Travel 2013

France: La Chapelle d'Abondance, Marseilles, Montpellier, Paris, Reims
Bulgaria: Hisarya, Starosel;  England: Selsdon Park and Cambridge; Trier, Germany;
Barcelona, Spain for the ebbf/IEF conference; Belgrade, Serbia; Copenhagen, Denmark;
Monterey Peninsula and Yosemite in California; Quebec  and its Baha'i summer school;
Swiss Baha'i Winter School in Einsiedeln

The year got off to a slower start, thankfully, with no travel almost to the end of February, when I spent a week in the French Alps at the Baha'i Winter Camp, followed the next week by meetings Marseilles and Montpellier in the south of France. In late March, I went to Bulgaria to visit my brother and his family, and see some ancient Roman and Thracian sites. May was reasonably busy, with three trips between the middle and the end of the month, first to London for the ebbf Spring event, then to Cambridge for the UNEP Foresight Panel on Small Island Developing States, and finally to Luxembourg to give Baha'i talks, with one afternoon to visit Trier in nearby Germany. In June I only had one trip to Reims in the north-east of France to give a paper at a meeting on sustainability studies. For the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August, I was in North America, first in California with my brother Greg and his family (see separate page for family pictures), then in Quebec with my son Alex and his family (see separate page), including the Quebec Baha'i summer school. In mid-September I spent a week in Sweden giving 10 Baha'i-sponsored environmental talks in 5 cities, including one university lecture and two for secondary schools, but there was no time to take pictures. October was a busy month, starting with the ebbf/IEF conference in Barcelona (see separate page), followed by the ECPD conference in Belgrade and the ASEM seminar in Copenhagen. I then had no travel until the Swiss Baha'i Winter School at the end of December.


The French Baha'i Winter Camp was held at the Chalet Olinga in La Chapelle d'Abondance, a ski resort in the Alps. The mornings were devoted to lectures and arts workshops, and the afternoons to winter sports and more arts, with the evenings either more lectures or arts performances. I gave two lectures on principles of governance in the Baha'i writings, taught a children's class on governance, and learned to sing for the first time in a choir (it is possible to learn something new, even at seventy). See the separate page for pictures at the Winter Camp.

Chalet Olinga . Winter Camp participants
        Chalet Olinga at 1030 meters                                        participants in the Baha'i Winter Camp

With almost a meter of snow, but reasonably sunny days, the conditions were ideal for snow-shoeing, which has replaced skiing as my winter sport, given my age. I could leave directly from the chalet for treks along the Abondance river behind the chalet, up the mountainside and across alpine meadows deep in snow. My favorite hike was up past a frozen waterfall, climbing two steep alpine meadows that used to be ski runs, and continuing up a side valley to Les Ravières at 1285 meters, a vertical climb of 255 meters over an hour. On parts of the trail, the snow was packed for snowshoeing, but the meadows still had deep soft snow in which even my snowshoes would start to ski. The air was clear, the sun took off enough of the chill that I was most comfortable without sleeves, and the views across the valley were fantastic.

Vallee de l'Abondance . Balcon de la Chapelle . Chalet Olinga
The valley floor, and the view across the valley from up the slope; the Chalet Olinga where the Winter Camp was held (right)

Arthur Dahl . Balcon de la Chapelle . Arthur Dahl . La Cascade
Snowshoing along a trail half way up the valley slope; (right) La Cascade, a frozen waterfall on the way to "Sur Bayard"

Sur Bayard . Sur Bayard
At the top of the high pasture "Sur Bayard", far above the chalet which separates upper and lower pastures on the steep slope

trail to Les Ravières . trail . stream in the snow . trail in forest
The high trail to Les Ravières

forest and snow . near Les Ravières
Near Les Ravières

Arthur Dahl . Les Ravières . Arthur Dahl
At the top of the trail at Les Ravières, after a 55 minute climb rising 255 meters in elevation

field and view . walking path . field and mountain side
Trail up the valley of L'Abondance

field of snow . nordic skier .
Snow-covered pastures

snow and stream . recrystalized snow . stream and snow
The snow glistened with crystals and beautiful curves

valley . valley
Valley views from the snow-covered pastures


The Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living (PERL), in which the International Environment Forum participates, held its workgroup meetings in Marseilles, France, in early March. I lead a workgroup of educators to prepare a toolkit of values-based indicators of education for sustainable living for use in schools, and am also member of another workgroup on international partnerships and processes. After traveling to Marseilles by TGV train, I had a little time to visit the old port, and again saw a little of the town on my walk back to the train station after the meeting.

Old Port . Old Port . boats in old port
The Old Port with a fishmonger
buildings around old port . buildings around old port .buildings around old port
Buildings around the Old Port
fisherman . buildings around old port
A fisherman prepares his nets

buildings around old port . buildings around old port . buildings around old port
Buildings and streets around the Old Port

dinner . dinner
PERL participants at dinner in a floating restaurant in the old port

view from railway station . view from railway station . view from railway station
Views from the railway station
railway station . railway station . railway station
Gare St. Charles (railway station)


While I was in the south of France, I went on to Montpellier to visit my old friend Christian Depraetere, a hydrographer and nissologist (specialist on islands) with the Institute for Research on Development (IRD) center for remote sensing. He organized a seminar on global challenges for islands, where I spoke on islands as pioneers of sustainable development. I also took part in two scientific planning meetings, one for a colloquium on islands later this year, and the other for a research project on grass-roots implementation of co-management of human communities and natural resources. There was also a little time to visit the historic center of Montpellier and its botanical garden, the oldest in France.

large central square . statue . theatre
The central square with a statue and theatre (La Comédie)
government building . fountain . old movie theatre
A government building, fountain and old movie theatre

narrow street . tromp d'oeil . Court
Narrow streets, a wall painted in tromp d'oeil, and the court house (Palais de Justice)

park . Arc de Triomphe . Chateau d'eau (water temple)
A long promenade between the Arc de Triomphe and the Chateau d'Eau (over the reservoir for the city water supply)

park . park from chateau d'eau . Statue of Louis XIV
The promenade from the Chateau d'Eau, with a statue of Louis XIV in the middle

aquaduct . view of Montpellier
The aquaduct leading to the Chateau d'Eau; a view over the city

botanical garden . botanical garden . botanical garden
The botanical garden (Jardin des Plantes)

botanical garden . botanical garden . botanical garden
Botanical Garden
old towers . tower
Old tower remaining from the city walls


(see separate page)
At the end of March 2013, I went to Bulgaria for 10 days to visit my brother Greg, his wife Emi, and my nephew and nieces Greggie, Joyce and Mina. We went to Husarya, near Plovdiv, which used to be the ancient Roman town of Diocletianopolis from the 4th century AD. Its mineral hot springs have attracted visitors for many centuries. It was one of the few Roman towns build for tourism rather than military purposes. On the way back to Sofia, we stopped to visit Thracian sites near Starosel which were much older (5th-4th century BC). After another night in Sofia, we went to the village of Krupnik in the south near Blagoevgrad, where Emi's parents live and Greg has a house, to visit with family and friends. See the separate photo album.


The ebbf, our Baha'i-inspired organization bringing values into business, held its Spring event at Selsdon Park, an Elizabethan-style estate and golfing resort south-west of London, on 10-12 May 2013. See the separate page for pictures of the ebbf event. Prior to the event, we had an ebbf Governing Board meeting. It was a chance to catch up with old friends and new, and occasionally to walk in the gardens. Unfortunately, because of the impossibility of coordinating airline tickets, I had to fly back to Geneva on Sunday evening and return to England the next day (see below).

Selsdon Park Hotel . Selsdon Park Hotel

Selsdon Park Hotel . golf course
The Selsdon Park Hotel is set in beautiful grounds, including a golf course.


UNEP organized a Foresight Panel on Small Island Developing States, that met for three days on 14-16 May at beautiful Madingley Hall, an Elizabethan manor outside of Cambridge that is used by the University of Cambridge as a conference centre. See separate page for pictures of the meeting and the beautiful surroundings. We also spent the last night in Cambridge and were invited to dinner by a local academic at a pub on Jesus Green along the bank of the River Cam.

Madingley Hall . Madingley Hall gardens . Madingley Hall gate house
Madingley Hall with beautiful gardens and a thatched gatehouse

Library . Dining Room . Madingley Hall gate
Madingley Hall library, dining room, and gate to the courtyard

pub in Madingley .  . fields of rapeseed
The Three Horseshoes Pub in Madingley, where we had dinner; rapeseed fields on the way to Cambridge

River Cam . River Cam
The River Cam, with its locks and houseboats
Jesus Green . Jesus Green . knitted lampost
Jesus Green in the middle of Cambridge, and one of a row of odd knitted coverings for lamp posts


At the end of May, I visited Luxembourg for three days to speak to an interfaith group on Baha'i views on ecology, and at the National Baha'i Centre on Baha'i approaches to governance. One afternoon, my hosts took me to visit the nearby German city of Trier, which was the capital of the northern Roman empire from the time of the Emperor Constantine, and continued to be an important religious and temporal centre for many centuries.

View of Trier . View of Trier and cathedral
Views of Trier from the Porta Nigra, the Roman gate, with the imposing cathedral

cathedral and chuch of Our Lady . cloisters
Cathedral, most important pre-Carolingian church in Germany, and adjacent 13th century Gothic church of Our Lady, oldest Gothic church in Germany

cathedral . cloisters
Front of the Romesque cathedral, the central part of which was a Roman basilica, and adjoining Gothic cloisters

basilica . basilica . basilica
Roman basilica, now a protestant church. The firestorm of 1944 stripped it of later additions and decorations
Roman baths . Roman baths
4th century Roman baths, over 200 meters long, with extensive undergroung tunnels
Roman baths . Roman baths
details of the Roman baths


In mid-June I took the train to Reims, in the north-east of France, where the International Research Centre on Sustainability ( at the University of Reims organized the Third Rencontres Internationales de Reims on Sustainability Studies, with the theme of "Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals: Towards a New Social Contract", under the patronage of the President of France. There were 15 speakers at the two-day meeting, including Nobel Laureate Carlo Rubbia, Carlos Lopes (Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa), Leena Srivastava (Vice-Chancellor of TERI University and Executive Director of The Energy and Resources Institute -TERI in Delhi), well-known researchers on sustainability governance like Peter Haas (U. Massachusetts) and Frank Biermann (VU Amsterdam), and two IEF members: Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen of Wagenigen University and myself. IEF member Jon Marco Church, an Assistant Professor at IRCS, was on the organizing committee and chaired one session. My presentation was on "Putting the individual at the centre of Development: Indicators for a New Social Contract". The written paper is available on the IEF web site at Sylvia's paper was on "Legitimacy of Global Energy Governance". The programme and most of the presentations can be downloaded from the IRCS web site at

keynote panel . Jon Church, Peter Haas, Liliana Andronova, Frank Biermann
Inaugural speakers Carlos Lopes, Leena Srivastava and Carlo Rubbia; afternoon panel chaired by Jon Marco Church, with Peter Haas, Liliana Andronova and Frank Biermann

Carlo Rubbia . Carlo Rubbia . Leena Srivastava
Nobel Prize laureate Carlo Rubbia; Leena Srivastava, Vice-Chancellor of TERI University

Francois Mancebo and Peter Haas . Peter Haas and Frank Biermann . Carlo Rubbia receiving the medal of the City of Reims
François Mancebo, Director of IRCS, Peter Hass, University of Massachusetts; Frank Biermann, head of the Earth System Governance project; Carlo Rubbia receiving the medal of the City of Reims

While in Reims, there was a little time to walk around the city centre, where, despite 80% destruction during the First World War, some of the vestiges of its ancient past as Roman capital of the northern empire and site of the crowning of French kings have survived or been restored.

Reims Cathedral . Reims Cathedral . Reims Cathedral . Reims Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral in Reims, where French kings were crowned, was hit by 300 shells and burned in the First World War, but has been restored over many years

Reims Cathedral . Reims Cathedral . Reims Cathedral, tree in roof
Details of the facade; the return of nature: a tree growing out of the roof

Reims Cathedral interior . Reims Cathedral . Reims Cathedral . Reims Cathedral
The facade still has beautiful stained-glass windows, others are more modern

Reims Cathedral . Reims Cathedral , Reims Cathedral . Reims Cathedral

Reims Cathedral . Reims Cathedral . Reims Cathedral . Reims Cathedral
The rear of the cathedral is also dramatic

Palais du Tau . Palais du Tau . Palais du Tau. chapelle
The Palais de Tau next to the cathedral, where kings celebrated after their coronation

Joan of Arc . Tourism office . Palais de Justice . Monument
Joan of Arc accomplished her mission to see the French king crowned here: ancient building; Palais de Justice; monument to four rivers

Reims . Reims . Reims
Scenes from the centre of Reims


After Reims I stopped over in Paris to attend a reception at a former Ambassador's residence where my old friend and scientific colleague Virginie Tillot de Grissac was awarded the medal of Chevalier dans l'Ordre National de Merit. The residence was near the Palais de Chaillot, with its magnificant view across the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. Just on the other side of the Palais is the Avenue de Camoëns, where 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, stayed for 9 weeks when he visited Paris in 2011.

Eiffel Tower . Palais de Chaillot . gardens
View of the Eiffel Tower from the Palais de Chaillot; gardens where 'Abdu'l-Bahá must have walked

view from Palais de Chaillot . Palais de Chaillot
View over Paris from the Palais de Chaillot

Palais de Chaillot . Statue of Marshall Foch . view from Avenue Camoëns . Avenue de Camoens
Part of the Palais de Chaillot; statue of Maréchal Foch across the streef from the Palais; view from the Avenue de Camoëns where 'Abdu'l-Bahá stayed


I spent two weeks in California in late July and early August to join my brother Greg and his family on part of their vacation. For a more complete report with family photos, see the separate page. We were first on the Monterey Peninsula at Pebble Beach, with a hike up Carmel Valley and an excursion to the Santa Cruz boardwalk. Then we drove across the Central Valley to Yosemite National Park, with three nights in Yosemite Valley, two at Tuolumne Meadows in the High Sierras, and two at May Lake High Sierra Camp.

Going to and from Yosemite, we crossed the San Joaquin Valley and the Salinas Valley that are centers of American agriculture pioneered by my grandfather a century ago. The extended irrigated fields are always impressive, as is the summer heat in comparison with the more temperate mountains and coast.

fields in the Salinas Valley

agriculture: sunflowers
sunflowers in the Salinas Valley

artichoke fields near Castroville
artichoke fields near Castroville

harvesting strawberries
harvesting strawberries

The Monterey Peninsula where I grew up is world famous for its natural beauty, and in mid-summer the coastal fog keeps it cool.

mining the sand dunes around Monterey Bay
mining the sand dunes behind Monterey Bay

sand dunes
sand dunes behind Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay and Monterey Peninsula
  Monterey Bay with the Monterey Peninsula across the bay

Monterey Bay and Monterey Peninsula
Monterey Peninsula across Monterey Bay

In Pebble Beach, we went for a walk along the beautiful coast, with its rocks, beaches and coastal wildflowers.

Pebble Beach coastline . coastal wildflowers
Pebble Beach coastline and wildflowers

Our hike in Garland Park up Carmel Valley passed through typical California vegetation of the Coast Range, including groves of coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), oak woodland and scrub.
coast redwoods . trees of the Coast Range . Coast Range scrub
Redwoods, trees and scrub
oak and poison oak . vegetation . coastal scrub
Oak woodlands and scrub

The boardwalk at Santa Cruz at the north end of Monterey Bay is over a hundred years old.
Santa Cruz boardwalk . Santa Cruz boardwalk . beach at Santa Cruz boardwalk
Boardwalk with amusements; the beach in front of the boardwalk

While glacier-carved Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park is now crowded with tourists from all over the world, it still retains its natural beauty, with forests, rivers and meadows below steep granite cliffs.
Yosemite Valley . Yosemite Valley . Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley . Yosemite Valley . Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley . Yosemite Valley - me at May Lake 
Cliffs, forest and rushing water; me ready for a hike

Yosemite Valley . Yosemite Valley . Vernal Falls, Yosemite Valley
The trail up to Vernal Falls is particularly beautiful; Vernal Falls

The main access to the High Sierra Wilderness in Yosemite National Park is through Tuolumne Meadows (8,600ft/2,620m), the largest meadows in the Sierras, on the Tioga Pass Road.

Tuolumne Meadows . Tuolumne Meadows . Tuolumne Meadows
Tuolumne Meadows; soda springs with naturally carbonated mineral water

Lembert Dome . Lembert Dome . the Greg Dahl family
We hiked around Lembert Dome, and saw climbers scaling the cliff face; the Greg Dahl family

The May Lake High Sierra Camp is only accessible on foot or mule. Beyond the lake is Mount Hoffmann.

May Lake . May Lake . May Lake
May Lake

High Sierras from near May Lake . High Sierras from near May Lake . High Sierras from near May Lake
From the ridge behind the camp, there are wonderful views of the High Sierras at sunset, with Mt. Lyell (13,114ft/3,997m) in the distance

Half Dome from near May Lake . Alpen glow in High Sierras from near May Lake . Alpen glow
Half Dome (8,842ft/2,695m) at the edge of Yosemite Valley; alpen glow over the Sierras after sunset

May Lake . meadow near May Lake . view on trail from May Lake
May Lake; on the trail down to Raisin Lake and Glen Aulin

Raisin Lake . Raisin Lake . Raisin Lake
Raisin Lake

on the trail near May Lake . on the trail near May Lake . on the trail near May Lake
Granite slopes alternated with meadows ringed by lodgepole pines
on the trail near May Lake . on the trail near May Lake . on the trail near May Lake


From California I went to Quebec to spend two weeks with my son Alex and his family (see separate page), going to the zoo and celebrating my birthday. We all went to the Quebec Baha'i summer school in a lovely camp on a lake. There are many more pictures on the separate page.

Lake Pierre . Pierre Lake . Pierre Lake
The setting was typically Canadian, a peninsula in a lake

Pierre LakePierre Lakeforest
There were cottages scattered in the forest around the lake, and a path along the lakeside

classesdialogue with junior youthJunior youth singing
There were classes, a dialogue with junior youth (11-14 years) and musical performances

campfire . water sports . football
The music around the campfire was amazing; we went canoeing; the football teams included players of all ages


On 3-6 October, the International Environment Forum and ebbf, the Baha'i-inspired forum for values in business, held a joint annual conference in Barcelona, Spain, on "Co-creating Sustainable Wealth: How can we combine Ecology and Economy". See the separate page for the photos and the IEF web site for a complete conference report:

view . hotel . pool 
There was a lovely view from my hotel room, but no time to enjoy the pool

Arthur Dahl . Victoria Thoresen . Victoria and Arthur
I gave the opening keynote speach on "What is sustainable Wealth?", and fellow IEF board member Victoria Thoresen also gave a keynote

my workshop . audience . discussion
I also led a workshop on principles underlying sustainable wealth, and there was ample time for discussions


The next weekend I was in Belgrade, Serbia, for the annual conference of the European Center for Peace and Development (ECPD) on Reconciliation, Tolerance and Human Security in the Balkans, with the theme "New Balkans in Europe: Peace, Development and Integration". My paper this year was on "New Balkans Sustainability and the Post-2015 Development Agenda". I also took part in a roundtable on the Global South.

ECPD conference . Belgrade City Hall . Serbian Parliament
ECPD conference in session; Belgrade City Hall where the conference was held; across the park from the Serbian Parliament

press . Erhard Busek . Darko Tanaskovic
Reporters at the conference opening; Prof.Dr. Erhard Busek, former Vice-Chancellor of Austria; Prof.Dr. Darko Tanaskovic, Ambassador and Prof. Univ. Belgrade

piano concert
Piano concert for the assembled participants


On 21-24 October I went to Copenhagen to participate in the 13th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights. The theme was "Human Rights and the Environment". Before leaving we were treated to a canal tour of the center of Copenhagen. For a more complete album on the seminar and Copenhagen see the separate page.

Amalienborg Royal Palace
Amalienborg Royal Palace

Borsen and Christiansborg Palace
Borsen and Christiansborg Palace (Parliament)



Swiss Baha'i Winter School

In the last week of December, I crossed Switzerland to Einsiedeln in the canton of Schwyz for the Swiss Baha'i Winter School, for which I was on the organizing committee. We arrived through green pastures, but snow the next day turned everything white and winter sports started.

First snowfall . Hotel Allegro . view
Fresh snow seen from my room; the hotel; view down towards the lake Sihlsee

view . view . view
Views from around the study centre

For a report on the school, see the separate page.

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Last updated 3 January2014

Photographs copyright © Arthur Lyon Dahl 2013