Tag Archives: rundumadum

18 (2nd half) & 19 – Aspern Nord U to Wagramer Straße

13 Jun

Today we carried on with the second half of Trail 18 and more than all of Trail 19 (we missed a sign and probably went about 2 kms out of our way). And today I have photos! 🙂

It was a beautiful sunny day (although with such a wind that a friend sent a message: “Hopefully you will not get blown away!”) with beautiful flowers (see above), including lots of elderflowers (visible on the left of the photo below), which my hiking partner collected to make syrup, and some interesting wildlife. We saw a bird that neither of us had ever seen before and I couldn’t find in my field guide and which I think may, in fact, be a pet that escaped and is now living it up in the fields of the 22nd district. In shape it had some similarities to a dove but was much larger, had bright blue markings on its head, and interesting black and white striping on its tail. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

We were still in a very flat part of Vienna with scattered small bodies of water. It is still quite rural (see below) and had horses! As with other parts of the Rundumadum trail, I was amazed to see food being grown on a relatively large scale (the 10th district also has proper fields with grain and vegetables). From the underground train you can see extensive greenhouses and the paths we took today were almost all through open fields. Really extraordinary for a city of almost two million people. Long may it last.


This was such a nice stretch that I would like to come back and perhaps even swim in the Süßenbrunner Teiche (ponds).

Trail 18

Distance: 4.1 km

Time: 1 to 1.5 hrs

Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe18.html

Trail 19

Distance: 5.1 (if you do it right ;-))

Time: 1 hr 15 mins to 1 hr 45 mins

Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe19.html

17 & half of 18 – Eßlinger Furt to Aspern Nord U-Bahn (instead of Breitenleer Straße)

13 Jun

You can see I’m getting sloppier in the execution of (as well as the writing about) the Rundumadum hiking trail. Half of 18? Really? I don’t think it’s entirely my new hiking partner’s fault, but I must say he’s more ambitious than I am (trying to do two or three at a time) and in this case we didn’t manage to do the whole two stretches on 2 May 2021. (You can see I’m trying to catch up in my reporting of progress, even though I in this case didn’t take any photos.)

It may have been the discouragement of arriving at the U2 Seestadt station and then not being able to find the bus we were supposed to take (and this on a Sunday when nothing runs as often as on other days) so having to wait almost half an hour or it might have been the considerable and rather unpleasant wind blowing across that very flat part of Vienna (Transdanubia) on a steely gray day or it could have been the frustration of the detour along the road instead of through the fields ostensibly because of construction, where the U-Bahn line they were supposed to be working on was completed several years ago. (It turns out the City of Vienna is not perfect! ;-))

In any case, we did get discouraged and stopped halfway through the second stretch. We enjoyed the walk through neighborhoods neither of us knew before, though, as well as through fields that may not much longer be fields (this part of Vienna is being developed very rapidly) and past Himmelteich (~ Heaven’s Pond), one of the small bodies of water that is so common in the east of Vienna. We also enjoyed a picnic before we got the underground back to the city center, eating cheddar and spinach muffins and bananas in an out-of-the-wind spot in what will one day be a park across the street from Nelson-Mandela-Platz.

Sadly, all I have to report …

Trail 17

Distance: 3.7 km

Time: 1 hr to 1 hr and 15 mins

Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe17.html

Trail 18

Distance (if you do the whole thing): 4.1 km

Time: 1 to 1.5 hrs

Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe18.html

14 & 15 & 16 – Nationalparkhaus to Eßlinger Furt

13 Jun

It seems a bit strange to be writing about this on a summer afternoon. We actually did this walk in February on one of the coldest days of the year on a sheet of ice (some of which is visible on the photos). We were concentrating so hard on not falling down that (a) we missed a turn-off and ended up doing three stretches rather than the two we planned and (b) I, at least, could hardly move on Monday my body hurt so much from the strain of trying to stay upright! (This, I remember. ;-))

It was a beautiful walk though (even without Maylo, my dog, who stayed at home).

This was where it started:

And this was where it finished:

As you can see, this part of Vienna has a fair amount of water. In fact, it word “au” in the name of this region, Lobau, means “water meadow” or “wetland”. It’s a very precious ecosystem with some rare species and is endangered by plans to build a tunnel through it to enable car drivers coming from the east to get into Vienna more quickly. (How 20th century is that?!?) It hardly bears thinking about and I try not to. If it comes to protests, though, this seems like a good place to put my protesting energies.

In February, when we were there, Vienna had been in hard lockdown since the day after Christmas. About the only thing we were allowed to do, other than go to the grocery store, was to walk outdoors and so it came that even on this very cold and slippery day there were more people on the trail than there usually would be on a beautiful spring day.

I’m afraid that is about all I remember about this hike. A lot has happened since then. I did want to mention it though.

Trail 14
Distance: 4 km
Time: 1 to 1.5 hrs
Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe14.html

Trail 15
Distance: 4.7 km
Time: 1 to 1.5 hrs
Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe15.html

Trail 16
Distance: 4.2 km
Time: 1 to 1.5 hrs
Link: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe16.html

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

09 – Alterlaa to Wienerberg

5 Jan

(We walked this on 5 January 2020. I’m only now getting around to fleshing out my notes on it and posting.)

I was going to write the title of this post with a question mark, but by the end I figured we had come close enough to walking the right route that I didn’t need to.

Attentive readers will notice that there is no blog post (yet) for the 8th stretch of the Rundumadum trail. I’m saving that one to walk with my friend B.

The first thing I noticed–and probably Maylo, too–was how cold it was when we got off the U6 at Alterlaa to start Trail Nr. 9. It was especially the wind that went right through us. I almost turned around and got us back on the underground. Then I reminded myself that I am from New England and made of sterner stuff. 😉 Nonetheless, I felt compelled to take a photo of these ducks along the Liesing River. They were huddled into themselves and their feathers were all puffed up. I realized I wasn’t the only one feeling the cold.

It is very interesting for me to get into this part of the Rundumadum trail because I am now on new territory. Everything up until now I have hiked in one form or another, and I also know the public transportation for those earlier bits fairly well. As far as this new stretch goes, I have been to Wienerberg before, but I approached it from a different direction and so felt somewhat lost from the beginning. (It didn’t help that so much time has gone between this hike and the one before it that I forgot to look for the Rundumadum signs! I was relying heavily on the very general map and directions the City of Vienna provides and that was not easy.)

As instructed, we went along with the Liesing River on our left (ducks!) and the Steinsee, a manmade lake, on our right–that much was pretty clear. After the Steinsee, we crossed a big street with no visible street sign and kept going with the Liesing on our right. We came to a bridge with no clear idea (did I mention that the directions were very general?) whether we should cross. We decided (well, actually, I decided–poor Maylo has no say in any of this) to stay on our side, thinking that there would have been a sign if we should cross over.

After 7 minutes or so, we came to landscape that is representative of this part of Vienna–an enormous flyover (overpass) in the middle of what tries otherwise to be a green and natural part of the city. The noise from the cars is not too bad because sound barriers were put up, but there’s no hiding the fact that thousands of cars an hour are driving through this part of Vienna. It does take some of the charm away …

Given the fact that there was no way through (there were railway tracks on the ground and they were fenced off), we had to turn back and try the bridge after all. After about half an hour of uncertainty whether we were on the right path there came deliverance. We were very relieved to see this sign.

From then on it was somewhat easier, but by then I had lost some of my spirit of adventure. (Did I mention that it was cold and I had no idea where we were going? I also was starting to feel sorry for Maylo, who was being very game but not obviously enjoying our walk. He does seem to prefer walks on which I know where we’re going. Probably this has something to do with my being–at least when it suits him–the alpha dog. ;-))

At some point, I realized that we had overshot the end of this stretch and started the next. I wasn’t thrilled that this was because the map I downloaded from the internet (link below) right before leaving home was still orienting itself around the number 67 tram, which no longer exists. Warning: That route is now served by the number 11 tram. We did a good bit of the beginning of the next stretch and then gave up, turned around, and went home.

Not all bad–I’m happy to get to know another part of Vienna and test my navigation skills–but not the most fun we’ve had on this journey. I certainly failed at being curious, which really is something of a failure as three years ago I took a year to train my curiosity skills (and, of course, blogged about it) : ayearoflivingcuriously.wordpress.com

I will endeavor to do better–i.e., enjoy the whole process more–the next time!

Distance: 4.1 km (we probably did almost 3 km extra)
Time: 1 – 1 1/2 hours
Route: https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/rundumadum/etappe9.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 (again)

30 Apr

Yes, you read that right. I did the Rundumadum stretch from Hütteldorf to the Lainzer Tor again. This time I was able to walk through the Tiergarten (the Lainz Game Reserve) and get the stamp I need for the “Wandernadel” (the pin you can earn by hiking enough designated paths in the Vienna Woods).

It was a pleasure–and something of a homecoming–to walk through this park I used to go to regularly but hadn’t been through in over seven years. (Dogs aren’t allowed which means that as long as I have had Maylo I have walked elsewhere.) Much was the same–the paths, the picnic tables, and many of the signs–but a lot of lumbering has gone on, as in other parts of the Vienna Woods, and so there were a number of rather forlorn patches I didn’t remember.

I entered through the Nikolaitor (St. Nicholas Gate), remembering my first time when I opened the gate to go in, saw a wild boar standing just meters away, and tried to close the gate again. I couldn’t get it shut because there were people on the other side trying to get out. I let them out, closed the gate, and wondered what to do. Since I knew that people walked in the Tiergarten, I decided to take another look and noticed that there were lots of people, including small children, standing around admiring the boar. Ah, a more or less tame one (photo below). I went in.


Wild boar, 1989

No boar at the Nikolai Gate on Sunday. Probably the one I saw has long since gone to his heavenly reward. I was unimpeded. I turned right and went along the route I used to know so well. I greeted the first few fellow hikers going by with a friendly “Grüß Gott” only to then remind myself: We’re still in the city. People don’t greet each other here as they do in the mountains. After that, I smiled but said nothing. It was wonderful–much as I love him–to be walking for once without my dog, to go at my own pace (not needing to stop to allow him an intense sniff at something) and to think my own thoughts. I usually try to walk mindfully, but this time I let myself just walk and not try to do or be anything in particular. It was deeply enjoyable.

Because spring came so early and fast this year there wasn’t much to see in the way of blossoms, unlike my first walk in the Lainzer Tiergarten. That was 30 years ago probably pretty much to the day when I took the photo below and showed it to friends at home, amazed and proud of the fact that this was within the city limits.


Nonetheless, this time I did see a fox skirting around the people excitedly watching it (never seen a fox in the Tiergarten before) and these beautiful purple flowers.


Before I knew it, I was at the Rohrhaus–the rustic eatery where you can get your card stamped. I briefly considered having coffee and a Milchrahmstrudel (a piece of Topfenstrudel served warm in a sea of warm vanilla sauce),  but they were–not surprisingly given the weather–full, and I suspected there would be quite a long wait. Instead I just asked for the stamp and carried on, thinking I might have better luck at Empress Elisabeth’s retreat, the Hermes Villa.

Even on the way to the Hermes Villa I didn’t see any wild boar, not even a squirrel. But I did see this sign (below), which makes me think perhaps all the animals were resting (“ruhen”) peacefully away from us humans. (The sign makes more sense if you know that in this context “Wild” in German means game, as in, boar, deer, pheasant, and so on.)


More quickly than I remembered I arrived at the Hermes Villa and saw that outside on the terrace there was a self-service café so I got a delicious cheesecake (actually, more precisely, a “Topfentorte”), and then I carried on to the Lainzer Tor remembering outings with friends and their children to pick “Bärlauch” (wild garlic) and dandelion greens and to read all the informative signs about the trees and bushes along the path.

I arrived at the Lainzer Tor a few minutes before the bus was due to leave to take me back to the bus that would take me to the underground (do you get the sense that this is truly on the edge of the city?) and took the opportunity to check where we go from there. It looks as if Maylo will be allowed on the next stretch and, much as I enjoyed walking without him for once, I’ll be happy to have my hiking companion with me for the next bit.

Distance: 7.6 km

Time: about two hours, even with the coffee break


P.S. My initial reaction to the boar was apparently not out of place. The British Ambassador had an encounter with a boar in the Lainzer Tiergarten in which he hurt his hand (story here).

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.


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:


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