2012_06_08 rad und reisen: Narrenwandern!

When Mood Music
2012-07-08 01:10:00

I really should have mapped today’s wanderings! We wanted to do three things:

  1. Visit the Narrenturm (tower of fools)
  2. Visit the Freud museum
  3. See an exhibition at the Kunsthaus Wien (Viennese art house)

then eat at the other branch of ‘Loving Hut’.

I think we must have cycled twice as far as we needed to go due to clashing senses of direction, my iPhone being almost completely flat (it didn’t charge properly overnight) and my dislike of stopping for any reason, especially to look at paper maps. I’ve grown used to letting iPhone plot a car route, clicking it into its handlebar holder, then following it, even if there aren’t cycle paths. Austrian drivers seem to give way to pedestrians and cyclists much more readily than UK drivers do. However, Elly is less gung-ho and more sane/cautious than I, especially when cycling abroad.

So, after a very leisurely breakfast, we cycled (as far as I can recall and understand):

  1. southwest along Praterstraße to the Donaukanal
  2. northwest along Obere Donaustraße to Friedensbrucke
  3. across Friedensbrucke
  4. west along Alserbach Straße
  5. south along Nußdorfer Straße and Währinger Straße
  6. southwest along Sensengasse and south along Spitalgasse, then through some nameless alleys to Narrenturm,

only to find it’s closed on Sundays!

We then took a very roundabout route, including most of the side-streets around Votivkirche, to Berggasse. At the bottom of this street is a museum set up in the apartment and office Sigmund Freud used until he and his family fled Adolf and co. There’s a lot to learn here, and I won’t make a fool of myself by trying to describe it. See it for yourself or read his books, then read ‘The Therapy of Avram Bloke’ to see what a Jewish humorist can do with it.

Our next plan was to return to the Ringstraße and follow it around to Radetskybrucke, which would put us very near the Wiener Kunsthaus. I think we got to the Ringstraße relatively efficiently, and had very little problem following it, especially once we realized you can go in either direction along the cycle lanes on both sides. (The only real issue was a thunderstorm, on a day when the weather forcast promised none.)

However, the one-way system and some streets devoted to trams southeast of the Ringstraße had us piddling about for quite a while before we got to the Kunsthaus. Once we had arrived and drunk enough to stand (today has been the hottest day so far, over 90 degrees F), we were treated to two exhibitions, one of Friedensreich Hundertwasser‘s paintings and another of Elliott Erwitt‘s photography.

Our plan was then to return to the Ringstraße, follow it as far as Kärtner Straße, then go south along Kärtner Straße and Favoritenstraße as far as Reumannplatz, where the other Viennese branch of Loving Hut can be found. This plan was semi-thwarted by Kärtner Straße being one-way, not in the direction we wanted to go. So we went

  1. back along the Ringstraße
  2. south along Akademiestraße
  3. through Karlsplatz
  4. along Karlsgasse
  5. through some other small streets

before regaining Favoritenstraße.

At Sudtyrolerplatz, Favoritenstraße becomes a pedestrian shopping area. We didn’t realize this at first and so carried on along Laxenbergerstraße before meandering through Columbusplatz back onto Favoritenstraße. Another tip for cyclists: you can cycle down the centre of this bit of Favoritenstraße but you must walk along the edges!

Anyway, we got to Loving Hut without much further ado, to find that this branch serves mostly an oriental cuisine. We shared a starter of summer rolls (rice, noodles, tofu and gluten) wrapped in cabbage leaves and served with a rich peanut sauce. Our mains were ‘Three-cup wonder‘ (soy protein, seaweed sauce, salad, rice) and ‘Veggie kebap‘ (Turkish döner kebab), followed by a shared piece of chocolate cake.  This is how I know you can make wonderful vegan chocolate cake, so there are no longer any valid excuses!

Our return was not unevenful. Iit was now dark and I dont like dynamo lights because they go out when you stop and I’d not brought my toolbag containing my battery lights so it couldn’t be stolen. (Favoriten may not be totally wonderful but this Salzburger author isn’t find of the imperial and post-imperial pomposity and insularity he perceives in Vienna.) In place of the U1 line, which is being renovated from Stephansplatz all the way south to Reumannsplatz, the city authorities have clearly signed a cycle route back to the Ringstraße. Our only ‘incident’ was a youth shouting sarcastically ‘Sicher, helm tragen!’ ([It’s] safe to wear a [bike] helmet!) but by the time I’d processed this I was too far past him to shout back ‘Ja, weil es so stark geschneit hier’ (work it out for yourself!)

The cycle-route took us back to Ringstraße. However, somehow we managed to cross It, rather than turning right onto it, quickly getting to the Donaukanal and then hopping along to Nestroyplatz. Instead, we ended up in 3 Bezirk, back near the University again. It took a while (and I forget the route, apart from passing through the Stadtpark) to get back to Asperbrücke and the familiarity of Leopoldstadt.

In the two hours I’ve taken to write this, the heavens have been blasting rain down, yet it’s still easily the hottest night we’ve had here. I think I’m going to stand on our balcony and get wet (and hence cool) so I can sleep.

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