cozy once we got used to the space and regularly start the wood-stove. It had a hand-powered Gramophone in it with a few records, which we excitingly played with partial success. This is where Momo learned how to blow candles out, which turned out to be a bit annoying after a while...

03_20011030 (105KB) 04_20011030 (89KB) 05_20011030 (89KB) 06_20011030 (100KB) 07_20011030 (121KB)
In the following morning we could finally see where we were. It turned out to be a community of beautifully self-renovated circus-wagons, probably about 20 of them. We were told that there are 23 adults and a growing number of kids, with recent home-births and ones to come. There was actually one fairly large house, with storage spaces, a common kitchen, living room, and a few bed-rooms, but besides Tobias, who slept in the kitchen, the people preferred to live in their wagons.

It wasn't really a commune, as very little was shared. Even meals and food buying were private, and there was no organization of any work. We were told we would get invited to dinner by some of the residents, but this never happened, and our week turned out to be a relaxing time for ourselves - no meeting people, no work.

We borrowed some bikes and went into town a few times, where there was one supermarket with a minimal organic selection. There was also a nice garden with things like potatoes, celery, swiss-chard, radishes, turnips, leeks, rocket and brussel sprouts. Tobias was starting his own garden, removing with a big piece of cloth the top few inches of a big square of land, because it was sprayed with chemicals (he didn't want to use buckets or wheelbarrows for some principle). He was an interesting fellow and it was hard to figure out why he does certain things. One night there was actually a communal meal, and Tobias cooked for a long time what turned out to be several very small potato-only dishes - potato pancakes, potato chips, mashed potatoes, etc.

In the few years this place was as it is, the people managed to collect plenty of furniture, toys, kitchenware, etc. which filled up most of the house. One room was full of clothes, mainly children's, well-organized on shelves by size. They even had cloth diapers and covers. And so we replaced and expanded our wardrobe for the cold weather.

08_kids_momo_20011030 (59KB) 09_chat_erika-elisa_20011030 (114KB)The raggedy kids were all over the place and it was hard to tell who their parents were, as different adults approached them. Also it was hard to tell who's with who. Momo was following the kids around sometimes, and Erika had a short chat with one of the mothers.

That's about it. Though we didn't really connect with the smokey crusty dread-locked residents, we had a good time here, keeping things low key; riding the bike with Momo into town, cooking for ourselves, lying in the family-bed in our warm wagon, and looking forward to our visit in Niederkaufungen.


Feedback, thoughts and questions are always welcome at

No copyright! (but be nice please...) composed by OfeK.