Saturday, September 8, 2012

no car neighborhood in the middle of the city?

at the moment I am a little surprised that no one is talking about this place.  maybe it's illegal.  maybe it's a secret.  I could be breaking some sort of sacred code of silence.  I don't even know what its called.  I just know that all of the sudden I took a "wrong turn" on my bike while looking for a soccer field and I was in the middle of a neighborhood in Malmo proper that has only one street.  hundreds of houses but no streets to speak of anywhere.  I was on the main road, a busy one, looking left and right and I saw this street.  something pulled me toward it, even though it didn't look like there'd be a field alongside it.  I rode my bike down this small, one lane street and saw to my left and to my right what I can only describe as gravel paths that led off to people's houses.

carless neighborhood backyard
a backyard in the magic neighborhood just south of Malmo Stadium
the houses all have yards, some with picnic tables, some with benches, others with Swedish flags, most with gardens, mailboxes, etc.  it was, for all intents and purposes, just like any other neighborhood in the city, except there were no roads.  no cars.  no traffic.  no noise.  just birds chirping, greenery everywhere.  it almost didn't seem real.  I rode to the end of the one street (under 200 meters) and stopped.  there was a little church/ general store looking building and another smaller shed like building and a small parking lot with perhaps 50 cars in it.
carless neighborhood street
"street" in a carless neighborhood in Malmo.  you can see where the regular neighborhood begins again because there is a higher apartment building.  that building is on a main street.
I turned around back toward the street I had come down into the heart of this unknown territory. the road I was on was definitely paved.  I wasn't hallucinating or imaging it.  I retraced my way back toward the main (busy) street on my bike, very slowly.  along the way I stopped and snapped a couple of quick pictures, mostly looking down the gravel paths toward the front doors of the houses in the neighborhood.  I felt like I was disturbing some amazing historical monument or some sanctuary.
carless neighborhood just south of malmo stadium
carless street in Malmo
I left pretty quickly in search of my soccer game.  the whole experience was probably about 4 minutes of awe spent gawking as if I'd seen something that might never have been seen before and could well never be seen again.  I felt like the westerner who stumbles into the native tribal village and the place is empty.  I wanted to take a million pictures and videos and scoop up a piece of dirt to take with me to show others that this place is real, but I didn't want to be caught in the middle of somewhere I didn't belong.  I can't really say too much about it except I was there and it is real.  these pictures are the only evidence...
carless neighborhood street
this "street" had high shrubs on both sides.  most of the other streets had smaller shrubs and or flowers along the street.  maybe this is the freeway and those are the sound attenuators?

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