Sitting in my home, writing this article I came to the conclusion that something that I went through in the last days was purely magical. My friend Wojtek Pastuszak came up with the idea of making a euro skate trip on his 30th birthday. The cast was small but strong. Two guys from Warsaw, Marcin Duch and Wojtek Mandrysz said immediately that they were going. The moment I heard about the trip, on which you skate only the best DIY spots in Europe, it was clear I was aboard. The route was almost 6000 km long and went through Germany, Belgium, France and Basque Country. We met up in Poznan and aimed at our first destination – Kassel, Germany.
At first we were bummed. We were told we couldn’t skate Mr. Wilson DIY because of some hardcore concert festival. Like every skateboarder we have thought “We drove 700 km and now we can’t skate? Fuck no!” We started skating the DIY park and after an hour the builders of Mr. Wilson came and said we are all welcome and we can skate everything and sleep in the skatepark. The skate session was long and the boys decided to move on and sleep next to some lake on the road to Belgium.
The next day we drove to Netherlands and Belgium, our stay there wasn’t long due to rainy weather, we ate famous “French” fries which are actually Belgian, saw the DIY spot in Mechelen and continued our trip to Lac de Vassiviere in southern France.
On the Vassivière island, there was supposed to be an art installation which actually is a crazy glowing bowl. Quoting Marcin “It was a dream of a drunken architect”. We were so hyped about that place, that regardless of the rainy weather and time (it was something around 5 am) we were looking for this island and for the bowl to sleep next to it. A quick photo session of the bowl in the dark and a sleep over next to it.
In the morning we kicked off with a killer session in the bowl, after that we packed our tents and started off to another destination, Darwin DIY in Bordeaux.
The spot was a little bit rough, reminding us of our own spots in Poland but I have to admit we completely destroyed the spot. The hype was endless and we had so much fun at this spot. Next to it was a funny, looking like a Ying-Yang bowl. The whole place had a great vibe, people just chilling outside, playing piano or doing some other activities. It was nice to see people not sitting in front of TV, but socializing in such an interesting environment. The next stop was our main destination – Getxo, Basque Country.
It is a place which will hold a place in my heart for life. Everywhere there are downhills, a lot of beautiful women, the interesting skatepark of La Kantera on the cliffs over the ocean and it had great waves for surfing. We slept in some ruins next to the skatepark, waking up in such a place gave me goosebumps. We surfed during the day and then skated the park with the locals and French crew from Marseille. As bad rainy clouds were chasing us our whole trip, the next day we were forced to go to Toulouse in France. We skated the bowl at a local skatepark and then had a tasty dinner with locals, not having time we rushed to another city: Sete. We slept inside the bowl at a local skatepark and to our surprise at 3am some local dude came to the skatepark to skate alone, crazy! We woke up in the morning and started skating the park, after a short session in the bowl and Marcin’s destruction of the wall ride we once again fell into amok of searching for the best DIY spot.
In Sete, there is a DIY spot hidden in the forest, If it wasn’t for Bastien Marlin, who wrote me instructions how to get to the spots in Sete, we wouldn’t have found them. We skated there a few hours in the heat without drinking water, so the only thing we could do afterwards was to go swimming in the Mediterranean sea somewhere on the route to Marseille, our next stop.
Getxo and Marseille are two places which I will remember for a long time. At first we made friends with locals and skated the infamous bowl known from Tony Hawk’s game. As it got dark long ago, we wanted to sleep on the grass next to it but some arabians started to check our car for obviously stealing it. In the middle of the night we decided to go outside of the city to sleep in the countryside. As we woke up we were astonished by the place. From one side light blue sea from another the beautiful mountains, After making panoramic photos and personally the most glorious shit ever (in the mountains with the view of the sea) we skated the Marseilles bowl for the whole day and unfortunately had no time for searching the secret DIY spot. Locals were as always the best and really hospitable, the best thing both in Getxo and Marseille was that locals, who showed us lines in bowls just by saying “follow me!” it was a crazy ride. We had fun times sleeping in places we weren’t supposed to sleep at all.
Somewhere in Switzerland we found a big lawn and decided to sleep on it. In the morning police officers woke us up and said we had to leave, in that moment Pastuch showed us his persuasive skills simply by saying “please let us sleep two or three hours more” and as Pastuch is very professional at everything, the policeman let us sleep some more. It occurred that we slept in front of some tourist attraction, some castle. After so many great spots I thought there is nothing left, but as we arrived to Basel in Switzerland we were surprised by the DIY spot called PORTLAND.
As we arrived the whole park was wet, so we had to find mops and dry it. We met locals and skated with them, thanks guys for cold beers! It was the best! As I earlier mentioned we were racing with the rain, and it cought us up again, so we had to go to another city. We wanted to travel the Alps and skate Brixlegg bowl or Wörgl DIY in Austria. Unfortunately it was raining there so in about a minute we decided to drive across whole Germany to skate the final destination, Mellowpark in Berlin.
As always we arrived in the middle of the night at a place where we thought we were going to sleep. We went to a bar for a beer and started chatting with the local Germans. Local captain said that we are in a Yacht club, and it is only for VIP’s but we were okay and if we wanted we could sleep there. In the last day of the trip we managed to skate in Berlin, eat the last supper like Jesus Christ but in an Indian restaurant, then drove home.
This trip showed me another and very different sight on skateboarding. You don’t have to be a pro to be one of us. Every guy who I met during the trip skated differently with his own style. More important, true skateboarders don’t care about the fame and the money, they are living their lives almost like a normal person having a family and work, but what drives us is the desire to create, skate and destroy. They are working class heroes. At every spot we met locals, who skate really great and they get nothing from it. They have just pure hype on building DIY spots and skateboarding. I want to thank all the people that we met on the trip, you were great, because of you, at every spot I felt like I’m home with my family.
Article by Igor Bętlejewski