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Camping without camping in Wedding

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Berlin - It looks like Lorenz Becker set up his camping chair along a spot next to the former Berlin Wall. Behind him is a high concrete wall, splattered with colourful graffiti, and Becker looks small and somewhat lost. The 75-year-old squints at the sun, stretches out his legs. The gravel crunches under his soles. A few blades of grass peek out from between the stones. A soft, steady murmur can be heard. Sea surf? There's no water around.

There's not even a tree anywhere near Becker for shade, or to provide a sound of leaves rustling in the wind. Becker has plenty of time this Thursday morning. He opens the book he's reading. Cold, Wind and Freedom by former extreme athlete Robert Peroni. It's one of the few books Becker owns that's not digital. "If you're traveling with a camper van, you have to think about saving space," he says. Any book is one too many, he adds.

Becker retired as a Catholic priest 10 years ago and had to give up his five-and-a-half-bedroom apartment in Switzerland. Now he's officially registered with his sister just to have an address and he lives in an RV instead. He had never camped before so he didn't know about any of the drawbacks, he says.

His new home is two metres long and is parked next to his camping chair, behind another motor home from Switzerland. Everything Becker needs is in his spacious, silver-grey vehicle. A bedroom with enough storage space. A bathroom with a 220-litre shower and toilet. A refrigerator, stove, television, a sitting area and a guest bed above the driver's cabin. The luggage compartment at the rear of the vehicle has room for chairs, a table and an e-bike.

Becker has already travelled half the world in his home on wheels. The odometer shows 281,000 kilometres. Becker has driven along the Silk Road to China, visited the North Cape, Turkey and Scotland, and traveled 30,000 kilometres through North and South America. He has camped in forests, in swamps and along rivers. On various coasts, he has experienced the sun setting and rising from his camping chair.

Now the Swiss man is stranded in Germany's capital.

Maybe not stranded, because there's no beach, just concrete. Becker is living in what is probably one of the most unusual campsites in Berlin - the Wohnmobil-Oase ("Camper Oasis") in........

© Berliner Zeitung

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