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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

#BuenCamino: Preparing for the St James Way in the Wachau valley of Lower Austria

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!”

We would not be fully fledged (travel) bloggers, would we not share our excitement about our upcoming adventure: Rita publishing at "O Porto Encanta" about our respective trip preparations.

We would not be fully fledged (travel) bloggers, would we not share our excitement about our upcoming adventure: Rita publishing at “O Porto Encanta” about our respective trip preparations.

 

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. Check out this map for locating us on our day trip:

 

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.

Off we go, our goal clearly in sight: The castle ruin of Aggstein high above on the hilltop.

Off we go, our goal clearly in sight: The castle ruin of Aggstein high above on the hilltop.

 

Following the signs ...

Following the signs …

 

... through the World Heritage Landscape of the Wachau valley ...

… through the World Heritage Landscape of the Wachau valley …

 

... is easy and simple: "Österreichischer Jakobsweg", here we go!

… is easy and simple: “Österreichischer Jakobsweg”, here we go!

 

Up, up ...

Up, up …

 

... the hillside ...

… the hillside …

 

… greeting flowers along the way ...

… greeting flowers along the way …

 

… we are happy 'stretching our feet' ...

… we are happy ‘stretching our feet’ …

 

…taking in those literally "breathtaking" views ...

…taking in those literally “breathtaking” views …

 

… of the castle ruin of Aggstein high above the Danube valley.

… of the castle ruin of Aggstein high above the Danube valley.

 

Visiting Aggstein castle itself ...

Visiting Aggstein castle itself …

 

… comes at a price of roughly € 8,- including a German / English audioguide ...

… comes at a price of roughly € 8,- including a German / English audioguide …

 

… and is worth it ...

… and is worth it …

 

... for the views from the castle ruin across the landscape alone. WOW!

… for the views from the castle ruin across the landscape alone. WOW!

 

At the end of the day ...

At the end of the day …

 

... my tip is to take a rest at the inner courtyard of the former castle ...

… my tip is to take a rest at the inner courtyard of the former castle …

 

... enjoying a cool beer for those brave "pilgrims".!

… enjoying a cool beer for those brave “pilgrims”.!

 

PS: It's really easy to float down the hill afterwards ..!

PS: It’s really easy to float down the hill afterwards ..!

 

The castle ruin of Aggstein ...

The castle ruin of Aggstein …

 

... as well as the Wachau World Heritage Landscape: We will be back here, for sure !!

… as well as the Wachau World Heritage Landscape: We will be back here, for sure !!

 

Check out the full image gallery on Flickr here for more:

“Buen Camino”, my dear! And you, when will you start your way? 🙂

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
#StoriesOfMyReaders: Book Reviews from Graz, Lisbon & London
Heads up for another round of the NÖVOG English Language training in Lower Austria!

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