WHY DOES VIADAGIO EXIST?
Viadagio, non-profit organisation
Viadagio is an organisation promoting a durable, conscious, esthetic, poetic, respectful, harmonious and quality way of living together.
Viadagio dwells upon the actual state of the environment, the world and our own life style and looks for quality alternatives.
Viadagio gives its ideals a concrete form by means of round trips in man powered wooden boats on the Ghent canals.
JUST LIKE THE LOTUS
The lotus, or water lily, grows in a muddy (impure) environment, but remains itself always pure.
Modern life offers many technical possibilities, but also has negative consequences we all have to face.
On the one hand, there are the material shortcomings of our current life style: rising energy prices, traffic almost at a standstill, collective dismissals, poverty, smog, gigantic plastic (debris) oceans, crocusses blooming in January. Moreover, the depletion of raw materials and the serious corrosion of the natural environment put a burden on future generations.
On the other hand, there are the spiritual shortcomings such as high work pressure, stress, depression, loneliness, violence, intolerance.
These are but a few examples of a world where everything has to happen ever faster and more efficiently, where profit often is of primary concern at the expense of our quality of life, the environment and future generations.
When we stop for a moment in our tracks, we notice how rushed our lives are, how rattled we are, how far removed from nature; how little attention we pay to a friendly word, how seldom we are surprised by something small and how little time we allow for enjoying the beauty or art and nature together. A life with scarcely any time for the present ‘now’ moment and attention for one’s own ‘I’.
We want to deal with our life and the world around us in a creative, different way. Not by abdicating our modern way of life, grandiose words or total reversal, but by letting small changes steer our way of life. Out of love and respect for life, our body, nature and the people around us and coming after us.
ABANDON THE DREAM?
Turning our ideals into something concrete, strengthens our conviction. A symbol which makes us experience the difference. Because the power of experience is stronger than the power of words.
Water is an important influence on human beings. It isn’t by accident that Ghent is situated at the confluence of Leie and Schelde; these rivers play an important role. They are a natural element in a city context. They have an economic function; in the past to bring merchandise into the city and currently mostly as a cultural attraction.
The wooden boats, hand crafted in Bangladesh, are operated by man power and don’t cause water or air pollution, noise, or excess CO2. They are made according to fair trade principles, paying attention to reforestation and without child labour. They are an example of ecological tourism.
For visitors and citizens of Ghent, a boat trip offers an encounter with the beauty of the natural and cultural environment and the soft mobility can be felt first hand. Accompanied by a trained oarsman and guide they discover the rich history of Ghent and become aware of the past and their own roots. They can enjoy a moment’s rest and wonderment; listen to the silence and feel the harmoniousness of a joint trip.
As of 2008, associations, schools, families, ..., can request a boat trip. The boats are not only an example of ecological tourism, they will no doubt become a local ‘must see’, and we hope to use them for other ends as well, such as a floating platform for cultural activities on the water.
Oudburg 38 9000 Gent
09/225 07 86