Tag Archives: hiking

12 & 13 – Zentralfriedhof to Waldschule Lobau (almost)

22 Mar

Full disclosure: The walk itself was three weeks ago. This is the first chance I’ve had to post in anything like the detail I would like. There is something to be said for this coronavirus lockdown.

So, I know! Two in one! Well, they were short and the public transporation routes to get there were relatively long … Also I was hiking with a friend. And wouldn’t you know it–I warned him that I had hardly had a walk along the Rundumadum trail without getting lost but we didn’t get lost once. He must have thought I am unusually incompetent at finding and following trail markers!

What was special about this for me, on top of the fact that we crossed the Danube canal and the Danube itself (see photos), was that once again in the middle of a residential area in the 11th district there were fields to walk through. Vienna is such an amazing city that way.

It was an easy walk (this part of Vienna is very flat) and I remember the the weather being a bit friendlier than it looks in the photos. It was chilly though. Difference between a New England upbringing and an Austrian upbringing, albeit in Carinthia where they still get proper winters? I didn’t bother to bring gloves because the forecast said it would be 12°C and my friend wore gloves because we were only going to get 12°C. (Mind you, I’ve gotten soft after over 30 years in Austria. I wished I had had gloves!)

Special sights along this trail other than the fields and the Danube: some early blossoms, some rather ugly public housing from the 60s and 70s, the Cemetery of the Nameless, where unknown dead who are fished out of the Danube are buried, a hydroelectric dam, and, more or less at the end of the route, a famous Gasthaus, Roter Hiasl. (To be precise, we didn’t actually go through the cemetery. We walked by it and talked about it. Then, for me, it was quite exciting to finally find out how to pronounce the name of the Gasthaus and why it is pronounced the way it is–“Hias” is short for “Matthias” and the “L” on the end makes it diminutive. In translation the name of the restaurant would be something the Little Red Matthew.)

We caved and stopped at Little Red Matthew’s place. We didn’t quite make it to the Waldschule. Next time …

Trail number 12

Distance: 3.5 km

Time: Approx. 1 hour

Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe12.html

Trail number 13

Distance: 4.3 km

Time: Approx. 1.5 hours

Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe13.html

11 – Laaerberg to Zentralfriedhof

16 Feb

This stretch we did a week ago, all in one go. We tacked on about two kilmeters by missing a turn, but it still felt like a miracle after the missteps and detours of the last two stretches. And because of the extra stretch I discovered a “Weinschenke” (like an even more rustic Heuriger) that I would like to try out another time.

And, boy, did this stretch have its beauties. I like my usual stomping grounds–in the northwestern part of Vienna–because there a hills and woods as well as meadows (and vineyards :-)). This part of Vienna, still in the 10th district, was an extremely pleasant surprise. This is a part of Vienna where food is grown, within the city limits. I hope the photo of the fields catches some of the sense of space and almost rural character.

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One of the reasons I write “almost rural” is the amount of traffic. There aren’t many cars–we finally got away from the Autobahn in the other part of the 10th district–but the buildings you see in the photo are on the other side of railways tracks and the hiking trail is right under a heavily traveled route to Schwechat, the Vienna airport.

As you can see, it was a beautiful day and lots of people were out, with dogs, without dogs, on bicycles, on foot, scruffily dressed, nicely dressed (perhaps on their way to Sunday lunch at grandma’s?), quickly, in a leisurely manner, in groups, and alone. I always think you see on Sundays in the Vienna Woods and environs how the Viennese actually survive the traditional diet of Wiener Schnitzel and so on. They get out and walk. Long may it continue!

This stretch takes you to the famous Zentralfriedhof, where people like Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Strauss, Theodor Billroth (Austrian medical pioneer) and the late presidents of Austria are buried. There is an honorary grave here for Mozart, who, as most of you know, was actually buried in a communal grave in St. Marx. Surely, there are many important non-musical people buried here but my Baedeker’s–a guide book after my own heart–mainly lists the musical ones.

Understandably, dogs are not allowed in so an alternate route was provided along the wall. We still got to see a bit of the cemetery, when we weren’t dodging bikes on the pedestrian / bike path.

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The last stretch for us, along the tram tracks of the 11 and 71 trams was not so nice. In fact, I almost gave up on got on at the first gate to the cemetery rationalizing that we could make up that stretch by starting there next time, but the idea of actually finishing one of these routes for a change motivated me to keep going.

Not a great photo (below) but here is proof that we walked all the way to the main gate before getting on the 71 and going home.

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Distance: 5.3 km

Time: 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours. We, of course, took longer given that we unintentionally added quite a stretch to our walk. (Also think the alternative route for dogs was a bit longer in this case.)

Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe11.html

10 – Wienerberg to Laaer Wald

9 Feb

Part One – 12 January 2020

For all that I felt parts of the last stretch were too obviously close to or even directly under major highways, I have to say that the Wienerberg recreational area has something to offer.

There is some frustration, though, that certain stretches are through areas with “Hundeverbot” (I’m sure you can tell that means “No dogs allowed”). An alternative is given–and, as I belatedly discovered, marked on the map provided by the City of Vienna–but it is without trail markers.

In this case, we made it to Neilreichgasse, as we should, and could not find out how to continue. The direction was clear but not which street we should take. And if you get the wrong street you could end up not knowing where a bus or tram stop is, that is, not really knowing how to get home.

After looking around for a bit and trying to figure it out, we opted–well, actually, I opted as Maylo, as I have pointed out before, has no choice in the matter–to give up for the day, get over to the 15A bus, and go home. Discretion truly is sometimes the better part of valor.

Intermezzo

Frustrated by the lack of clarity on the last few stretches of the trail, I have worked out a new system. I no longer rely solely on the (rather vague) maps provided by the City of Vienna, with the (even vaguer) route descriptions nor on the (sometimes missing) trail markers. I now photograph with my phone the section of town we will be covering from my excellent Falk city map of Vienna. That way I get the details I long for and can zoom in so that I do not need to get out my reading glasses. Much better. 🙂

Part Two – 2 February 2020

Suitably equipped with a photo of the map as described and picking up where we left off at Neilreichgasse, we walked down Sibeliusstraße, I appreciating very much the residential character of the area (so different from where I live). Parts of it didn’t look distinctly Viennese, but it did look pleasant. One thing that’s interesting is that there are considerable swathes in Vienna where you leave the houses completely behind, as you can see in the picture(s) below. (The church in the photo directly below is the Parish Church of St. Francis de Sales in the 10th district, appropriately at Holeyplatz ;-), a whole Autobahn away from where I took the picture. ;-))

We carried on to the Volkspark (see photos below)–passing the Fachhochchule Wien or University of Applied Sciences for Management and Communication on our way, notable because someone had just mentioned to me that she was looking into study programs there–and enjoyed the spacious park with the lovely little lake and mini amphitheater.

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We found Endlichergasse and made our way to Theodor-Sickel-Gasse, where the path split, again one way for people walking with dogs and one for people walking without. At this point it started to rain. We walked along looking for the right path. (The route for people with dogs is, as I have mentioned, not marked at all.) It started to rain harder. Eventually, I decided to give up and look for the nearest bus stop–and, lo, and behold, it was the one we were supposed to end up at. Victory!

A brief philosophical reflection

Some thoughts on hiking with a plan instead of just going:

It can get me going even when I feel like staying at home. (I want to make progress and the next step is spelled out for me so I go.)

I find hiking according to a plan less mindful. I am so wrapped up in looking for signs and trying to make sure we are on the right path (oh, that bugbear, the right path!) that I pay less attention to sounds, smells, colors, and so on. On the other hand, I am sometimes more attentive (that is, not on autopilot and not so wrapped up in my own thoughts) because otherwise I would lose my way.

It is taking me to neighborhoods and areas I probably wouldn’t go otherwise. In fact, I’m pretty sure that is one reason the City of Vienna has set up the Rundumadum trail. To get us out of our Grätzls. One of the ways I recognize that I’m in new territory is that I am not at all familiar with the public transportation network “out there”. Never mind “Where’s the tram stop?” Far more “Which lines even run out here?”

Distance: 5.3 km (This estimate is according to the map and description provided by the City of Vienna, but I have to laugh as it took us well over two hours to do the whole thing and we didn’t get THAT lost!)

Time: Supposedly 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes

Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe10.html

07 – Lainzer Tor to Rodaun

27 Oct

Dear Reader,

Yes, we are back to the Rundumadum trail. Today we took advantage of the last warm day of autumn (the ORF tells us) to walk the seventh stretch, from the Lainzer Tor to Rodaun. And we (Maylo and I) walked with a friend (which I will use as an excuse for not noticing more about the scenery and happenings).

Because Maylo came with us we could not do the usual route through the Lainzer Tiergarten. The City of Vienna being what it is, though, had devised an alternate route for people with dogs. 🙂 The first half hour or so of this route was along roads lined with beautiful houses and gardens. We were a little distracted from the beauty around us, however, as it was all we could do to not get run over by bikes and cars and to not crash into other pedestrians. (There were many–many–people out enjoying the beautiful weather.)

After this stretch, we made it to a “Forststraße” where cars, at least, were not allowed and could take time to photograph the view and the vineyards.

Then we followed the path along the wall of the Lainzer Tiergarten until we turned off to the left in the direction of Mauer. It was an exquisite walk through an autumn woods at its peak, with just the occasional flurry of bright leaves blown from the trees.

We briefly considered a stop at the Schießstätte–one of the many simple restaurants that fortify the walkers in the Vienna Woods–but decided we weren’t hungry enough yet. We carried on and found to our suprise and pleasure that both of us did know the area somewhat after all. We had both, separately, done the Stadtwanderweg (City Hiking Trail) #6 at some point, which in part coincides with the Rundumadum trail at this point.

Before we really expected it, we arrived in Kalksburg in the 23rd district and followed the trailmarkers to the Liesing River and then walked along the river to the Number 60 tram.

The tram routes in Vienna do get changed occasionally and not always in ways that maximize convenience. This time, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the 60 tram had been extended to Westbahnhof (the westerly train station) and took that more or less home.

Next time Rodaun to Alterlaa …

Distance of alternative route: 7.5 km

Time: approx. 2 hours subtracting the break we took on a sunny bench

06 – Bahnhof Hütteldorf to Lainzer Tor

2 Dec

Well, I didn’t get the stamp in my Wanderpass today, even though it is Rundumadum stretch with a Stempelstelle but for that I was flooded with memories and had a really nice walk through the snow, too.

What happened is this: I set off relatively early this morning (for a Sunday) so that I could be back in time to clean up for a First Sunday in Advent celebration with friends. I went without Maylo because this stretch of the trail goes through the Lainzer Tiergarten, where dogs are not allowed. (I’m not sure Empress Elisabeth would approve of that—she loved dogs—but it is the case nonetheless.)

As I left the Hütteldorf station and crossed the bridge over the Wien Fluss (Vienna River) I saw a heron landing on the water among the ducks. While it’s not quite in the middle of Vienna, it’s still within the city limits. That made the trip worth it right there.

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I got to the Nikolaitor (St. Nicholas Gate), no thanks to the Rundumadum signs. I saw only one near the beginning. Luckily, I know the neighborhood. Not that it did me any good. As I drew nearer the gate, something stirred in me and I seemed to remember that you cannot get into this part of the Tiergarten between November and March. Sure enough, when I arrived I saw the sign with opening times:

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Some day when I have a moment, I’ll have to work out when I can actually go and get the stamp. This was too complicated for me today!

As I was trying to decide what to do—I really wanted a proper walk this morning—a woman all alone in a monster black Mercedes SUV stopped and asked if the gate was locked. I told her it was and she decided to go to Grinzing for her walk. She was nice enough to invite me along but I declined (“Never get into cars with strangers”), and I thought about the amount of gas she was going to use to get to Grinzing in northwest Vienna from where we were more in the south, where there were still plenty of beautiful places to walk, and marveled at the essential cluelessness of some people.

I considered getting on the S45 (commuter rail) at Hütteldorf and traveling that direction myself, and then I thought how this was a real chance to re-visit a part of Vienna I used to come to regularly and stopped coming to when I got Maylo (since he’s not allowed to go in). I remembered that you don’t have to walk through, you can also walk around the Lainzer Tiergarten, and that is what I decided to do. I hadn’t done it since my very first time when I ended up doing it by default because I managed to find the Tiergarten but couldn’t find a gate. (A lot of my discoveries in Vienna have been hit or miss.)

It was a beautiful walk (if somewhat strenuous in places—steep and slippery with snow) and in the beginning I saw very few people. Here is a montage to give you an impression:

As I walked, the memories came—like the first time I went in through the Nikolaitor and saw a huge wild boar within meters of the gate. I backed out and tried to pull the gate closed only to be hindered by the people on the other side trying to pull it open so that they could get out. I let them out and then took a second look. Was it really a boar I had seen? It was. However, it was a peaceful boar eating some hay that had been specially provided, and there were people, even families with children, watching him. I joined them.

That was not my only encounter with boar in the Lainzer Tiergarten. I once left the beaten track only to find myself unexpectedly at a feeding station. I was just getting ready to sneak away again when a boar came racing out of the woods towards me. Before I knew it, I was up a tree, lying on a branch, looking down at him. (Isn’t adrenalin a wonderful thing!) I looked down at him and he looked up at me rather perplexed, as if to ask “What are you doing up in the tree?” At some point, he realized I wasn’t there to feed him, got bored, and left again, and I climbed down and carried on.

On another occasion, I was walking with a cousin and heard the characteristic galloping of a boar, yelled “Boar!” and hid behind a tree. My cousin, not primed in the fauna of the Lainzer Tiergarten, stayed where he was and was unscathed as the boar galloped past us on a mission known only to him.

The one occasion when I actually was a little afraid was the time I was out taking a walk in the spring with a friend and her two relatively small daughters. We wanted to go to the Rohrhaus (a rustic restaurant in the middle of the Tiergarten and, by the way, the Stempelstelle) and had to go past two boar fighting each other in order to get there. That took some gearing up. We were fine, though. They seemed to be far too absorbed in what they were doing to give us a glance (thank goodness).

There comes a point on every walk when I’m on a new route when I start to wonder how much longer the trail is and whether I have missed a turning. This time it came after the Adolftor, when the path started to weave around a little. I was relieved to make it to the St. Veiter Tor and find an older gentleman there who knew not only the right direction but the names of the streets I would need to take. As we were chatting, I saw someone exit the Tiergarten by climbing over the wall and remembered that I, too, had climbed that wall, albeit at a different point. Many years ago I went with a friend, eager to show off this beautiful place, and didn’t realize that the gates are closed (or were closed) on Mondays. Having taken the U4 all the way out to Hütteldorf and having set aside the afternoon for the hike through this former Imperial hunting ground, we decided to climb the wall and go for a walk anyway. We then quite brazenly exited through the main gate (the Lainzer Tor), playing the foreigner card.

Following the excellent directions the old gentleman had given me, I found myself in the right place near the right bus stop, with only about three minutes to wait for the bus (which only runs every 20 minutes so that was nice). On past visits, I have always changed from the bus to the tram—probably because I didn’t have the benefit in those days of Qando, the app for the public transportation system in Vienna. Now, Qando told me that the 56B bus would also take me to Hietzing to the U4 but that it would be quicker than the trams. I thought it would be interesting to see a different route.

The 56B bus goes over Küniglberg, where I hadn’t been in years, and the trip woke more memories. I remembered a fascinating visit with students to the ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) production center out there as well as singing at the funeral of a mentor and friend at the Hietzing Cemetery. As we went past the zoo in Schönbrunn, I remembered that our panda twins, now aged two, were on their way to China today and felt a pang. Pandas are special no matter what, but for a panda mother to successfully raise twins, even with human help, is very special indeed, and now they are gone.

All in all, for a relatively short outing there was a lot going on!

Distance: ? (because I couldn’t take the recommended path, which would have been 7.6 km, I don’t know)

Time: About 1 hour 45 minutes

05 – Feuerwache Steinhof to Hütteldorf

1 Dec

Actually, I did this stretch last Sunday with a friend (which explains, perhaps, why I didn’t take as many photos as usual–we were too busy talking) and am only just getting around to writing about it. It’s been a very busy week!

Whether it was the fact that we were talking or really that there were some signs missing, we lost the trail a couple of times. We even had some trouble finding the starting point! Ah, well. At least my friend wasn’t troubled by this. 😉

It was a somewhat quiet walk. As the weather gets colder and grayer, fewer people seem to be motivated to go out. As before, one of the aspects that surprised me was that I have walked in that area several times but discovered new corners this time. There are roads back there that look like country roads–paved, but only wide enough for one car at a time. And there are lucky people who there in modest, one-family houses! Vienna the way it was for many decades before property developers got greedy here, too.

I was also surprised by this small lake (Silbersee) in the 14th district, serene in the middle of the woods, a bit of a hike up from Dehnepark. I wonder if one can swim here in summer.

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We both were struck almost speechless by this gem below, which seems to be a culture center with concerts and other events. We were not alone in being struck with it. I had to wait my turn to get this photo!

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Not far from this, we were reunited with the Rundumadum trail and found our way on to Hütteldorf. There we were quite taken aback to see hordes of police with what looked like riot gear standing along the road to the new Rapid football (soccer) stadium. I like watching soccer but perhaps not when it requires a full squad of police in full gear.

We made it into the station at Hütteldorf and thankfully made our way home unscathed.

Distance: Officially only 3 km, but we put in quite a bit of extra, partly through starting at Schloss Wilhelminenberg rather than at the Feuerwache, and partly through getting lost.

Time: 1.5(?) hrs of walking

04 – Marswiese to Feuerwache am Steinhof

18 Nov

Today Maylo and I had company as we did the next stretch of the Rundumadum hiking trail. A good friend and hiking companion joined us and was a great help at seeing the Rundumadum signs. I have to confess that right towards the end we lost sight of them. We still ended up where we were supposed to, though. Since this is still a part of the Vienna Woods I know pretty well, I find myself wondering what will happen when we get to the parts I don’t know so well and can’t rely on my sense of direction, but that won’t be for several weeks yet.

The first thing both of us commented on was how much the woods have changed in the last week. It’s suddenly gotten much cooler and the leaves are now down.

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The next thing we both remarked on was how parts of the trail were completely new to us, even though we have been hiking that part of the Woods for a couple of decades. Endless variety.

And we were delighted to see this “toad tunnel” near Schottenhof, constructed by the City of Vienna to protect wildlife. 🙂

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We made it to the Feuerwache am Steinhof (fire watch and station) just in time to jump into the bus down the hill. We were very grateful for that, as the bus doesn’t run very often on that stretch.

Back to my place then for coffee, cake, and a chat.

Distance: 5 km (actually a little more because we walked from the 43 tram to Marswiese instead of taking the bus)

Time: About 2 hrs.

03 – Häuserl am Roan to Marswiese

11 Nov

It wasn’t clear if we were going to continue our hike around Vienna today, but after I took a look this morning at how much I have to do this coming week and the week after (way too much), I decided this was the best way to make the most of our Sunday.

This is a route we know well. We have walked it often in the other direction, where it is disguised as Stadtwanderweg 3 (City Hiking Path 3). Again, it was strange taking the bus up the Höhenstraße. It almost feels like cheating and, on top of that, I realized today how much I actually enjoy the exertion of walking uphill. Ah, well. Another time. 😉

Here is finally a photo of the Häuserl am Roan (our starting point today) and the view from their front garden:

(The photos are gray because the weather is gray today.)

The bus was quite full, but there appeared to be very few people out. I thought with some relief that perhaps the density has died down as last week was a holiday weekend. Nope.

Empty as the Höhenstraße looks …

… there were plenty of people out and about.

First of all, we were almost run over by a large group of runners coming at us along the trail. Then there was the ongoing threat of the mountain bikers and Nordic walkers. And on the stretch from Hameau to Marswiese we encountered a group of at least 70 people all hiking together. That’s a big group!

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Finally, we made it to Schwarzenbergallee, where at least one expects to dodge people constantly. And from there we made our way home. All in all, it was shorter and quicker than I expected.

Distance: 4.8 km

Time (without a break): 1 hr 15 mins

02 – Cobenzl to Häuserl am Roan

4 Nov

Knowing that I’ll have to put my hiking on hold for a while as I am teaching all day the next three Saturdays, I decided to try at least to wrap up the first two stretches. This found Maylo and me once again on a bus on the Höhenstraße. It is a strange feeling to be whisked (and some of those bus drivers do take it at a clip in spite of the bone-shaking cobblestone surface) up a hill we usually huff and puff our way up. The bus does in 20 minutes what we usually take two to three hours for!

Anyway, up we went again to Cobenzl to resume our walk to Jägerwiese and beyond. I had not expected so much fog. (On the left is a photo from yesterday and on the right is a photo taken today very near the same spot.)

Furthermore, having noticed the fog on the way up on the bus, I would not have expected to see a lot of people, and yet there they were. Old, young, Austrian, Viennese, Polish, Hungarian, thin, sturdy, with children, without children, dressed for serious hiking, dressed to look good, with dogs, and without dogs. There were so many people that the restaurant at Jägerwiese was completely overcrowded and the wait staff rushed off their feet. Maylo and I joined a few hardy souls (the fog made it pretty chilly) on the terrace, but finally gave up any hope of getting coffee and Apfelstrudel, stamped our pass, and carried on. At least we found out what a Stempelstelle looks like. The red box contains an ink pad and the necessary rubber stamps.

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Off we went again, heading towards Dreimarkstein and Häuserl am Roan, into the ever denser growing fog. I did start to wonder if it was wise, but I have to say we were not alone. Help would have been available if we had needed it.

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We reached Häuserl am Roan with just a few minutes to spare before the bus got there. As it only runs once an hour on Sundays, it seemed like a good idea to catch it and come back to Häuserl am Roan another time.

An aside, Häuserl am Roan is one of the rustic restaurants offering Wiener Hausmannskost (more or less, Viennese home cooking) that dot the Vienna Woods. It has a special place in my heart because it was one of the first I discovered, many years ago. If I remember correctly, it was as I was hiking my first Stadtwanderweg (city hiking trail), Stadtwanderweg number 3, so there were two big discoveries in one afternoon.

So there it is. I spent my long weekend (Friday counted as a Fenstertag or “window day,” the day between a holiday, All Saints, in this case, and a weekend) hiking with Maylo, taking photos, blogging about it, eating, and seeing friends. That’s a pretty good weekend in my book! Oh, and here is my Wanderpass with its first stamp. 🙂

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Distance: 4.9 km

Time: unknown

01 – Nussdorf to Cobenzl (part two)

4 Nov

Feeling the pressure of an unfinished route, we took the 38A back to Sulzwiese on Saturday with the best intentions. Since we were only going to do the last two to three kilometers of the first stretch, I planned to carry on from Cobenzl and do the approximately five kilometers of the next stretch (Cobenzl to Häuserl am Roan). We all know, however, where good intentions lead. By the time we had made it prematurely to Jägerwiese (having missed another of the little signs) and retraced our steps part of the way to get to Cobenzl, I again felt we had done enough. It was too discouraging to turn around and go back to Jägerwiese (a Stempelstelle, more about that below) on the same day.

We saw some beautiful views, but it did seem like a lot of traveling for not much walking!

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About Stempelstellen: The City of Vienna wishes to encourage people to use the hiking paths in the Vienna Woods (and are wildly successful in their attempts if the number of people we see each time we go out is anything to go by). Part of the tradition is to offer a Wandernadel (a “hiking pin” in silver or gold depending on the level of achievement), and the way you get your pin is to stamp your Wanderpass as you make it to various Stempelstellen and send in your pass when you have filled it in. More about that in the next post, in which we go back to the Jägerwiese and get our first stamp.

Distance: 2.6 km (est.)

Time: unknown