Paulo Coelho did it, Shirley MacLaine did it, and every year there are more. Pilgrimages
are in again. What is it that motivates people to trudge for days on end? Perhaps these people are moved by the feeling of gratification resulting from walking for days through the mountains with minimal equipment
and without a vestige of luxury.
In this context the Austrian James Trail that has been rediscovered and comprehensively described by the Tyrolean “Pilgrimage Pioneer,” Peter Lindenthal, enjoys new popularity. Actually the reference should be to several trails, since many trails led from the major cities of the monarchy – from Graz
, Marburg, Budapest or Vienna
–throughout Austria to the Spanish city Santiago de Compostella.
Many make the pilgrimage without concrete wishes or goals. These are people who are mainly interested in escaping the daily hustle and bustle
treadmill in exchange for up to twelve hours per day of a different stride. The simple life in itself offers a welcome change: the cabins or mountain hostels often have only cold water and there is hardly room in a backpack for makeup and other luxury articles. After a long day trekking through the landscape one is quite appreciative of a Spartan lodging with rain pattering on the roof.
The ultimate consequence of walking is experiencing reality. The world is measured step for step, breathing adapts to the forward motion in a smooth cadence. Walking will always involve taking the inward turn
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