Archive for October, 2010

Helpful messengers

October 29, 2010

20 October 2010

“No, the Bora is blowing too strong. It is impossible for you to walk on tomorrow!” A warning that we heard a couple of times in Croatia. Last week, a road had to be closed due to this powerful fall wind. “You Europeans can’t imagine what force this wind can have,” explained a young local man. We are thankful that we found a very cheap apartment in Senj with a warm stove from where we could observe the harsh autumn wind, the rain and the waves.

Even at the boarder, we were welcomed with a “No!” after Annemarie took a picture. “Give me your camera,” the customs officer snapped at us and took the camera. “You can get five years of imprisonment for that.” he added. We were very surprised, because we haven’t seen or heard anything about that ban. Hanspeter helped the officer to delete the picture. Later that day in Rijeka, a policeman confirmed that this ban is indeed a law. Grateful that we had our camera back and that we escaped punishment, we continued heading south. We had to think of the many Christians who are in prison just because of their faith or of Joseph whose history we are reading in the Bible at the moment. He was put in prison because he refused to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife. God’s ways sometimes lead through dark valleys, but he gives us support, strength and consolation on such paths.

We exceptionally experienced divine intervention in Trieste. While searching for a place to stay on Thursday, we learned that exactly on this weekend the annual Barcolana regatta took place. There was little hope that we would be able to find affordable accommodation for the weekend. At the evening, Hanspeter checked his email and had over 6000 new ones in his in-tray! Someone had sent us three messages minute after minute. While Hanspeter looked through them and separated the wheat from the chaff, he discovered a message from a friend from Switzerland. We were pleased to hear from him and that he sent us an address from a priest in Trieste. On Friday, we visited this family. The priest’s wife, Rahel, who is from Switzerland, used to work in our home parish. While we were saying goodbye, the phone rang. A relative couldn’t come by as agreed. For this reason, we were offered a bed for the night, which we gladly accepted. On Saturday, we headed off towards the city. By the time it got darker and chilly, we passed by a youth hostel. “No, we are fully booked up,” they said at first. But then: “There is only one possibility: in both the men’s and the women’s dormitory there is one bed free.” Thank you Lord, we exclaimed, and we slept apart for the first time during our trip.

On the next day, a woman spoke to us on the street. Gianna loves to hike and was curious where we were going with our large backpacks. She accompanied us for a while and explained the course of the regatta. She led us to the finish area where we could film the winning ship 56 minutes after the start. Afterwards, she recommended the path following the former railroad of Trieste. This path was not marked on any map, and we had some difficulties to find it. On a district road, we met a couple. They told us that this is the old railroad that goes as far as Slovenia. On a picturesque path, we slowly but steadily climbed up to the plateau.

Towards evening, we met Mara. She accompanied us for an hour and showed us a hostel that we would not have found without her. Mara was pleased to have the opportunity to speak some German after a long time, and we were pleased that God had sent us so many helpful messengers on that weekend.

Best wishes and a heartfelt thank you for all the prayers and help in Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Switzerland

Hanspeter and Annemarie


Wind in Croatia (German and English)

October 26, 2010

Water in abundance

October 26, 2010

5 October 2010

At the end of September, we crossed the long bridge to Venice. The next day in the Jewish ghetto, we were astonished, when we met a female priest with students from Basel – the starting point of our trip. By the way, the term “ghetto” originated from the name of the Jewish quarter in Venice, established in 1516, in which the Venetian authorities compelled the city’s Jews to live.

In order to avoid making the detour to Venice any longer, we covered some distance by ship. The deserted sandy beaches close to Punta Sabbioni are breathtaking. However, we have already experienced the downside of the off-season; campsites and numerous inns are closed since the end of September. This fact makes our search for accommodations more difficult.

Once, we asked the owner of a large estate whether we could pitch our tent on his ground, because the inn of the village was already closed. Vehemently, he turned us away. Because of the many water canals, we couldn’t pitch our tent anywhere. We had no other choice than to walk around this fenced estate and to walk on for several kilometers. The streets were already deserted in the next village, and it was dark. Again, we found a closed inn. And that’s why, after 50,000 steps (according to the pedometer of Annemarie) we knocked on the door of a priest’s house in La Salute di Livenza. Without any fuss, he made the youth room available to us. “Thank you!”, we said to him and to God, and once again we were thankful for our sleeping bags and our mats, even though we could easily do without the additional weight.

A few days earlier, we had already experienced spontaneous hospitality on a farm. For the 70-year old farmer’s wife it was the first time that someone asked to sleep in the barn. After a delicious dinner, we had an interesting conversation. We learned that the daily irrigation time of the fields changed after 7 days and 7 hours. As a result, the farmers have to operate the water valve at the canals at a different time each week, in order to channel water to their fields. Today, we read the following in the Bible: “You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with corn, for so you have ordained it.“ (Psalms 65,9) How glad we are that we are not bound to schedule with God.

We always had enough water: Two times, we were allowed to stay the night on a sports field, where we could use several showers. On a rainy day, a farmer’s wife had pity for us when we stood under a shelter for machines. Without further ado, she sent her son to lead us to an old villa with three showers. A few days later, someone left a house that was being renovated in our hands. And again, we had a roof over our hand, a floor for our mats and a shower! But we took even more pleasure in the conversation we had with the homeowner the next morning. Originally, we had planned to work on the house with another man. But during the night, this man had to go to the hospital unexpectedly. When the homeowner arrived at the house that morning, it was pouring down. While we waited for the rain to stop, we had an interesting conversation with him about God and nature. Two hours later, the rain stopped and we said goodbye.

On our trip through Italy, we experienced a great willingness to help, especially during the day. At night, mistrust was much larger, since there have been burglaries at many places. There are only a few houses without a metal fence. Our arrivals in the villages usually caused an incessant barking. Everyone in the village knew in which street we currently were. Individual watchdogs can still give us a fright with their barking out of the blue. Nevertheless, we still like to take the path through the villages, because it is there where we have the most interesting encounters.

Warm hiking greetings

Hanspeter and Annemarie

PS: Bandaids were used increasingly this week.

Life Channel broadcasted a short account of our journey. You can watch it on:

New pictures on:

Trieste – Barcolana Regatta

October 12, 2010


October 9, 2010

Construction work on the river

October 9, 2010