Hobbit house in the hills

In the beginning of this year, a group of German Wandergesellen started woofing at Tojeiro. Looking like craftsmen from a centuries ago, wearing beautiful traditional tailored  suits. The tradition of Wandergesellen or Journeymen has existed for over 800 years and today still 600-800 people are practicing it. Wandergesellen or Journeymen are freshly graduated craftsmen in all possible categories travelling and working around the world.

The travel and work period lasts for a minimum of three years and one day. The one day is added because the period spent travelling should be longer than the duration of the apprenticeship as a craftsman. In order to become a master of a specific craft, it was necessary to undertake this journey, as a way to expand the knowledge and broaden the mind. Until now, this is still the main reason for going on the three-year-travels. 

During the time spent travelling and working, the Wandergesellen are not allowed to come in their hometown or 50 km around there. Also, it is expected that they do not spend money on travelling and accomodation. This rule came into play because the Wandergesellen ought to get in contact with the local people and their way of life and culture. This particular way of travelling paves the way for many interesting and remarkable encounters and adventures.

This awesome tradition dates back to medieval times and used to exist all over Europe. Nowadays, the journeyman years are still practiced in German-speaking countries and France. There they are called Les Compagnons.

The specific Wandergesellen that found the land of Tojeiro are two carpenters called Pit and Jonny and a stonemason named Luis. They started building an amazing clay house up the first hill, of course not without the support by a team of Tojeirians, usually a group of 5-7 people. Niko, Lylah and Inge are often there because they feel the vibe up there. The location is wonderful, overlooking the valley and standing in direct communication distance from the kitchen. It is amazing how the sound travels so easily over the wide gardens.

Going up the Eastern hill, a little clay house appears from behind a bush. Its shape is modest and it would not be impossible that a hobbit family would leave the house any time. The wooden frame of the building was already there, made by former Tojeirians. The structure for the roof was made out of branches, gathered in the woods surrounding the valley. To keep it waterproof, plastic material has been recycled to create a stirdy roof.

The walls were built from chopped branches as well and later on got woven with willow branches. After the third week, the willow surfaces were all filled with a mixture of straw and clay, creating a solid wall that keeps the warmth inside and makes sure the room is cool in summer. The clay is mined from the hill behind the house, then put through a huge siv made out of chicken fencing, in order to get the stones out. Then the smooth mass is mixed with water. The stamping of the clay happens with bare feet and is a loved job by many. Massaging the clay between the toes is an awesome experience!

In one of the corners of the cottage, a natural stone wall was built. It forms the basis of the stove heater that will be put there. The windows up front are big and through them a wonderful view of the garden and mountains can be seen. At the backside of the house, bottles in different colours are used in the wall. They create lovely light patterns on the solidly wooden floor, created by Pit. Luis built a cute staircase that creates an inviting entrance. In the future, this will be a perfect room for small gatherings, meditation sessions, sharing circles and ecstatic dance.

All the used materials are collected from the Tojeiro land, except for the wood that is being used for the floor. That needs to be solid and flat, for it may be used as a yoga space in the future. In between the work, some coffee and tea is made on the self-made oven dug out of the grove. Some stones, water, straw, clay, wood, bottles, a couple of Wandergesellen, tools and loving hands is all it takes!