Purkersdorf to Würmla, 34Km
Gerhard Guest House
I waved goodbye to St Stephen’s Cathedral and jumped on the metro and then a bus to Purkersdorf this morning. All the advice is not to walk out of Vienna but you can if you really want to. The “Austrian Camino” actually starts in Purkersdorf at the entrance to the Vienna Woods which is where the hills start.
Purkersdorf is a lovely suburb of Vienna. There are some nice hotels for people taking the air and everything is very clean and orderly. I visited the church of St James and inspected the Camino information boards outside, hoping they would shed some light on the accommodations along the way. I usually rely on one or other of the apps to book my bed but none of them offer any clues about where to sleep on the Austrian Camino. The information boards show a bed at certain villages indicating a guest house or other pilgrim accommodation but no addresses are given. The website describes lots of guest houses, pilgrim accommodations and regular accommodations but also fails to provide addresses. I imagined these places were run on a simple cash basis but I set off with a sense of unease, not because they might be full of jolly walkers but because they might not exist.
It was a nice walk up through deciduous woodland. I even saw a hare. There are many footpaths and there’re all signed and the trees are painted to mark the way. It’s not just the Camino; there’s a network of paths in every direction. But it was a lonely day. I didn’t see a living soul. The few villages were neat and tidy and silent but there wasn’t a hint of a bed for the night.
In the end I took a bus to Würmla because it was late and I was tired. There’s meant to be a lot of guest houses here but there is only one and it was closed. I asked a man in the street if there might be a hotel and he kindly called the guest house and they agreed to open up. I couldn’t even find a telephone number. It’s a bed but there’s no dinner, no bar, no soap, no Wi-Fi. The owner says it gets better farther on but it all seems rather vague.
It’s all very well putting yellow arrows everywhere but if there aren’t any beds you shouldn’t really call it a Camino. Let’s hope things improve otherwise I’ll find another country.