Driving from Venice to Austria was an incredible journey. Comfortably seated in a car with 3 other Trager practitioners, we listened to acoustical guitar recorded by Mauro Semenzato (driver). The combination of the beauty of the music and scenery made me feel as if I were watching a film with a beautiful soundtrack. About an hour north of Venice, the mountains arrived. The rest of the trip was full of water falling off the steep slopes, mountain passes, and ridgetop views. The total elevation was about 7-8,000 ft., old, worn-down mountains. Gently reminding me of the rockies, though not as rocky. We arrived at Shiessentobel Hotel, a 400 year old, family-owned business with excellent food, and location. Just North of Salzburg, the Trager International group gathered to a sum of about 60 spread out over 8 days. The area was farmland, and a beautiful lake in the valley. The hotel sat high enough to see the water on our walks. Behind the hotel was "devil's canyon". a long and deep canyon, that led to a mill, then back to another small village. The mill was used in the past and currently to turn ceramic bowls. The waterfall above it was running, and the force was channeled through hollowed out logs. I explored this area 4 times finding new forest paths, dotted with educational signs, in both German and English.
The food was excellent! Everything can be made into a strudel...apples, pork, spinach. Crepes were served with fresh apricot jam for dessert, and homemade rich dark breads every morning in the spread for breakfast. The group tipped the staff over E400, so you can imagine how happy we were with the food, and the staff with us. The group booked the same location for 2009 for our meetings. Next visit, I will make time for the ice cave about an hour away...a few had an afternoon off, and came back to tell the tale. Another group spent the day in a salt mine, and slid down a steep mine cart track at a high speed, legs locked with the person in front of them. A third group went to Salzburg, and had a great evening of fun after the meetings were over. For me, other meetings I needed to be present for were scheduled in these down times, so I stayed put and took daily walk and swim on site. The sauna was a big help!
Seeing my colleagues from all over the world, I feel supported and expanded as a person, and as a Trager practitioner. I had 2 sessions this week, and gave two in peer trades, and a short supervised practice in side-lying. I sat in on the Instructors meeting and the Tutor Committee, as well as 3 1/2 days with the tutor group. The opportunity to be with so many wonderful persons from all over the world, is indescribable. I roomed with tutor from Egypt, and she told of her work there starting a kindergarten for rural children. Another tutor from Israel made the statement at breakfast, "we do not live in fear, because we are used to the fighting". He went on to say, the bombing was not a problem, because the bombs were not yet able to reach them in Tel Aviv, but we are not fighting now, so who know what they are developing in this quiet time. So many more stories, I can share in person.
Feeling into the lives of everyone I came in contact with, I feel privileged to witness others pain and joy. Last night was our last night, and we sat in the dining room, having a group sing along. Some of the staff came and joined in. It was a joyous celebration, after a week of meetings, the earlier ones more frustrating, and the tutor meeting filling us all with the feeling of Trager.
Tonight I am in Munich, just back from the Oktoberfest, about 4 times as big as ther Ohio State Fair with 4 times as many persons. Pretty chaotic, and no beer available. Reservations need to be made at the warehouse size beer gartens long in advance, and if you didn´t have a reservation, the lines were a mile long. In the spirit of the place, we had a pretzel and beer on the street after we left the festival. Leaving was like a small group carrying a football toward the goal line. The people were so thick, we had to go single file, holding hands so we wouldn´t lose each other. It was a relief to be back on the street. This festival goes on for 19 days.
Tomorrow I will wander to the old town center, and see a different perspective. Off to Milan on Mon night to stay with a friend, and take the flight to Boston on Monday.
Ciao for now.