The Dream Versus the Reality of Damanhur

Stained glass ceiling at Damanhur

DAMANHUR - The city of light in Turin Italy

It was around eleven years ago in 2003 that I was able to fulfill one of my long held dreams - going to Damanhur. My dream took hold when I saw amazing photos of the artwork in the temples in a New Age Magazine called Kindred Spirit. The article itself talked of the community spirit and the spirituality that was Damanhur.

I convinced a friend of the time to accompany me on this wonderful adventure. We booked for a five day stay in, what we were led to believe was going to be, the Damanhur community site. We were met at the airport by the driver of one of their mini buses. A friendly man, late middle age, he eventually found the five of us who were booked on the trip and quickly herded us into the waiting transport. My friend and I did not know the other three but soon chatted away whilst watching the flashing scenery as we were quickly taken to our destination. As we exchanged our personal information we found we all had reasons why Damanhur had attracted us and were all pursuing our own spiritual paths, either already helping others or involved in the arts.

We were all very excited and the energies were running high but to our utter disappointment the mini bus stopped at a house on a deserted mountainside path with steel gates around its perimeters and nobody else around. Our friendly guide, deposited our luggage into the entrance hall and told us he would pick us up in the morning at 10 o'clock. We had no food with us and there was none in the lodgings. I believe we had tea, coffee and water. I questioned at the time gently why we were not going to be staying in the community to get some idea of how it worked but he did not want to enlarge on the reasons except to say this was how it always was and that we were not allowed to live in the community.

We were in the bottom half of the building and apparantely some of those who live in the Damanhur community lived above us - but we never saw any of them to speak to. They never came into the courtyard or to talk to us in our lounge below over the five days we lodged there. We found out from this that no one actually lived in the main area of Damanhur but that they owned lots of these houses which were spaced around the area, each one having its own large polytunnel where they grew organic produce.

We found out very quickly that they do not see visitors as a joyous part of sharing what Damanhur is really about. During this first evening we talked of all feeling that we had just been abandoned in this out of the way property with no possible transport to look around the area. We could not walk either as we were on a very steep incline so were virtual prisoners. The next morning we were picked up and taken to a supermarket run by Damanhur - also outside of the community area where the art and temples are to be seen. Here we were told to purchase any food items we would need to cook our meals back at the lodgings. All of the food in the shop was organic which I was used to but was expensive and very limited in choice for those that were not used to this sort of diet. This routine went on all week, stranded each late afternoon, early evening with no transport and no possible way to explore the area or join in activities at Damanhur.

The surrounding area to these lodgings, our abode was stark, bare and uninspired. There was nowhere around the property to sit and enjoy flowers, vegetables growing. We were not allowed really to go into the polytunnel which was sealed off but we did one day and saw that even the way things were growing was very much like a bulk grower with stark rows and not much variety. This was how the crops were grown for the community with each dwelling being given the same size and style polytunnel. Coming from my own wonderful small sustainable project back in England where the crops grew around the tourist area of my open organic garden and windmill project this was a shock. I had been inspired to design the tunnel with a dome at the far end and instead of plastic standard struts to coppice the local willow and hazel and the end result that myself and an experienced yurt and tipee builder designed was a creative force in itself. Everything we do in life can be creative and my own polytunnel where I grew everything imaginable was a favourite for visitors to spend time in, drinking there tea and enjoying the incredible growing energies in this environment. Individual creative instinct is something to be cherished and shared and can be solely missing when rules of one individual are followed.

Each day except for one day where we were taken to a museum in the centre of Turin, we were taken to the main Damanhur site and were escorted around the different areas. In the complex where the little art and craft workshops were housed we saw various people at work but were actively discouraged from talking to anyone. There was a very strange energy that pervaded the whole experience. It was like walking around a film set with a guide but you were not allowed to participate in their reality. My friend and I eventually decided that on one of the days we were going to lose our guide. This proved more difficult than we thought but we did eventually manage it for maybe up to one hour! But on entering some of the workshops we had visited before it was obvious that there would only ever be a very polite short reply to any of our conversation. Very strange, very robotic.

When it came to meal times, none of our dreams of sitting around large wooden tables with the community enjoying shared meals and conversation happened!!! We were driven to maybe two or three different restaurants which our guide chose and we noticed just how pally he was with the owners. There was obviously some reciprocal monetary exchange going on, our guide not only drank heavily but also proceeded to order for us. He told us what the evening meal was and expected us to make no request for anything else. This all seemed pre-arranged and part of some sort of deal! After a couple of days I plucked up courage to ask him whether we could possible choose where we ate and what we ate. By the end of the five days we did manage to have maybe one meal that we chose ourselves. One of the points for me here was the amount of wine this man consumed and then drove like a mad man up the narrow mountain roads to take us back to our solitary confinement. He did not like it when approached about this totally irresponsible behaviour and said that it was not one of the rules of Damanhur to watch how much wine you drank! One of the rules of the lodgings was that you could not smoke within the parameters of the property so had to go outside the large metal gates if you were a smoker but you could anaesthatise your self as much as you wanted with alcohol! When asked he said that that was the rules they had within the whole community and that the smoke within the gates had some significance for the leader but the affects of alcohol did not.

In order to go into the so called temples we had to go through what they call a preparatory intiation. This took a couple of days of walking through a labrynth, a series of physical exercises and maybe a couple of other things which are not that significant since I cant now remember them.

This seemed to me to be attempting to build us up to an anticipation of what we were to see. At the time I had been a disciplined meditator for over 25 years so I was very much in the observer mode watching the "game". I asked our guide once why he was not interested in us as we all had interesting journeys and spiritual lives but he never joined in our conversations and exchanges and I felt he could not really comprehend the question. He could not relate to community or the oneness that the event could have been for all of us sharing but only saw it that they were the elite and we were the visiting people who knew nothing.

There was a concerted effort at all times by everyone we met to remain totally separate from us and not "let us in". Because my friend and I were of the questioning nature we found out through total synchronicity from being at the right place at the right time that there was one of their special meetings happening when the leader of the community would attend, give some sort of oratation and then answer questions from his community. We were given tickets by some other people who could not attend and our guide reluctantly allowed us to take our places. At the community most if not all of the people have animal or bird names, The leader was Falco (or in english falcon). After some time of waiting he duly arrived sat rather morosely, slumped in a chair on the stage. We had a very low level Italian translation going on in earphones but this was barely audible so I cannot remember what was said but it was pretty normal procedual instructions for the community from what I do remember. After the event he made a very quick exit from the stage and I quickly ran outside the building just in time to see him being driven away by some sort of bodyguard. I was quickly followed and apprehended by our guide! Later on that evening we were apprehended again for attempting to talk to some of the community members.

I had wanted just to ask a few questions and begin to have some understanding of what sort of "community" this was and why there seemed to be a robotic victim energy around the whole place. But that was not to be. What our guide told me about the leader was that he was now very involved with designing "games" for the community to play and was not at the community area because of all of the work this entailed. These games he said were very complex and involved different groups of people learning from complex scenarios that were being set by the Master, oops I meant leader. These games went on for weeks at a time and he couldn't really explain why, except that they were controlled by Falco. This experience is not something I have thought about in a while so some of the finer details evade me. I have just remembered our guides name was I believe the Italian for sparrow hawk. Our guide by the way, told us that he was one of the original members who first started the community with his friend Falco so he was no novice!

The final day before we left was our guided tour of the temples which we all felt was what we were there for, since nothing else had held any great inspiration for us. Don't get me wrong here some of the art and craft workshops had wonderful creativity in the objects but it was the weird sense that everyone was controlled and held no individuality that made it a downwood spiral. When I asked in one particular workshop why they were doing a particular design, I was simply told that all designs were created by the leader. They then went back to silently working, this for all us was pretty mind blowing. When we eventually got into the temple area I was also told that all the designs there were created by the leader.

Back to the temple, we approached the entrance which was a hole in the mountain side and were taken into an unworked part of the construction first which had a terrible overwhelming sulphurus smell of urine. We had all been built up to this experience by the talk-up of needing to be initiated before entering the temple so we all in the beginning blocked this first experience and only later talked about it. We were all trying to hold onto some part of our dream, even after the first three days we had experienced at Damanhur. We walked into the first large chamber to view the artwork. I immediately felt the biggest let down when I looked at the contrived hollywood type cartoon charcters painted on the walls. They looked like flat actors and actresses all with the all american L.A look. Women with out of proportion hollywood style figures and men who looked like male fashion models. I decided to say nothing and just carry on through the tour because I did not want to affect any of the other parties experiences by verbalising my disappointment. But after a while my friend turned to me and said do you feel anything spiritual here and I was relieved that I was not the only one who felt that way. I was able to then voice to her that I could feel no higher vibration here and the artwork was average but also very strange in dipicting these characatures.

We went from room to room of bizarre artwork, some good, some midling but nothing that carried a high vibration of inspiration. The only thing I would say is the stained glass ceilings were magnificant and I realised these were the views I had been impressed with in the magazine shots.

This was the final let down for all of us and I began to understand why the big build up emphasis. Over the 25 years or so that this project was underway the world outside has developed inspirationally and spiritually and I am sure that they have had many visitors like us who were sorely disappointed. Through the initiation build up if you were not really awake and aware I'm sure it is possible to be led in a mind controlled way to see and feel it all differently.

I believe in the beginning when the leader and his friends first punched that first hole in the mountain side that it was an inspired act. Certainly it has been said that the feat of building so many chambers in that mountain side without experienced engineers can only have been pure intuition. But and this is a big but, there are many things about this community that did not fulfill my dream of seeing a utopian community living together in an inspired way for 25 years.

During more of the conversations I initiated with our guide he did tell me that they have a problem with the children who have been brought up there who do not want to stay and leave as soon as they become of an age to do so. Also at the time of our visit they had a big problem with couples not having children. So the population of the community was seriously going down and there was not the natural growing cycle. There are many more things I could tell you of what we saw there, including being taken to a room that they were so proud of, that contained their time machine, which our guide assured us did work. I was also told of the contact that the leader had had with an ET race for the last decade I believe, who were now guiding their progress! I will tell the rest of the story for those interested in another hub soon including the device which our guide showed me in one of their factory environments which enabled the workers to carry on working with very little breaks for long hours making the products that were sold on the open market!!! More revelations of a utopian community to come! The day at the museum proved even more eventful when we realised that there was only one statue that they wanted us to see and to focus on which was Sekhmet one of the more angry animal figures of egyptian times - more later

What I learned on this journey at the time was, that no utopian community existed, it still existed in my dream world and that we were the ones who were going to build it, those of us on the journey of becoming and those of us willing to carry on learning and never willing to let some one else have that power over us. Namaste

PS 23rd Sept '14 I have just read of Falco's death Damanhur's leader, on the official Damanhur website - . Its interesting that the notice says that he left all his available property to Damanhur! Nothing is ever given as it really is its seems since all the properties, land, businesses were all built up from the contributions of those who gave their wealth to the project when they joined Damanhur. Even in death as in life, the truth is not allowed to be seen by the Damanhurians!!!!

The article below from Damanhur Inside Out is a good article which explains the finances and ownership and how Falco controlled it all! It may be difficult for people to comprehend how this all happened but people believe what they want to believe when they have vulnerable, undisciplined minds that are unable to pick up on the energies of others.

Another article to read giving much more detail of what went on at Damanhur is here - http://damanhurinsideout.wordpress.com/recent-posts-from-italian-sites/mondoraro-why-airaudi-is-considered-demonic/


from Damanhur Inside Out - link below

Update 26/10/2009

Recent legal searches have revealed that Oberto Airaudi’s ‘personal wealth’ is not so easily separated from that of Damanhur, in fact it would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that Oberto Airaudi is Damanhur.

According to the national register he owns 49 houses/apartments and 60 areas of land. The Damanhurian houses registered in his name include the Temple House ‘Porta del Sole’, a house in Etulte, 3 houses in Tentyris Village, several apartments in Damanhur’s first settlement Damjl, apartments in the Damanhur Vidracco housing development project and the house of ‘Aval’ at Cuceglio.

He also owns 2 houses by the sea which are occasionally used by the Viaggio and 26 properties in Balengero.

The 60 areas of land are mostly located in and around Damanhurian settlements with the exception of a piece of land in Balengero which is used almost every weekend by the Viaggio as its secret destination.

It is indeed curious that in the Torino Cronaca Qui article, Damanhurian spokesman Coboldo Melo declares:

“The controls by the tax authorities relate to the personal wealth of Airaudi and not to Damanhur directly”

when a large proportion of Airaudi’s Italian real estate wealth is an intrinsic part of Damanhur. Let’s hope the tax authorities are well aware that Damanhurians pay rent to the Federation (Airaudi) in order to live in Community houses. It forms part of their monthly quota.

The Temple of Humankind is now owned by the Temple Association but the right to benefit from its use is held entirely by Airaudi.

Damanhurians are not allowed to be property owners…they are required to donate all their houses and land to the Community housing Coops. If they ever leave Damanhur, they leave empty handed.

And who owns the houses in the Coops…? No one seems to know…most of the equity in the houses is guaranteeing bank loans, 10 million Euros worth…which citizens are paying off as part of their quota.

First you donate your house…then Damanhur raises a loan on the equity…then you get to pay back the loan in monthly installments…

Findhorn a Community with No Leader or Master Controller ...

UNIVERSAL LAW'S NEW Network and BLOGTALKRADIO SHOW

Comments 9 comments

50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Interesting, I will look for more.


naturedoc 6 years ago

i would be interested in the information you have on the 'time machine' you saw at damanhur. have heard about it but skeptical since info is very vague...


Universal Laws profile image

Universal Laws 6 years ago from UNIVERSE Author

Hi, did see the time machine, lots of copper coils, large piece of equipment looking like a piece of film set for the eccentric professor, looked pretty unbelievable but knowing about Tessla could be something in it on an energetic level. in the setting that it was in and the vibe that was around I certainly didn't believe that it was a time machine when I was there.

None of the guides we had seemed to know how it worked or were willing to explain any part of it. It looked like it had been made to look complicated like, as I said, a film set for Dr. who might do!

Namaste

Linda


Domelady profile image

Domelady 5 years ago from upstate New York

Thank you, this was a real eye-opener. I had a feeling it was a bit too good to be true.


john wellstead 4 years ago

Thank you for the description of your Damanhur experience. It felt truthful and fairhanded. I had thought of visiting the community to possibly learn and embrace. What you described would have been my worst nightmare. I liked your comments on the art work. Mostly I connected with the coldness and worker ant mentality.

Once again I thank you.

John


Mark 4 years ago

I would really like to get your opinion on this. I am really considering moving to Damanhur for 3 months next summer(to live among the community) but after reading this, it looks doubtful. I was wondering if you were in fact within the circle or community, would it be more pleasant. Thank you Namaste. :D


Universal Laws profile image

Universal Laws 4 years ago from UNIVERSE Author

It wouldn't matter to me whether I was in the inner circle or not, this behaviour to others visiting was wrong! Check out some of the other recent info available on the internet about leaderFalco having registered everything in his name and being a tax invader and many other things so I would definitely do more research before you even dream of going, good luck. remember, a good conscious community does not need a leader only a council of members. Namaste


Di 4 years ago

From San Diego, CA, I visited Damanhur in early November of 2011, after spending a couple of weeks in and around Turkey. I went with my sister to see this "amazing place." When we arrived I was immediately bummed about being there (this could have had something to do with my luggage not arriving in Italy with me). This place did not have any great energy. The guest rooms were vacant "dorm" rooms. The bathroom was down at the end of the hall. This welcome center and sleeping place seemed blank, hapless and very uninviting.

We were met by our guide, a pretty dark haired Italian woman, who wore a pretty scarf, within minutes of our arrival, she had lived there for over five years. She couldn't say enough wonderful things about living Damanhur and couldn't wait to share with us. We were starving, but she said she wanted to show us the temple while it was still light. So we went hungry for quite some time.

We met Falco, the founder, at a Q and A he was giving later that evening and took some pictures with him. My sister interviewed him while our Italian guide interpreted for them. He smiled a lot. He seemed to have a charm about him and was very nice. He has a quality that draws people to him. He was unassuming and did not appear to want attention. He was low key in an attractive sort of way. He left shortly after that.

While we toured the famous temple. We were told we were not allowed to take any pictures. This upset my sister because she was told before going there that we could. It was just my sister and I and our Damanhurian guide in the temple at that time. She was very nice. My sister decided to take some photos anyway and some video inside. The art was somewhat weird and we have open minds. I wouldn't call it great art, but is was elaborate. Our guide kept with the theme, "We all created this... we Damanhurians did all this together." My sister and I thought is was weird. We knew that new people to Damanhur weren't born artists and without proper training could not paint like that or do inlaid stained glass like a professional. Our guide kept saying they all just knew how to do it... it just came to them... We thought this was b.s.

Then she slipped up a couple of times and said, "This was brought in by a company who they comissioned to make it... and this here, this one piece was brought in by a master artist..." so no, the Damanhurians as they call themselves, did not make everything in the temple although they will say they did.

The temple inside did have a splendor to it. TI do agree with Linda that the people depicted in many of the paintings were odd, robotic and weird. There was a wierdness to it all. I will say a few things in the temple caught my eye and I would consider them great works of art. The temple was a huge underground city. It just continued from room to room, the tour went on forever. I think that is what was crazy about it... the flamboyance of it all.

One visitor whom we met several hours after being there, a younger girl about 19 from Denmark, told us she was upset that Damanhur was advertising about people being able to visit there and she was afraid everybody would come there and start moving to Damanhur once they found it. I told her I would never live there. I told her I believed many people thought like I did so she didn't have to worry about that. She didn't believe me. I guess she felt inspired... don't know how. She kept on saying how amazing the place was... I never got that.

My stay there was short - two full days. My sister and I also received a tour of many of the houses on the property all of which seemed self-contained. This part was pretty impressive but it was a very long day, touring house after house. People even had houses built around trees with branches inside their houses. I remember thinking... what about ants and insects? I said nothing. In this house, the dweller had painted her toilet seat blue, with stars and a moon, etc. I thought that was interesting. I hadn't seen a painted artlike toilet seat before.

One house moved so that the front door was always lined up with the sun. It was on a rotating axis. This was pretty cool too. Unbelievable how they got it to do this. We actually saw it moving.

Lots of ideas here for self-sustainability. Some very good ones too. I would say it was a very different trip for me. It did not feel like a vacation. I would have rather been in Venice or Rome drinking wine, eating great food and listening to some Italian music than have been in Damanhur.

We didn't get the same feeling as Linda did here.... the people there "in the community" did speak to us. They were very nice, very friendly. Answered all of our questions, volunteered to show us around. Asked about us and why we were there... asked what we wanted to know and how we heard about Damanhur. They did not dismiss us or keep to themselves. They even asked if we would consider living there and that we should consider it because they were very happy with their communal living. In fact, we got tired of the constant touring around. But in the end, we saw it all, probably every inch of the place, this place was something very different.

We received a tour of the artists rooms. There, we did see lots of very creative and amazing art being created. We received a tour of Falco's personal art show. His pieces of art seemed to have been derived from the flow of the universe, or the way the universe works. There is supposed to be some creative energy coming out of his pieces of art.

We ate at an organic restaurant. The food was just fine, so was the coffee, and we did get to eat whatever we wanted. Our food was not chosen for us. We looked through the store, it wasn't pricey.. prices were average... just a lot of quality foods... We liked that the junk food was very limited.

We were even given a tour of the orange and blue colored rock gardens and told to walk the garden and meditate along the way. Another part of our tour involved roaming around a garden like setting of trees and going up to the tree that "called to you." Then putting your arms around it and connecting with the land and staying there meditating for a while until the tree allowed you to let go. We did it... just went with the flow.

We got a tour of the children's school. It was explained to us in detail how the kids grew up in Damanhur. No bullying... very accepting environment. The general sense was that the kids didn't know any different so they grew up just fine being taken care of by lots of people and not just one set of stressed out parents or a single parent. This seemed pretty cool to me. Lots of happy kids there... some left when they got older, some stayed. I go the sense that our guide 'a woman' was trying to convey that all of the children there had pretty happy, safe, loving childhoods. I didn't have any problems with this. It actually seemed like a great way to raise kids.

On the way out, our taxi driver, (seemed very sober) talked to us quite a bit and drove just fine. He said the Damanhurians keep to themselves, they don't make trouble, they seem content doing their own thing in their own community and they help and assist where needed in the community at large. He also said that the people that end up living there are divorced or never-married woman with no other options in life... they come here to Damanhur to have a sense of family. He said not to many men in Damanhur. The ratio he said was 80-20, women to men, and the women he said, were strange and odd.

The men even odder.

He preferred a traditional life... he said he was divorced but he was happy NOT living in Damanhur and would never consider living there. He also said that most people that live there are from other parts of the world, not Italians... that I found very interesting.

I guess I need to go back to Italy and drink some great wine, eat some of their great food, and see the some historic world renowned works of art. Until next time, just thought I'd give my .02 of what I experienced there just in case anybody was interested in another opinion.

Cheers,

Di


paul d 2 years ago

My last visit was in 2003 admittedly, but I'd echo the sentiment above, that the citizens could not have been friendlier. I stayed in the dorm above the welcome centre and the only restriction was that I was asked (very politely) not to venture into the community until the next morning as they had a ceremony on that evening that was for community members only. I was however, directed just up the road to a little bar/cafe where again, I met some very forthcoming and engaging members of the community and we chatted very freely about what each other did and the life of the artist.

My next day was a bit of a whistlestop tour of the wider community, but it felt more like they were trying to pack everything in that they were excited about - the organic supermarket, the vineyard, the textile plant and the more remote areas of the community. In the evening I was invited to dinner at a nucleo and spent a very happy evening drinking not a bad red wine, eating pasta in the way that only Italian men who have lived with their mother during adulthood can - basic, tasty and plentiful! There were lots of stories swapped about how the unique naming system works in the community and the (possibly slightly apocryphal) story about the member of their nucleo who had wanted to be named Aloe (sorry, forget the Italian) but made the mistake of turning up to her naming ceremony in a big orange dress and so she was saddled with Pumpkin instead. Even if this was a tall story, it was a fun one, and characterised my contact with many in the community. There were lots of conversations about their philosophy and metaphysical beliefs that they were happy to answer somewhat skeptically motivated but genuinely open questions on my part, without ever seeming affronted or irritated by. It struck me as a place where if you are prepared to respect and genuinely try to understand their philosophical systems you will be rewarded with a rational and open discussion even if there is an ultimate difference in belief.

I'll set my stall out here - I used to be a fundamental Christian and lived what I believed to be a spiritual and spirit-filled life, but the church and I parted ways some years before my visit to Damanhur, I would consider myself a skeptic and a Fortean, but a very respectful one. It was with this sense of "ok, i'll just see what happens" that I went to Damanhur. I wasn't seeking and great spiritual awakening, in fact, like one commenter, it was the way a community of some 800+ artists in the same place that I was most intrigued by,as a musician and composer myself.

I found the labyrinths and village to be very peaceful and inspiring places to be, I was allowed to walk freely round the site for a good long time during my stay with no hint that I wasn't welcome anywhere. Even the artist's studios were welcoming despite the fact i was probably disturbing them during work hours.

I learnt a lot from my time there and the people I met and was genuinely sad to leave, and I still miss some of the more prominent people I met there like Vultura at the temples who is one of the most gentle souls I've ever had the pleasure to meet on this planet. What I appreciated was how different, varied... normal even, many of the people i talked with were. Some even freely discussed the original raid on the Federation years before when car loads of Carabinieri descended on the place in the small hours. One lady I spoke to said, "we didn't really know why they were here, and to be honest, neither did many of them. We did what any good host would, we made them gallons of coffee and gave them breakfast - once they'd left and it was all sorted, many of those policemen carried on coming back for the coffee - still do today" - as i looked round, sure enough, 2 burly Carabinieri were sat behind me sipping seemingly ridiculously small espressos. It was good coffee at the little cafe in the 'shopping mall',

Was I spiritually moved by anything - I had some personal and private 'experiences' there that made me reframe my skepticism a little and allow the enquiring scientist (i trained as a graduate biologist) to take over a little more, interested in whether this massive deposit of magnetite that we were all sat on could have significant physiological or neurological manifestations. The temple itself is sited in a very geologically interesting region, and my own reading into temporal lobe lability would certainly dovetail with some of the things that myself and others in my group reported. But like so many experiences in our lives, it's not what happens that's important but what you choose to do with it and how you interpret it for yourself. And as such, yes, I came away from Damanhur, different, maybe. Could I have seen myself running a small experimental music studio there as a resident artist - hell yes, it would have been an astonishing experience, it still would.

What strikes me reading many comments and blogs on the Federation is just how different everybody's experiences of the place are.

I am interested as to what will happen to Damanhur from now on, following the passing of Falco. There will be much to sort out, a new way of leading the activities of the community to be forged. Whether a single figure steps up as a replacement, or it returns to the more 'council led' structure that was actually my experience of the place, remains to be seen. I feel sad for the citizens following this news, but based on their own philosophy, I suspect that this is not echoed there. There will be sadness that they do not see him on such a regular basis and his presence at the aforementioned community meetings will undoubtedly be missed for a long time to come, but... they will not see it as a death. Falco will still be standing beside them daily in a new form for them. In this regard I feel happy that the community may now get a chance to put much of this difficult decade behind them and become more like the place i think I probably experienced, where there is laughter, exploration, creativity, growth and lots and lots of coffee, pasta and not bad red wine.

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