The Transformation

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I have been in an almost unbearable mood for days. A mixture of anger, pain and grief rages inside of me. When emotions are that strong, I don’t succeed in working productively – I simply get nowhere.

So I decided to do myself something good and take a trip into nature. My intuition whispered to me already some time ago and I feel that I am drawn to the river Kamp in the Waldviertel. I google and find a three-hour hike, always along the river. Just the right thing, I think and set off spontaneously.

Still on the motorway it rages in me and my thoughts race. They just don’t want to settle down. Only when I cross the bridge over the Danube river and approach the Wachau region, my mood starts to lift up. I studied in the city of Krems and it still feels like coming home. The landscape has something very lovely for me, at the same time archaic and feminine. Here I feel safe and secure.

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Waldviertel calling

But today I leave the Wachau behind me and continue north towards Waldviertel. At the latest as I leave the expressway and continue on winding country roads a feeling of happiness arises. My spirit of adventure is awakening.

One of the roads has only a gravel surface and I have to drive very slowly. I consciously perceive the vastness of the landscape, the blue sky with the white clouds, poppy fields blooming on the left and right in bright pink and white.

Pure Waldviertel, I think. I stop and take some pictures of the poppies. Unfortunately, the sun is hiding behind a few denser clouds at that moment. I wait a bit longer to take the perfect photo with the sun, but unfortunately she is not in the mood to show up and I get back in the car. A light wind goes and I notice that I’m freezing. It’s cooler up here than in Vienna.

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Final destination in the middle of nowhere

After another ten minutes by car I arrived at my final destination. A remote village in the middle of nowhere. The painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser lived and worked here at the so-called Hahnmühle by the river. In the village there is a small museum dedicated to him, painted in blue and not to be missed.

It takes a while to orient myself – the signboard with the hiking trails is incorrectly mounted and points in a different direction. Good thing I have a compass on my phone. Now I know where north is and where the trail begins. An elderly couple also seems a little lost – they feel the same way as I do, I guess.

When doubts arises, trust yourself

So I start my hike along the road, the river Kamp always on my left. The trail description said that one would always walk along the river, but at the moment I am often metres away from the river.

Immediately, doubts arise and threaten to dampen my good mood. “Great, now I have driven so far only to follow a paved country road for three hours… probably not the best hike today…” my thoughts rattled. But then I remembered that my intuition brought me here and I decided to trust it.

Lo and behold – after a few meters the road led into a forest path – from then on there was only pure nature. On the left the peacefully flowing river, on the right of the path coniferous forest and impressive rock formations. I became calmer and quieter. Took photos of flowers I had never seen before (thimble, as I later found out), of the water and the trees. I sat down on a sandbank to eat my snack.

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After some time I came to the mentioned Hahnmühle, a small, colourfully painted little house. The wavy painting, however, does not come from Hundertwasser, but was made by another artist after his death. Opposite, there are some ruins. Fascinated, I go inside and take some pictures. I wonder who lived here. It is really a nice spot – now I understand why Hundertwasser liked it so much.

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Natural rooms

I walk from one “natural room” to another, fascinated and enthusiastic – a piece of forest especially enchants me, it is bright, grasses grow on the forest floor that I have never seen before, the trunks of the trees are slim and high. I feel like I’m in a fantastic fairytale forest, it’s pure magic.

In the meantime I have lost all sense of time, my thoughts seem completely silent. There is only space, peace and being.

A little tired, I lie down on a sandbank and think about taking a short bath in the river – but I decided it is too cold for me.

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After crossing a small bridge, I make my way back on the opposite river bank. The landscape appears different here, the forest is denser. Meanwhile it is late afternoon and I am fascinated by the lighting mood and the oblique incidence of sunlight. I play a little bit and try to take photos through my sunglasses. The results are pictures in warm, bright colours.

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Now I have almost reached the last third of the walk and must be careful not to miss the right turnoff – the trail leads me steeply right up a hill, through the forest, then left on a forest road, until I come to a large farm. The farmer is mowing his meadow with a loud roar and nods to me friendly.

Up here, after the river valley, I enjoy the vastness of the landscape again – my view sweeps over meadows, hills and forests. The meadows look so inviting that I lie down for a while and watch the clouds. Only when the mosquitoes get too annoying, I get up and walk down the last part of the country road in serpentines to the village.

Rich, fulfilled and happy I start my journey home. What a difference to this morning!