Fisherman’s trail (Rota Vicentina): Arrifana to Odeceixe (… on the ‘Walz’ for an evening)

After the long 48km yesterday, I took my time to get going. Today my ambition was to reach Odeceixe some 28km away. That’s where the real fisherman’s trail would begin. Until then I continued on the historical way. The path took me through a few villages and mainly foresty areas, fields and along a canal towards the final stretch.

On the way, during a day yet again blessed with sunshine (one wonders if there even exists a portuguese word for cloud), I walked past trees full of oranges, saw lama’s (glady they didn’t spit) and a windmill in Odeceixe.

However, the real highlight of the day came later. In my hostel (‘hostel seixe’), which is owned by Matthias from Austria and run by Robert (originally from Leipzig), I met two German travellers – Robert & Hanna. They are both from Karlsruhe and currently on what we call ‘Walz’ in German. Essentially, 3y of travels once formal apprentice ship as say craftsman has passed (see below for more colour). Hanna is almost 4y on the road while Robert 2y.

Further, there was two friends from Trier (Jenny & Lukas) who alse stayed for the night. Over a shared dinner, Matthias with wife & daughter joined as well, we enjoyed some fantastic conversations and some really entertaining stories from all parties involved. Topics ranged from experiences on the road of our walz guys, surfer stories & so e of my own experiences. A large map on the kitchen wall helped to check out where each of us had been already. The  night went on for a bit for some of us (people on the Walz are never shy of a drink or two and the local bar was open late that Thursday evening …).

The “Walz” – a few points to note

  • Its a mainly German tradition dating back to the middle age where you literally work & travel
  • Going on travels around the country used to be a prerequisite to become a master (‘Meister’) of ones guild, now its voluntary though protected as immaterial cultural hertitage in Germany since 201

How does it work?

You start off with a travel book (Wanderbuch) denoting some of your personal details, education and people that vouch for you (your elders kind of). It also denotes the ‘no go’ area – a typically 50km circle around your home town that can’t be visited for the 3y period. Records of places visited and certificates of employment are entered. Usually an elder (craftsman already on the walz) picks you up and settles you in. Travels have to be exclusively on foot & hitchhiking (planes possible for intercontinental so sometimes frowned upon). You take no money with you, but you can earn normal wages on the way.

I have personally always admired this German tradition, but never had the chance to meet any in person. Now I finally have and think its bloody awesome! So if you meet one of these fellows … help them out. They will repay you promtly – with solid work & entertainment pure.

One thought on “Fisherman’s trail (Rota Vicentina): Arrifana to Odeceixe (… on the ‘Walz’ for an evening)

  1. Pingback: Fisherman’s trail (Rota Vicentina): Almograve – Vila Nova de Milfontes – Porto Covo | rocketontour

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