Sense of Wonder...

The Art of the Walk – The Legend of Robin Hood, Durnstein, Austria

I recently had the joy of exploring some remarkable and beautiful places in Europe.  What a wonderful opportunity to continue strengthening  my body through walking,  nourishing my soul through art, and stimulating my brain through history lessons.  Welcome to Dürnstein, Austria.

The climb
The few steps we found on the climb

Dürnstein is a stunning city in Lower Austria, a port station for our river cruise up the Danube.  Our merry group of travelers – my sister, my brother-in-law, my spouse, and I –  started our day of sightseeing following the cruise crowd towards the center of town. However, in a desire to not be in all of the hubbub, we decided to take the road less traveled, the road that led to the ruins of a castle…at the top of a very, VERY steep hill.  At first, I had no real desire to hike the hill, but my brother-in-law threw down the gauntlet (which

Hitting the wall
Hitting the wall – LITERALLY!

was very appropriate in this medieval town). I wasn’t about to let him think I did not have the physical strength to take on his challenge. I was thrilled to find artistic markers spaced strategically throughout the path that provided a history lesson of  Richard the Lionheart and Robin Hood. I used these history snippet signposts to review the medievel history of the region – but it really was my excuse to desperately take in more oxygen whilst sneaking a short break.  I stopped at each one, taking a picture, pretending to be intent on reading all of the lesson – when in reality I was gasping for breath!  But, I did learn a lot and enjoyed the countryside art…

A Short History of Richard the Lionheart…

Richard the Lionheart
Richard the Lionheart

Once upon a time (in the year of our Lord 1192) there was a king (Richard the Lionheart) returning from his third round of crusades. During his time in the fight, the king had made quite a few “frenemies“:

Saladin – a Muslim General who he was fighting in the Holy Land; King Phillip Augustus of France, a childhood friend who was now not being so friendly; Prince John (yeah, you remember him!), the evil and ambitious younger brother…


Duke Leopold of Austria who had recently gotten his nose bent out of shape due to an ill-advised insult by his lionhearted childhood pal; and King Henry the VI, Emperor of the Roman Empire, who Richard dissed while in Italy.

Any way you looked at it, it was going to be a rough road home…

So, long story short, Richard was apprehended by Leo’s men and imprisoned in a castle, high atop a hill in…you guessed it…Dürnstein!

But wait!  What about these two rapscallions?

Well, rumor has it that old Blondie (Blondel de Nesle), a loyal friend of King Dick, searched everywhere for his buddy, playing his lute outside castles throughout Germany.  Supposedly, while hanging out by the walls of Dürnstein Castle, he was singing a toe-tapping tune that he and Richard had co-composed.  Then, somewhere within the castle, he heard his old band mate singing the second verse.  Thus, as the story goes, the king was located!

And what about Robin, the Hood boy wonder, and his relationship with King Richard the Lionheart?  MehRobin Hood may have been a real person, but his antics with King Richard appear to be just legends.

The Just Reward for My Physical Feat…

So, we reached the top.  We conquered the castle ruins.  We admired the REMARKABLE VIEWS.  And we put my Brother-in-Law in that same cell that had housed King Richard the Lionheart.  Revenge is sweet.




Check out other posts in my Art of the Walk Series:

Now it is your turn.  Ever been to Durnstein?  Ever walk up a mountain and found art?  Share here.



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