April 27, 2020 Live from the road

Heidelberg - 11 km Round Trip

Reported by Vasanti Niemz 11.0 km

As the European part of the "Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home" Peace Run continues its journey virtually - with a team of international runners running the needed daily miles / km in their respective places, with a feeling of oneness in their hearts - we were also celebrating the 33rd anniversary of the Peace Run on April 27th - in many little ways around the world.
It was a heart-warming experience to carry the Peace Run flag which had just visited East Africa in October 2019, along the Neckar river into the city and up to Philosopher's path, on paths that have been treaded many many times over the years with the lit Peace Torch. And sending positive vibes into the world at this challenging time (while observing local rules of course). (See also our report from Heidelberg 2013), and our 30 year anniversary 2017) .

First stop at the Völkerkunde-Museum (Ethnological Museum) in Heidelberg, with the Buddha facing our Peace Tree

The Gingko Biloba "Oneness-Peace-Tree" which was planted as a tiny sapling in 2001 during a Peace Run event at the museum, jointly with museum director Dr. Margareta Pavaloi and current Lord Mayor Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner, has grown so tall! Trees are not just extremely important for a healthy planet, but also great reminders of how from small beginnings amazing things can grow with patience, perseverance and steadfast dedication.

Robert Bitsch, curator of the museum, with the Peace Tree plaque

The poem engraved on the plaque, by founder Sri Chinmoy, reads: "Peace-seed must be sown in the heart. / Only then can it grow / In the body of human life.

Our big European team back in 2013, with the Peace torch shared with Dr. Pavaloi, director of the museum.

Face masks are compulsory now in buses, trains, shops etc. Mr. Talhof, one of our friendly and patient Heidelberg bus drivers, is originally from Silesia, now Poland.

Corn market square (Kornmarkt) with a view to the castle, outside the mayor's office.

Three masked ladies from Heidelberg kindly and happily posing for a photo with the Peace flag.

Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner, a passionate and very good runner, sharing the Peace Torch outside his office back in 2013. This time he kindly sent a beautiful message again, encouraging all the runners and thanking us for keeping the Peace Run and its spirit of oneness and togetherness alive, especially under these challenging circumstances, even in a virtual way (for the whole message, see below).

Even churches and other places of worship right now are only open to individual visitors for prayer and meditation. "Maybe this spiritual place can be of help to you in this distressing situation," the sign reads.

Heiliggeist-Kirche (Church of the Holy Spirit) in the centre of Heidelberg - with no tourists and few visitors, the atmosphere is truely prayerful and meditative, full of inner peace.

Facial masks for sale outside the church

No, the police does not want to hold the flag!

Professional Heidelberg photographer Sabine Arndt smiling with the Peace flag

View to Heidelberg Castle from the famous Old Bridge, where the day before 3000 runners should have passed in the Heidelberg Halfmarathon - which of course had to be cancelled like all the other big events.

The two police officers who did not want to pose with the flag (because they are not allowed to) very kindly obliged and took this photo of me and sent their best whishes on the way.

The Neckar glittering in the sunlight - few people, little traffic - water, sunlight, vast sky and spring leaves - such a feeling of nature's peace! The last gorgeous sunny day of a very dry and warm spring period, before the weather changed, temperatures went down and finally some rain came.

View to the Old Bridge and castle.

Police patrolling on the Neckar to check the river banks for social distancing. Nicely wearing their masks even on the boat!

Marion (I did not know her, just asked) happily took the Peace flag on the river with her SUP (stand up paddle board)

She loves the peace on the water - stand up paddling can be very meditative, she said, and enjoys it even on the tiny Neckar (she is used to the ocean!)

The swans in Heidelberg are not shy at all - they build their nests in full public view.

Some trees on the Neckar promenade had to be cut down due to drier climate - this one turned into a super cute "Heidel-Bear", now Heidel-Peace-Bear.

My turning point was supposed to be Café Moro on Brückenkopfstraße at Ernst Walz bridge - featuring great coffee and cappuccino. Since Mandana, the owner, was not in, her daughter kindly came out for a photo on the bridge - and looks very happy holding the flag!

With her protective gloves ....

Two Heidelberg University students (law and psychology) with Nigerian roots. The bookmark I gave them was from our East Africa Peace Run in October 2019.

Jogging back towards Ziegelhausen via Philosopher's path with most charming views. Mark Twain, Hegel, Hölderlin are just a few of the famous people who supposedly took a walk here. The Peace Torch has been carried here as part of the Heidelberg Halfmarathon or seperately a number of times.

Famous poem bei Joseph von EIchendorff, who was not only a romantic lyricist expressing spiritual inner feelings, but also favoured a Europe of cooperation: "Schläft ein Lied in allen Dingen... " / "There is a song sleeping in all things...."

Kianush from Iran and his German friend were just enjoying some late lunch after work - and are happy to stand up and smile for peace.

German garden culture - and snowwhite with a beautiful dark skin!

"Only one thing is needed —
A oneness-heart —
For peace to bloom and blossom
On the lap of Mother Earth." - Sri Chinmoy

Majestic peaceful trees and villas along the northern river bank.

Facial masks now in all the buses and trains.

Looking back from the weir bridge - the peace and power of the river.

Towards Ziegelhausen and Stift Neuburg monastary.

Sheep grazing peacefully under the monastery.

"Peace I feel in abundant measure / In the inmost recesses of my heart / When I do not allow my mind-elephant / And my vital-tiger / To attack my heart-lamb. - Sri Chinmoy

The evening sky
 Brings me
An ever-spreading peace.
- Sri Chinmoy

Message from
The Lord Mayor of Heidelberg City
Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner

Dear runners,

with your 33th global torch relay you are carrying a message into the world which could not be more timely. More than ever we need peaceful togetherness, cooperation and connectedness among all human beings, beyond cultural, religious and political boundaries. And we need confidence. Confidence that together we will overcome this pandemic crisis.

Therefore you are sending the right signal by not taking a break with the Peace Run this year, but by continuing with it virtually and dedicating it to the whole world community. In this way everybody, young or old, athletic or not, can join you for a part of the way and support this Peace Run.

Thank you so very much to all the volunteers who are supporting this wonderful initiative and keeping it alive especially under these exceptional circumstances.

May you stay healthy.


Eckart Würzner

(Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner, Lord Mayor of Heidelberg)

- sent April 30th, 2020

Tirtha from Munich, our German team member for the virtual international European team this week, imagining the Peace Torch in her heart before starting her daily run.

Tirtha (Munich) and Ankurika (Heidelberg/Graz) at the finish of Heidelberg Halfmarathon 2017

Torch carried by
Vasanti Niemz (Germany).  
Accompanied by  
"virtual" German Peace Runners, running on their own but with inner oneness: Jane (6 km), Heidelberg; Kallol (5 km), Heidelberg; Nimagan (3 km), Heidelberg; Pragya (15 km), Nürnberg; Tirtha (10 km, part of the European International Team), Munich - 50 km all together
Vasanti Niemz
The torch has travelled 11.0 km from Heidelberg to 11 km Round Trip.

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