The ascetic in the palace – Ein Asket im Palast

Statue of Nicholas de Flue, a 15th century ascetic and hermit - credited for peace building advice to various governments. - Statue von Bruder Klaus in der Jesuitenkirche in Luzern. Seine Ratschläge an verschiedene Regierungen gelten als friedensstiftened.
Statue of Nicholas de Flue, a 15th century ascetic and hermit – credited for peace building advice to various governments. – Statue von Bruder Klaus in der Jesuitenkirche in Luzern. Seine Ratschläge an verschiedene Regierungen gelten als friedensstiftened.

The ascetic in the palace

Der deutsche Text folgt weiter unten

A hermit lived in a simple dwelling outside city limits. He was revered as a holy ascetic; many people were seeking his advice. Even the head of government became aware of him. She wanted to get to know this man. One day, she appeared in front of the cabin and asked him, whether he wanted to move up to her stately house.

“If you think so”, replied the hermit, “I will follow you anywhere.”

The head of government was surprised, but did not loose her composure. She did not anticipate that the hermit would accept her offer. Would a true ascetic not have to refuse such an offer? The head of government had some doubt. But, because she made the offer, she took the man to her stately house where she arranged for a beautiful and comfortable room and a delicious meal.

What did the hermit do? He enjoyed the beauty and the comfort of the room as well as the delicious food. Continue reading “The ascetic in the palace – Ein Asket im Palast”

En route – von Schwyz nach Einsiedeln


Ich bitte um Verzeihung dass ich die versprochenen Bilder von gestern erst heute zur Verfügung stelle, und dann erst noch unter einem verwirrlichen Titel. Die heutige Tagesetappe gab nicht viele Bilder her. Ich hoffe, du kriegst trotzdem einen Eindruck der zwei Bergetappen.

I ask you for forgiveness for posting yesterday´s pictures under a confusing heading. But today´s leg of the journey did not yield many pictures. I hope you can get an impression of the two alpine sections of my journey.

En route – von Luzern nach Schwyz

English translation below – pictures will be posted soon

Ein langer Tag. Das erste Mal, dass ich erst nach dem Einnachten im Zielort angekommen bin. Das hat nicht so sehr mit der Wegstrecke zu tun, als vielmehr mit dem Wasser, das Teil des Weges bildete. Ich musste in Treib auf das Schiff warten, das mich nach Brunnen brachte. Es sind ja nur einige Hundert Meter Distanz, aber der Vierwaldstättersee ist arg tief und das Wasser zu kalt um zu schwimmen. Nein, an der Badehose hätte es wirklich nicht gefehlt – die ist im Gepäck.

Der Weg führte mich zum grössten Teil dem Ufer des Vierwaldstättersees entlang. Die erste Hälfte der Tagesetappe war sehr zivilisiert. Es gab kaum Schnee auf den Strassen und Feldwegen, und die Autobahn war immer in Hörweite. Nach einem Mittagsrast in Beckenried wurde die Besiedelung weniger dicht und bald schon tauchte ich in den Wald ein der sich steil vom Seeufer in die Berge hochzog. In diesen Gefilden hat sich der Schnee auch viel besser gehalten. Schon bald merkte ich den Widerstand an den Sohlen. Das sachte Einsinken braucht wesentlich mehr Antriebsenergie als das Wandern auf festem Grund.

Der schmale Weg  zwischen dem Seeufer und dem Steilhang erinnerte mich an den Klondike: Da gab es viele Überreste von massiven Steinbrüchen, mit künstlichen Hafenanlagen und Schiffsverladestellen, altem Gerät das eingewuchert ist. Dann kam ich zu einem imposanten Wasserfall der in steter Arbeit sich in den harten Felsen eingekerbt hat. Gleich hinter dem Wasserfall find der Weg an zu steigen – 300 Höhenmeter in der Falllinie. Continue reading “En route – von Luzern nach Schwyz”

Daily Random Act of Kindness #7

Yesterday, I had the good luck of making another journey, within the city of Philadelphia. Through a friend of a friend, I received an invitation for dinner with strangers. But there was nothing strange about meeting the people I have never met before.

Mt Airy Station, Pennsylvania (photo credit: Smallbones/Wikipedia Commons)
Mt Airy Station, Pennsylvania (photo credit: Smallbones/Wikipedia Commons)

Except that I took a bus to get to the railway station, which is not so strange, but the bus followed the trolley lines. And except that the railway station was full of books, and the railway was long ago replaced by a suburban trolley. Had I spent browsing through the 50,000 books at the railway station, I could have found one that would explain the transportation history of Philadelphia and how the traffic patterns have changed over time.

After all, I was close to where the former summer White House was. Before the capitol was built in Washington, the government governed from Philadelphia, but when it was too hot and the mosquitos were too fierce, the government went up the hill to Germantown to conduct its business. And not far from the centre of power, a few German immigrants and Quakers were so upset about witnessing the everyday business of slavery, that they wrote a letter of protest to the government.

I consider myself blessed for the friendship and hospitality I received. It also gave me opportunity to experience some places of United States history along the way. And if you ever desire a used book on history or any other subject, feel free to check out the online section of the bookstore at the railway station.

En route – Washington DC

I had enough time between trains to go for coffee. So I walked up to the Capitol to see if the president, or another representative would have time to have coffee with me. But, nobody home… So I enjoyed a walk around those massive buildings in a warming winter sun.

I really enjoyed the train ride from Chicago to Washington. I immediately remembered why I prefer this mode of transportation over the more expedient one in the airplane. I can really enjoy the land, the distance, the changing scenery. I guess, the transcontinental train ride is still on the bucket list!

A sorry state – the loss of democracy (+de)

A Sorry State (für eine deutsche Teilübersetzung klicke hier: Ein leider Zustand)

Last week, the Available Light Cinema film series in Whitehorse screened the new documentary by local director Mitch Miyagawa with the catchy title “A Sorry State”. Indeed, much of what we read in the news about politics, be it at the level of the territorial government, the federal government, or many national governments around the world, supports the impression that this world is in a sorry state.

But do not fear: I am not going to write a lament about our current political situation. I’ll leave that for other writers in local newspapers that dared to describe our cage-fighting MP a sock puppet of the Prime Minister… (Yukon News)

The sorry state in Miyagawa’s film refers to the various apologies his extended family has received over the last decade from the government of Canada for political wrongs of its colonial history: Continue reading “A sorry state – the loss of democracy (+de)”

Hope on the Horizon

"Hope on the Horizon" screenshot from the online version of the MSF Canada magazine Dispatches 16(2), Summer 2012
“Hope on the Horizon” screenshot from the online version of the MSF Canada magazine Dispatches 16(2), Summer 2012

I still remember my first visit to Babalme in July 2011. The MSF vehicle had to use a local guide to point at indistinguishable features on the horizon, a lone tree or a sand dune, to direct us more than twelve kilometers off the last known track in the desert sand. It was a bleak picture. The area was drier than the rest of the Sahel, not a single mud brick building, no school, no health centre – just people living a pastoralist life in a forgotten corner of Chad and close to the border with Niger.

Continue reading “Hope on the Horizon”