Last year, in June, in Tbilisi, I was walking in ‘The Hippodrome’, which is a recreational area from Soviet times for shows and events. I decided to look in the derelict building.
The building, made from concrete and girders, about the size of a 7-a-side football pitch inside, was missing all its windows. As I heaved back the door and walked in there was an unusually fresh smell of horse manure.
There was a short corridor with a few rooms, derelict and graffiti’d. In the main space, the ground was covered with sand and at the far end of the building was seating for spectators.
I heard a voice, turned around, and behind me I saw a shirtless man with bedraggled hair. I expected him to be Georgian. I was intrigued when it was a German-accented English. Wearing dusty jeans, skinny of frame, greeted me and we began a conversation mapping out why he was there.
It turned out that Andreas, once an architect from Germany had given up his career long ago (over a decade) to become a cattle herder in the Swiss Alps. Over the last decade he had made many travels. I visited him a few times and I eventually asked if I could interview him.
Where are you from?
That means probably, which thoughts images and emotions are driving me back - well if this is so, there are the banks and waters of Chiemsee ( look it up ) and the farm house bought by my grand grandfather once and where I lived at before i left germany for this trip.
What is my job?
I once worked as an architect, but for ten years now I work as a Cow shepherd in Valais in Switzerland.
Where did you travel from to?
I flew to Kirghistan. I cycled Kirgistan in search of a good bactrian camel. When I discovered that I didn't like the brutal training of the camel, I changed my target and looked for a horse.
From Kirghistan I went to Tadjikistan, crossed the Pamir to Dushanbe, from Tadjikistan to Afghanistan, Iran didn't want us, so we has to go to Turkmenistan, over the Caspian sea to Azerbaijan and taking the green border to Georgia. - This is leaving detours and obstacles out.
Which trips I made before?
You don't wonna know all of that, but there is one I made due to a photo which I found in the " Spiegel " a German magazine: There was this Yanomami sitting on the floor and on his arm this little bird.
The little bird with his head a little turned aside looked so absentminded, that contemplating the couple I had to ask myself: how much faith that little bird must have to his fellow! Cutting out that photo the wish came to live for a while with this people and see if its possible to live as beeing among beeings.
After two month up and down the orinoco system, I gave up because the Venezuelan military didn't want me to go there.
Instead I went to Paraqua to walk the jungle to Canaima, a touristic highlight, but accessable only by plane or following some gold mining trails . There I met that girl -daughter of the doc there - who invited me home. - they had a little parot who normaly was terrorising everyone came into the house, when he did alike, i grap him by the beak and shook him a little, after that he wouldn’t leave my shoulder anymore, and the family said, I should take him with me.
So I spent with him days and nights in the jungle, during the days he would sit on a branch fixed on my luggage, at night I had to sleep like a mummy not to squeeze him - as he used crawl into my sleeping bag.
When after some adventure we came to Panama he died due to a tag below his peak, which probably anabled him to breath. Never felt such company ever since, even now with the horse.
...I dont know if I bring this cataloque of questions to an end like this