Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 233

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The Martinshof Story - A Philosophy of Happiness - Life Awareness - Maps, Text & Photo series

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Sunday - Tuesday, January 1 - 3 2012 (diary)

I wish you a Happy and Healthy 2012 Hello !

I wish you a Prosperous and Healthy 2012 !

My New Year's Eve celebrations have been uneventful but pleasant. Eating, drinking, watching TV and reading a quite enjoyable novel : Scaramouche, by Rafael Sabatini.
Many years ago, in the 1950s or early 1960s, I watched the movie derived from this book and since have perceived it to be a very light hearted, swashbuckling adventure story, which I much enjoyed at the time.
Reading the book itself for the first time I now realise that there is much more to the story. Set in 1789-90 it describes in considerable detail the protestations and uproars of the general public (96% of France's total population) against the 4% ruling nobility, which lead to the bloodbath of the French revolution.

Now, 220 years on, history appears to be repeating itself with the Arab Spring uprisings in various countries, and the increasing unrest in Russia as we enter 2012. As history shows, the eventual outcome, although perhaps only after much human misery and loss of life, will be inevitable and for the better.

It is curious to note, that while this turmoil is going on all around them, the people of Europe too have to move on, both mentally and emotionally. They must give up some of their hard fought for National freedom and reach beyond the confines of their defining political boundaries and cultural identities, in order to combine into a more integrated and stronger Europe.

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Wednesday - Saturday, January 4 - 7 2012 (diary)

Prof. den Tex and his students in France, 1959 As I pick up my emails this morning I open one message from the Leidse Geologische Vereniging (LGV) with the announcement that Professor Emile den Tex has died. He must have been into his 90s, so had a long life.

As we grow older, the past realities of our own life are gradually falling away from us. Prof. den Tex was an important part of my life's reality as (beside guiding me through my studies) he was instrumental in my emigration to Australia, one of the best decisions I have made in my life.

Nearing the completion of my National service in the Royal Dutch Field Artillery as a young commissioned Reserve officer way back in 1965, I was approach by Shell to join their company as a geologist. I had three days of interviews with them in The Hague, but Shell had no operations in Australia at that time.
Having read several novels by Nevil Shute set in Australia I felt most attracted to that country, sensing that the people and life style there were more in phase with my own attitude to life than anywhere else in the world (and so it proved to be).

With Antien and Babette, shortly after arriving in Australia, 

1966 After my interviews with Shell I went to see my Prof. (den Tex) who encouraged me to go to Australia (he having worked there himself for 7 years as a Lecturer at Melbourne University).
Prof. den Tex made me the offer to recommend me to the BHP company, which (after speaking to my wife) I gladly accepted.
BHP immediately did take me on as a geologist and brought me, my wife Antien and 2 year old daughter Babette to this wonderful country.
So I have always been very grateful to Prof. den Tex.
Thank you Emile, from the bottom of my heart.

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Sunday - Tuesday, January 8 - 10 2012 (diary)

Beach 'La Concha', San Sebastian I have been busy these past few days getting organised for my trip to Europe later this year.
I have booked Hotel Mediterranee in Les Stes-Maries on the Camargue Mediterranean coast for 6 nights (May 26 - June 1). Great !

After that it is on to Spain where I will stay at Pension Edorta (red dot on adjacent map) in San Sebastian's Parte Vieja ("old town") for a whole week.
La Concha is as good a city beach as it gets anywhere else in Europe and San Sebastian restaurants have more Michelin stars than anywhere else in the world ! According to top chefs it is the best place to eat on our entire planet.
So reports The Lonely Planet (LPG) even in their latest French travel guide, in which they urge visitors to Biarritz to hop across the border and see this gem of a city for themselves.
I therefore look very much forward to that. Hopping across the French border without a car is not so easy as it sounds however, as there is only one regular train crossing the border (connecting Madrid and Paris) each day.

San Sebastian, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne Therefore coming from Arles by rail I will get off in Bayonne. From there I can catch a bus of the PESA company which runs a regular service between Bayonne and San Sebastian (and on to Bilbao) twice daily.
There is also a Spanish private rail service, nicknamed El Topo ("the Mole"), with trains running from San Sebastian to Hendaye (across the French border) every half hour.
I may use that service on my way back, as from Hendaye 10 trains leave for Paris each day. (What would I do without that wonderful LPG !)

Before going back however I will first have my walking tour on the Camino de Santiago. On June 9 I will therefore take a direct train from San Sebastian to Astorga where our Walks in Spain group gathers that evening for a get to know each other and welcome buffet before hitting the camino pilgrims trail the next morning.

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© 2012 Michael Furstner