Today was our last full day in Vienna, and our last day with Curt and Vonny (the bikes), so we decided to make the most of it by cycling as near to the full length of the Donauinsel as we could. Here’s the map.
So we started with the almost traditional trip southwest down Praterstraße and across Aspernbrücke before turning southeast and following the cycle path along the south bank of the Donaukanal. This took us through suburbs (and past a quicker route to Hundertwasserhaus and Wiener Kunsthaus) and then past the industrial zone that fills the gap between Vienna and it’s airport at Schwechat.
Just before the Donaukanal rejoins the Donau proper, there’s a bridge (confusingly called Klosterneuberger straße: Klosterneuberg is northwest of Vienna and we were well to the southeast) to a small spit and then another bridge over what looks like flood defences to the Donauinsel. We then cycled on to the southeast tip of the Donauinsel. We sat there for a while, watching the blue (really!) river flow on its way to the Black Sea. A real cyclist arrived: I think his stopwatch software said he’d done 70km in 3 hours.
We then cycled north along the Donauinsel as far as Brigittenauer Brücke, where the lure of ice creams temporarily halted us. (There’s a little break in our path on the map because I didn’t start recording straight away.) We pushed on, against increasing headwinds out of Vienna and into Niederösterreich (Lower Austria), aiming for the Donauinsel’s northern tip. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite make it: the last 20 meters are gated off to non-authorized people. So we crossed the nearby bridge and used the now-helpful winds to cycle south along the riverbank in search of a place to paddle and/or swim.
We stopped for lunch at an Imbiss on Arbeiterstrandbadstraße (‘the street of the workers’ swimming beach), the sunbathed for a while before both of us took dips in the Danube from a small but very popular shingle beach. This is where today’s first map ends.
About 4pm, we thought it was time to go and hand back our bikes at the Donauzentrum hotel. Here’s the map of our route there. We arrived just in time: we’d not been told what time to hand the bikes back in but a van from the bike company was there, with two blokes loading bikes into it. So I removed Lev’s pedals from Curt and we said emotional farewells to him and Vonny. It’s quite true: we’d both become fond of our ‘steeds’ and I’d bonded with mine in a particularly ‘Bruce-ish’ way only today.
To try to lift the mood, we took a 26 tram (see upper-right route on this map) to Hardegg-gasse. (I like the name for very obviously puerile reasons.) yet again drinks called: this time cokes from a local Turkish Imbiss. Then it was time to take the U-bahn back to Schwedenplatz and then to Nestroyplatz to pack away cycling gear before going out for our last evening meal in this trip to Vienna.
We took the U-bahn from Nestroyplatz to Schwedenplatz and then north to Spittelau and then south along the Gürtel to Burggasse-Stadthalle so we could have Wienerschnitzeln and a different type of chocolate cake at Loving Hut. I wish I could make cake that well! To make the most of our last night here, we took a number 5 tram north to the university area then east and back south to Praterstern, before walking back along Praterstraße to 3/4 Takt for a quick drink (Schloss Eggerberger beer for me and a peach wine spritzer for Elly) and then returning to our hotel. Some of the route is shown on the top left of this map.
So that’s almost it! A last Viennese breakfast tomorrow morning, then some shopping and maybe an Eiskaffe before taking the Schnellbahn to Schwechat for a 14:35 flight to Heathrow and then a 10pm flight back to Edinburgh, changing back into long trousers, fleeces and waterproofs and letting the memories begin to fade…