This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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The last weekend of the summer

Mon-2The sunlight still brightened the beach sand to a brilliant white, even if it was the last weekend of September. For many hours during those three days, I sat on the cool sand watching the little swirls of water rolling in, perhaps all the way from German shores. Mon-4We were just seven women on this private weekend retreat, of many ages and cultures. The old white-washed farmhouse on the countryside of Møn island filled with moments of laughter, moments of silence, and the scent of delicious vegetarian food. Mornings were for yoga and reflection, afternoons for silent meditation and skinny dipping, and evenings for dining, sauna, and sharing.

It was as if the unusually long Danish summer ended that Sunday, when we locked the doors and began the drive back up South.Mon-1(Island of Møn, Denmark; September 2019)


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Patience is not my virtue

yogaPerseverance does bring tiny improvements, which I notice because my yoga practice is the exact same sequence every single time. Last spring, after 5.5 years of practice, I got my hand down in revolved side angle pose, with my back heel down. And since this past fall I am able to get my feet and my raddled knees safely in some kind of lotus pose for a short while.

Ashtanga yoga is a good reminder for patience, which is (still) not my virtue.

(Vejle, Denmark; September 2019)


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In Malmö

MalmoWakeup at 4.15 am in Denmark, nine hours of nonstop meetings in six languages, and on the way to the hotel the Swedish taxi driver was playing Finnish schlager artist Pate Mustajärvi at maximum volume (?!). It has been a looooong day, and it ain’t over yet.

(Malmö, Sweden; September 2019)


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In the Sil river canyon

galicia-2Deep in Galicia, the river Sil squiggles through a canyon with walls up to 500 meters high. Somehow the Roman settlers discovered that the steep canyon walls produced excellent wine, as long as one had the energy and perseverance to maintain the vine plants required. galicia-6It seems that not only winemakers liked the Cañon del Sil, as there are a number of hermitage monasteries scattered along both riverbanks. galicia-7Oaks, chestnuts, ferns, and even Galician pine make the Sil river canyon lush surroundings for hiking – as long as one can keep up with the changes in altitude.galicia-8Along the cliff edge there is also a viewpoint curiously named Balcones de Madrid, even if one cannot see Madrid from it. With a little help from Google I pulled up stories about women choosing the viewpoint to see off their trader husbands traveling to Madrid: they had to climb down the canyon on one side, cross the river by boat, and climb up on the other side. Although whether it were the women or the men who built the laid rock walls still remains a mystery to me.galicia-9(Galicia, Spain; September 2019)


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In the middle of nowhere, a monastery (part II)

galicia-3In the middle of the forest lies yet another over thousand years old monastery. Galicia is practically littered with these cute resting places for body and soul.

The Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil was first annexed to the Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil monastery (now a fabulous Parador). Later, when the Spanish government carried out a lengthy confiscation and resale of various religious assets around the country (for varying reasons, during nearly two centuries), both monasteries ceased their spiritual operations.

In a way it is unfortunate, as I am sure the Benedictine monks (and perhaps a limited amount of lucky visitors) would have continued to feel contented in this charming little monastery, for another thousand years.
galicia-4(Galicia, Spain; September 2019)


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In the enchanted forest

galicia-1Hiking in Galicia feels a little like what I presume hiking in Middle Earth (or of course New Zealand) would be. Lush, green forests, small streams, rounded boulders, and mountains everywhere.galicia-12It is as if one could expect the head of a little gnome peeking from behind the rocks lining the path. galicia-13Alas, the only unusual thing we saw today was a flower growing right out of the ground. Without stem or leaves. As if the ground itself were in bloom.
galicia-14(Galicia, Spain; September 2019)


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Making druid firebrew at 1 am

galicia-11Galicia is old Celtic country, with druid customs. Such as cooking up firebrew or queimada in the middle of the night, throwing in both spices and secret ingredients as well as empowering it with a druid spell.

The incantation that gives queimada its power is impressive and nearly impossible to remember word-for-word: a seemingly endless litany of evocations directed at spirits, crows, witches, demons, Satan, and even the scent of the dead and “the mutilated bodies of the indecent ones”. Fortunately the aim is not to conjure up these evil forces but to banish them away as the boozy brew is consumed in the proper way.

For sure, Galicians are no sissies.galicia-15(Parador Santo Estevo, Galicia, Spain; September 2019)