Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Walking to Stift Göttweig

Walking to the Stift Göttweig Bells

I’m sitting on the balcony at the Artist Residence. My view starting immediately below me, reveals balcony gardens of other apartments, then the Hofer (Aldi in Australia), a main road, children playing soccer (white and yellow kit, joyous cries) and beyond that the Danube with the now resting dredger, and finally the vineyards, towns and hills of the Southern bank.

 It is 6:11pm ( 2:11am in Melbourne). After an overcast start the day has been glorious. The knowledge that Austrian’s are disappointed with their summer—too much rain—has turned my attention to the weather, especially as I am working on a non-waterproof tent.

On my right stands a pink and blue building, taller that the iAIR thus hiding my view of the Stift Göttweig where Alice and I walked to on Monday evening last. Alice tells me that a Stift is both a pen and a monastery. I wonder if they somehow share an etymology? I am imagining Medieval monks writing illustrated manuscripts, with and inside their Stift.

Stift Göttweig

From this side of the Danube the monastery is imposing and visible from most places except this. The walk is approximately 2 hours each way. This estimate assumes the walkers are concentrating on waymarkers, and does not factor in the long route round, or the need to back track. Alice and I managed all of the above, adding perhaps an hour to our ascent. However, there were two excellent outcomes. Firstly, it meant we walked up around the back and through lovely woods on the steep incline to the summit. Secondly, it delayed our arrival, so that when we did finally reach the gates of the monastery it was 6pm and the bells for evening mass were pealing. I spontaneously recorded the bells on my phone; they continued for several minutes, and then the sounds spaced and faded until eventually the bells stopped and we could hear singing coming from within the Church. I pictured the bells inside the tower gradually losing momentum, never echoing, but cushioning and softening their own sounds.

any surface may carry a wayfarer mark

wayfaring trees

wayfaring archway

The interior of the Church was predictably ornate, the man singing somewhere inside could be heard not seen, even when we walked inside.

Stift and crane

Echium vulgare

Mary Delany- Physalis

Wildflowers clinging on.

Tiny chapel, another missed turn

Shady woods around the back

Stift bells greet us

Church and graves in the valley

We descended via the other face of the hill. The sun was setting before us, and we were washed with the golden light of pre-dusk. This side of the hill, the actual Jakobsweg, was much rockier and drier—a different microclimate to the woods on the other side. We moved quickly back to the little town where we had taken a wrong turn, trudging through the vineyards and stopping for some Strudel at a bar/restaurant before crossing the Danube and returning to Krems via Stein. 

acorns (descent)

Rocky western face


Getting closer, or was it further away?

Conkers and an early wrong turn.

Harvest Moon in Japan (Junichi says..)

Stein by night

Stein bicycles

I found string and pink rubbish on this walk.

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