In Search of European National Heritage on The Azores

The PE teacher from St. Stanislav’s Institution, The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium Joži Čepon attended from 23rd July – 2nd August 2015 a course entitled In Search of the Azores. There were 8 participants altogether from Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, France and Slovenia. Each participant had to write a seminar paper on a topic that presents a part of the cultural heritage of his/her country. The organizers designed a booklet and all our contributions were published there. My paper had a title Triglav – Mountain of Slovene Mountains In this way participants have learned something about the national heritage of all the above-mentioned countries.

The course concentrated on two themes. Firstly it focused on the concept of Europe. Europe is the Western part of the Eurasian continent, comparable to the Indochinese peninsula in the South-East. Taking thins into consideration, the Mid-Atlantic ridge can be seen as a geographical border of this (sub-) continent. The Azores and Iceland are surface manifestations of this ‘edge’ – Europe ends here. The second focus lied on the ‘urge to the west’ in Europe, which considers the Atlantic as a barrier and a challenge. In European history there is a trend of trying to reach the ‘evening land’. There may be an urge to ‘follow the sun’, to pass ‘the pillars’. Both aspects gave us a perspective to the Azores’ unique geographical and cultural heritage: landscape and volcanoes; discoveries, colonisation and migration; whale hunting and fishing; ecology and the oceans as part of the world. The course was a wonderful travel through four elements: fire creating the archipelago – volcanoes and earth; water being the birth of the archipelago and all life; air/wind – man sailing into the unknown land, discoveries and whale hunting.

I broadened my horizons and obtained lots of new knowledge about these wonderful islands, which are a perfect destination that I will recommend to my students for spending active holidays. During the course, we were very physically active in difficult moist conditions so I, as a sport teacher, took it as body training for the next school year. /Joži Čepon/