“I wish you lots of positive energy, God’s blessing as well as peace for admiring the beauty of God’s creation in all its variety … Amen.” As soon as Father Raphael Schütz blesses us pilgrims at Lilienfeld Abbey, the largest medieval abbey of Austria, I start closing my eyes, smiling. Around me, the presence of my friends Tanja, Monika, Hubert & Oliver lingers, equally moved: The fellowship of bloggers is on its way to meet “Mount Doom” – two more days to go before we reach the famous Austrian pilgrim town Mariazell. Two more days and some 40 – 50 kilometres walking distance still between us. Despite our happy morning here at Lilienfeld Abbey, personal blessing & guided tour behind the scenes included, we have come to be a little bit weary after two intense days of pilgrimage.
#BloggerPilgern means: FlipFlops, sandals, hiking boots & smartphones, the missing link being … fun among friends!
“How far to go until we reach the Falkenschlucht gorge?!” All of us jump at our taxi driver, who has been ordered to take us from Lilienfeld to lunch in Türnitz, the next little village over. He is just as happy to take us on a little further: After two intense days of pilgrimage, burning feet and a clear state of mind, we are dead serious on what we want. This being: Let us rather take a few steps less, but enjoy those we do take.
“SlowPilgrimage” really is the best option, let me tell you. All of us agree. “I am so happy here”, my friend & travel blogging colleague Monika keeps on saying! “And you know that I wanted to renounce when I first saw the programme, thinking I could never do those mountain hikes or pilgrim trails. Finally though, I have come to realise what this journey is all about: Literally taking it step by step. As in life! Allowing myself to be surprised. And continuously celebrating those magic moments of pure joy, when we finally do manage to climb that mountain …!”
On this third day of #BloggerPilgern, I shall: Accept changes. Celebrate moments. Meditate through joy of physical exercise. Be grateful for this tremendous emotional awareness that constitutes a pilgrimage.
One hour before reaching our destination Annaberg in the Lower Austrian Mostviertel district, everything suddenly fell silent. For almost a minute, we managed to shut up and listen only to what bird song and bees would tell us. Nothing else, but absolute silence echoed by forests and mountains. Magic.
When finally, after four hours, more than 500 metres & 15 kilometres of ascent we reach Annaberg, we do believe we have every right to shout and celebrate! Dinner now tastes twice as well, the light of the setting sun shines twice as bright, and our talks are filled with merriment and laughter. Again I find what I already started formulating on the first day of pilgrimage: “When your body sings and your mind finally has nothing left to add, then it is time for the soul to smile and shine bright.“
PS: I really want to stress our enthusiasm. Tomorrow, Sunday, we start off from Annaberg to Mariazell at the ungodly hour of 06.00 a.m. (yes, it will be special!). Our motto for the day is, “Pray with your feet”, as explained by our charming pilgrim guide Maria Kvarda who will be with us all day. Stay tuned! 😀
Disclaimer: We have been invited by Mostviertel Tourismus to go on this pilgrimage along the Via Sacra to Mariazell. All opinions are my own.