From the 14th till the 20th of June 2019 there will be a European Walk from Le-Puy-en-Velay to Aumont-Aubrac, France. It is organised by Angelika Albrich, who is an experienced walker.
This 95 km section of the GR 65 is the beginning of the so-called „Via Podiensis“, which is a section of the “Camino de Santiago” or “Chemin de Saint-Jacques”, a path that continues another 1,400 kilometres through France and across Spain until it reaches Santiago di Compostela. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful hiking paths in France. Walking along gentle country roads in the peaceful French countryside you get to enjoy the sight of green hills and small villages. Old stone chapels invite the pilgrims to rest and reflect.
On July 17th 2018 a week-long walk started in Flüeli-Ranft, Switzerland, the place where Brother Klaus lived. Nicholas of Flüe (1417-1487), also known as Brother Klaus, was a farmer, a family man and a respected member of his village. After a spiritual crisis at age 50 he withdrew from public life and chose to live the life of a recluse, praying and fasting. Over time people from near and far came in search of his wise advice. He is well-known in Switzerland and is considered to have been an important peacemaker. His life‘s motto and desire was to bring God and the world closer together. As this perspective resonated with the dedicated group that organised and prepared this first European Walk, they chose this place as a starting point.
During the next days about 50 people hiked all day long as a group along an old pilgrimage path, the route of Saint James, also called St. Jakob’s trail. Accommodation and catering had been arranged individually, but each morning the group met at an appointed place for shared moments of silence and inspirational words. Annette Kaiser guided the group in these moments of reflection and meditation. The focus was on appreciation and respect for diversity, as well as on strengthening the realization of Oneness – Oneness with nature, with one another, with the Divine. In the mornings several people walked in silence. Around noon Sri M, who is known for having walked for 16 months in India, told stories or shared some of his experiences, thus giving everyone a chance again to listen within and deepen the experience of unity. The fact that many Indians living abroad joined the walk added a unique flavour to this journey. At the end of each day the group sat together for a closure and some chanting. During the day and at night there was plenty of time to be in dialogue and to get to know one another.
The trail offered many highlights, as Central Switzerland is blessed with clear and shimmering lakes, towering mountain tops, green meadows, and old but vivid villages and little towns. Sitting together under a tree, on the terrace of a mountain top station, in an ancient church or an old wooden chapel was a treat in many ways. Most of the time it was so sunny and warm that the rain that came towards the end of the journey was welcomed as refreshing for both humans and nature. The walk ended in Einsiedeln with a visit to the Black Madonna, thus paying reference to the feminine aspect of the Divine.
In January 2018 we published the idea for the Walks on Advocate Europe’s site, hoping that on the one hand many people would resonate with the idea of Walking in Unity, but also hoping that we would be one of the winners.
From centre to periphery, Advocate Europe brings project-makers together. Since 2014, they have collected more than 1,500 ideas from 42 European countries, connected 49,745 people on their online platform and invested in 25 winning initiatives that pilot new answers for a common European future. Behind each of these ideas are people: our European change-makers. Together, we connect Europe.
Here two of the interesting questions that were asked, as well as our answer.
Why does Europe need your idea?
Walking together with a focus on Unity can further dialogue, mutual understanding, insight in challenges & new initiatives, as well as appreciation of local history, culture and natural beauty. It can inspire a European Democracy of the Heart & the willingness to try out new ways of co-creating.
What is your impact?
Hundreds of people who have resonance with the idea of Unity will have walked together – in their own country or in others. They’ll have learned from one another how we can respond in new ways to the needs of our times. Many more will have read or heard about the project’s intention.