A visit to Cracow in Poland means you have a lot of things to see and do, but a visit to Auschwitz may not be at the top of the list for everyone. I decided to join a tour during my recent visit. It took about 7 hours, with a lot to see and learn; what it was like during World War II. The guide in the concentration camps – Auschwitz I and II – stated very clearly to the group: “You are not tourists here. You are visitors – at a memorial”.
Notre Dame de Paris is a majestic cathedral, with an extraordinary organ. The number of organ pipes is impressive – 7800, with 900 classified as historical. It has 111 stops, five 56-key manuals and a 32-key pedalboard. It is a special event to experience an organ concert in this magnificent place, with an organ player who is among the best in the world, obviously talented from early on in his life – Olivier Latry. I was fortunate enough to have the experience a few weeks ago. Listening to Bach in these surroundings was special. It was a meditative experience, to be absorbed in the variations of the themes, following the flow of the melodies, moment-to moment, with the mind open to the richness and the subtleties of the sound produced by the organ-pipes. During meditation, there are sometimes moments with strong impressions from the spontaneous activities of the mind which are more demanding to deal with than the mild, subtle spontaneous activities. As a parallel, during the concert, the sounds of the organ pipes were at times more demanding to follow, too.
The news about the terror tragedy in Norway 22 July, where 69 youth and 8 government employees were killed, made a strong impression on the participants at the Spanish retreat of Acem Meditation which started just after the tragedy.
The Spanish meditators took the initiative to make paper birds in many colours, each one with their personal greetings to Norway, as a token of their empathy.
The birds flew into the ocean of flowers in front of the Cathedral in Oslo.