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  • Readers of this blog will have noticed that I am a radical Atheist. But there is one religious idea that I have incorporated in my life, although in a secular version.

    It’s the idea of the shabbat, the 7th day of the week, on which one is supposed to rest. I use the Jewish term for this day, because I think it’s the best known, but many other religions have similar recommendations/rules, following a 7-day rhythm, from the Buddhist KINGSHOW Men's Classic Work Boots to the appropriately named Bella Marie Shania-1 Women's Peep Toe Rhinestone Glitter Crossing Strap Dance Sandals.

    The Bible says you are not to shear sheep or to plow the field, but as this wouldn’t really make any difference in the lives of most contemporary believers, there is room for interpretation. Have you ever noticed that theology is a lot like law, just without the democratic legitimacy? Contemporary disputes seem to focus on whether it’s OK to drive on shabbat or to use electricity.

    But I am not bound by the Bible or others’ interpretations of it. I don’t have any gods to appease. I have adopted the idea for the sake of my own sanity alone.

    So what do I do on my shabbat?

    The first point is: no work. Now, most people will say “oh, I already do that. I have Saturday and Sunday off.” But that’s not what I mean. After all, I personally don’t work regularly anyway. I mean: not even thinking about work! And that’s a big difference.Superga 2754 Cotu, Unisex Adults' Hi-Top SneakersRefresh Footwear Women's Slip-On Professional Work Comfort Clog

    In practice, this means that on my shabbat, I will not read any e-mails, I will turn off my phone, I will not go through any documents that are work-related, I will not try to improve any skills that can be put to use, and I won’t even think or talk about work.

    I personally don’t even have a regular day of the week for this. Sometimes it’s on the weekend, sometimes during the week, depending on where I am, what I have to do, and on the weather, of course. But it’s the one day of the week that I am always looking forward to.Converse Unisex Jack Purcell Jack Ox Casual shoesMIA Womens Anamarie Pointed Toe Flat There is delight in being unproductive. After all, we are humans, not machines.

    Actually, now that I am thinking of it, maybe I should extend this routine to one week per month.

    Pause

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    In every country, there is a place that everyone, literally everyone, recommends you to visit. Actually, recommend is too weak of a word for the obtrusiveness: “You have to go there!” Instinctively, this raises some resistance with me, because I don’t want to have to do anything. Kenneth Cole New York Mens Design 10071 OxfordsEasy Spirit Womens Sailors SandalAnd many of such places are wildly overrated. It leads to tourists driving across the country for hours, only to visit Neuschwanstein or Reebok Mens Swiftway Run Running shoes, although there are hundreds of other castles scattered across Germany or Romania that are equally interesting. But those get passed by, sometimes without noticing them, as the hypnotized herd moves from one hotspot to the next.

    In Canada, this dubious role falls to the small town of Banff in Alberta. When I ask my Canadian friends what is so special about it, they reply: “Mountains, lots of mountains. And a lake!” Not being completely uneducated in the field of geography, I then proceed to inquire if one can’t make the acquaintance of mountains elsewhere in the second largest country of the world, and a country that is home to the Rocky Mountains on top of that. Bewildered, they reply: “But everybody goes to Banff.” Geox Men's U Mattias B ABX C Ankle BootsClarks Womens Gracelin Jenny Ballet FlatAnd that’s exactly the reason why I won’t go there.

    Granted, I am not very creative either. I simply go to Canmore. Coming from Calgary, that’s about 25 km before Banff. But because there is no hype about this place, you can enjoy the same mountains for a third of the price.

    1

    I have just arrived, breathe the fresh air and soak up the mountain view (both all the more relaxing after three months in a large city), Kenneth Cole New York Women's Jack Knee High BootAvec Les Filles Womens Ava Open Toe Casual Platform Sandalswhen a passerby addresses me: “Canmore, it’s a heap of problems.” To me, it all seems so perfect that I have to ask which problems he might allude to.

    “Don’t you see the terrible traffic?”

    Ehm, no.

    He explains that sometimes, the railway crossing is closed for five minutes and that the cars will then back up, BZees Womens Lollipop Sneaker SneakerMen's Sperry, Flex Deck LTT shoeseven around the corner. To make matters worse, the hospital is on the other side of the railway tracks, “that’s irresponsible!” Small-town problems.

    “One would need to build an overpass, but all the miners here just want to leave everything the way it has always been. I’ve got nothing against the miners, please don’t get me  wrong! After all, they built the town.” And that way, I learn of the mineral-extracting origin of Canmore, of which I had hitherto naively assumed that it was only built for the beautiful location.

    2

    The most striking difference between the big city and Canmore is not only the view, but that strangers simply smile and wave at each other and say hello. Here, I could probably find friends faster than in Calgary, where everybody is just working and shopping all the time.

    The most seductive smile is directed at my by a bookstore in the main street, Converse Unisex Chuck Taylor Ox Low Top shoes, but I am already carrying more than enough books with me. To be on the safe side, I don’t even dare to enter, for fear of losing my last few dollars.

    Cafe Books front Canmore

    3

    The ladies at the reception of the cozy Mountain View Inn hardly give me a chance to get to know the town by myself. Each time they spot me, they give me more maps, bus schedules and café recommendations.

    And every morning, they want to know where I will be hiking that day. “Don’t forget the bear spray,” the older one of them admonishes me, as I am about to leave one day.

    “Oh. Where can I get this bear spray?”, I ask somewhat incredulously, thinking of the anti-shark spray from the Batman movie.

    “We will give you a can,” she offers, grabs something from under the counter, and equips me with the weapon. Good that I am not a pacifist.

    Honestly, I suspect that the weapons handed to tourists are only a marketing gimmick to make the harmless walks appear more dangerous. Like the life vests on rubber dinghies.

    4

    On the other hand, maybe the bears are real and come all the way into town. Because the rubbish bins are built so bear-proof that they are not only bomb-proof, but also leave me wondering to no avail how the heck I am supposed to put the rubbish inside. I give up.

    bear protection rubbish.JPG

    Personally, I would find it smarter to leave the rubbish bins accessible, allowing the bears to get full on pizzas. Then, they wouldn’t need to devour humans. That’s how it’s done in Romania, where humans and bears live in peaceful coexistence. But that’s the difference between a socialist-solidary and a capitalist-egoistic society.

    5

    It’s only the end of March, but spring is already raging. The snow on the south-facing hills is melting. The bears are just waking up. And after six months of sleep and diet they are, as the saying goes, as hungry as a bear.

    The horoscope for cancers in the Globe & Mail says: “You’ve got that feeling that you must do something to prove yourself.” I understand that as an encouragement to go bear hunting.

    6

    On the bus to Canmore, I spoke with a girl who only went to Banff for one day. Reef Men's Leather Fanning SandalSaucony Mens S29041-4 Track shoesShe would have a couple of hours to walk around there, before heading back to Calgary. When you see all the photos of Canadian women on Facebook or Tinder, each of them in front of a mountain lake or on a summit, you might think “wow, those people are really outdoorsy”. But for most of them, it’s just a day trip, often by car, stepping out briefly at a parking area to take the fake nature photos.

    “I heard that the most beautiful hike in Canada is in Banff,” she explains. Just for that, she flew to Alberta. It is really strange that in a country as large as Canada, 95% of the population believes that you can only hike in Banff or in Jasper. A mere 10 km to the south or the east, Bella Vita Women's Zari Platform PumpEllie shoes Womens 609-kiki Platformthey already think it’s a terribly stupid idea. Outdoor spirit this is not.

    A friend from Calgary also once wanted to seduce me to Banff, but she only had time for a day trip. “For lunch, there are three options,” my guide began to plan, “there is a burger restaurant, where everybody goes when they are in Banff. Then there is …” Jenny Women's Sappgold 2252460 Low-Top SneakersBalaMasa Womens Chunky Heels Zipper Imitated Suede Boots ABL11002I dared to interrupt her and point out that I would go to Banff for the mountains and lakes, the bears and the forests. Especially if I only had one day, I definitely wouldn’t waste two hours of the still scarce daylight in a restaurant. “I’d rather get a Snickers bar from the gas station and spend more time in the mountains,” I explained, but she didn’t understand.

    Thus, I went alone. To Canmore instead of Banff. And for a whole week, not just a measly day.

    7

    My first hike leads me along the Bow River, whose acquaintance I had already made.Betsey Johnson bluee Women's Sb-jey Ankle Boot

    Bow River duck

    In this kind of nature, I almost want to get lost. Some of the river’s tributaries are still frozen over,Marc New York by Andrew Marc Mens Bergen SneakerPUMA Mens Suede Classic Emboss V2 Fashion Sneaker granting access to islands or to the opposite shore, although sometimes, it crackles alarmingly as I run across the ice. Alternatively, I cross the river on toppled trees.

    I absorb the mountains like fresh air after years in a bunker of asbestos, not only because of the welcome change to the past three months in a big city, but also because in a week, I will be sitting on the train across the rather flat prairies.Cambridge Select Women's Western Whipstitch Braid V Cutout Chunky Stacked Heel Ankle BootieCambridge Select Women's Classic Closed Round Toe Side Stretch Cutout Pull-On Chunky Stacked Low Heel Ankle Bootie.

    8

    And thus I walk and walk, always following the river. The further away I get from Canmore, the fewer joggers and cyclists cross my path, until I am finally alone in the forest.

    But sooner or later, I will have to think about returning, because it’s already past 4pm. And exactly in that moment, I reach a road with a bus stop. An exemplary bus stop even! With route maps, schedule, prices and all the other information that fans of public transit want.

    The next bus will arrive in 20 minutes, not a bad frequency for Saturday afternoon in the mountains. Until then, I will try to get back into town by hitchhiking. After 25 failed attempts, a red BMW stops. The driver welcomes me with the words “usually, I never stop for hitchhikers”, Cambridge Select Women's Woven Stretch Slip-On Fashion SneakerNine West Womens Apryle Patent Heeled Sandaland I thank him profoundly for making an exception. Quickly, it turns out that his mother is from Berlin and his father from Vorarlberg, although they migrated to Canada ages ago, the driver emphasizes. I try to discern whether his parents’ flight from German-Austrian territories instilled in him a negative opinion of people from there, but I cannot read his eyes. Like everybody in Canmore, the driver wears sunglasses at all times. Maybe this town is a nest of spies?

    He recommends a certain hike and the Legion, a home for veterans, Avec Les Filles Womens Mara Heeled SandalTahari Women's TA-Lacie Flat Sandalas the place with the cheapest beer. And then the ride is already over. It’s sad that hitchhiking has been made illegal on some roads in Canada, while not on others. That confuses drivers and they never stop at all. And it would be such a wonderful way to get to know the country and the people.

    9

    From my spacious corner suite at the aptly named Mountain View Inn, I look at the most alluring group of mountains in the valley,Marco Tozzi Women's 23729 TrainersOoohyeah Women's Mermaid Slip-on Mermaid Tail Slip-on Slippers the Three Sisters, each time I wake up and each time I fall asleep.

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    People who call themselves “influencers”, but don’t influence me at all:

    What really influences me, although none of their authors would use such a stupid self-descriptive term:

    Influenza:

    influenza-virion3

    The last one can be pretty influential, actually. It definitely impresses me more than girls with selfie sticks.

    I myself am more of a thinkfluencer than an influencer.

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