Montgolfiere Weekly

An exploration of culture in its many forms


November 2016

Celebrating St. Andrew

By Patricia Lightfoot

November 30 is Saint Andrew’s Day. At the Scottish girls’ school I attended, this meant haggis for lunch. Three scoops on the plate: white mashed potato, orange mashed turnip and grey haggis. We also had haggis for lunch every Tuesday, as I recall. On “haggis” days, there was a dessert/bribe of canned pineapple rings for those who ate everything on their plates, which I never did, as I could not get past the haggis. When November 30 fell on a weekday other than Tuesday, were we treated to haggis twice in the same week? It would seem logical, but my memory fails me on this point. Continue reading “Celebrating St. Andrew”

Camino revisited

By Anita Hamilton

This is how Anita Hamilton described the pilgrimage across Spain that she and Stephan Kettmus undertook in 2015.

Ten years ago I walked the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain for the first time and it changed my life. Not only in terms of how I started to deal with all the possessions I had (downsizing big time) but also in that I met Stephan then as well. While there was no thought of “pairing up” at that time, somehow it did lead to a relationship a couple of years later and our marriage and my move to Germany five years ago. This year being an anniversary of sorts, we thought we’d walk the Camino again, only this time from south to north (the Camino de la Plata from Seville to Santiago de Compostella). Continue reading “Camino revisited”

An elegy for Leonard Cohen

By John Cody

In what seems like the strangest and most cruel twist of fate in many years, we not so unexpectedly, but in a most unprepared way, lost one of our greatest writers. Leonard Cohen’s death was announced two days after an overqualified woman lost to a overly tanned demagogue in what feels like the most significant threat to the free world in last week’s U.S. election. It brings to mind one of my favourite Cohen songs, “Democracy Is Coming to the U.S.A.”  Continue reading “An elegy for Leonard Cohen”

Let me tell you a story

by Helen Curran

At a recent work event, a presenter told us a few stories, including one about Roger Bannister’s and team’s four-minute mile, which I enjoyed. It’s a great story, especially when you consider the sacrifices made by the two pacesetters to achieve this sporting goal, but I was irresistibly reminded of Helen’s words about why she tells stories. PL

There is a lot of noise on the Internet about the power of stories. There are claims that nothing moves us like stories, nothing connects us like stories, nothing sells stuff as well as stories. There are experts who can teach us to give better presentations through the power of stories, books on sale at airports on how to boost sales through stories and gurus who can improve your life with stories. Storytelling has become big business. I sell my workshop on storytelling by appealing to my students’ baser desires. “Learn to stand up and speak without a script,” say I. I am as guilty as the gurus in that respect, but all I am selling is the chance to discover the world of storytelling. Continue reading “Let me tell you a story”

Easier ways to get to Venice

Anita Hamilton

Anita Hamilton and Stephan Kettmus had done numerous long-distance hikes when they decided to walk from Munich to Venice across the Alps. This is how Anita described the experience in July 2014.

We’re back from boot camp (a.k.a. our trip from Munich to Venice over the Alps). I’ll admit right off the bat that I’ve never done anything more difficult – and at times scary – in my life. However, I’m also really glad to have done it. The difficult side is more than balanced out by the unbelievable beauty one sees, the clean, clear air one breathes, as well as the joy one feels at having accomplished it. Quite an experience!  Continue reading “Easier ways to get to Venice”

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