Another reason I live in Vienna

13 Jun

Perhaps even more than the music (which one can find in other livable cities, although rarely in the quantity and quality one has here) I love the Vienna Woods. It is possible, even easy, to get on a tram or bus, ride out to the last stop, and take a three- to four-hour walk through woods and meadows, rambling up and down hills as you go. The photo above was taken this afternoon along the Stadtwanderweg Number 2, as an illustration of what you can see even within the city limits. A “Stadwanderweg” is a “city hiking path”–or perhaps “municipal hiking path” as they are almost certainly maintained by the city of Vienna–and there are over ten of them, depending on how you count them (link to official site below).

What was I doing in the Vienna Woods on a Monday? Enjoying the perfect hiking weather and the Pentecost Monday holiday, along with the Viennese who didn’t skip town on Friday afternoon. (Austria, as most will know, is a Catholic country which means many lovely holidays in May and June.)

I had never done the whole Stadtwanderweg 2 before, although I’ve done bits in connection with other hikes. It starts and ends in Sievering, one of the most beautiful outer districts of Vienna. Like Neustift am Walde and the even better-known Grinzing, Sievering is an old vineyard and Heuriger or wine tavern neighborhood. Unlike Neustift and, above all, Grinzing, Sievering has retained most of its old charm. Perhaps the streets are too narrow for tourist busses? Or perhaps property prices are too high for riff-raff. The hiking path itself is 10 km, well sign-posted for the most part, gentle in incline, and lined with beautiful views. It also has more than its fair share of Gasthäuser, all with impossibly Viennese names like the Grüß Di Gott Wirtshaus (loose translation: the May God Greet You Tavern).

I didn’t find anything to pick this time of year, but from experience I know that come late summer and early fall there will be mushroom seekers and walnut and berry pickers. This will not be my last post on the Vienna Woods so I’ll leave this here for now and return to the topic another day.



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