Meet the Gandalf lookalike who has spent the last 32 years living in a forest without electricity or running water and who says it is the only way he wants to live.
Friedmunt Sonnemann, 56, has been living in a self-built mud hut in a forest near the municipality of Longkamp in the Bernkastel-Wittlich district in the western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
Named after the Lord of the Rings wizard by local media because of his long grey beard, Sonnemann is unaffected by the energy crisis and reportedly said: “I lack nothing. This is the only way I want to live.”
Sonnemann, who was reportedly born in Bonn and grew up in Cologne, gets his drinking water from a nearby spring and catches rainwater for cooking and washing.
Equipped with a dry compost toilet and heating himself with wood fires, he cares for about 100 rare plant species on the four hectares of land that he owns.
To make money, he sells their seeds, saying: “There are also plants from my great-grandmother’s times that would otherwise have disappeared.”
And he is not lonely either, currently hosting roommates to help around his rare plant farm from places as far away as Taiwan and Mexico.
Sonnemann said: “There are eight of us at the moment.”
He explained that people tend to come and see him to get “a certain distance” from “the world outside”.
He added: “We don’t live in a separate world here. But the impact of what is happening in the world is comparatively small.”
With a steady and balanced diet of herbs, fruits and vegetables, Sonnemann said there are still some things that he buys from the outside world. He said: “We also buy rice or noodles.”
Explaining his lifestyle, he said: “I don’t live alone and I didn’t leave the world, I got here. I’m not doing it all by myself, just for myself.”
Sonnemann is accepted by the local community, with Longkamp Mayor Horst Gorges saying: “The work he does is accepted here.”
A recent addition to his farm, where he has lived for the last 32 years, has been a solar panel set up on a barn so that he can run a washing machine and charge his cordless screwdriver.
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