Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Greatest Achievments

The rain clouds had finally moved away to reveal a freshly painted blue sky containing just a few archipelagos of tiny cotton wool clouds. A summer breeze had returned to dry the vegetation but the ground was still sodden with the almost relentless rain of the past week.

"What is your greatest achievement?"

I've always struggled with such questions. When they have been thrown at me in job interviews and the like I've tried to produce an expected response, but my replies have never satisfied me personally. On reflection, this is probably because there is something meaningless about these questions. They could only be answered if we knew the full effect of everything we did or said (or how we did or said them).

The modern meaning of the word "success" is generally about getting desired results, which we are conditioned to believe are fame and fortune. The older meaning of "success" is about all results, consequences, things (and people) that follow. Just because what we say or do doesn't have a measurable result it doesn't mean that it isn't a great achievement. We get brainwashed by the "success-mongers" who consider it a great personal achievement for themselves if they can condition us into planning great personal achievements for ourselves.

For me attempting to be more positive in contact with others means potentially greater achievements than any personal goals set, greater because of the knock-on effect which we will probably never fully appreciate. These achievements can’t be considered as our own purely personal achievements but they are more powerful.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

E10 Stage 2 Novy Bor - Zahradky

With the project started and the first stage under the belt I was keen to get on with it. Still holding to the original idea to complete one stage a month I set out on a Sunday morning in June 2004 on the same journey as for the first stage but leaving the bus in Novy Bor.
To recall this day I rely mainly on photos donated to the website www.mapy.cz.
Novy Bor is a town of some 15 000 inhabitants, in the past a centre for the glass industry.

This is the town square, the start of today's walk.

Within a few kilometres the path passes Sloup Castle dating from the 14th century, most of it formed out of the sandstone

Close by in Prayer Valley there is a chapel carved into the sandstone.
This dates from the 1830s but pilgrims passed this way before then.

The path enters Ceska Lipa through a 1970s housing estate of prefabricated tower blocks

There are some prettier buildings in the centre.
This was my favourite, The Red House, a renaissance villa built in 1583.

At the end of another sandstone valley, these cottages featuring tradional timber and plaster "folk" architecture.

The manor house in the village Zahradky. Originally from around 1550, revamped in empire style in the 1820s. It is currently owned by Charles University in Prague and was undergoing repairs after a fire in 2003.

This walk finished here at the church of St Barbora, originally built in 1550 on the site of a roadside cross, later rebuilt in baroque style. The statues at the top of these steps depict two early Bohemian saints. One is Wenceslas (of Good King Wenceslas fame, well he wasn't actually a king but that's another story). The other is Prokop, abbot of the orthodox Sazava monestry in the 11th century. There are several legends of his victories over the devil including one where he harnesses the devil to a plough and gets him to plough the monestry fields.

I think I slept on the way home.