Finding food in Berlin wasn’t difficult, the people are nice, and that includes the employees. Picking up thrown away food is common practice, it doesn’t bother the employees who even indicate the time at which they throw the “un-sellable” foods away.
I spent 4 nights at Arnaud’s, a friend from when I started studying, with whom I also had been flat mate with in France and China. He came along to check the bins, he was very surprised to find so much food in them and decided he would come back to have a look next time he went shopping.
They discount everything by 50% an hour before closing, and throw away what’s left. It wasn’t that easy everywhere though, at one other shop an employee spoke German to me while mimicking “money” with her fingers, although she had read the sign about my project. As I looked for a bin behind the counter to show her, I saw a big rubbish bag already half full, and I pointed at it, but she wouldn’t hear anything… I’m not sure what she was saying but it was in the lines of “no money, no pastry”
A sandwich shop and a pastry shop also agreed to give me some of their leftovers.
Arnaud rode along the first day on the way to Poland, we were riding nice and easy. At noon we took a break to swim in a lake, and in the afternoon we kept making way stopping here and there, round the back of supermarkets. Arnaud couldn’t get over the amount of fruit and vegetable, we even found a jar of honey, chocolate, and dried apricots!
Then, as we stopped for a coffee, Arnaud explained my project to a baker who absolutely wanted to give me something, she admits to throwing away food every day and wants to give me a doughnut. But she was only closing an hour later and I told her she could still sell it. She wouldn’t stop insisting all the time while Arnaud was drinking his coffee, and eventually came back with half a dozen egg or ham toasts, saying she would never sell them all within the hour. I would never have accepted before, but I already exceeded the 3000km, and I would share them with Arnaud, so even if she would have sold 1 or 2, the others would have ended in the bin.
At night we camped and feasted, we had everything: crackers, sausage, cheese, bread, etc…
The next day I crossed the Polish border, fearing it would then be the same as in Czech Republic. However, after about 10km, I got to a supermarket with open access waste bins, and as I opened it, I found the same thing as everywhere else: food! Still good to eat!
The next day I set out towards Poznan, planning to get there two days later, but given the good weather, and the energy I had from the honey, the chocolate, and the twenty-some bananas found along the way, I rode both stages in the same day.
I asked at a few stores, and a young man who spoke English translated my request to his coworker who went to see if they had anything. She came back with a plastic bag containing 7 large yoghurts and 3 little meat rolls.
Then, a few kms from the city centre, I found full waste bins again, behind a small grocery store.
I still have 350km to go before I reach Warsaw, it’s not a lot, and my progress through Poland is going much easier than I thought it would.
I can’t add the other pictures…
Translated from french by André: firstname.lastname@example.org