Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 289

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Martinshof Story - Happiness - Awareness - Black Forest walks - Camino - Dolmen Tour - Travel

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Saturday - Thursday, August 11 - 15 2013 (diary)

Tony Abbott These modern times, when TV viewers are confronted with wall to wall good looking, glib talking, plastic phonies with no substance to them whatsoever, it is not surprising that even the most ignorants about politics are starting to realise that Kevin Rudd (our present Prime Minister) is in fact one of those : all talk (much of it untruths) and no substance.

Recognising someone with quality however appears to be another matter.   But perhaps there is hope.
Tony Abbott (in my view) is arguably the most sincere, compassionate, intelligent and truth-abiding politician this country has ever seen.
His continued active engagement with Australian communities is unparalleled by anyone in politics today.
Abbott spends at least one full week each year with an aboriginal community in a remote area in the bush, he is volunteer in his local Fire Brigade, a Life Saver at his Surf Club, and very active in cycling and running.

On the morning of the leaders debate (past Sunday) he joined 10,000 enthusiasts running the 10km long Sydney to surf run and in the evening looked relaxed and (in my view) truly Presidential.
Rudd on the other hand looked flustered and read much of what he had to say from his notes, flouting the previously agreed upon debate rule not to use them.

In hindsight kicking out Prime Minister Gillard and replacing her with Rudd (a man disliked if not hated by most in the party) may come to be viewed as a watershed moment for the Australian Labour party.
It effectively discarded the ideals and principles it claims to stand for, choosing instead to go for the opportunistic short-term perceived gain of saving a few more seats in the upcoming Federal election. Australians need a fickle party like that like a hole in the head.

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Friday - Tuesday, August 16 - 20 2013 (diary)

Steingrubenhof, Sankt Peter Although still one year away from my next visit to Europe, I have already booked some of my accommodation there : the "Feldbergblick" holiday apartment at the Steingrubenhof (a diary farm in Sankt Peter, Black Forest) and a room at the Hotel am Markt in Baden Baden.

Many guests return regularly to these places and often book their accommodation one year ahead. So it is wise to book early in these prime summer holiday locations.

My week long walk on the Costa Brava with Walks in Spain (October 5-12) has also been confirmed, and we have agreed on fixed dates for a Martinshof reunion (August 29) and our bicycle tour along the dolmens in Drenthe (September 1 and 2).

Australians in general travel more frequently overseas than residents from some other Developed countries like the USA and Europe for example (although many young Europeans are hitting the road as backpackers, traveling all around Australia, NZ and no doubt other continents, which is great to see).
The mobility of Australians is of course partly because of the family ties or emotional links many migrants have to their country of origin, usually Europe or Asia.   But besides that Australians tend to be mobile by nature, especially those residing in Darwin who travel abroad perhaps most frequently of all Australians.

The Silver Shadow cruise ship, Katakolo Greece 2007 I am made especially aware of this while setting up this new Bridge club here. Of the 25 odd members we have at present there always are 4 or 5 traveling overseas somewhere : right now in Asia, Europe, Canada, South America, USA. Most of them explore cultures they as yet have not been to. This of course is very positive.
But my motivation for travel has changed in recent years, I am no longer interested in exploring new cultures.
During my cruise from Singapore to Lisbon in 2007 I found that I had no interest whatsoever in visiting underdeveloped countries in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, but I became very enthusiastic as soon as we arrived in Europe.

Having lived for most of the past 50 years in Australia I have changed as far as my feeling of nationality is concerned.   I feel affinity to the Netherlands (where I was born and grew up), to Germany (where most of my ancestors resided) and to Australia (where I feel a strong affinity to the country, the relaxed lifestyle and people's attitude). I also have some attachment to Spain where I spent 5 summers in its northern regions (living in small villages amongst the local people) doing geological mapping and research for my studies in the 1950s and 60s.

But I don't feel being either of those three or four nationalities, but rather a hybrid combination of all of them.
Looking back 50 years, it was at the time a very conscious decision (by both Antien and myself) to leave (what we felt to be) the confinement of Europe and to move permanently to a new continent where we could truly become ourselves. And that, I have no doubt, is what has happened.
This, of course, is the story of most migrants to this wonderful country.

To give opportunity to all aspects of my "hybrid" nature it is therfore important to travel back to Europe, not only to be there but especially to speak the language. For a language is much more than just a tool of communication.

Each language is the product and manifestation of the nature, spirit and soul of a country (or region).
Entering a country we still remain passively at its outside. But as soon as we start to speak its language we step inside and become an active entity within its culture.
Charlemagne expressed it so beautifully : "To speak another language is to posses another soul."

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