Big Fredi may ride again on a breakdown vehicle or what 750ml make up

blog entry 9.10.2019

The trip was quite varied

It went through forests, pastures, fields and smaller or larger villages. The architecture of the houses has changed a lot. Instead of half-timbered houses with shutters, there are now only old stone houses that remind us of days gone by. In between we also see modern buildings with tidy front gardens and lush vegetable gardens. We drive along the Loire for a long time. The touristic Loire Castle Road starts only north of our route. There is always a place to sleep directly at the canal or the Loire. 

Yesterday we slept long although the sky outside was blue – so actually it was emperor’s weather. In Le Puy I wanted to visit the restaurant recommended by Pascal. Unfortunately Tuesday is a rest day and we had breakfast so late anyway. So hunger did not arise at all. 

But we would have had to feed at least Big Fredi well to avoid the later mess. 

Our „Nacigation Aunt“ led us once again into the one-shift, through narrow gorges and mountain paths, serpentines over serpentines. No gas station the next 30 km. Since Wilfried wants to fill the expensive French diesel as seldom as necessary, he lets the fuel gauge fall quite into the minimum.

we didn’t get that far

And so it happened: when driving uphill one last breath, and off. 

Nothing works anymore. So reserve canister out. Put the fuel in. Vent the pipe. Nothing moves. 

After long attempts the only possibility left is to call the ÖAMTC and ask for help. The breakdown driver, a young mechanic, comes right away with the right tow truck, stands in front of us and tries to get Big Fredi back on his feet. He doesn’t succeed either. It’s a hot day. Actually I wanted to do a little hike. Now I’m standing in the glistening sun, it’s certainly 25 degrees and waiting to continue.

Big Fredi is taken piggyback with us for the 2nd time in his life and goes with us to Langogne. The workshop that the breakdown driver chose does not take us. So we drive 100 meters back to his own workshop. There Big Fredi is unloaded, we are eating – it is in the meantime 5 pm and we hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast – when the driver’s door is opened. The driver is back and opened the hood from the driver’s side. Thank God! With the help of a second mechanic he gets Big Fredi to purr again. The second man was quite scolded. Probably the problem would have been easy to solve on the mountain. Anyway, we are quite relieved. We leave the industrial area to find a place to sleep a few hundred meters away. Again we stand at the river. It was a quiet and hot night after a really hot day. Rain has driven away the sun. Dense clouds are again in the sky and it seems to remain cloudy for today. We will plan our journey better in the future regarding fuel reserve and not go out to the last drop. 

Wilfried said that only 750 ml would have been missing to the next gas station. But they weren’t in the tank. His gut feeling told him to refill the reserve canister 3 km before we broke down, but he didn’t listen to his gut feeling. Afterwards you are smarter. Again something learned. 

THAT won’t happen to us again !

Great esteem in Saint-Louis

Blog entry 6.10.2019

The second week in front of the town hall was just as exciting as the first

The article by Jean-Christoph in L’Alsace still had a great impact. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday there were still 2 people each Fax to be portrayed in Big Fredi. From October 1st the autumn was suddenly here and it was no longer comfortable to sit outside. On Friday it was only cloudy, rainy and unfriendly. We were not surprised that hardly anyone was on the street. 

Stéphane, head of the cultural department of Saint Louis hands over the city book to us

So we said goodbye to the team of the culture department, Sophie, Hans-Jörg (the Swiss journalist who kindly translated the article for us) and let us spoil ourselves with pizza on the last evening before our departure by Pascal. The stimulating conversation with him, who was drawn on Monday afternoon, lasted until almost 2 o’clock in the morning.

With Pascal we had a lively exchange of ideas until the morning hours.

We were able to sleep late and didn’t leave until noon. Along the Swiss border we first went west and then south until we found a quiet place in Froidefontaine at the canal.

The cooking was already done with quite hungry stomachs and turned out so lavish that it was enough for 3 days. Also good, vegetables and rice always fit and you can still spice it up. 

Today’s trip was not so much off the beaten track through the smallest villages and we went much faster. Volesvres is the name of the place where we landed now.

Today we had most of the time rain or dense clouds. Hopefully tomorrow the sun will shine again, so that our batteries get new juice again.

A warm and cordial welcome in Saint-Louis

Blog entry 2.10.2019

Jean-Christoph has written a fantastic article about us, which was published the very next day in L’Alsace.

during the portrayal Jean-Christophe wrote the article – Photo: Ville de Saint-Louis – Jean-Marie Juraver

Face Europe no. 84 Jean-Christophe – Photo: Ville de Saint-Louis – Jean-Marie Juraver

A whole page on the culture supplement with a very good photo. Hans-Jörg Renk from the Swiss newspaper also sent us the German translation of it, and we were delighted with the article. Some people found the courage to be portrayed through the article, others just dropped in out of curiosity, but couldn’t speak enough German or English to take part. If someone does not speak German or English, we always motivate the interested parties to bring along an “interpreter”. This is also possible. Here in the border triangle many people can speak several languages, although it was forbidden to speak German after the 2nd World War. Many people who were portrayed here can still remember this time well. Nevertheless, the Alsatian language and culture is kept very high here, rediscovered and promoted. It is part of the identity of this region. It is nice for us to experience the energy of the Alsatians so close up. We are allowed to experience many details, some of which the locals do not know. That makes us proud and happy to be so well received here and to learn so many details. For example, Pascal, who is the landscape architect of the Rathausplatz, contacted us by e-mail and had his portrait painted.

Face Europe no. 91 Pascal

Today the deputy mayor Jocelin was with us and we are happy to be so close to the events of this interesting city.

We heard and saw so much in one and a half weeks, although we only stayed on the town hall square and slept the nights on the parking lot of the casino. 

On the weekend we were invited to Vieux-Ferrette by Sophie, who made it possible for us to stand with Face Europe in Saint-Louis.

Face Europe nr. 88 – Sophie

On Saturday Sophie had herself drawn and on Sunday we were allowed to take part with the family in a hiking day that took us to areas that were unknown even to Sophie’s family. Wine and food were served, on an 8 km walk there were 6 refreshment stations and each time a wine tasting. For 32€ we were there. We were allowed to take the wine glasses with us. A gigantic expenditure was operated with the individual stations. Beautiful decorations and safe dispensing for every weather were required. Fortunately we had no rain or storm, it was even warm like in summer. We looked for the shade at the individual stations and in the evening we had eaten so much that we could no longer imagine ever being able to eat anything again. 

Strangely enough, the next morning we had breakfast again. 

Both weeks here in Saint-Louis are very successful for Face Europe. We didn’t expect so many “faces” and contacts. 

The visit to André on Monday, whom I had met during my walk, was very stimulating.

Gas-powered forklift trucks must not be operated with diesel or petrol.

He is an innovative and hard-working farmer, planting potatoes, onions, soya, wheat and corn, who was a carpenter in his first profession. He has developed from a part-time farmer to a full-time farmer and still loves to learn.

Face Europe no. 89 – André
Face Europe no. 89 – André

We were invited to dinner in the family, which made us especially happy. It is always very special for us to be so close to the people. What could be nicer than eating together? That connects! Thank you for the beautiful evening and the fruitful encounters. 

Alsace we are coming!

Blog entry 24/09/2019

After 2 more days through the hilly wine country west of the Black Forest, we have now arrived Saint Louis

Sophie, who invited us to Alsace a few weeks ago, has agreed with the Cultural Department that we can stand in front of the town hall with Face Europe. 

This works pur very straightforward. 

erste Übernachtung von FACE EUROPE in Frankreich – Am Rhein in Saint Louis

Last night we shared the parking lot at the Rhine in Village-Neuf with a few Romas. But they were peaceful. Without musical accompanying. 

Grilled alone, leaving their garbage collected. 

Early the next morning in front of the town hall we made the acquaintance with the Swiss editor of Alsace-Gazette.

Face Europe in front of the City Hall from Saint Louis

He promised to inform his colleague from France, who is the editor of the newspaper „L’Alsace“. An hour later, both came back together and Jean-Christophe made a date for Thursday for a face Europe session. He will interview us and write the story for his newspaper into his Computer during the session while he is being portrayed . Nothing could be better  than that!

Many visits, a new family member and historical ski jump in the summer

Blog entry 19/09/2019

Since Falkenberg we visited two other families

In Berlin we were at Sabina and Simon and their own two and one borrowed dog. It was very funny and entertaining. In addition, we gained four more portraits.

Face Europe no 80 Simon

Face Europe no 80 Simon-after 80 min

Face Europe no. 81-Sabina-after 100 min

Face Europe no. 82-Mareike-after 35 min

Face Europe no. 82-Mareike-after 100 min

Face Europe no 83-Renate-after 100 min

Simons portrait on the front of Big Fredi was immediately recognized by all neighbors and they called out in surprise: what has Simon got to do with art? And “Wat is dat with the bears?”

Simon’s portrait on big Fredi

Unfortunately, Sabina has to serve 3 more years as a teacher before the two can go on trips with their fancy mobile home. We wish her nothing but lovely students and little trouble with the authority and unnecessary changes and that the two stay healthy and they can travel again with their dogs. For now, the fall holidays are coming closer. 

Further west, we continued to Petra and Dieter in Mesum. We got to know them in Besalú and we met them a few more times in Spain and Portugal last year. Now we enjoyed their hospitality for three days and enjoyed every minute. 

Sporting challenges such as cycling and walking were rewarded with the finding of wonderful parasol mushrooms. We cooked them together in the outdoor kitchen and enjoyed eating together. 

Since Berlin there was a break in Face Europe. 

However, our family of bears got a new member: it’s a girl: Gisela is her name and she is a gift from Petra. She is so cute, our little girl. A real bear girl. The family has again warmly welcomed her. Especially Burli cares best for his new sister.

New in the Family – Gisela

The two are already planning something together. 

On Monday we left Mesum and are now on the road to Vieux-Ferrette in Alsace. Slowly we went south through beautiful landscapes and found quite useful spaces for the night. 

A city parking place in Buren, a place on the River Lahn, a place just outside of Ludwigshafen at a lake. All places super quiet and pleasant. 

Today we made a trip to the Black Forest. Now we are at the foot of the ski jump from the last century. The jump was built in 1908.

Big Fredi vor der Schanze

A woman who had come here told us that her father had won a ski jump competition with the incredible range of 25 meters in the 1920s. There is an old photo of him on which the jump was recorded. Whether the arms were stretched before or after the body had remained unclear. The two will now investigate the picture in more detail. The woman had come here especially to show this hill to her partner in nature.

In the evening, a mobile home with 2 German men also joined us: Father and son Alex and Sebastian. We met over a glass of wine. Very nice and interesting travelers. 

The night promises to be quiet but cold. After all, today we climbed up to almost 1000 m.

Falkenberg with big surprises

Blog post September 2 2019

We left the herring farm on Thursday morning to move on towards Germany

On Friday, 30 August, evening we arrived at our friends in Falkenberg. Anna had been assured the parking lot across the street from her house from her neighbors for Big Fredi. 

It was packed hot at about 30 degrees and still increased until Sunday with 34 degrees. 

Anna, our friend suggested that we accompany her on Saturday with Face Europe advertising to her Antique Market. We found four persons whom Wilfried drew in 2 days. One man, Peter, who writes the carnival stories about Falkenberg and also moderates them. The other participants were women.

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At the antique market it was very busy but suddenly I spotted him: a sweet little Steiff teddy bear. At first I thought I would never be able to afford it but I agreed with the seller to € 2.50. Immediately the little fellow wandered into my possession. Then came the time to find out WHO had been waiting for the right family of bears for such a long time.

Burli der Neue

Immediately it turned out, “Burli” is the new member of the family of the bears gang. It did not take long Burli was fully integrated. He was teased by Gracia and gave her an equal hit. Mama Mali intervened and calmed the two new siblings. Now they already work together in common pranks and outdo Fredi at stupid speeches. Already in the morning they start to invent excuses why no one of them can fix the breakfast.

Die Bärenfamilie

But they are our sweet bears that already inhabit a separate box and every morning they move  to our bed and in the evening thy  get deeper one story lower in the Big Fredi. In the morning it looks ever so bad here, but they’re all very polite and peaceful in the box and wait for the rise in our bed.

Die Bärenfamilie in ihrer Schachtel

Zagroda-Sledziowa: Unique herring farm in Starkowo

Blog post August 28, 2019

I need to tell you a little bit about Starkowo: A Pomeranian village, quaint and rural in the middle of the “checkered land”

So many villages have the appearance of a diamond, many houses in framework construction have been preserved and partly lovingly renovated or even newly built with the original building materials. First, the wooden frame with pins and recesses is   mated. Only with wooden nails the compounds get fixed. The free parts within the timber is then lined with a clay-straw mixture or with red bricks. 

Also Maciek had built the barn from scratch that now houses the museum in which Face Europe took place. Several images which can be admired in the museum, show the procedure. You should take a look:,en.html

Maciek invited us during our whole stay for lunch from his restaurant. It was delicious. This is real Polish hospitality! Thanks for the great hospitality and offering us the museum during our Face Europe painting and drawing actions. 

On Sunday, Maciek took time for a portrait session. He was very proud of the result and sent the photo to his friend from whom he assumes, he will be very jealous.

Face Europe no. 72-Maciek-after 60 min

session Maciek-Face Europe no 72 (4)

This Polish friend owns the property, works in Dubai and Maciek visits him once a year, where new plans for the expansion and improvement of the herring farm are made, which Maciek then throughout the winter turns into action. 

On Monday Wilfried did want to have a rest day but that was the only day that Nikolas had time for a portrait. So Wilfried picked him up on Monday  in Slupsk and made a colorful oil portrait of him. 

Reminder: Nikolas was with his protest action for a Rainbow Parade dressed as a woman in front of the City Hall on Friday and wanted to be originally drawn there by Wilfried. However, his brightly colored appearance called for an oil portrait and this turned out great on Monday.

Face Europe-no 73

Face Europe no. 73-Nikolas-after 240 min

Face Europe no. 73-Nikolas

On Tuesday was really time to recover. We had 34 degrees in the shade. We went to two artists’ material stores which were recommended by Maciek’s neighbor. The first one is just within walking distance from the City Hall. The second in the shopping center, where we had washed our clothes a few days ago. In both, we were successful. Armed with fresh materials, we were about to leave the mall when Pavel with his wife Katie and the two boys came in. They had come to cool off and for the children to play. We were excited about a reunion with them and spent an hour chatting about life in Austria, Poland and the USA. For them, Europe is such a safe area. In America, children are regularly kidnapped and abused. A child of their friends had experienced that. Since it responded to the anesthetic in an allergic reaction with thrashing and witnesses got attentive, the criminals fled. This is simply unimaginable for us. Hopefully, this development does not come to us, like so much development from the “promised land”!

On Wednesday in the Swolowo open air museum “” a Face Europe day was scheduled but unfortunately got canceled. 

Instead Wilfried portrayed Wieslaw in the Herring Farm and after that we definitively left Starkowo.

Face Europe no. 74 Wieslaw-after 75 min

Swedish Day in Starkowo

Blog post August 24, 2019

Yesterday, Friday, 23 August, we completed our successful time in Slupsk time with portrait no. 70, and were moving towards Starkowo

Swedishday in Sarkowo

On the way there is a very interesting museum, which consists of several buildings and farms in half-timbered architecture. We got an Audio Guide and could enjoy the lovingly restored houses from the late 19th and early 20th century.

Museum in Swolowo (1)

Museum in Swolowo (4)

Museum in Swolowo (2)

Museum in Swolowo (3)

We invited Joanna, who speaks very good English to participate in Face Europe. She was excited and promised to organize a full day for Face Europe on Wednesday. 

Within good spirits and full of confidence we drove 4 km to Starkowo where Maciek was already waiting for us. He led us in his private garden, where the father of his friend, Wieslaw, sat at the table and was busy with a wrotten smelling fermented herring from a can. We should taste and say what we thought of it. Wilfried said, not even the chicken, which he had swallowed in Portugal, was equally disgusting. I found with potato, onion, pickles and cream the fish was edible. But as a culinary delight, I would definitely not classify it. Maciek could approach the table only by hiding his nose in the T-shirt neckline.

Maciek-smells the fish

Wieslaw then visited us in Big Fredi. He hosted today’s feast and campaigned great for Face Europe. Right at noon, Marcin, a teacher, who had already spotted us in Slupsk in front of the City Hall reported in. He also offered a fermenting workshop and invited me.

fermenting-workshop on the herringfarm in Starkowo

Fermenting-Workshop the Herringfarm in Starkowo – Result

Two other people who were very interested at first, did not appear at the scheduled time .So it remained to be only one portrait for Saturday.

Face Europe no. 71 – Marcin telling us about his life

Face Europe no 71-Marcin-after 100 min

Face Europe no. 71 – Marcin

After 6 graphite pictures it became  a charcoal portrait for a change. 

A week of ups and downs 

Blog post August 22, 2019

Today is Thursday. The second week in Slupsk is almost beaten and was again very exciting

On Monday, Face Europe  portrait no. 66 was built with Jan.

Face Europe session no. 66 Jan / Poland

Face Europe session no. 66 Jan / Poland-after 38 min

Two fixed dates and one vague one for Tuesday had registered, but none of the three appeared. That was a little bit frustrating but for Wednesday we got a commitment and dates for Thursday and Friday. These dates were then met again.

Face Europe no. 67 Tomasz-after 50 min

Face Europe no. 67 Tomasz-after 87 min

And so we made it up to Portrait No. 69. 

Face Europe no. 68 – Pavel / Poland

Face Europe no. 68 – Pavel after 100 min

Face Europe no. 68 – Pavel when looking at his drawing

Portrait No. 70 is planned for tomorrow.

Face Europe no. 69-Wiktoria- after 93 min

Face Europe no. 69 Wiktoria / Poland

For no. 69 we got a lovely girl who was the youngest participant next to Lily in England, both of them being 9 years old.

Face Europe no. 10 Lily / UK

Funny that also Wiktoria since 3 years is living in England, as well as Wiktoria who sat there last week with us.

Face Europe no. 61 -Wiktoria / Poland

Face Europe no. 61 Wiktoria after 106min

She is 19 years old. And so we had the first equality of first names since the beginning of Face Europe.

Trip to the herring museum and to Ustka

Blog post August 18, 2019

Sunday is a good day for visiting

From Małgorzata, who also works in the cultural department of the town hall, and was already part of face Europe we got the contact of one out of two world wide existing herring museums.

Małgorzata-Face Europe no 64

The owner was praised to us as open-minded and friendly. So go for it and convince ourselves. We are very excited about how friendly, kind and open Poland welcomes us. In recent years it has become more colorful and friendly. Although people are initially quite shy, but on the second contact very open and honest.

Lisbeth with Maciej the owner of the Herring Farm

Maciej – pronounced Matschek, a form of Matthias – who is the owner of the place, will set up  a “Swedish day” on Saturday.  In the courtyard of his estate, we may stand with Big Fredi and Face Europe. So we hope to get one or two portraits.

Hering Farm

Maciej himself will also participate. 

We could have saved ourselves the subsequent visit in Ustka.

Ustka and the Tourists

There was only one of the so much acclaimed portrait painters available and he was not even on site.

The neighbor gave us a business card. We would have been interested in how the business side of portraiture painting in Poland looks like.