Archive | February, 2022

22 – Brünner Straße to Steinernes Kreuz

27 Feb

A week ago, my walking partner and I (and Maylo, of course) walked the 22nd stretch of the Rundumadum trail. It’s amazing to me how the landscape changes. After all, we are circumnavigating only one city.

This time we walked through rather bleak vineyards (well, it is still February) and then open fields on the flat, with a view of Vienna on one side and of Lower Austria (not shown) on the other, before climbing up a stretch of Bisamberg and heading back to Hagenbrunn.

I’ve walked this route before but in the other direction when doing the Stadtwanderweg (city hiking trail) number 5 with a friend. In addition, I have pleasant memories of snacks on Bisamberg before Bergheuriger Langer closed its doors forever, a stop once at the Magdalenenhof, and enchanting coppices (or copses).

It was a pleasant, uneventful hike — even the buses ran when they were supposed to. 😉 We only did one stretch, which turned out to be just right. Anyway, I’ll be going back to re-visit the Heurigen (wine taverns) out that way when the weather gets warmer.

Trail number 22

Distance: 6,2 km

Time: 1.5 to 2 hours


The Magdalenenhof, as you can see at the bottom, is a Stempelstelle or place to stamp one’s Rundumadum card, necessary for getting the hiking pin of the City of Vienna.


24 Feb

This morning I awoke to beautiful sunshine in Vienna and about 3°C — a perfect late winter day. As always, I went out with Maylo without checking my phone. We enjoyed our walk.

Then at breakfast I checked the headlines. The NYT: Russia attacks Ukraine. ORF: Russland greift Ukraine an. Both sites with videos of the shelling. And I realize that Europe is once again at war. I think of a workshop participant on Tuesday who was joining us from Moscow and felt it necessary to emphasize that many Russians do not want war. I think of a neighbor, a student at the University of Vienna, who comes from Ukraine and whose family who is still there. I think of the wonderful members of a Ukrainian choir who passed through Vienna on their way to a church choir festival in Switzerland in the heady, hopeful days of the early 1990s. I think of a U.S. American friend’s sister who has lived in Kyiv for many years working for an organization that takes care of orphans, who has chosen to stay and continue her work. I think of them all and can hardly type this for the tears running down my face.

When I can, I will wipe my tears and will carry on — as my parents did growing up in Germany and England respectively in the Second World War and my grandparents before them in the First World War, and as so many generations have and so many people around the world throughout time. No doubt I will cry again, and wipe my tears again, and carry on again. And in the meantime I will leave sunflowers for my neighbor to let her know that someone in our house has noticed and cares, and I will donate to Caritas for humanitarian aid to the Ukraine, and I will sit and try to maintain my own peace so that I do not contribute to the violence of this world.

I have loved and tried to be guided by this quotation below from Etty Hillesum for years. Now more than ever.

“Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.”

If she could write that from the despair of a concentration camp, surely I can begin, at least begin, to do it surrounded by the beauty of a perfect late winter day in Vienna.

Another way to Nussberg

13 Feb

Yesterday I was looking for a route I hadn’t walked before and came up with a path to Nussberg that starts in Grinzing. I found this:

Nussberg is a favorite of mine and it’s even nicer if you can circumvent Beethovenweg, which tends to be excruciatingly overcrowded on a sunny weekend afternoon. That’s what this route does. It brings you out at the Döblinger cemetery and takes you up Nussberg from that side. It was wonderful.

The Danube, blue for once 😉

The backstage view of a Viennese house

2 Feb

The old (1970s) WienEnergie building on Spitalgasse has been torn down to make room for a new “campus” for the medical school of the University of Vienna. This makes perfect sense–the general hospital is nearby, the old general hospital was turned into a proper campus for the University of Vienna a little over 20 years ago, and one semi-public building (the utilities provider was municipally owned at one time and then hived off) will remain in public hands. (The University of Vienna is a public university.) In addition, not even this defender of older buildings is sorry to see the olive green and orange structure go. I’ll be curious to see what comes.

In the meantime, the clearing of the site has laid the neighboring house open to scrutiny and shows some interesting things about Viennese buildings and, in fact, culture. Appearances are quite important in Vienna. (A friend of mine who has lived in Boston, London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Washington D.C. as well as in Vienna said that Vienna is the only city she has lived in where you got better service at the deli counter in the supermarket if you had put your make-up on.) For me, this focus on appearances is reflected in the relatively ornate facade of the house (the photo on the left) compared to the plainness of back of the house, with wing (the photo on the right). At the same time, it is often said that the imposing facades of the turn-of-the-century houses in Vienna hide some of the nicest aspects. These are for house residents only. This I see in what appears to be a small garden with a tree. That is probably quite a nice place to sit out–or will be again once the building project is complete!

An example of what is called a cultural artifact in the intercultural world …