Mariazell Weg, Day 5/6

After leaving Tautendorf in the early morning, I soon entered a forest where I had to cross a creek many times. I had took off my shoes and walked barefoot through the cool water. Then I left my shoes off and enjoyed stepping into the thick mud, the wet grass and on the soft forest ground. It connected me with my childhood.




Stiefernbach creek






The path was very badly marked and I could only guess the correct direction. One time, when I reached a street, I discovered that I was two walking hours away from the place I should have been. It was hot and the noon sun was burning down. I had no desire to walk back to look for the right path and decided to hitchhike to the next destination. A very nice local man stopped his car and drove more than 30 minutes out of his way to the village of Schiltern, where I wanted to be.




Entrance to the garden of the palace of Schiltern. This garden is used by the seed bank “Arche Noah” as a show garden. Arche Noah is an organisation founded in 1997. Their main goal is to protect and maintain local seed crops which otherwise would have disappeared.




One of many vineyards


In coming to Schiltern, I had left the Waldviertel and was in the wine area




In the distance, you see the monastery, Göttweig. On the hill to the left of Göttweig is the village where I grew up.



Knowing the big picture of where I was did not help me find the marked path. Eventually, I had to walk to Senftenberg on the street. At 9 pm, I checked into the Hotel Zierlinger and was overjoyed by the nice place. I was the only guest – the Corona Virus left its mark.




Approaching Senftenberg in late evening





Charming garden with swimming pool of Hotel Zierlinger




Originally, I planned to take a bus from Senftenberg to Krems and go back to Vienna by train. However, the weather was gorgeous and Krems was only 7 miles away so I followed the suggestion of the host to walk along the Krems River to the train station. This was only partly a good idea. After visiting the ruin of Senftenberg and the 13th century Gothic church of Imbach (the earliest Gothic church in Austria), I walked most of the time through urban areas on the street. A huge “Wachauer Marillenbecher” (ice cream with apricots, whipped cream and apricot liquor) was my reward for this last exhausting part of walk.




Church of St. Andrea (1304 CE) in Senftenberg




The ruin of Senftenberg is still owned by Duke Starhemberg, the owner of many castles, ruins and palaces. As he has no need for it, he rented the ruin to the city of Senftenberg for 99 years. The titles of nobility are not allowed anymore in Austria, but the nobility still own a lot of land and buildings.



Inside of the early Gothic church in Imbach




Village of Rehberg with its 14th century church


Exactly 20 years ago, the pilgrimage to Mariazell was my first pilgrimage. I walked with my sister Christi. Ever since then, I have walked thousands of miles and often walked it alone. However, it was the Mariazeller Weg, which opened the gate for me to experience nature in its immediacy, its beauty and abundance.


Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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  1. Dank deines Gatsch Fotos sehe ich dass du schon einen ordentlichen Hallux valgus hast 😀😀😀 Wir gratulieren dir zu der interessanten Wanderung und die wunderschönen Fotos
    Liebe Grüße aus Kärnten vom Faaker See Melitta&Karl

    • Mit deinem geübten Auge als Orthopäde siehst du das natürlich gleich- Gott sei Dank stört er mich noch nicht…
      Schöne Zeit am Faaker See und alles Liebe, Traude


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