THE WAY …
The spiritual person knows of three ideal ways to encounter God: fasting, retreat and pilgrimage. All three support our personal striving to find the meaning of life and our own spiritual home.
Pilgrimage has long been an important aspect of many cultures, while the Way of St. James has made a significant contribution to it’s resurgence in the modern world. Coming from Hungary and the Slovak Republic, the Austrian part of the Way of St. James begins at the Hainburger Pforte in Lower Austria and follows the River Danube upstreams along the remnants oft he old Roman Limes Road through Vienna, Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck and on to Feldkirch.
The Way of St. James in Austria has over 600km in length and leads travelers past world-famous lakes, historic towns, across alpine pastures and alongside numerous rivers. Hikers and pilgrims discover life´s many small wonders and hospitality that comes from the heart. One step after another, every day a new.
On the path to oneself
In our hectic times, pilgrimages are actually experiencing a renaissance. But it is not always religious reasons which stand in the forefront of the journey. Discovering tranquility and renewed strength is the motivation of many of today’s pilgrims. One portion of what is probably the most famous pilgrimage trail in all of Europe – the Jakobsweg (St. James Trail), which leads to its ultimate destination in Santiago de Compostela in Spain – also makes its way through Austria and Southeastern Bavaria.
James the Elder (Span. Santiago, Ger. Jakob), a disciple of Jesus and later apostle, is said to have come to Spain as a missionary. After returning home, he was beheaded in Jerusalem in 44 AD. His body – so the legend goes – made its way to Spain in 614, where his burial site subsequently faded from memory. In the 9th century, his tomb was rediscovered, since which time he has become the subject of great veneration as the nation’s patron saint and protector of pilgrims. Even in the Early Middle Ages, believers would head out in search of their saints – whose graves soon became major pilgrimage destinations.
The reasons for embarking on such journeys were as varied as the people themselves. Every year, thousands of pilgrims set out to walk at least a portion of the Jacobsweg – contemplative, rediscovering their own center and drawing on new sources of inner strength. Why not muster the courage, pack your backpack, tighten your hiking boots and follow Jacobsweg, discovering your own soul and the wonderful landscapes along Austria as you go.
Map of the Way of St. James:
Capital of the Tyrol and one of the most beautiful citys in the Alps
General video about vacation in Austria: