It’s Saturday and I walk through the Botanical Garden not far from my home. I always enjoy it. It is a peaceful place and also a place to discover and observe nature – trees, bushes, plants, flowers and animals. I come to a small little pond. It is almost empty, just a few brownish short cut stems. The photo I took last summer comes to my mind. And, it triggers in me a feeling of astonishment, of wonder – out of what seems nothing right now will grow a lotus flower over the coming months. Even the potential is not visible that is inherent to this plant. Amazing! Nature’s potential to create is simply extraordinary!
On the Sunday walk, I go through a forest up to mount Gurten. Big trees are on the ground, uprooted or with broken trunks. I am impressed! This is the result of a winter storm, of nature’s force to destroy.
These walks remind me of nature’s potential to create and destroy. To become and dissolve. To change (even landscapes), to grow, to learn and to heal.
How did your walk inspire you today? What did you discover?
This year was not about big hikes but filled with countless walks in the surroundings of my new place of living.
Mainly, in search of nature, forests, rivers and viewpoints, I discovered many places and found some peaceful spots.
Rivers: Regularly upstream and downstream river Aare and along the river Sense.
Trees and forests: From the botanical garden to Elfenau I found beautiful old trees, crossed forests of Gurten, Bantiger and Ulmizberg.
Best viewpoints in and around Bern: Münster (incl. Münsterplatform), Kleine Schanze, Bundeshausterrasse, Kornhausbrücke, Rosengarten, Gurten, Bantiger, Ulmizberg.
Today was one of the highlights, just started walking as if I would go up Gurten but then took the unknown roads and found myself on Ulmizberg with a stunning winter-sunset-view 🙂
On the way down on a small street while it was getting slowly dark and colder, a car stopped and a young man asked me whether he could take me somewhere. Yes! To the next public transport, that would be wonderful. And so I got a ride and a nice chat. Lucky me! Thank you dear driver! 🙂
After about 4 years of “modern-nomadic-lifestyle” moving from one place to the next with just a few things in my backpack, I appreciate now having again a place that I call “my home”.
What makes it my home?
It’s the presence of things that mean something to me or that I simply like and that make me feel good. A place like a little oasis. A shelter. A warm and cosy place. Room for being. Space for creativity, expression. Silence. Nature around. Sound. Dance. A place to cook and eat and having a tea. A space to retreat. And to meet. It is also the painting on the wall from an artist friend I met on Bali and from another I made in Rio de Janeiro. It means photos on the walls from my journey. And it also means ‘less is more’, every few months cleaning and freeing up space (just as I used to do with my backpack). And last but not least, it’s also finding my name at the door.
Moving to a new place always offers so much to discover. This year was full of moments of wondering around in the streets, parks and surroundings of Bern.
Bern is charming. Many beautiful romantic nature spots such as the botanical garden, Elfenau/park cafe, Zehendermätteli, Gurten, Rosengarten, Münsterplattform, kleine Schanze, to name just a few from my new ‘repertoire’.
Bern offers countless nice and cosy cafes for different ‘gustos’. I particularly enjoy Wartsaal, Lesbar, Volver, Stauffacher, Effinger, Cafe Fleuri, and Ängelibeck. And then there are those cafes that are still to be discovered.
On the cultural side, I went for a dance performance to Dampfzentrale and danced at Salsaare. I went to Zentrum Paul Klee, Museum of Arts, to the Cinematte and to openair events such as Buskers.
And while walking to work I started observing a bird I haven’t seen before – beautiful, small, agile and an excellent diver. My curiosity asked google for help and I learned that it was a white-breasted dipper (Wasseramsel).
What did you explore and discover this year? What are you up to next year?
The forth season of the year has just started. While suddenly the landscape turns all white, I take a moment, retreat and remember the other seasons throughout this year. I like the seasons, to live and feel the special vibe of each season.
The first snow has already given me moments of marvelling and playing with snowflakes falling magically from the sky.
Autumn was full of colours and so was my time – intense and colourful.
Summer was warm. It was about spending time outdoors and jumping and floating in the river Aare.
Spring – everything started blooming. It was also the start of a new “era” with a new place and a new programme and team that was coming alive.
This year was much about bridges. For example, building bridges:
For a good cooperation,
And, I am crossing bridges, everyday, as part of my new place of living and working. The moment in the morning when I walk over the bridge inspires me to connect and build bridges during the day.
And, as part of learning more about the Balkans’ culture and history, I was recommended to read “Bridge over Drina” from Ivo Andric. Interestingly, in September we drove from Skopje to Sarajevo and passed this famous bridge over the Drina – past and present connected 🙂
When you go for walks, have you ever paid attention to what you meet and see on the way? And, paid attention to how it makes you feel or what it reminds you about? It is actually quite fun to scribble down the discoveries after every walk.
This year, for example, I came across many hearts in many forms and colours. The discovery would always conjure a little smile on my face. And it would mean to me – love, human warmth, life, joy and connection.
Through my new job, I started to get to know a whole new area – also known as the Balkan region. It is an interesting place with not only a violent history not so long ago, current social challenges due to high migration rates but also a region with wonderful people, great food and a destination for travellers who like to go off the beaten track.
I have worked in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia (FYROM) and Serbia in 2017 and also travelled between the countries. Although everything seems to be close, travelling takes time, often more time than estimated. Since flight connections between the countries are not so good, road travels are a reasonable alternative with the additional benefit to see the landscape.
What was your new destination in 2017? What destination are you dreaming of for 2018?
Below a few pictures from my days in Tirana, Sarajevo, Skopje and Belgrade:
Last week, spontaneously, it came to my mind that I have received encouragement from many women along my life journey. What a beautiful gift!
It started with sports when I was a small girl and also in teenage-times. Later, as part of my professional career, after my apprenticeship and during many further steps up to where I stand today. And also in the field of personal development. It was as if someone is holding a hand when taking a next step into the unknown.
There were also men who believed in me and ecouraged me. The moment I saw all of that I really felt blessed. I wish that I can be such an encouragement for other human beings at the right time as well.
In 2017, I was very lucky – I found a beautiful new place to live, a nice office and a lovely team, a new role in a new professional challenge.
I was also lucky during my travels (>2 months this year) – due to an almost slight crash which delayed us on our way to a meeting we got to a money transport robbery just a few minutes after the shootings took place. Second lucky moment (guardian angel was around) was during a takeover by car when suddenly traffic increased and our driver almost pushed another car from the lane – luckily for all of us and both cars – all went well – but it’s just in a moment where things could look differently.
And finally, I found all these little signs (see photos below) during my walks that gave me confidence that I am on the right way 🙂
I wish you good luck for the rest of 2017 and for the entire 2018!!!