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Published: October 6th 2016
The original stimulus for our wonderful trip to Europe was for Madalyn to attend a special Dream Tending workshop at a location known for Karl Jung and other notables to meet and discuss advanced concepts, both in psychology and other fields. The developer of the Dream Tending concept, and founder/president of Pacifica University, has previously been included in such discussions in recent times, and he wanted to offer it to his students whom he sees in retreats in Montana. Gary did not attend this workshop, but rather used the time to explore some of the surroundings. Ascona is at the northern end of Lake Maggiore, a short distance from the Italian border. It is in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, and most of their tourists come from northern Switzerland or Germany. As such, German and Italian were both spoken a lot, and it was rare to find any menus in English or watiers or shop keepers who spoke English. Gary tends to jump more automatically to German, but has a larger Italian vocabulary, so often found himself speaking to a shopkeeper in a mixture of the two - with a bit of English thrown in when missing the desired word in either of the other languages. He tended to get along OK, given that nothing terribly complicated was needed.
The first day after we arrived we walked some of the area around the hotel. The old part of town, by the harbor, is a pedestrian zone with narrow, cobbled streets, and a variety of shops. The workshop group met for dinner at a very nice restaurant, while Gary and the two other husbands present had dinner together. Madalyn was picked up each morning at 9am and taken to the workshop space, back at 6 to 6:30 and joined Gary for dinner for the next two nights. Gary spent a day enjoying some alone time by driving up the Maggia Valley and then with one of the other husbands of workshop participants up the Verzasca Valley. The valleys were beautiful and rather a different world from the Lake Maggiore resort atmosphere of Ascona. Highlights were some ancient villages of stone houses, seeming to grow right of the cliffs, waterfalls. and stone bridges. Valley Verzasca is particularly known for a double arched foot bridge at Lavertazza. On a side trip from that valley he expected a parking lot with a foot trail leading to Corippo, one of the towns built out of the cliff side. Instead, it was a very narrrow one-lane (but two way) road he drove up, then down. Humorously, at the entrance to the village was a speed limit sign for 50 kmh. Anything over 20 kmh was impossible. And yes, there were a couple of encounters on the way down with cars coming up. It ended up being much more work than expected, but still a delightful day. Madalyn had an equally delightful time with her Dream Tending workshop, especially feeling the presence of Karl Jung and other luminaries. She feels inspired to do more research on the Eranos Foundation and its founder.
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