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food / travel

Walk, Fast, Heal: Finding The Meaning Of Life In The Austrian Alps

The Kneipp spa-hotels in Austrian offer wellness holidays with a difference: the resorts are run by an order of nuns and base their holistic treatments on a tradition founded 100 years ago by a Roman Catholic priest.

Austrian mountains
Austrian mountains
Rita Schulze

"You're a different person when you finish than from when you start," says Sister Emmanuela Reichl of the Via Nova pilgrimage. And she's not just referring to the fact that you'll have blistered feet, sunburn and dirty clothes.

This spiritual leader of the Kneipp spa-hotel in the northern, Upper Austrian Aspach region is a certified pilgrim companion. Twice a year, she takes a group of 12 on the European pilgrimage of Via Nova between Austria and Bavaria in Germany. The pilgrimage does not have a destination, but the journey itself is a destination in itself. The pilgrims are there to break out of the daily rat race, to cope with tragedies, to search for the meaning of life. It's a uniquely new age version of Christian healing.

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Geopolitics

Is Soft Power Dead?

With an activist Supreme Court creating a gap between democratic rhetoric and reality in the U.S., and Russia and China eager to flex military muscle, the full-force return to hard power looks bound for dominance.

U.S. flag and Chinese flag

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — Russia's war in Ukraine rages on, tensions are erupting in the South China Sea and now abortion rights are being stripped away in the U.S.: Looking around the world, we have to ask: what is left of the notion of soft power?

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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How can we talk about the power to convince when the power to coerce is increasingly the norm? And when there is such a gap between rhetoric and reality in the U.S. and in Russia and China, hard power almost seems to have become part of soft power?

“We will lead the world not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Joe Biden said the day after his election. But what kind of example was he talking about? That of the Supreme Court’s judges, whose decision promises a terrible future to women and to all those who still wanted to believe in an enlightened and liberal America?

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