First Eco-Pilgrimage held in Schwabisch Albs*
Reutlingen resident, Ulla König starts preparation this week for the second eco-pilgrimage in the Schwabisch Albs to be held in August 2020.
Fifty adults and 10 children participated in the first 10-day pilgrimage in mid-August in Germany. The pilgrimage took place in the area close to the town of Muensingen.
The eco-pilgrims walked between 12 and 25 kilometres daily through the forests and on tracks around fields. Participants from around 10 countries came from Germany, UK, France, Israel, Iran, Italy, Holland, Australia, USA, and Hong Kong.
Participants prepared daily a vegan diet, received teachings on mindfulness, meditation and sharing of experiences. They walked in silence and single file.
Ulla Konig and co-teacher, Christopher Titmuss from Totnes, Devon, England, facilitated group discussions on the climate emergency, importance of diet, lifestyle, wise action and service to others.
Ulla said: “We held the pilgrimage to create Agents of Change in our unpredictable world. Christopher led such pilgrimages in the foothills of the Pyrenees for the past 18 years and 10 years before in England and Wales.
The two managers in France were unable to prepare our pilgrimage in 2019 so we switched to the Schwabisch Alps, close to my home. We were delighted with the response.”
Participants have requested that we lead another eco-yatra in 2020 in the local Albs.”
Ulla ordered organic fruit and vegetables from local farmers. She also bought food from the local Turkish stores and small shops rather than use large supermarkets for rice, lentils, pasta and other items.
Two farmers in the Muensingen area, Mr. Willi Wolf and Mr. Wahl, kindly made available 10 hectares or more of land for camping, setting up the marquee for meetings/meditation and the marquees for children and kitchen, plus two mobile toilets. For the final three days, the pilgrims stayed in the back garden of the Radlerherberge of the Auchter family.
Founder and co-teacher, Christopher Titmuss said: “All of our participants were deeply appreciative of the immense support from people in the area. We witnessed the loving care that local people give to the farms, fields, meadows and villages. There is a real wish in the Albs to support the eco-system under threat from pollution, factory farms and the climate emergency.”
Participants held a meeting on the final full day of their walks and fully agreed to return to the area in August 2020.
A former Buddhist monk in Thailand, Christopher commented: “The Schwaebisch Albs constitute an area of outstanding natural beauty, quiet, sublime with foxes, deer, wild boar, large birds and butterflies. We met very few hikers and a number of cyclists. It is clearly an undiscovered corner of Europe.”
Temperatures at night dropped to as low as 5 degrees and reached 31 degrees during. He added: “We walked in the sunshine, through intense rainstorms and strong winds. The pilgrims loved the challenge. The youngers from three years to 15 years enjoyed themselves.
Known as a Dharma Yatra in the East, the eco-pilgrimage has its background in the Buddhist tradition. Dharma refers to teachings of the Buddha. Yatra means pilgrimage.
Participants provide a registration fee of €100.00 to cover all the costs of equipment and initial food.
There is an appeal for donations to cover all the costs and invitation to give a donation to support the teachers.
*Albs means Lower