To be honest with you, my dear readers, I dit not really have anything specific in mind offering my dear friend Rita Branco a small pocket guide about the Camino from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. I just remember thinking, smiling to her during my last visit in her city Porto: “One day, Rita, we’ll walk the Camino.”
“Elena, who knows what may happen from one year to the other. Let’s just do it. Right now, this year in May. Two weeks. 240 kilometres. From Porto to Santiago.”
To this day, I haven’t fully realized what we will actually be doing taking on an adventure of such a scale. My mum, too, adds to the conversation: “More than 200 kilometres, are you …”, she gasps and looks at me in pure astonishment. The furthest hike I have ever done was 80 kilometres in three days tramping through New Zealand bush, or four days along the St James Way from Hinterbrühl to Mariazell in Lower Austria – including some 2.000 metres of difference in altitude …! Jogging, skiing, hiking, I trust myself to be fairly fit, and walking in those excellent trail boots has currently become a favourite pastime.
But mentally? Technically? Will we last, Rita and I, together over all kinds of bits & blues, crazy weather or other curiosities along the way?
Questions that only the Camino itself will be able to answer. All I can do for now is to keep smiling: “Now, Rita, let’s do this!”
So how do you prepare? A good answer is to seize every opportunity for a walk, and why not make it an exploration of the very St James Way that also leads through here in Lower Austria?
We are just lucky to live in this beautiful Krems area, really: One of the most magnificent Danube river landscapes meanders right here through my homeland of Lower Austria, attracting millions of visitors every year. Talking about the famous Wachau valley, home to outstanding remnants of the past such as the castle ruin Aggstein: Magical to travel through here.
With the following pictures, let me take you on a trip out into the forest-clad hillsides, the mesmerising views, the quiet moments of peace and reflection along the way. Many signs guide us along the so-called “Welterbesteig” hiking trail, part of which coincides with the Austrian section of the Way to St James. It takes a good hour to make our way up to the ruin, towering high above the Danube river valley.
“Buen Camino”, my dear! And you, when will you start your way? 🙂