What is the European Peace Walk? Here’s what I know…
It’s a 550 km (341 mile) mapped-out walking route that winds along the borders of six Eastern European Countries with distances of 18-32km (12-20 miles) each day and an accommodation to sleep in each night. The European Peace Walk or EPW, began in 2014 and was created by a man named Grattan Lynch, who had walked Camino de Santiago in 2007. He reportedly became so enamored with the camaraderie that develops between people of all races and nationalities while on the Camino that he wanted to bring that kind of peace to the same areas where, during World War I, some of the most heinous racism the world has seen took place. Beginning in Hungary and continuing on along the borders of Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, and Slovenia before finishing in Italy, much of the beginning portions of the route are actually on the Iron Curtain Trail itself.
There is a registration fee of roughly 60 Euros which fluctuates each year, and the cost for accommodations and meals are paid directly to each location (usually in the local currency and cash) upon arrival. There is a range of accommodation types along the route costing between 13 and 35 euros per person and most offer meals and baggage transport for an additional fee.
On the Camino, you typically walk as far as you can and then stop at an albergue (hostel) whenever you are ready to with no need for a booking. (Although recent popularity booms have made it harder to secure first come first serve accommodations along the Camino and I’ve heard tales of people literally having to race to get a bed.) The biggest difference with the EPW is that there is not flexibility in your accommodation. These are reserved for you ahead of time, so you must stay where your reservation is made just like on the Kumano Kodo in Japan. While walking the EPW, you can however, stay over an extra night at the accommodations which have availability, if you need to. It is much like the Camino in the sense that you will be able to walk the complete distance each day or take a taxi for a portion if you wish. You can also pay to transport your pack ahead and walk lightly if you wish.
A maximum number of ten walkers are allowed to start each day, so there are no crowds. However, some accommodations can only hold 10 guests, so if anyone needs a rest day and falls behind, there can be problems. After taking a rest day, we were housed in an offsite youth hostel at one location which couldn’t accommodate more than 10. This really wasn’t a problem as we enjoyed having a private room and bathroom even more than sharing with 10 others anyhow, but we weren’t sure how this would affect us for the remainder of the walk. In the end, we only had one hostel
I’m certain that there will be updates made to this after I complete my first EPW, but for now I hope this gives you enough information to get started with. 🙂
On the Camino, the typical words said when parting are, “Buen Camino” which means “Good Walk” in Spanish, for the EPW, I’m thinking it should be something more like, “Walk in Peace.”
So, I’ll say to you all now, “Walk in Peace.”
Now, let’s get to walking and see how this goes!