educational tours

2010-01 Timisoara, Romania

I was not really excited to go to Timisoara at this time of the year because of the cold weather, but the perspective meeting good old colleague-friends kept me warm.
We came together for a doing2learn project meeting, sharing our work we have done, difficulties we had and still have and discussed how to proceed.

I have been doing these European projects since seven years now and it is very often quite disenchanting and frustrating. There are many players in the ring with different motives which are not always conform with the meaning of the project or the European framework. Mostly, those people who created the project and carried out the work are enthusiastic at the beginning, trying to bring fresh ideas into their organisations and trying to motivate people to broaden their horizon by learning something.

2010-01 Grundtvig Conference Brussels

2010 is the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion in adult education. To start his year, the European Commission organised a conference in Brussels, Management Centre of Europe, over three days (26-28 January 2010).
It was the first time I attended a conference like this, and I wanted to take the opportunity to not only meet people and new potential partners, but also to promote I was the first one to arrive at the Centre and, hence could see who was coming in, and who'd be my first target. :-)
Over the three days, I learned a lot about what those people would like to have and what they need. I questioned and listened to them in the plenary, in workshops and, of course, one on one.
I noticed what people want is a tool to disseminate their projects and outcomes, a tool to network and to see what others are up to, a tool that is simple and easy to use.

2009-12 Cieszyn, Poland

This was my third trip to Poland. The first one I made in the early 90s, private, searching traces of someone's family. I have uncomfortable memories from that trip, not only because we visited the Auschwitz concentration camp, the whole environment was a bit strange. The second time I travelled to Poland, at the end of the 90s, I stayed in Krakow and I was surprised how vital the city was, even though the whole centre was a big re-construction site.

Now also my third trip, the time couldn't be worse. It was very cold, wet and dark and I haven't seen any blue sky for 4 days.
A French teacher picked us up at Krakow airport to ease the conversation during the two hours drive to Cieszyn (usually, French people do not speak English, might be a prejudice, but it is often true).
On the way to Cieszyn, we passed Oswiecim, saw the museum of the concentration camp and I still got the creeps. I can't imagine how to live in such a place with the visibility of the horrifying past.

2009-11 Machynlleth, Wales, UK

Last weekend I travelled to Machynlleth, the old capital of the former Kingdom Wales, until the English conquered Wales. The Welsh's were very visionary at that time (1404!), they already had a parliament, a constitution and equal rights for men and women. Very rare at that time!

It is easier to get to New York then to Machynlleth in Wales, which takes a whole day, even though its just 1,700 km away from Fitou.
I stayed in a beautiful middle of nowhere, it rained nearly all time and was very cold, but also very romantic. That part of Wales seems to be one of the last natural paradise.
Those Brits, which could afford it, bought old farm houses to live far away from civilization, enjoying a natural life (one of them is the boss of Tesco). Hence, the prices for land and houses increases dramatically which makes it nearly impossible for young locals to buy a property.