The trek took me through the historic town of Krems, the beginning of the Wachau area.
In Krems, I went to High School. Medieval churches and buildings, baroque houses,
tiny, winding, cobblestone streets, steep stony stairways; all these things welcomed me after forty years of absence.
At the piety column (an Austrian name for that is Marterl, which comes from
Martyrium) I rested and looked back to my home village, the Göttweig monastery,
the city of Mautern and its iron bridge.
The Danube once marked the northern border of the Roman empire. In this area,
the Roman empire lasted for 400 years. In Roman times, I would have been standing
on barbaric ground. Over the green bridge, 68 years ago, my mother escaped the
Russian soldiers at the age of 16 at the end of World War II. She biked alone to the
northern part of Austria. Half of the bridge was destroyed by German soldiers the
day after her escape. Because of that, she could find safety.
After some hours of walking through the vineyards, I approached the city of
Dürnstein. Dürnstein is a small medieval town with a baroque church. The ruin
above the town was once a castle, one of the many castles built in this area in the 11th
century. In this castle, Richard Lionheart was imprisoned. The church is also
special to me. My first marriage was in this church.