Rounding off the week; city, country and the northern Donau

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October 26th 2019
Published: October 26th 2019
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When time is plentiful, there’s so much to do!

Stepping out onto Klosterneuberg Straße behind the Augarten I’d be mistaken for thinking I was in Palmerston North. More hairdressers and beauty clinics than expected, this was barber street(s).

Shave, cut, colour, foils, the works, in increments of euros. After passing one that morning with the failed swim, I motioned I’d return that afternoon although the morning quiet was deceptive. Come 4pm when I returned, I stood a good fifteen min at the

front door before being acknowledged, at which point I asked could I perhaps sit and wait?. The one hour wait was suggested, so as various others came and went, I stayed. Perfect blog writing time, and around 6:15 I was taken for my hair to be wet then cut.

It’s these moments I wished I spoke more than basic German! There were no “No niños” comments, as when in Granada, just a good, honest, no frills Viennese haircut.

Out I waltzed, the ankle having had a rest and the dusk well set in.

Playing each day by air (especially with the Achilles issue) proved right. Over the coming days I’d wanted to tick some places off yet to be seen, and that obligation that, even in slow travel, some sights are worth an effort. came to the rescue again in helping design a self guided tour. First up I sought out the Vienna woods again with a sunny day from dawn. Approaching from Greifenstein and Altenberg, the road continued south west from a sunny but cool start to a heavily foggy end point at Katzeldorf, the temperature lowering within kilometres. Then began a climb of 4km though to Passauerhof, when it cleared, the yellow foliage simply glowing. A left towards Tulbinger kogel reaches one of the higher points, with views

for miles. That steeply dropped to a valley, me being passed by some fast drivers, that then climbed up to Scheiblingstein. It was a spiral downhill and photo worthy ride to Vienna, the drivers becoming more assertive as approaching the city limits.

Schonbrunn palace was 7-8km from
the end of the descent, the gardens open for free and vast. Along canal and riverside paths, it could be reached entirely off road so that riders can pop up the ramps, away from the melee of the main entrance. A convenient lunch stop, I shunned the Schonbrunn itself, having visited less expensively twenty years prior.

On to the bike path, it wasn’t far to the Stadtpark, full mid week of Viennese in the park. It was there I saw the most expensive wagon coffee so far at €4 for a small latte. Viennese prices!

Down time after that meant washing contingencies and spending some quality academic time online in preparation for the Congress. Outside my second story window, the pigeons came and went, sucking keenly on berries and interacting with the prolific crow population by the Augarten.

Approaching the end of the week, I stepped up a gear in seeing city sights before the Austrian National day on Saturday led to potentially more crowds. For one last hoorah I tried to find the EuroVelo 9. Elusive last time, I decided on trying to resolve its website map prior to departing for the day. Reconciling that thick yellow line against meant I easily located it near Donau island, which then weaved northwards via Wolkersdorf Im Weinviertal. From Unterolberndorf, it shared a road through simply stunning autumnal forest, with the odd bird song, and climbing to a summit near Oberkreutzstetten. I made the ambitious choice to drop down in altitude to go via a nearby village (Higgles) that added a good 45 minutes. Luckily it was rewarded by being among working agriculture, and up close with some massive wind turbines on part of the EuroVelo route to Breclav (Czechia).

I knew roughly my way back to Bisemberg from there vía the L Road, and with a tail wind it was quicker work than going.

Ending with a coffee at Backwerk I ranked it far better than McDonalds (yesterday’s fall back) and more affordable than almost any other Vienna area café visited south far.

On to the city after a lunch break, I chose bike over feet to cover
the miles. Everything can look good in the right light, and, nod to P2, I took many photos to record Liechtenstein park -palace, Voltivkirche, Sigmund Freud park, Rathaus and Schwarzenberg/ Belvedere park. Between these, the key sights had plenty of scaffolding and boards up limiting whether it was photogenic or not. But still the tourists come.

My final full day needed a swansong. Fog had been the week’s weather feature and Saturday morning rang true. Geared up I made for the hills again vía Weilding, my first days trip. Climbing up was beautiful and quiet, with the odd gun cyclist passing me. Adding a drop down and up to Unterkirchbach, sun turned again to dense fog, lingering on the northern Vienna Woods side. Over to Passauerhof led to that 4km downhill again, with extra kilometres to cross the Donau at Tulln.

Like never before, I rode the opposite side of the river, smoothly and people free, all the way to Korneuburg. It was here a white speed pod passed doing 30-40kph I’d fathom, and generally more and more people appeared. An Audi Quattro SUV sharing a bike road diversion turned mid-road towards me. Before I knew it, I’d braked abruptly to avoid colliding, and had kissed the smooth seal with barely a graze. Getting the mind settled was my biggest hurdle, but the end being in sight, and some time at my usual swimming

spot on Donau island watching the swans, I reset.

The dogs keep barking, the sunset is a glow of red, the street side recycling task I have isn’t complete, and I’ve unusually got a fat packing ordeal to deal with.

Congress, a chance to rest the legs and exercise the brain, starts tomorrow in Antwerp, on (what I’ve discovered for 2019) the list of the top ten safe cycling cities, and well ahead apparently of Vienna. We’ll see.

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