On September 5, I participated in an introduction course “Permaculture and Forest Gardening” held by Jan Bang. It took place at Huser Gård, a nice farm situated close to Vorma River downstream of Lake Mjøsa.
After the seminar, I explored the wonderful regenerating former peat cutting areas of the “Grindermåsan” mire near Fenstad.
During my visit in Germany in July, I had the possibility to spend two days in Helfta Monastery. It is located in Lutherstadt Eisleben, a small town with many sites of UNESCO World Heritage status. The monastery had its first period of prosperity in the Middle Ages, when the famous female mystics Gertrud von Helfta and Mechtild von Hackeborn lived there. Monastic life ended after the reformation in 16th century. During the socialist period, the area was used by the DDR state for industrial livestock farming (VEG). The church building was almost decayed and the property was in a disastrous condition, when some initiatives joined with the goal to restore the monastery in 1992. The reconstruction works started in 1998 and are still ongoing. They have been supported by many enthusiastic people. Since 1999, the monastery is home of a Cistercian women’s community. The monastery offers retreats and seminars. The beautiful monastery yard and the garden with its wonderful living labyrinth made of flowers and shrubs are open for the public.
After the visit in Helfta Monastery, I went on a 2-days-pilgrimage along the Via Romea, from Gotha to Schmalkalden.
I am a member of the EU COST action CONVERGES, a network where researchers from different European countries work on riparian vegetation and ecosystems https://converges.eu/ . In January, I contributed to a working group meeting in Madrid (Spain) and in February I attended the general meeting in Thessaloniki (Greece). After the meetings I had the possibility to visit interesting rivers and two famous UNESCO World Heritage sites: Ubeda in Spain and Meteora in Greece.
On 16 and 17 September I attended and contributed to a
seminar on river restoration organized by the Norwegian Environmental Agency. During
the technical tour, we visited restoration measures that were conducted at Søra
River near Trondheim in connection with a road construction project.
I am writing this short note on the second day of my pilgrimage, at Fischerbaude hotel in Holzhau, before crossing the border to Czech Republic. I feel that I want to spend most time without electronic media, even though I thought in the beginning that it would be great to have regular posts. Maybe, I will rather find another format to tell about my trip. Below are some impressions of the first part.
This week I had a short stop at Munkeby in Levanger Municipality. Munkeby, the “place of the monks” close to river Levangerelva was northernmost Norwegian monastery established by the Cistercians in the 12th century. The new Munkeby Mariakloster – kloster is Norwegian for monastery – has been founded in 2008 by four French monks who practice a contemplative life and produce cheese. Guests are welcome to join for the Liturgy of the Hours.
Hiking, skiing and several other outdoor activities have always had an important place in my life. What is the difference between a hiking trip and a pilgrim tour? There are no sharp borders. For me, a pilgrim tour has less focus on the physical challenges. The paths are of low to moderate difficulty and the daily distances are shorter (usually not more than 20-25 km). This gives more time to listen and to get more aware – both of the surrounding nature, of the different voices in my mind and of my feelings. It gives a peace of mind where I get new inspirations or the right answers for decisions I have to make. Below are impressions of shorter tours (usually 2-4 days) that I have undertaken along various pilgrim paths in Norway since 2013, either alone or together with friends.