Day 3 – Wonderful Life

Hainburg an der Donau to Maria Ellend, 27Km

Pension Onix 55 euros

The Jakobsweg path insisted on a diversion around Hainburg an der Donau before returning me to my hotel to start the day’s walk. It was worthwhile because the town is a medieval wonderland with loads of history. But I need to keep alert because it’s clear that the Jakobsweg will divert into every settlement along the way for no special reason, adding unnecessary kilometers to the pilgrimage.

The Camino signs are everywhere and it’s lovely to follow the yellow arrow without having to navigate. Unfortunately the yellow arrow doesn’t always follow the Jakobsweg so you have to decide where your loyalties lie. Today, for example, I chose Jakobsweg and saved walking several kilometers through wheat fields but I had to cross a busy road and the City Flyer express railway into Vienna. I then lost the advantage by following a pointless detour around Wildungsmauer in the hope of finding a bar.

I reached Petronell Carnuntum at 10am. It’s a Roman ruin of a town but the Austrians have jazzed it up. Instead of having to pick your way over Roman rubble and imagine how it once looked, they have cleared the site and rebuilt the whole thing as it was. So now, after paying a hefty admission fee, you can wander the streets, meet the gladiators etc. I had to skip it but managed to find a fine Austrian cafe in the town square by the maypole where the girl asked me which type of coffee I’d like. It doesn’t come any better than that.

The temperature rose to 28 degrees, feels like 32 which means it’s starting to get a little bit warm. I played “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with B” and it worked. Ahead of me was a rough looking bar and I went in like Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and ordered a small beer. It was a gem. The lady owner spoke English about as proficiently as my French but she told me about the Jakobsweg and you knew she was a special one. Running that bar had taken its toll but I couldn’t help imagining how she must have looked, dancing around the maypole in her young days. And I was right. Her beautiful daughter emerged with a mop and bucket, gave me a smile and started cleaning the floor.

Afterwards I tackled the last of the wheat fields humming that song which was never a big hit, was cynically written in the depths of despair but has been covered by everyone and plays non stop: Black’s 1986 Wonderful Life.

Medieval Hainburg an der Donau
The church of St Philip and St James in Hainburg an der Donau
Maypole in Petronell Carnuntum
Rapso in production
Crossroads on the Jakobsweg

4 comments on “Day 3 – Wonderful Life

  1. I am enjoying your commentary, Tim. Thanks from Canada.

    • Hi Jill that’s very kind of you to say so. It’s much appreciated

  2. Hi Tim. Your top picture reminded me of the entrance to Berry Pomeroy castle. TC and I walked there this morning although we didn’t need to go quite as far as you. I am also trying to imagine your Clint Eastwood swagger. I hope the beer tasted good. I hope the weather cools off a little for the rest of your walk.

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