Persenbeug to Stephanshart, 27Km
Gasthof Kremslehner, 36 euros + breakfast
You have to give them credit, whoever is organising this Austrian Camino. There are signposts everywhere as well as information boards, carved statues of St James and today I saw a shoe tree draped with dozens of worn out walking boots. The landscape is beautiful and varied, the cities offer interesting rest days and you’re on your way to Santiago de Compostela. I’m sure once they produce an accommodation list, the pilgrims will come. After my initial scare, I’m seeing inns and guesthouses offering rooms at reasonable rates with plenty available. Of course it is rather a long way to Spain from here and that might put a few people off.
It’s Sunday so just about everything is closed again. I walked through sleepy Neustadtl at midday wondering whether it was a ghost town or if all the people were relaxing in their houses. There wasn’t a soul to be seen. The little food shop and post office were naturally closed and I gave up hope of a coffee. I made my way towards the church but just before I reached it, I spied an inn. There was no movement, not a sound to be heard. I tried the door. It opened and there inside was the whole village from oldest to youngest. I thought I’d disturbed a private function because everyone stopped talking and looked at me for a moment but I greeted them all and normal service resumed.
Five young barmaids ran the bar, the beer flowed and in the next room a wild boar or similar was roasting for dinner. I ordered a coffee and sat at the bar. And then I ordered a small beer just to join in. If I hadn’t prepared my cheese and ham roll at breakfast I might have taken a slice of the animal with a bowl of their potato salad.
After that, I forgot to visit the church.
I’m in a traditional inn tonight in Stephanshart (see photo above). It’s mostly wood, great big carved seats, wooden beds, the bar, the ceiling etc.. There is a large carved wall clock which chimes every 15 minutes. I’m the only one here, the owner promised me dinner but he’s still sleeping off his lunch.