This post is about a 15km walk from Abwinden to Linz. I walk past the steel plant that used to be called Reichswerke Hermann Göring.
The bike path along the Danube (still the EuroVelo 6) felt busier than ever. It was a warm, sunny day, and it was a Sunday, after all.
I walked among the cyclists, trying not to get in their way, listening to some music on the portable speaker Brad and I had used for our karaoke sessions. At one time a group of cyclists stopped and we took some pictures together.
Then I saw the Voestalpine steel plant. It had originally been founded as Reichswerke Hermann Göring by the nazis, and of course its history was deeply entangled with slave labor and with the concentration camps of Mauthausen and Gusen.
But today it was a steel plant just like any other, except for the fact that it was supposed to be one of the cleanest in the world. From the distance, however, it looked terrifying with its pipes and smoke stacks towering over the river.
I crossed the first bridge I saw, and it led me onto a road that went right past the steel plant. The first thing I saw was a tower that spit out an enormous cloud of steam every few minutes. I sat down and watched it for a while.
It was always the same process: first an alarm would announce that something was going to happen. Then, from somewhere deep within the steel plant, an open railcar filled with what looked like glowing coals would appear. It would slowly slide into an opening under the tower, and steam would appear on both sides. And then, finally, a white cloud would come out of the top of the tower.
I loved the Wolfensteinesque vibe of it all, and I tried to take my daily self portrait with the tower and the giant cloud of steam.
the walk from Abwinden to Linz: