I haven’t been writing much because I moved back to Germany 6 weeks ago. I will be here for two semesters while I am teaching at Leuphana University near Hamburg. The first six weeks have been the usual rush of purchases (phones, bicycles, groceries, etc. etc.), trying to do things, and then somehow make it back home without getting lost. A big challenge for doing this is to find the easiest path between my apartment, and the university some 5-6 kilometers away. As is usual with me in new cities, I spend my share of time getting lost, wandering about new hallways, streets, and bike paths.
A big challenge for doing this is to find the easiest bike path between my apartment, and the university some 5-6 kilometers away. As is usual with bike paths, the best ways are often away from traffic, and through the backways and alleyways. In my new commute this means riding through a dirt path, which goes under a highway and along a river, and then pops out at the end of a shady dead-end cobblestoned lane which I suspect was once the old road.
At the end of this alley there seem to be always 2-3 parked vehicles with Lithuanian license plates. They seem to be a varying mix of two or three vehicles, especially vans and trailers. They disappear during the day, and often change. All of them though look like they are packed full of household goods. Chairs, tables, beds, children’s toys, and so forth. A washing machine was sitting there this morning. Once I saw a man cooking on a kerosene stove, and I have seen others sitting around smoking and chatting. I am almost to the point that we acknowledge each other, but not quite. I wonder what vehicles from Lithuania are here in this remote dead end lane?
Lithuania is now a Schengen country, and a member of the European Union, which means that Lithuanians are permitted to enter Germany without a visa, and to seek work. I wonder what story the people at the end of this alley have to tell?