It’s two years -almost to the date – that I was last in Germany.
I’m fortunate to have good friends living near Ulm and flights to Munich are good (if not particularly cheap). This time I chose to fly Baltic Air from Turku to Munich via Riga! Pleasant and easy. And the train journey from Munich airport to Ulm is easy … though the metro journey alone is 45 minutes and the train journey another couple of hours. It makes for a long journey and a lot of sitting. But it’s worth it …
The weather in Finland was finally springlike when I left (+15C … though still below zero at night), even lovelier in Riga, and very pleasant on arrival in Munich.
I’m hoping the warmer dry weather last as my friend and I plan to do a mini camino (so much nicer in good weather) and I’m also hoping to squeeze in a park run on Saturday too. Let’s see. When I was here last the weather vacillated between wonderfully warm sunny spring days to horrible fog …typical for this part of Germany but unwelcome even so.
Anyway let’s see what the days ahead bring. Whatever the weather does it is always lovely to spend time with this particular friend …
Reading this article from the Beeb today brought back memories!
It’s almost six months since I walked to Finisterre and sat on the rocks by the lighthouse looking out over the Atlantic.
Walking the Camino changed me, my priorities have shifted but it’s not always easy to shrug off old habits!
It would be all too easy to wallow in the reality of how much I miss the Camino … but doing that isn’t life-giving. Facts are facts, however, and it’s true to say I have missed the Camino a lot. I’ve missed the sun kissing my face, the star studded mornings, the magnificent open skies and the wonderful full moon … and I’ve missed the free and easy friendships We pilgrims struck up along the way.
“Life is the Camino” a wise priest told us … and the life giving way forward is to hold memories dear without getting stuck in them. Life is for living.
I’m doing my best to live that out.
One of the life lines of the long dark cold (and sometimes slippery) winter has been the parkrun. We still don’t have one in Turku so every participation means travelling to Tampere or Helsinki or further afield. That’s ok … and a whole lot lot easier now the days are finally longer!
I’ve now got 22 park runs under my belt. Not bad considering … and I’ve been whittling down my PB … which today stands at 36.26 for Tampere (38,39 Helsinki) and an unbelievable 34.14 in Gdansk, Poland! I’m still reeling at that.
In September I’ll do my first 10km run … in Ruissalo … and I’ve been trying to extend my distance and work on my stamina. It’s not the Camino … but running makes me connect with how ALIVE the Camino made me feel.
And life is worth living!
Old habits die hard!
Two days into Lent and I found myself automatically -on pilot mode- opening Facebook this morning on my iPad. Fortunately I’d signed myself out of there …but it made me think. How many things I do regularly are actually insidious habits? And how can I practise self discipline to get those habits under control?
“Why do the majority of Christians fail in their discipleship? John Wesley wrestled with this question in an essay called the ‘Causes of the Inefficacy of Christianity’, and he came to a simple, but startling conclusion. It is the failure to fast! For Wesley, ‘the man that never fasts is no more in the way to heaven, than the man that never prays’!
“Do you long for a deeper walk with God? Do you hunger to become more like Jesus? Do you thirst for the joy of a Spirit filled life? Then you should seriously consider developing the habit of fasting or abstinence.”
from the Inspire resource: The Discipline of Fasting, by Phil Meadows
Something to think about … what can you fast or abstain from this Lent to get a better balance in your life? And on feast days Sundays … what might you intentionally add in terms of well-being?
During the Camino I abstained from Facebook.
It was good for me, for my relationship with God and with other people. I’m inspired to do the same for Lent (which starts tomorrow) … perhaps I need to up my walking too?
40 days of fasting and 6 days of feasting before Resurrection Sunday!
I don’t usually go away for the winter ski week (half term) or more accurately we stopped going away on skiing holidays when our kids no longer wanted to go with us!
This year though I decided I wanted to use the winter holiday to see a few friends ‘up north’ Finland is a bilingual country (there are Finnish and Swedish speaking Finns) and many of the latter live in an area called Östra Bothnia which is on the Gulf of Bothnia on the west coast of Finland.
I visited said friends and it had a marvellous time … then skipped across the gulf to Sweden to an area i found out is called Vaster Bothnia (nice!)
It’s the first time I’ve been there and I liked it a lot. The young couple I was staying with live in a suburb of Umeå – in a lovely area with loads of recreational facilities (especially tracks and trails) right next to a lake! Wow! The lake was frozen of course, so I got to walk on it under a full snow moon, but I also enjoyed jogging part way round it (so much so I did it a second time). We also went skating on an ever bigger lake where a local society keep an 8km track snow free for skating!
When it was time to head home I chose to take the night train down to Stockholm and the overnight ferry back to Turku. That meant I got to spend the whole of Monday (about 14 hours) in the capital. I was lucky in that the weather was not only dry, but (for this time of year) warm and sunny.
Stockholm is a lovely city …with lots to do (though Monday isn’t really the best day to be there) .. I did about 14 km of walking … and spent a lot of the day in the wonderful museum of photography (Fotografiska) which I highly recommend.
I will probably never view a full moon in the same way again. Being on the Camino and walking by the light of the full moon in the Meseta area of Spain was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done and experienced.
The stars were amazing too.
This week both in northern Finland and also across the Gulf of Bothnia here in Sweden I’ve been privileged to walk under the snow moon.