To the north of Vienna is a 500-metre hill called Kahlenberg, which gives a fantastic view over the city and surrounding areas. You can go to Nußdorf and get a funny little buggy up the hill. Or you can take a regular Wiener Linien bus. But, we we still had the bikes and the weather was getting slightly cooler, we thought we should do something energetic. So we
- cycled along the west bank of the Donau almost to Klosterneuburg (i.e we overshot)
- retraced our path back to Kahlenbergerdorf
- found there was no cycle path up Kahlenberg from there
- went back to the south of Klosterneuburg and and, from there;
- found the aptly-named Hohenstrasse, which winds slowly, surely and very sweatily up to the top of Kahlenberg.
This road is mostly cobbled, presumably to avoid tarmac crumbling in winter, but the cobbles are square, flat-topped lumps of granite that gives good traction, not the rounded slippery death traps I’m used to in the UK. Also, I don’t think I saw any missing cobbles on this road.
We enjoyed the view and some very welcome Vöslauer bio-himbeerensaft (organic raspberryade), before heading back to Vienna via Grinzing, a wine-growing suburb (and former separate town) and then returning to the Donauinsel via a bridge dedicated to cyclists, pedestrians and skaters. (There is a parallel bridge for infernal combustion engines. I imagine the authorities might stretch a point and also allow steam-engines on it.)
We returned via the Donauinsel, partly to avoid traffic but mostly because we had seen people swimming in the Danube here and wanted to try it. There are a number of pontoons moored along the banks so people can sunbath and dive into the river but these were all already occupied. So we found a shady spot with reasonable access to the water, then Elly sunbathed while I tiptoed in. (For anyone concerned, I was wearing trekking sandals: lifeguard training has taught me not to trust underwater surfaces.) once I’d worked up the courage, I found the water was lovely: cool, CLEAR, and relaxing. I couldn’t swim proper strokes apart from backstroke and sidestroke due to my frozen shoulder but these were enough to take me where I felt like going.
I think I stayed in the water about an hour. I didn’t want to get my cycling gear wet so I cycled back along the Donauibsel in my trunks. (Elly was much more discreet and lady-like, as is only to be expected!) Once we’d changed, we took a tram to the 3 Bezirk to eat in a veggie/vegan Taiwanese restaurant called Vegetasia. This uses ‘meats’ made of plant protein and tofu to make very convincing oriental dishes: highly recommended! We had planned to walk back to the hotel but a sudden downpour saw us firstly sheltering in a doorway the making a dash for the nearby Landstrasse U-bahnhof and a dry but unromantic trip.