We wanted to explore a new part of Vienna today, using the bikes we’ve come to enjoy. While returning from Favoriten 2 days ago, we had seen signs for the Wientalradweg (Vienna [river-]valley cycle route). So, while I pushed up ZZZs and then accidentally scared a chambermaid, Elly obtained a free Vienna cycle-route map from the cycle-shop next to the hotel.
We set out steadily enough: along Praterstraße, across Aspernbrücke and along the Ringstraße as far as the Opernring, where the first sign directed us down Babenbergerstrasse. (OK, I admit we overshot a little.) The next sign directed us along Getreidenmarkt but after this we couldn’t find any more signs. (They probably were there but we just missed them.)
We met there some okker cyclists who had cycled to Vienna from Amsterdam via other bits of Europe and were now looking for Westbahnhof. We directed them as best we could to the Gürtel and then took ourselves to Gumpendorfer Straße (how I live that name!) and hence back to the covered-over part of the Wienfluß.
From there until Margaretengürtel, the route was easy to follow but wasn’t obvious thereafter: we found ourselves circling a ‘Buggery Queen’ (my name for a certain chain of fast food restaurants) until we realized that a river valley cycle route should follow the course of the river. So from there we followed the resurfaced Wienfluß out west through Meidling to Schönbrunn U-bahnhof.
There, Elly saw a sign for the Wienflußradweg, the cycle path right alongside the Wienfluß. So we followed this increasingly pretty path through the western suburbs. At the end of the river-path there is a funny curved bridge up to the bank. It has steps but a trough for bike wheels, which we both appreciated. We cycled on for maybe another quarter mile before the oath ended at the very edge of Vienna.
We were asked by a local chap what we were looking for. He directed us to a nearby Italian restaurant run by Turkish people. There was a TV in the corner showing a Turkish medical soap opera, full of synthetic emotion. It’s good to know some things are constant all over the world, even if one of them is ham acting. After this, there was a seemingly interminable advert for comfortable bras. Check out this if you want to buy any.
We then retraced our path back to Ringstraße, had a drink in the Palmenhaus restaurant in the Burggarten and then went to the Burgtheatre Kino to watch ‘The third man’, a gripping movie set in post-war Vienna. While it’s an unquestionably good movie, the part that brought (and is still bringing right now) a lump to my throat was seeing the bomb destruction to this beautiful city. While I know other places got far worse, this city is a place I know and care about personally. Also, if the film is to be believed, the hotel Sacher, which I imagine to be a symbol of Viennese (culinary) pride, was forbidden to Austrians. To the victors the spoils?
Anyway, when we emerged, it was getting dark and raining quite heavily, so we splashed our bikes back to the hotel, and I’ve been blogging since then. Here’s the inevitable map.
I should say a word or two about this hotel: while there may well be others that are just as good, this hotel is in a well-connected spot just out of the central district (so isn’t stupidly priced) but is in a pleasant safe inner suburb full of life. Yet the rooms are quiet, big and well appointed with enough safe power points for our electronica and showers which can be set from gentle rain to warp-factor enema, the staff are very friendly and helpful (it’s a family-run business), there is safe parking for bikes and cars, most rooms have balconies, and joy-of-joys: the bathroom light and fan are controlled by separate switches, so you can go to the toilet at night without disturbing anyone!