Sunday, October 11, 2009

Travels in Europe; Summer 2009

In mid June I attended the yearly Demeter International members meeting in Luxembourg, on which all the 24 international Demeter certification agencies are represented.
After my wife Annelien joined me on June 21st coming from Harlemville (she had been in the US since May 1st ) we spent a few weeks in Interlaken, enjoying the wonderful landscape, the swiss perfection as well as flying and hiking.
After our yearly visit mid July to Holland (Annelien's home-country) and with the (mistaken) hope that the english weather would be bearable we took the ferry to New Castle, the North of England and proceeded to the scottish border. First we visited the tidal “Holy Island” and Lindisfarne Castle, the site of introduction of Christianity in Northern England, and also the first to be totally devastated by the Vikings which sent shock-waves throughout England.

Crossing southern Scotland we where impressed by the loving care of the land and the proprietary attitude, the famous “my home is my castle” seems to apply here, along rural roads there was seldom a spot free for any parking nor any publicly accessible hiking path, we assume that this is due that the property rights have never been infringed on by a revolution like in France! Interestingly enough; there are sometimes signs of a public right of way visible, although overgrown with weeds, apparently there is a law that the public right of way has to be respected as long as there is a once a year use of it.

After crossing the Scottish border highlands to the west-coast, we stayed with friends at Loch Arthur Farm, a Camphill Village close to Dumfries, where we heard about a Megalithic site nearby; “Cairn Holy” and most likely would meet an american there with a camera! And indeed arriving there we met Joseph Proskauer (a former Waldorf teacher), and to our surprise we discovered that we had common friends in the US.At first view the cairns did no look like much, a group of standing stones lost in the landscape. However, after spending a day with Joseph our eyes where opened to the sophistication of how the site was set in relation to the various cosmic events. The placement and total harmony in the landscape was impressive, to the west the seashore with the special light-quality of the water, and just visible in the distance the south end of the Island of Man. Although viewed from a distance the place situated in a dip of the landscape looked insignificant, when standing there one had the impression of standing in the center / navel of the world.

On July 27th our visit fell just a few days after the summer-solstice so we could witness at sunrise the perfect centering of the sun in the headstone of the cairn. One could imagine the deep impression this must have made to a person lying in the (so called “ grave-”) chamber which in olden times must have been completely covered and enclosed except for a small opening to the eastern sunrise. The entrance to the cairn through the center-stones was interesting to experience; although the opening had a hight over 3 m. increasingly narrowing in height, one could only enter crouching sidewards (the shoulders would not fit) , in a similar manner as the passage of the child sidewards through the birth channel, one entered / exited the womb of the earth! One can imagine that these where religious sites where there a three day death-like initiation was practiced.

At certain times of the day, there was a near perfect alignment of the sun's shade, not a single stone seemed to be set without a specific significance, either in its alignment, shape or quality of the stone. One wonders in how far such sites served as (astonishingly exact) cosmic observation tools or that they had the task of tuning and connecting these sites in harmony with the cosmos.

Thanks' to Joseph's quality as a former Waldorf high-school teacher our eyes where gradually opened, not by him revealing to us his discoveries, but by asking us to observe certain aspects and make our own discoveries and conclusions. Joseph lives since over a year close to this site and has made the site the focus of his meditations ( and obsession?), he never misses a day, makes daily observations and pictures of the site with the different weather conditions and sun positions. In any case this was the beginning of unplanned focus on megalithic sites for the next weeks !

On July 28th we turned north to Wigtown and visited the Torhouse stone-circle, comprised of 19 stones (the year's it takes for the moon to return to the same alignment. Although we had in mind to see more of Scotland, the weather turned real nasty with a forecast for long spell of cold and rain, which made us run in one stretch down to the south of England.

July 29th : “Stonehenge”! Although having seen pictures of it, the real sight was overwhelming in its scope, an enormous cultural center of humanity!

Already the physical aspects are astounding, with stones of 50 Tons transported over long distances over unpaved terrain would even with todays equipment be a difficult task.

The exact placement of the about 100 stones and calculation of the many different cosmic alignment's are so astonishing that conventional science in its arrogance still refuses to accept these feats of Neolithic people!

Usually we camped right at these megalithic sites and could witness sunrises and dawns in tranquility avoiding the bulk of visiting crowds.

On July 30th we took the ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff, France. On August 1st ; Morlay, visit of Cairn Pluezoc'h an enormously sized cairn completely built of small stones with large slabs covering the various caves in it.

August 2d; Penisula of Crozon, found another unexpected stone alignment at our campingsite in Camaret above a beautifull rocky coastline.

The end of our Megalith Tour; on Aug. 4th was Carnac, the in expanse largest megalithic site known, with miles of of stone alignment's. The megalith culture (not to be confounded with the later Druid stones) dates from 4'000 BC to 1'500 BC, and its sites can be found especially concentrated along the atlantic coast's from Norway to Spain but as well on the east coast of North-America.

We then proceeded over the Pyrenees in to Spain, experiencing quite an extreme and immediate change in landscape and atmosphere, coming from cool and humid Bretagne. As soon as we crossed the pass we got immersed in to a dry and hot landscape exactly as one imagines it from having read Don Quixote de la Mancha, and also very similar to our home in the Dominican Republic! The arid country is predominately cultivated with almonds, olives and barley to be fed to the thousands of pigs stinking up the countryside, to produce the spanish jamon specialties!

We did not venture further in to Spain and ventured east along the pyrenees, myself enjoying a few very nice flights from the famous paragliding sites while Annelien had to suffer the heat wave.

By October 18th we turned back, spent some time in the Haute Provence alps and returning in time to Switzerland to celebrate Sebastian's 35th birthday.

On Sep. 10 I returned back to work in the DR while Annelien went to our US home in Harlemville until the temperatures in the DR are bearable for her.